A Call to Action: Albertans, Your Rights are Under Attack
Currently under Alberta’s “tort law” system, an Albertan left in chronic pain because of a careless motorist is entitled to 100% full and fair compensation from the negligent driver’s car insurance company. However, in December 2019, the UCP government appointed an advisory committee chaired by the Auto Insurance Rate Board’s Consumer Representative to review Alberta’s auto insurance system. Premier Jason Kenney, showing that he has been very attentive to messaging from well-connected, well-financed insurance lobbyists, said last December that the government would use the "next six months to address out-of-control increases on personal injury awards." Now the truth is that personal injury awards are actually decreasing, and there is already a regulation on the books capping insurance compensation for minor auto accident injuries, but according to the Premier back in December, "We're going to look at how to have a more effective control. Something like a no-fault insurance system, which maintains a reasonable control on the awards."
Know this: Under a no-fault insurance system, compensation is forcibly confiscated from innocent Albertans (mostly women and children) hurt by reckless drivers, and then redistributed to guilty wrongdoers in the form of enhanced (on paper at least) benefits and to the multibillion dollar insurance industry in the form of padded profit margins. This is unjust, unnecessary, unconservative and unAlbertan. We live in a province that values individual rights, law and order, and the belief that wrongdoers must be held responsible for their actions and must fully and fairly compensate those they hurt. Albertans know there is a price to be paid for negligence causing harm, and that our government should not rob from the innocent to enrich the guilty. As nearly six months have passed since Premier Kenney uttered the above comments, time is of the essence to make your voice heard on this issue, so please don’t delay. This is your call to action: 1. Visit FAIR Alberta to see how you can contact your MLA and share your views; and 2. Email the Consumer Representative a message (here’s one you can copy & paste): To the Consumer Representative (c/o the Auto Insurance Rate Board): If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Insurers and consumers in Alberta currently enjoy an excellent mix of fair tort rights and generous accident benefits for a reasonable yet profitable price and will continue to do so, as long as the provincial government does not unfairly and needlessly engage in massive marketplace meddling. Mr. Daniel, you are well aware that due to higher premiums and lower injury claims costs in 2019-20, allegations that Alberta’s auto insurance industry is “in ongoing crisis” are, to borrow a phrase from an excellent essay by philosopher Harry Frankfurt, “not germane to the enterprise of describing reality.” Similarly, kindly deposit in the rubbish bin any insinuation that due to a contrived auto insurance crisis, Albertans have little choice but to give up either tort rights or medical/disability coverage. The fact of the matter is that Alberta motorists can (indeed must) have both. As AIRB Consumer Representative (and chair of the Auto Insurance Advisory Committee), please keep in mind that auto insurance is not merely about the price of the pink card, but is also about innocent injured Albertans’ rights to 100% full and fair compensation from careless drivers’ insurers for our pain and suffering and other damages. Consumers don’t want a 10% off shoe sale where you only get one shoe! Thank you.