Finding Fault with No Fault: Only a quarter of Albertans support ‘no-fault’ insurance system

Edmonton, Alberta — In a survey conducted by Fair Alberta Insurance Regulations (FAIR Alberta), only about a quarter of Albertans support the province’s proposed “no-fault” alternative.

The survey, which was conducted between January 8 and 15, 2024 and polled over 900 individuals aged 18 and older, revealed that 63 percent of Albertans prefer the current “at fault” insurance system, and this figure echoes similar sentiments from 2021.

The current system Alberta operates is under an “at fault” automotive insurance system, which means the insurance company of the person “at fault” pays for the losses in an accident. By comparison, a “no-fault” system means if a person gets into an accident, their insurance company pays for the losses of the client regardless of who caused the incident.

The survey also found concerns over the fairness of treating those responsible for accidents the same as those not at fault, with 61 percent of respondents deeming it less fair. Additionally, 71 percent expressed concerns over the inability to sue the at-fault driver’s insurance company for damages under a no-fault system.

“In light of our recent findings, it’s evident that Albertans have a strong preference for the at-fault insurance system,” said Janet Brown, Opinion Research, which conducted the survey.

“Our data shows a majority of the population is not only familiar with the current system but also prefers it over the alternative no-fault model.”

Despite showing a preference for the at-fault system, 68 percent of respondents advocated exploring options to lower premiums while retaining the right to sue the at-fault party if injured. This sentiment was particularly strong among those familiar with the proposed changes to auto insurance and those with higher household incomes.

“Every Alberta driver must buy an auto insurance policy, and we all deserve a system that is fair and affordable, but Albertans are clearly saying victims of accidents caused by bad drivers should have the right to hold the responsible parties accountable–that’s just an Albertan value–personal responsibility,” said Jackie Halpern, a spokesperson for FAIR Alberta.

“A no-fault system takes power away from consumers and puts decisions solely in the hands of insurance companies,” Halpern further commented. “There is a better way to reform the system that promotes affordability for Albertans, accountability for insurance companies and expands choices for consumers. We can do all these things while protecting the rights of Albertans.”

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