Newfoundland and Labrador reveals auto insurance reform plans

Published: April 17, 2019

Updated: April 28, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Newfoundland and Labrador’s government has debuted its proposals for solving the escalating auto insurance premiums in the province. However, some of the plans of have already received criticism from some quarters.

Several measures have been suggested by the government to address premiums, and among the most popular is a requirement for all auto insurance providers to give a discount to motorists who install winter tires. Another much welcomed proposal is allowing insurers to use telematics devices and reward customers who opt-in with discounts.

Observers of the report have also praised a plan to make an amendment in the Highway Traffic Act for the installation of traffic cameras.

NL Premier Doug Ball announced the reforms, including the removal of remaining tax on auto insurance. The government had previously been taking $60 million each year from the tax. However, Ball did not expand on the details of the tax plan, with changes due to be explained when the 2019 NL budget is launched.

Elsewhere in its proposal, the government suggested stopping uninsured drivers from taking claims through Newfoundland and Labrador’s uninsured automobile fund. Under these terms, uninsured drivers would be on the hook to pay for collisions.

Other changes include a new mandate that states insurance companies must always inform the Department of Motor Vehicles when a policy expires or is cancelled. This requirement currently only exists for commercial vehicles but will soon extend to personal auto insurance.

Perhaps the most criticized part was the inability to create a cap on bodily claims. The government says no agreement could be found to resolve the matter:

“We could not find a common ground. There was no consensus among the public or the stakeholders on this matter,” said Service NL Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh.