New Brunswick is proposing to increase its $2,500 cap on minor auto injuries up to $7,500 and come up with a new definition for minor injuries that would see fewer people come under the cap.
The government on June 28 tabled its response to the Auto Insurance Working Group with the legislative assembly. The government is currently seeking public input on its proposal.
“The new [minor injury] definition would mean that fewer New Brunswickers would be limited by the cap,” said New Brunswick Justice Minister and Attorney General Marie-Claude Blais. “Our recommendation of a $7,500 cap exceeds the working group’s suggested cap.”
The government’s response says actuaries have calculated that 71% would come under the proposed definition of minor injury as opposed to 81% under the current definition.
New Brunswick’s Auto Insurance Working Group recommended in November 2011 that the government increase its minor injury auto cap to between $4,000 and $6,000, and index the cap annually to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Blais said the recommended new cap amount of $7,500 would match the limit currently in place in Nova Scotia.
“Actuaries have told us that any increase in the required average premium with the proposed definition, together with an increase in the cap amount, could be absorbed by insurers, resulting in no increase in the average premiums,” Blais added. “This would allow us to foster a market in which auto insurance remains affordable and accessible in a stable environment.”
Other recommendations include:
• the province’s Office of the Consumer Advocate be requested to co-ordinate the development of an information/education package to highlight the rights of individuals involved in a motor vehicle accident;
• the Department of Justice and Attorney General examine early-care programs in place in Alberta and Nova Scotia to determine whether such a program would be appropriate for New Brunswick; and
• the Department of Justice and Attorney General develop a process that provides for the regular review of the minor injury regime and which allows for input from all stakeholders.
New Brunswick’s response to the working group will be posted online for 30 days to allow for input from stakeholders and the public.