Canadian Underwriter

Only a matter of time before Nova Scotia cap is scrapped, premier suggests to brokers

October 22, 2009   by Canadian Underwriter

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Nova Scotia’s Cdn$2,500 cap on claims payments for minor auto injuries will be scrapped, it’s just a matter of when, the province’s new premier has suggested to the Independent Broker Association of Nova Scotia (IBANS).
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, a personal injury lawyer, swept into power in June 2009 with a mandate to eliminate the province’s cap on minor injuries and replace it with some kind of deductible on cost awards.
It would appear the premier intends to make good on his promise, IBANS president Ken Myers told brokers attending the 89th annual convention of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario in Toronto.
“In our meetings with Premier Dexter, he’s effectively said it [the cap] will go, it’s just a matter of time,” Myers said. “Whatever he replaces it with, our suggestion is that as long as it maintains that stability [attributed to auto pricing after the introduction of the cap in 2003], then that can be managed, but we’re waiting to see.
“The first fiscal year of the government, which starts in April 2010, is when they are going to start some changes, so that’s what we would expect to see.”
Myers noted IBANS has not heard of any public controversy surrounding the cap, which was upheld in January 2009 by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Hartling et al v. Nova Scotia.
On the Nova Scotia Car Accident Law Blog, personal injury lawyer David Brannen says the appeal of the decision in Hartling is scheduled to go to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in October 2009. “I expect the Court of Appeal would release its decision sometime in the first quarter of 2010,” Brannan says.
But in the meantime, “there’s been no public outcry,” said Myers. “Insurance has been a non-issue in this election, but whether they’re prepared to make it one during the course of their mandate remains to be seen.
“We’re reminding the premier that any changes, in the form of a deductible, for example, would surely result in increases and would not be good politically, for his government, or for our industry.”

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