Automobile Insurance Chamber Weekly CEO/Business Leader Poll by COMPAS in the Financial Post for Publication July 7, 2003

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1 Automobile Insurance Chamber Weekly CEO/Business Leader Poll by COMPAS in the Financial Post for Publication July 7, 2003 COMPAS Inc. Public Opinion and Customer Research

2 1.0 Introduction This week s web-survey of business leaders and CEOs explored the issue of rising premiums for automobile insurance. Automobile insurance rates have become 2003 s sleeper election issue, with many provincial elections focussed on what can be done to reduce premiums. Some Governments have sought to mitigate the issue by introducing public insurance programs. Other Governments are shying away from such drastic measures and looking to regulation. Rising costs for car insurance were seen as one factor which led the Tories in New Brunswick to lose seats, and the issue is expected to become a prominent topic of debate for Nova Scotia s upcoming election. With an Ontario provincial election anticipated as early as this fall, Ernie Eves introduced a platform this week that contends to help insurance companies reduce costs in the hopes they will use the anticipated savings to reduce rates. Overall, business leaders are somewhat concerned about today s car insurance premiums. When asked to what extent was their current premium a concern, the mean score among respondents was 4.6 on a seven point scale. There is moderate support for Government to help insurance companies reduce costs by regulations that would seek to reduce fraud. Business leaders oppose insurance companies having a role in determining when a person who has been in a car accident has received enough medical treatment in order to reduce fraud. These are the key findings from the COMPAS/Financial Post business leader survey conducted under the sponsorship of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 2.0 Findings 2.1 Business Favours Regulated Car Insurance over the Alternatives When asked about Government options with respect to automobile insurance 40% of business leaders favour Government regulating the automobile insurance industry to reduce health costs incurred by insurers and fight fraud against insurance companies, as seen in table 2.1. Roughly a quarter favoured a public automobile insurance system like British Columbia s, Saskatchewan s, or Manitoba s because rising automobile rates are a serious problem resulting in more people driving without insurance. Almost the same number would like Government to stay out of the insurance business because it will only cost the taxpayer more money in the long run. 1

3 Table 2.1: (Q1) There is some talk in the media about the rising costs of automobile insurance. Which of the following opinions is closest to your own [ROTATE] % Government should regulate the automobile insurance industry to reduce health costs incurred by insurers and fight fraud against 40 insurance companies Government should stay out of the insurance business because it 28 will only cost the tax payer more money in the long run More Governments should create public automobile insurance systems like British Columbia s, Saskatchewan s, or Manitoba s 24 because rising automobile rates are a serious problem resulting in more people driving without insurance DNK Business Favours Claims Limits Among the factors contributing to rising car insurance premiums, the costs incurred from medical expenses and health related fraud stand out because of its sensitive nature and suspected magnitude. COMPAS asked business leaders to rate two options of discussion in the media that could help reduce the medicalrelated costs incurred by insurance companies. Respondents were moderately in favour of limiting insurance payouts for soft-tissue injuries, such as whiplash, to help control personal-injury claims, assigning it an average score of 3.5 out of 5. When asked if insurance companies should have a role in determining when a person who has been in a car accident has received enough medical treatment in order to reduce fraud, respondents assigned an average score of 2.9, as seen in table 2.2. Thus, business leaders appear to be more comfortable having Government set some limits on claims than allow insurance companies to have much of a say. 2

4 Table 2.2: (Q2) Some argue that medical costs from fraudulent claims are a significant factor contributing to rising premiums while others say that premiums are rising because of the struggling stock market. Using a 5 point scale where five means the Government should definitely adopt such a policy and one the opposite please rate the following statements [ROTATE] Insurance payouts for soft-tissue injuries, such as whiplash, should be limited to help control personal-injury claims. Insurance companies should have a role in determining when a person who has been in a car accident has received enough medical treatment in order to reduce fraud Mean DNK Business Leaders Somewhat Concerned about Premiums COMPAS explored the level of concern with respect to current automobile insurance premiums. When asked, Thinking of your automobile insurance rates over the past ten years, to what extent is your current premium a concern, respondents assigned an average score of 4.6 out of 7, as seen in table 2.3. Business is likely less upset about rising auto rates because they are likely much more aware of the repercussion of 9-11 on the insurance industry. Table 2.3: (Q3) Thinking of your automobile insurance rates over the past ten years, to what extent is your current premium a concern? Please use a 7 point scale where 7 means definitely a concern and one the opposite. Thinking of your automobile insurance rates over the past ten years, to what extent is your current premium a concern Mean DNK

5 As one respondent said, All insurance rates have jumped and it has been expressed that it is a sign of the times associated with 9/11, SARS, Mad Cow and Monkey Pox. Insurance companies must have enough premiums to cover claims... pretty simple, but when claims are as huge as 9/11, we all have a bit of heartburn. 3.0 Methodology The National Post/COMPAS web-survey of CEOs and leaders of small, medium, and large corporations and among executives of the local and national Chambers of Commerce was conducted July 2 July Respondents constitute an essentially hand-picked panel. Because medium and small companies are more numerous in the economy and hence among Chamber membership, the actual respondents in this consultative panel are drawn more from these strata than from the stratum of the largest companies. Because of the small population of CEOs and business leaders from which the sample was drawn, the study can be considered more accurate than comparably sized general public studies. In studies of the general public, surveys of n=144 are deemed accurate to within approximately 9 percentage points 19 times out of 20. The principal and co-investigator on this study are Conrad Winn, Ph.D and Tamara Gottlieb. 4

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