Canadian Underwriter

IBC auto cost study targets "soft tissue" claims

February 5, 2002   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has released an auto claims cost study conducted in Nova Scotia which shows that the vast majority of claims relate to "soft tissue" injuries, namely sprains and strains. The study was undertaken in response to public concern over the rising cost of insurance within the province, while insurers acting through the IBC are looking for legislative reform to the auto insurance product.
The Nova Scotia study, which involved 540 auto claims closed between October 1999 and September 2000, indicates that roughly 70% of injury claims related to soft tissue expenses. Soft tissue claims also accounted for more than half of the total money paid out through injury claims. Furthermore, of these, more than two thirds relate to "pain and suffering", and not economic loss.
The Nova Scotia claim results reflect a similar trend to studies carried out in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and British Columbia, the IBC observes. Notably, however, the Nova Scotia results show that more than one third of the claimants involved did not have any collateral source of income, for instance an employer’s plan, employment insurance, Canada Pension Plan or workers’ compensation. "We’re confident this study is the first step towards a full and open dialogue on the necessary changes that will improve the auto insurance system in Nova Scotia," says Don Forgeron, Atlantic vice president of the IBC.

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