April 23, 2019 6:26 pm
Updated: April 23, 2019 7:33 pm

Aviva Canada insurance changes leave some drivers scrambling

WATCH: Aviva Canada has made some unexpected and major changes to its auto renewal policies. Tomasia DaSilva explains what they are and why some drivers are upset.

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Insurer Aviva Canada has implemented new — and what some call drastic — auto policy changes that some motorists are not happy about.

Calgarian Scott Ramsay is one of those drivers. He’d been a policy holder for almost 10 years.

“I had no tickets, no convictions, same with my wife,” Ramsay said. “We’re clean drivers and we always have been.”

They did have one insurance claim for hail, three years ago, but Ramsay said that was it.

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That’s why they were surprised to get a letter and lengthy renewal application from Aviva Canada a few weeks before their policy was to be renewed.

“Just the way it was worded, it kind of ticked me off. You can apply for renewal and we may give you the opportunity to renew.”

The letter further stated if he was approved, the full premium was due at renewal — he could no longer pay in installments.

“There will be many people who can’t afford to pay that — 12 months upfront,” Ramsay said. “So they will walk away.”

READ MORE: Peter Watts: What is your insurance bill?

Global News has heard from several Aviva Canada customers who have experienced the same situation.

Some didn’t read the letter carefully, or respond in time, and their insurance coverage was cancelled.

Aviva Canada spokesperson Fabrice de Dongo told Global News:

“Fundamentally, we’re just working to make sure we have accurate and updated information, so that we have a full understanding of our customers’ needs.”

He said Aviva does this because during the year, drivers can get into accidents or get tickets and the company can’t accurately rate or assess the risk, or determine the proper premium for a renewal.

“In some instances, we may also amend payment options for a customer.”

de Dongo said the company will also give customers as much time as possible to update their information, and they will always renew properly completed applications.

In Alberta, he said Aviva mails out renewal applications 45 days prior to the renewal date.

Aviva Canada went on to say the changes won’t affect all of its policy holders and it also isn’t limited to Alberta customers — but for competitive reasons, the company can’t disclose any more details.

READ MORE: Alberta auto insurance rates higher than the national average, still rising: LowestRates.ca

Ramsay doesn’t know why he was chosen, but said he believes the insurer is trying to sign on new customers at higher premiums in order to make more money.

Global News put the allegation to Aviva, but didn’t get a specific response.

“I’m essentially giving them $2,500 a year to insure two cars that I don’t claim on,” he said. “Now they just lost that business.”

Ramsay has moved on, choosing to shop around. He said he’s signed on with a new insurer and will be saving $400 a year.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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