February 28, 2002 by Canadian Underwriter
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is taking the next step in its bid for auto insurance reform in Atlantic Canada. The industry’s representative body is trying to persuade the Nova Scotia government to institute changes that would reduce the cost of claims, specifically of soft-tissue personal injury claims.
A recent “closed claim” study conducted by the IBC was submitted to Nova Scotia’s Standing Committee on Economic Development as part of a presentation urging for change to the insurance system.
IBC defends the steps taken so far by insurers to address claims costs, such as a campaign for seat belt laws in the province, graduated licensing and other road safety programs.
But the IBC has already been making a stand in Newfoundland for tort reform as a means of dealing with soft-tissue injury claims. Most provinces have already put some limits on the right to sue in such cases, and the IBC is hoping Newfoundland will follow suit.
It remains to be seen how Nova Scotia will deal with rising claims costs and rising premiums as a result. But whatever proposals come to light, insurers will be prepared for change, says Don Forgeron, regional vice president for the IBC. “Currently a total of seven different auto insurance systems are operating in Canada, while some insurers operate in all jurisdictions.” As long as any new system is fair, affordable, accessible, stable and available, insurers will deal with whatever changes are made, he says.