Definity CEO addresses the auto theft crisis

Rowan Saunders, President and CEO of Definity , has voiced his support for the newly announced National Auto Theft Action Plan, underscoring the urgency of the issue and the collaborative efforts required to combat it. In response to the government’s initiative, Saunders stated:

“The concerning increase of auto theft affects thousands of Canadians and continues to be a challenging issue for our customers and for our peers in the insurance industry. Definity is pleased to see the Government of Canada taking continued action to address this increasing trend and releasing its National Action Plan on Combatting Auto Theft.

Auto theft has escalated to the point of crisis, Definity advocates for organized partnerships and collaboration across the public and private sector to address the challenges posed by criminal organizations involved in auto theft. We ask that the federal government continue to take swift action, and work with provincial and territorial governments and their partners to implement this comprehensive action plan. Definity is committed to our purpose of building a better world and we look forward to the opportunity to work meaningfully with the government and all stakeholders to address this worrying trend.”

Canada isn’t alone in facing a surge in vehicle theft. On February 8, 2024, the National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft brought together officials from federal, provincial, and territorial governments, along with law enforcement and industry representatives. They signed a Statement of Intent to jointly combat auto theft and develop an action plan.

The National Action Plan on Combatting Auto Theft aims to disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute organized criminal groups involved in auto theft. It outlines measures to be implemented by federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and will be regularly updated to counter new tactics by criminal networks.

Efforts since early 2024 are showing results. In January, RCMP officers in Italy helped seize 251 cars stolen from Canada. In April, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), with Ontario and Quebec police, recovered nearly 600 stolen vehicles from the Port of Montreal. By May 4, 2024, CBSA had intercepted 1,205 stolen vehicles in railyards and ports, a 105% increase from the same period in 2023. Additionally, the integration of RCMP stolen vehicle records with INTERPOL’s database led to over 1,000 international queries matching Canadian stolen vehicle records in the first six weeks.

The news comes as Definity subsidiary, Sonnet Insurance, recently announced it will phase out auto insurance operations in Alberta, citing limited growth opportunities. The withdrawal is set for December 13, 2024.