Canadian Underwriter

Minor injury caps coming to Newfoundland?

November 17, 2017   by Greg Meckbach, Associate Editor

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Brokers placing auto insurance in Newfoundland and Labrador should get in touch with politicians to put an ongoing review on their radar screen, and to let Insurance Bureau of Canada know whether they have any ideas on how to fix the system, IBC suggested this week.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Public Utilities Board plans to “review the impact on rates and implications on claimants of monetary caps for non-economic loss of $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000…for the definitions for mild/minor injury currently in use in the other Atlantic provinces,” wrote Darlene Whalen, chair and acting CEO of PUB, in a letter in August to minister of service Sherry Gambin-Walsh.

Newfoundland does not have minor injury caps seen in the rest of the Atlantic provinces. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI all have mild/minor injury definitions for determining non-economic loss and monetary caps that limit pain and suffering compensation for injuries legally defined as minor.”

PUB will be seeking public input on whether the caps should come to Newfoundland, IBC said Wednesday in a release. “If you have an opinion on what is wrong with the auto insurance system, or if you have ideas on how to fix it, we would like to hear from you.”

The IBC is also hoping Newfoundland MPs will hear from brokers on the issue. “For the general public, brokers and residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, we are just getting the message out there that the review is happening and there is a way to get in touch with their (member of the House of Assembly) and let them know this review is an important thing,” Tom O’Handley, IBC’s manager of government relations for Atlantic Canada, said Friday in an interview.

“Things like a cap on minor injuries, these are relatively new concepts for people,” O’Handley suggested of auto insurance customers.

Auto premiums are, on average, 40% higher than in Newfoundland and Labrador than in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, IBC says. “Maybe the minor injury costs are too high,” O’Handley says.

An insurers’ claims costs play a significant role in premium pricing.

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