PUB to play important role in NL’s auto insurance decisions

Published: June 20, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The review into Newfoundland and Labrador’s embattled auto insurance industry has caused intense debate in the province. How the government moves forward and implements recommended reforms remains to be seen, but Minister of Service Sherry Gambin-Walsh says all decisions will be “informed”.

Additionally, the Public Utilities Board (PUB), the body in charge of reviewing solutions, says it will not make any recommendations involving a minor injury cap.

“We will not be making recommendations on a cap,” said PUB chair Darlene Whalen recently, when the public hearings on NL’s auto insurance began. “Where we are asked to make recommendations, we will. We are guided by the terms of reference.”

“The Public Utilities Board is tasked with a review and report on the items outlined in the Terms of Reference for the auto insurance review for Newfoundland and Labrador,” Gambin-Walsh’s office explained. “The Terms of Reference also directed the PUB ‘To review the impact on rates of a monetary cap on claims for non-economic loss for minor/mild injuries and the implications of such a cap for claimants’.”

PUB is expected to make objective decisions regarding the review, but Gambin-Walsh points out any findings made by the board will be one of the chief sources the government uses when coming to final conclusions:

“As announced in August 2017, Phase 2 of the process includes a review of the existing private passenger automobile insurance products offered in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as recommendations for possible options to contain costs,” read a statement from the office of Gambin-Walsh. “The PUB, along with the people of the province, will offer recommendations throughout the process on a number of options to help government make an informed decision on how to lower rates that benefit consumers and help bring stability to the automobile insurance industry.”