Across the country, millions of consumers may be worried about their rising auto insurance premiums over the last several years. However, some experts now believe that a better situation for all Canadian drivers could come if local police officers get a little more aggressive about punishing bad driving habits. And while this may or may not happen at some point in the near future, it’s certainly something for insurance agents to monitor, and speak about with their clients, as a means of making sure their clients know why they pay what they do for coverage.
Auto insurance rates generally tend to rise when there’s greater risk on the roads, so it stands to reason that if police officers make a more apparent and stronger show of force when it comes to cracking down on bad behaviour behind the wheel, that risk might drop, according to a report from Insurance Business Canada. It used to be that statutes imposed significant penalties for those who were repeatedly hit with speeding tickets; on a driver’s fourth offense they would see their insurance increase 25 percent, then another 15 percent each for a fifth and then sixth offense.
Less of a crackdown?
At least anecdotally, it seems as though part of the issue here might be that police simply aren’t putting in as much of an effort to crack down on speeding and other driving offenses, the report said. But it also used to be that more people would have clean driving records, and now it seems pretty normal for just about everyone to have at least one or two speeding tickets on the record in their recent past.
“I’ve said for some time now (to deaf ears, it seems) that there is a distinct connection between law enforcement’s reliance on photo radar and how poorly Albertans drive today,” Al Sibilo, the chief executive officer of an Edmonton-based insurance brokerage, told the site. “About 20-plus years ago, when speeders were stopped by real cops and received real tickets with real demerits, the embarrassment and inconvenience of being stopped, plus the assignment of demerit points, and then (as icing on the cake) the higher cost of insurance, made people think about their behaviour. Laser [and] radar traps used to be everywhere; now they’re an extremely rare sight.”
What can insurers and agents do in the meantime?
The fact of the matter is that, when it comes to why auto insurance policies cost what they do, consumers are often in the dark through no fault of their own. As a consequence, any efforts that insurance agents can undertake to illuminate some of the reasons why their premiums may rise irrespective of their personal driving habits could go a long way toward making those clients feel better about their coverage overall. That, in turn, will typically lead consumers to be a little happier not only with their plans, but their agents as well, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and retention rates going forward.