Car insurers saving hundreds of millions of dollars during pandemic, report says

·2 min read

While the COVID-19 crisis has not hit Atlantic Canada like it has many other Canadian provinces, it has still had countless impacts.

Many people throughout the pandemic have been working from home and it's meant a drastic reduction in vehicles on the road, particularly in urban centres.

That's led to fewer accidents, according to Alexandre Desoutter, a communications specialist with Hellosafe, a company based in France that specializes in insurance analysis and has expanded into England and Canada.

"We observed across Canada a big decrease in claims," he said.

Hellosafe said it estimates the savings on payouts by car insurance companies in the Atlantic provinces is $328,609,166 in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, as most drivers stayed home for large parts of the year.

The company said it based its study on public information provided by reliable data providers and several insurance partners who provided Hellosafe anonymously with claims information.

Hellosafe said drivers deserve a big break on their insurance rates.

"It's fair for people to see the reality," said Desoutter. "Maybe the insurance industry will make some reforms and some companies already have."

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

More than 20 insurance companies have applied to Nova Scotia's Utility and Review Board seeking rate reductions due to COVID-19. All have been approved.

"A lot of customers will have seen relief offered in different ways," said Amanda Dean, vice-president of the Atlantic region for the Insurance Bureau of Canada. "Some insurers have offered credits to accounts while others have provided money back right away."

But Dean said those relief measures have been paused in many cases as more people are returning to work and are now driving their vehicles more often.

"It's still up to the consumer to reach out to their insurance representative," said Dean. "If your situation is still different and you're not driving as much as you were, then by all means call to make sure they have your most accurate and up to date information on how much you are using your vehicle."

Dean said she could not comment on the Hellosafe report because she doesn't know where the company got its numbers.