Canadian Underwriter

Canadian Bar Association calls IBC findings into question

March 4, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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A new study by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) suggests court awards for auto accident injuries have gone up only marginally in the last two decades in Nova Scotia, refuting the claims of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). The Nova Scotia Branch of the CBA says that its findings are in contrast to submissions by the IBC to the Nova Scotia Public Utilities and Review Board hearings on auto insurance issues.
The study dealt with whiplash case court awards in the province, and the CBA Nova Scotia concludes that awards have not increased “out of control” as per the IBC’s submission. It says increases seen were an effort to reflect inflation.
Tables contained in the study show that in 1981, with figures inflation-adjusted to year 2002, courts awarded $66,558 for whiplash injuries. In 1991, $148,865 was paid out, and in 2000, $172,167 was paid out, according to the CBA figures. The CBA says this represents a gradual, linear increase, rather than the exponential increase insurers’ claim.
The CBA’s submission to the PUB says that damage awards handed out in personal injury cases are “fair awards to accident victims for their pain and suffering, given by experienced courts after hearing all of the evidence at full trial”.
The CBA notes that 99.8% of personal injury cases do not go to trial in refuting the IBC’s claim that spiraling court awards are to blame for rising insurance premiums.

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