Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Insurance reforms create false expectations says industry 

Click here to see CBC Calgary story: "The Klein government is creating false expectations by promising that 80 per cent of Alberta drivers will see lower premiums, the head of one of the country's biggest insurance companies says."

Poor Premier. After freezing auto insurance premiums at record high levels, he was pressured into promising that 80% of Alberta drivers would see lower premiums. Now Dominion Insurance CEO George Cooke says no way - we've got profits to make. As the story mentions, Mr Cooke's comments came a day before the insurance industry announced its net profits for 2003 of $2.63 billion, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a 700 per cent increase over the previous year. What's a Premier to do?

Well he has to let the insurance company make big profits. It's the right wing, Progressive Conservative, pro-business, look-after-your-buddies thing to do. So suggesting they take less profit by truly competing with each other is out of the question. So the only ways to deliver lower premiums to 80% of Albertans as promised are:

1. Jack the rates on the other 20%.
2. Reduce the benefits your premiums deliver through caps etc.
3. Subsidize the insurance companies with royalty and tax dollars belonging to the citizens.

If you think number three can't happen, look at how our wealth is being transferred to the shareholders of electricity generators - through the magic of deregulation followed by rebates, oil sands companies - through the magic of minimum 1% royalties until capital costs are recovered , and US meat packing plants - through the magic of BSE relief to beef producers.

The solution will likely be a combination of all three.

Keep your eyes wide open folks.

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