Newfoundland and Labrador Opposition leader promises to appeal potential auto insurance reform

Published: October 19, 2018

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Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie has made auto insurance a part of his campaign with some assurances this week. The leader of the Opposition in Newfoundland and Labrador says his party will repeal any minor-injury compensation cap for auto accident victims.

Liberal Premier Dwight Ball could introduce the compensation cap following a review into the NL auto insurance system. The province is set to go to the ballot in 2019 and Crosbie says he will repeal such a cap if the Progressive Conservatives win the election.

Speaking Wednesday, Crosbie aggressively denounced the proposal of a minor-injury compensation cap:

“I am serving due notice that if I get the opportunity to form a government, a PC government, and there’s going to be a general election next year, I’m going to repeal whatever interference with people’s rights the Ball Liberal government performs,” Crosbie said.

“There’s no reason to be interfering with the right to compensation as determined in hundreds of court decisions, maybe thousands of court decisions, over many decades across the country. Those rights have been established by the courts considering everybody’s individual circumstances and the needs of society. Leave it alone.”

NL’s Public Utilities Board (PUB) is finalizing a review into the province’s auto insurance system. The review was commissioned to find the reason behind soaring claims costs and how they can be reduced.

Insurance Tax

One suggestion offered by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is for Newfoundland and Labrador to replace its current $2,500 deductible. The industry representative says the deductible should be replaced with a $5,000 compensation cap on minor injuries. IBC has previously said such a cap has worked in other provinces and help to keep premiums under control.

Speaking to attendees at an event organized by Seniors Against Insurance Cap, Crosbie disagreed with the IBC’s recommendation:

“Those rights have been established by the courts considering everybody’s individual circumstances and the needs of society. Leave it alone.”

Crosbie argues the removal of an insurance tax implemented by Ball’s government is the answer to the problem.

“We know the rate of accidents is going down and will continue to go down in the future,” he said. “It’s a solution in search of a problem. The industry is profitable. (People of the province) have not been promised by the insurance industry any lessening of their insurance premiums.

“If affordability is the issue, Mr. Ball knows what he can do. He can get rid of that 15 per cent insurance tax he put on all insurance products.”