Canadian Underwriter

Define the “less hurt” rather than the catastrophically impaired: Cooke

November 9, 2010   by Canadian Underwriter

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Regulators should abandon trying to define catastrophic impairment and focus instead on defining those who are “less hurt,” said George Cooke, president and CEO of The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company.
Cooke spoke at an Insurance Brokers of the Toronto Region (IBTR) luncheon on Nov. 9.
The recent rounds of auto reform in Ontario were a step in the right direction, but are far from finished, Cooke said. For example, he said he would do away with defining catastrophic impairment altogether.
“The reason I say this [is because] the product construct, when they originally did it, was to try and figure out who was seriously hurt and give them more,” he said. “The problem is that people will always err going the wrong way and the thing will leak.”
“Turning around the equation” and defining people who “are less hurt and give them less” would be far more cost-effective from an insurer’s point of view – and more efficient from an injured claimant’s point of view, said Cooke.
“I would get out of the ‘upper box,’ if you will. There’s always a tort avenue available for someone who doesn’t qualify [as catastrophically impaired].”
The debate has yet to happen, “but it would be tragic if we didn’t see that through over the next 12 months or so,” Cooke said.



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