One of Canada’s public insurance providing provinces has made big changes to its auto insurance laws this week. Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) has made more than 20 amendments to the Automobile Accident Insurance Act, the second massive auto insurance reform in Canada this year following the Ontario reforms that we introduced this month.
The changes have been created to improve services to customers who are injured in vehicle collisions, Don McMorris, the Minister in charge said in a release.
The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan met on Tuesday to introduce the amendments, with the changes coming into legislation on January 1, 2017. The province had previously announced changes to motorcycle injury coverage benefits that were introduced on April 1. The amendments to auto insurance will focus on No Fault, Tort, and Reduced No Fault injury programs
Among the changes are the following:
Updating amounts paid for living expenses to reflect current market rates, increasing the overall amount available for assistance to those with cognitive impairment and implementing a process to regularly review the amounts for alignment with market rates (No Fault)
Injured customers will be eligible for the current maximum rehabilitation benefit amount ($6.7 million for No Fault in 2016, and $197,000 for catastrophic injuries and $26,000 for non-catastrophic injuries under Tort and Reduced No Fault coverage in 2016), rather than the amount in place at the time they were injured.
- When an impaired driver causes a collision and is killed, allow an innocent party or the family affected to sue for pain and suffering or bereavement damages (No Fault, Reduced No Fault and Tort coverage).
- The list of offences that trigger the ability for an innocent party to sue for pain and suffering or bereavement damages will expand to include: criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm, criminal negligence causing bodily injury, flight from a peace officer and dangerous operation while street racing (No Fault, Reduced No Fault and Tort coverage).
- Calculate death benefits based on date of death rather than date of injury, to keep the family’s benefits consistent with the circumstances of the deceased at the time of their death (No Fault, Tort and Reduced No Fault).
There are many more changes that have been introduced, so it really is worth all Saskatchewan drivers heading to the SGI release at the source.
“These amendments will provide better benefits for people who are injured, address inconsistencies and close gaps in coverage, and keep coverage affordable,” McMorris concluded. “This will help improve the quality of life for people that have been seriously injured in a collision.”