Where should I get auto insurance?

Back in 2001 I related my history of auto insurance, a path that led me, on Prince Edward Island, first to Gordon Full, a small office, staffed by two people, that was responsive and friendly beyond all belief.

Gordon Full eventually sold out to the still-local-but-not-as-small Hyndman and Company, and I’ve been happy to have Hyndman’s as my broker for the 22 years since.

Hyndman and Company was one of the Island’s oldest companies of any sort; many years ago I ask the Public Archives for information they might have in their records about the company’s telephone number, and the ever-helpful John Boylan replied:

The 1894 telephone directory lists FW Hyndman Insurance as being No. 67, 2 Rings. Customers had individual numbers ranging from one to three digits. Number one was the Rev. G.M. Campbell’s residence. The Falconwood Asylum was number fifteen. 

Although other phone lines were added to Hyndman Insurance, 67 remained the private office number for the business up to 1952. By 1952 customers had a mix of two, three and four digit telephone numbers. 

There’s a gap in our telephone directories from 1952 to 1959, but by ‘59 Hyndman Insurance was a four digit number, 6567. All numbers in the Charlottetown exchange appear to have been four digit ones by this year. By 1961 Hyndman Insurance was 894-6567. 

I was proud to be associated with a company with a long history, a local company that was just a few blocks or a quick phone call away.

Alas, if you dial that telephone number today, you get a message that it’s no longer in service. A metaphor for the company itself: Hyndman’s has changed a lot in recent years and I’ve become increasingly less satisfied with the service I’ve been getting: the agent I’m assigned to keeps changing, and getting in touch has become increasingly cat-and-mouse. Ten years ago my insurance company, Dominion of Canada, was swallowed up by the US-based Travelers Insurance, adding an additional layer of complexity when it came to yearly renewal. The straw that’s in the process of breaking the camel’s back is that Hyndman and Company was sold to Westland Insurance Group this year, “one of Canada’s largest independently owned insurance distribution businesses.”

So, now that any trace of dealing with a local company has been removed, any need to avoid shopping widely and broadly in the auto insurance marketplace has also been removed, and I’m open to any suggestions you might have: I’m shopping for price and for convenience. If I don’t ever need to talk to a person, that’s a bonus. Which is quite a journey from sitting down across from Gordon Full 30 years ago. But such is the modern world of commerce.

A Hyndman and Company ad in The Guardian from 1963

A Hyndman and Company ad in The Guardian from 1963


Thelma's picture
Thelma on July 26, 2023 - 13:44 Permalink

I’m in a similar boat (car?) as the Summerside cousins, Hickey and Hyndman, are also now part of Westland. Always had great service from them, though my policy was with Wawanesa. A friend of mine was with The Co-operators for decades and sings their praises, as do others I know.

Rob's picture
Rob on July 26, 2023 - 20:08 Permalink

Sonnet has worked well for us. Quick, simple, reasonably priced and we've never had to speak to a person ;-)

Oliver's picture
Oliver on July 27, 2023 - 04:35 Permalink

I’ve had a good experience using AAA as my broker, so I imagine the CAA might be a good bet

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on July 27, 2023 - 07:06 Permalink

Having toiled at Hyndman &Co for 40 years I was saddened by the sale to Westland and your experience of declining service mirrors my recent experience.

If you wish excellent service with a locally owned firm the last firm is Stevenson's Insurance. There will be a new locally owned broker opening in the next couple of weeks which should be excellent.

Any of the on-line facilities are pretty much the same. They come and go and a few remain. I have used TD but I prefer to speak with somone locally (when needed) so I have remained with Hyndman.

I have been satisfied with Intact Insurance as my insurance company. They have a good Web facility allowing basic self maintenance and they continue to support local broker offices.

At renewal I too will be changing. While price is important it is not the primary factor. Over a few years pricing tends to even out. Stevenson's or AA Monroe will probably be safe choices or wait a few weeks until the new firm opens.

The goal is to find the 'least worst' choice.

Trudy's picture
Trudy on July 27, 2023 - 08:04 Permalink

Our insurance company, Concorde, in Montague, has also been bought by Westland. It appears Westland may be "covering the Island like the dew."
We just renewed with them as it was the easiest choice and the renewal process was basically the same. Fingers crossed.
Thanks, Peter, for the interesting look back via telephone numbers.

David's picture
David on July 27, 2023 - 18:23 Permalink

We use Stevenson's which to my knowledge is still just David and his admin staff on Kensington Rd. Have never done anything more complicated than adding a new vehicle but he’s always on the ball so imagine it’s an option.