One of the things I watch closely is the intersection of regulation and economic development. There are many instances in New Brunswick where regulation has been developed without – it seems – any regard for the economic development consequences. Don’t misunderstand me – it is one of the roles of government to ensure that companies are not engaging in unfair/uncompetitive/environmentally abusive practices, etc. but decisions need to be made with the full context.
So the drive by shooting of Co-operators Insurance this morning in the media is a bit heavy handed. The Co-operators employs several hundred people in New Brunswick at wage levels well above average. They are a very good corporate citizen in a wide variety of ways (I have had the pleasure of meeting with them recently). Their company nationally is starting to integrate the use of credit scores in its development of insurance policies and this is causing some concern.
I think the use of credit scores is complicated in this instance because of what insurance is and its importance (unlike Future Shop using your credit score to determine if it will sell you that big screen TV) but when I hear elected officials saying this:
“We’re standing up for the little guy, and he’s [Jody Carr] standing up for the insurance companies.”
I don’t like it. I chafe at this kind of cheap political ploy to pit the big evil company against the ‘little’ guy. We need to be able to have a reasonable discussion about appropriate regulation without turning the conversation into these little swipes that the elected official thinks will score him points – but there are a few hundred people associated with Co-operators that are cringing.
And the next time they consider expansion here, that characterization of them as the big bad insurance company will be in the back of their mind.