Farmers Insurance Agent (FIA) agents in Alberta have been targeted by the provincial government’s new online insurance marketplace, which has been accused of stifling competition and causing insurers to pull out of the market.

“The new marketplaces have been criticized for being more expensive and less competitive than the existing marketplaces,” said Jason McLean, an agent with the Alberta Farm Bureau Federation.

“There are just a lot of complaints out there, and they’re all based on misinformation.

We’re trying to provide unbiased advice to the market to help them decide which products are best for them.”

In an emailed statement, Alberta Farmers Insurance said it was “committed to a fair and transparent market” and “has an obligation to protect the interests of the farmers we represent and to promote the value of our services.”

The Federation of Farmers of Alberta said it had been working with the agency “to ensure it provides consumers with the best products and services” while also promoting fair competition.

Alberta Farmers is also calling on the Alberta Government to review the marketplace.

“While the new market is the first in Canada to be launched, it will only be the first of a series of competitive changes the government will implement as part of its ongoing commitment to promote and protect consumers and their property,” said a statement from the federation.

“In the meantime, we urge the government to ensure that the best farm products are available to the public at a fair price.”

In Alberta, insurers will be required to offer coverage for crop insurance, but not farm property insurance.

Alberta’s new farm insurance policies will also be exempt from provincial income taxes.

Alberta Farm Insurance Association president David Fiske said he’s concerned the province will not be able to offer a “fair price” to consumers.

“It’s really concerning to us,” said Fiskes.

“Our members have been dealing with a lot more premium costs in the last few years, so this is really, really concerning for us as well.”

Fiskel said the new marketplace could lead to some significant price changes for farmers and the sector overall.

“We don’t want to see a lot less money for farm insurance because of that,” he said.

The new online marketplace will have a range of options, including crop insurance.

Farmers Insurance Association of Canada president David Hirst said the province has been trying to work out how to make the marketplace work better for the farmers it serves.

“They’re not going to be able [to offer] the same product at a lower price,” he added.

“That’s the biggest concern for us.”

The new marketplace has been under development since mid-January.