Insurance company to speeders: 'We don't want your business'

Tom Hickey, the president of Wedgwood Insurance, sent an email to clients, and it has a strongly-worded message: speed kills.

Wedgwood Insurance sends email to clients about speeding, human toll of accidents

Tom Hickey of Wedgwood Insurance says he wanted to send a message to clients that speeding is not acceptable. (CBC)

The president of St. John's-based Wedgwood Insurance emailed a letter to thousands of clients across the province Sunday, and it has a strongly-worded message: speed kills.

The letter from Tom Hickey begins by talking about the "carnage" on the province's highways and the human toll from accidents, which can't be measured in dollars.

"Forget the insurance type of stuff, we've had the calls from clients who have been struck by people who are speeding, who have had people killed or injured, and it's a burden people shouldn't have to bear because it's so completely needless," said Hickey, who also posted his letter on Twitter.

Hickey told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show he was prompted to write it after seeing a tweet about speeding drivers from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary last week.

The letter references the string of recent fatal accidents in the province and the difficult calls the company has taken over the years from grief-stricken loved ones.

Hickey said there are many factors that influence accidents, but speed is one that comes up over and over. 

"So here is our message to you drivers doing 144 km/h: We don't want your business," he wrote.

Asked by CBC Television's Here & Now if the company would dump clients caught speeding, Hickey said the industry has to provide coverage and quotes because insurance is mandatory.

I feel safer driving everywhere else, because people here just drive at a much higher speed.- Tom Hickey

But he promised to do everything within the rules to make sure excessive speeders end up in the Facility Association, an entity established to provide insurance at much higher premiums for drivers rejected by the voluntary market. 

"In cases where people meet the criteria to go to Facility, we're going to make sure they go there. We're not going to be looking for accommodations," he said.

"Because we really feel we gotta be sending a message to these drivers that there's a price to be paid for those kinds of driving behaviors."

Lots of positive reaction

Hickey said the letter was strongly worded because he wanted clients to take notice of it, and think about it the next time they get on the highway.

The RNC said it stopped this car going more than 150 km/hr on the Outer Ring Road Sept. 23. Police say another was observed at 173 km/hr. (RNC/Twitter)

He aso thanked the company's "good clients" who drive responsibly, and promised to try to keep their rates from going up because of accidents caused by speeding drivers.

Hickey said the emphasis in the letter on speeding as a factor in accidents wasn't based on any statistical analysis, just on his experience with the company and behind the wheel.

"I've driven in New York and California, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Florida, and I feel safer driving everywhere else, because people here just drive at a much higher speed ... that's just my opinion ... but I think what's going on our highways here speaks for itself, the why is another matter."

Hickey said he has been flooded with messages since posting the letter, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show