IBC welcomes NL auto insurance report despite lack of recommendations

Published: January 31, 2019

Updated: February 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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In a statement today, the Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB) published its report on the auto insurance system in the province. The report follows a lengthy review and has been welcomed by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). However, in a press release, the IBC was voiced disappointment over a lack of recommendations for improvement.

NL Board of Commissioner of Public Utilities (PUB)’s report details public hearings through the review process and includes input from drivers, private insurance companies, industry representatives, and regulators.

“We applaud the board for listening to all sides of this crucial issue,” said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “The bottom line is that this province needs a sustainable, affordable product that helps injured people get better faster. Now that the government has the PUB report, it has the opportunity to make real change for drivers in the province.”

Among the findings in the report are clear issues in the NL auto insurance system. Among the issues facing the province are soaring premiums for motorists which are likely to rise with no changes. Insurance companies have also called for changes as claims repair costs have reduced profitability, with some companies saying they may be forced to leave Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Every day, the people of this province are telling our industry about the effect that the cost of auto insurance has on their household income,” Dean added. “We need claims cost controls in place, based on the evidence in the PUB report, to protect everyone who pays for an auto insurance policy. This means changing the current auto insurance system.”

Drivers in NL now pay on average over $1,100 per year. While still more affordable than more populated provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, NL is now significantly higher than other Atlantic Canada provinces. Drivers in New Brunswick are paying $819 on an average policy, Nova Scotia’s average rate is $842, and Prince Edward Island drivers pay $796 per year on average.

IBC recommends a cap on pain and suffering payouts for people suffering minor injuries following a collision. Dean said, “A minor injury cap would not take away the rights of people to sue if they are legitimately injured and require additional care. In fact, reforms to the system would provide quicker access to rehabilitative care.”