February 2, 2004 by Canadian Underwriter
Hoping to stem the tide of auto insurance reform in Quebec, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has launched a new website to discuss why the system should not be changed.
The site, www.impactnofault.com, is intended to educate Quebec residents about what changing the current system a mix of government and private coverage could potentially mean, particularly in terms of rates. Currently Quebec is the healthiest private market for auto insurers in the country.
If the government changes the no-fault plan, not only will accident victims receive uneven treatment, but rates could rise for all drivers, the IBC notes. The government, for its part, wants a system that will put more onus on at-fault drivers to pay for personal injuries as a result of accident this means auto insurers and ultimately their policyholders may have to pick up the tab.
"We certainly understand why accident victims and their families feel the way they do about criminal drivers. We also understand the government’s desire to deter criminal behavior behind the wheel," notes Jacques Valotaire, chair of IBC’s Quebec committee. "However, we believe that the automobile insurance plan should first and foremost address the compensation issue." He adds that the issue of criminal drivers could be addressed through changes to the Highway Safety Code or the Criminal Code, or through stronger enforcement measures.
"In our opinion, the government is planning to make changes that will cause more problems than they solve."
In a recent survey of Quebecers, the IBC found that while 65% said they were in favor of the changes, this dropped to 44% when respondents were given examples of what the changes would mean in practice. Similarly, while 34% were only slightly or not at all in favor of the changes, the number of naysayers jumped to 56% when respondents were faced with possible outcomes of the changes.