Fredericton, New Brunswick — Something isn’t adding up quite right in New Brunswick as new statistics show that auto insurers in the province saved big during the pandemic, but continued to gouge customers on premium rates.
According to the General Insurance Statistical Agency (GISA), insurers charged New Brunswick drivers $197.6 million more in premiums than they paid out in claims, a 172 percent increase in underwriting returns over what companies earned in New Brunswick in 2019.
Halifax trial lawyer and long-time auto insurance industry critic Barry Mason brought the discrepancies to the attention of the CBC, calling the recent practices among New Brunswick insurers “obscene.”
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that their numbers are astronomically high in terms of profits,” said Mason.
“Given COVID, of course for a long time no one was driving. This is just another example of how the insurance industry will bleed the consumer and make obscene profits.”
Some insurance companies were reported to have offered rate cuts and rebates during the pandemic, but not to a significant enough degree to counterbalance the massive savings these companies incurred.
The decline of gas sales in the early stages of the pandemic led to $83 million reduction in accident claim expenses, allowing for $40 million more to go towards rate increases across the province.
“They gave a little bit of money back last year in terms of premium. If they’re giving you back 10 cents, they’ve made a dollar,” said Mason.