Ukrainian refugees in NL hit with car insurance rates 5 times provincial average

Ukrainians who fled the Russian invasion of their country and arrived in Newfoundland are being asked to pay thousands of dollars more for car insurance than the provincial average. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Ukrainians who fled the Russian invasion of their country and arrived in Newfoundland are being asked to pay thousands of dollars for car insurance, and advocates say the high rates are complicating refugees’ efforts to settle in the province.

The Canadian Press viewed two auto insurance quotes provided to Ukrainian refugees in St. John’s — one for $5,592 a year and another for $8,288 a year. Meanwhile, the average annual rate in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2020 was just over $1,200, according to the General Insurance Statistical Agency.

Adilya Dragan, a liaison for many of the 166 Ukrainian refugees who recently landed in the province, says the high rates are top of mind for many who’ve chosen to settle in the St. John’s area.

“It’s really a lot,” Dragan, originally from Russia, said in an interview Tuesday.

Most have landed jobs making between $15 and $20 an hour, which puts the high insurance rates completely out of reach, she added.

Newfoundland and Labrador led the country in bringing Ukrainians to Canada. The province set up an office in Warsaw in March to help those fleeing Russian attacks, and it was the first province to charter a plane carrying refugees to Canada. That flight landed May 9 in St. John’s.

Dragan said some Ukrainians — especially those who can’t speak English — have only been able to find jobs outside the downtown core. Others have found jobs in St. John’s but can’t find housing in the region’s tight rental market, she said.

The vacancy rate in St. John’s was 3.1 per cent in October 2021, down from 7.5 per

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Educating Car Buyers to Defuse Insurance Pricing Qualms

F&I managers and sales staff aware of shoppers’ misconceptions about rising auto insurance rates may overcome buying objections and save sales or lease opportunities.

As we previously reported, the JD Power 2022 US Auto Insurance Study notes serious collisions, higher used-car prices and rising repair costs have led auto insurers to raise rates. Those increases, which Forbes reports average 4.9% across the US, have surprised some shoppers and potentially squelched some auto sales.

“As we know, setting insurance rates is complicated,” insurance expert Michelle Megna, Forbes Advisor, tells Wards. “The cost of repairs and the cost of cars are now much higher than in the past. A fender-bender can result in thousands of dollars in repairs.”

The type of car, the buyer’s driving record and the mileage driven per year are among the factors considered. Many people don’t realize insurance providers also consider their credit scores, gender, education and other non-driving factors.

Some groups push back on those factors. In New Jersey, a number of groups are pushing to prohibit factors they say result in “racist auto insurance rate setting policies,” reports NJ101.5.

“The non-driving factors have always been a bit controversial,” Megna says. “Of course, insurance companies have found that non-driving factors do correlate with the number of claims filed.”

“There has been an uptick in legislators looking at insurance rates and trying to pass bills that would prevent car insurance companies from using certain rate criteria,” she says. “So that was why we decided to do the survey. And it looks like people are softening toward insurance companies using (non-driving) factors

“The average person probably doesn’t realize the factors that go into setting rates,” Megna says. “Setting rates is complicated. Some drivers see their rates increase and wonder why that happens when they drive the

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Ontario car insurance rates based on postal codes will ‘come to an end,’ Doug Ford suggests

Ontario Premier Doug Ford suggested Thursday that car insurance rates based on postal codes will “come to an end.”

Ford made the remarks during a press conference highlighting his government’s promised gas tax cut, which is set to take effect Friday.

The premier was asked why the government wasn’t focusing more on high insurance rates, since gas prices may still increase overall in the coming months despite the temporary tax cut.

Read more:

Who is paying the highest insurance premiums in Ontario, and why?

“I’m going to respectfully disagree with whoever says cutting the gas tax by 10 cents overall doesn’t affect and help the people of Ontario. It helps them in a massive, massive way,” Ford said.

“I know we’re working on a plan for insurance companies,” he continued.

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Click to play video: 'Gas tax cut for Ontario set to take effect Friday'

Gas tax cut for Ontario set to take effect Friday

Gas tax cut for Ontario set to take effect Friday

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s totally unfair to the people of Brampton or Scarborough that they’re going after these people based on their postal code. That’s going to come to an end real quickly.”

Ford said insurance companies must “treat people fairly right across the board.”

“Insurance companies are making tons of money and it’s coming out of the pockets of Ontarians. So we’re going to be all over them,” he said.

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Ontario Tories want ‘more options’ for car insurance customers

In the Progressive Conservative budget released in April, which doubled as a party platform for the June election, the government said they intended to propose changes that would allow for consumers to have “more options” when purchasing

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