IBC urges Nova Scotia government to start public review of auto insurance

HALIFAX, Feb. 28 – In its presentation to the Nova Scotia
Standing Committee on Economic Development, the Insurance Bureau of Canada has outlined a
number of factors contributing to higher automobile insurance costs in Nova Scotia. As a
result, IBC is calling on government leaders to take immediate action to change the manner
in which insurance is offered.

“It’s critical to have an open review about the kind
of auto insurance system that is best for the everyone in the province,” says Don
Forgeron, IBC’s Atlantic Vice President. “We need a public process that gives Nova
Scotians an opportunity to provide clear input on the kinds of changes needed.”

In its submission, IBC states that insurers are doing what
they can to address the factors affecting rising insurance costs. This includes
spearheading campaigns for mandatory use of seatbelts, graduated licensing, and campaigns
against drinking and driving. Already, the industry has jointly created a national
standard for auto theft deterrent systems, and has introduced industry-wide fraud
prevention measures and road safety and auto theft initiatives.

According to Forgeron, insurers are prepared to operate
within whichever insurance system best serves the people of Nova Scotia, provided that
fairness, affordability, availability, stability and acceptability are the driving principles.

“Currently, a total of seven different auto
insurance systems are operating in Canada, while some insurers operate in all
jurisdictions,” Forgeron says.

Mr. Forgeron believes insurers have gone as far as they can
within the current framework in Nova Scotia, and the result remains unacceptable, because
of rising costs and mounting financial losses.

“The time has come for Nova Scotians – particularly
auto insurance consumers – to get involved in the public discussion about the future
options for automobile insurance,” says Forgeron. “To that end, we see
government as the necessary catalyst.”

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade
association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents about
200 companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the non-government home, car and
business insurance sold in Canada. For a copy of the Submission to the Nova Scotia
Standing Committee on Economic Development (February 28, 2002), and other news releases
and information, please refer to IBC’s Web site at