This seagull is providing a good approximation of my reaction to some recent mail. To be specific, mail from two insurance companies.
I come from the West Coast and things are sure different out here on the Eastern shore. One area I find totally offensive and that is insurance. First that associated with automobiles.
In 1973 British Columbia created a Crown Corporation (ICBC) to provide car insurance to everybody in the Province. This created a giant brouhaha (of course) because everything would be horrible. The Insurance Institute of Canada will tell you that BC rates are among the highest in Canada – because no competition obviously.
I bought my car before I left the Province and was charged slightly less than $1100/yr for insurance coverage. When I got here I had to switch things over and – same car, same license, same driver, etc., – was expected to pay $4500. None of the Insurance companies would take into account my history graciously provided by ICBC. My agent managed to find a company willing to only charge me $2500. (only)
It’s time for my insurance to renew and I received a letter saying the cost is going up by 10%. No claims, no justification, just here you go the new amount. They do it because they can – if ICBC tried that heads would roll because they answer to the Government and the driving populace.
Then I got a letter from the company insuring my house. I left a home out west worth more than 10 times what I paid for my house here. Insurance on that home was less than $1000/yr. My bill here was almost $1400. Nobody could explain why that was so. I was appalled.
The letter I received this year thanked me for being such a good customer and (by the way) my premiums were increasing by 20%. There was no explanation, no justification, no nothing. Just the new higher amount. They did the same to a lot of people on the Island. I was offended by the sheer arrogance.
I spent much of yesterday on the front porch dealing with agents, companies, the bank, oh and, yes, arguing with Amazon. The latter was actually resolved satisfactorily. Insurance? I’m still angry.
I kept wondering why the other Provinces didn’t adopt the BC model. It’s not like you have to be left wing to appreciate it – there have been multiple right wing Governments since 1973 but none of them have dared to dismantle ICBC.
I know the Industry Lobbying Group has lots of power across this Country – someday maybe things will change. In the meantime – it’s highway robbery.
In the UK, many companies offer lower premiums to attract new customers and the whack up the premiums after a year. There are also lots of price comparison websites, so it’s easy to see what you are getting for your money.
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