Calgary, AB: A new poll commissioned by FAIR Alberta and conducted by Janet Brown Opinion Research shows Albertans prefer to stick with the current “at-fault” system for auto insurance rather than move to a “no-fault” system as proposed by a Government of Alberta panel last year.
Last October, the Government of Alberta released Bill 41, legislation it said would create a more affordable insurance system for consumers. A report from an appointed panel recommending Alberta switch to a “no-fault” insurance system was also released along with Bill 41. However, the United Conservative government declined to implement the recommendation at that time.
Under the current “at-fault” system, if a motorist is injured or their vehicle is damaged in an accident, the insurance company of the person deemed “at-fault” pays for the losses of all people involved in the accident. Those involved in an accident can also sue the “at-fault” driver’s insurance company for additional damages. Under a “no-fault” system, when a motorist is injured or their vehicle is damaged in an accident, their insurance company pays for their losses, regardless of who caused the accident. Both the innocent party and the at-fault party are treated the same and receive the same benefits. Those involved in an accident cannot sue the driver responsible for damages under a “no-fault” system.
The poll shows Albertans are not in favour of key aspects of a “no-fault” system and prefer to stay with the current “at-fault” model for auto insurance. Key findings include:
- 69% said that losing the ability to sue an “at-fault” driver’s insurance company through “no-fault” insurance is less fair than the current system.
- 66% said that treating those responsible for traffic accidents the same as those not at-fault (a defining feature of “no-fault” insurance) is less fair than the current system.
- 63% said they would not support a “hybrid no-fault” insurance system where every driver would have a “no-fault” insurance policy, and be given an option of paying an extra premium to have the ability to sue an “at-fault” driver’s insurance company for damages.
- Overall, 57% said they support the current “at-fault” system of auto insurance, while only 22% supported moving to a “hybrid no-fault” system, and only 11% supported moving to a full “no-fault” model.
“What this research shows is that Albertans remain deeply skeptical of core features of a “no-fault” insurance system and are much more comfortable with the current “at-fault” system,” said Janet Brown, Principal of Janet Brown Opinion Research.
“Albertans want affordable auto insurance, accountability for drivers and insurance companies, and consumer protections to ensure the system is fair,” said Keith McLaughlin, spokesperson for FAIR Alberta. “No-fault is none of that and this research shows very clearly that Alberta consumers don’t want a no-fault model that would eliminate their right to access the court system to hold at-fault drivers and insurance companies accountable.”
British Columbia switched to a “no-fault” insurance system earlier this year. It has proven controversial as injury victims – both pedestrians and motorists – have found the system reduces accountability for “at-fault” drivers and their ability to access appropriate compensation for injuries sustained in accidents.
The poll was administered through the TrendWatch Alberta Omnibus Survey between June 16 and 30th, 2021. The poll involved a random, representative sample of 900 Albertans who were contacted via live interviewers. The margin of error for a probability sample of 900 people is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 (i.e., at a 95% confidence interval).
About Fair Alberta
FAIR Alberta is a coalition of Albertans including concerned consumers, medical professionals, injured Albertans, and members of the legal community who are committed to protecting the rights of consumers and individuals that have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. FAIR works to ensure that the laws applying to injury victims are fair, that auto insurance companies are accountable to the premium paying public, and that individual Albertans receive fair compensation and appropriate treatment options for their injuries.
About Janet Brown Opinion Research
Janet Brown is a well-known Alberta pollster with over 25 years of experience. She is regularly asked to speak about public opinion trends in Alberta and is frequently asked for comment on Alberta’s political situation by the media. Trend Research is Alberta’s premier data collection firm and operates a 90-seat call-centre and focus group facility in downtown Edmonton. Together, Janet Brown and Trend Research conducted the only poll during the 2019 Alberta provincial election with results that were within the margin of error for all political parties across every region in Alberta.
Spokesperson, FAIR Alberta
Principal, Janet Brown Opinion Research