Taxi insurance rates reaching breaking point

Published on April 17, 2014

November of last year I went to my insurance company to pay my taxi broker premiums for another year. I was shocked when my insurance broker passed me the invoice.

“There’s been a 50 per cent increase across the board for all taxi brokers within the industry,” she said to me.

Like all taxi brokers in this province, we are at the mercy of “Facility Association.” This particular entity (the monopoly) is our only option for paying our insurance annually (through insurance brokers).

Last November, my premium for third-party liability was $1,326 (the lowest in the industry because of my impeccable driving record, or so I’m told).

My new premium for third-party liability is $1,989. That’s a 50 per cent increase. That’s what they said they were going to do, and that’s exactly what they did.

But here’s the caveat: “Please note,” the notice said, “Individual policyholder increases will vary depending on coverage level and driving record.”

I think someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

I, like all other taxi brokers, just received notice in the mail from Facility Association, indicating they are now requesting another 50 per cent increase from the Public Utilities Board, to become effective on Aug. 1, if they have their way.

That represents a total 125 per cent increase in my premiums in only a year.

It’s a good thing I have an impeccable driving record, or I could be in the same boat as some other brokers whose premiums will skyrocket to over $6,000 for a single taxi.

Those numbers are neither sustainable, nor affordable for any of us.

Last week I was listening to CBC Radio and the CEO of Facility Association indicated to Ted Blades in an interview that the increases were a result of continued losses over the last number of years.

If that CEO was working in the private sector he would have been given his pink slip long ago.

Taxi brokers are getting to the breaking point. We’re pretty ticked off, to be quite honest, and we won’t put up with it.

St. John’s has 365 taxi licences issued for a population of 110,000 people. Those numbers are staggering, considering most major cities in the country only have a small portion of those licences issued on a per capita basis.

You, the consumer of taxi services, should be outraged, because, before, or at the end of the day, Aug. 1, you’ll likely see in excess of 300 taxi brokers parked in front of city hall, demanding an increase in meter rates to reflect the original increase and subsequent increases.

It will happen; you can mark my words. Stay tuned, because something is going to hit the fan in the next couple of weeks.

Joe White

Co-Op Taxi, St. John’s