Atlantic Canadians favour caps on compensation for minor injuries to control insurance costs: Poll

HALIFAX, June 10, 2003 – A large majority of insurance consumers in Nova Scotia support a limit to compensation payments for minor, non-permanent injuries known as pain and suffering awards, to ensure affordable and accessible insurance, according to a report released today by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The poll was conducted in late March – early April 2003 by Corporate Research Associates (CRA).

A full 70 percent of insurance customers favour reducing the amount of pain and suffering compensation provided by an auto insurance policy as a means of controlling premiums. A similar number support the view that accident benefits should be increased while the right to sue should be restricted, if it means that insurance premiums will be maintained at or below the current level.

“Clearly, insurance consumers in Nova Scotia understand the issue,” says Don Forgeron, Atlantic Vice-President, Insurance Bureau of Canada. “Actuarial studies conducted by IBC, and most recently by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board confirm that payments for non-permanent injuries are the root cause of increasing insurance premiums in this province.”

Consistent with previous findings, automobile repairs and medical rehabilitation are considered the most important components of an auto insurance policy, while compensation for minor non-permanent injuries, also known as pain and suffering, is now thought to be less critical.

“We found that consumers are of the opinion that too much of a claim pay-out is currently devoted to these injuries,” says Don Mills, President, Corporate Research Associates. “They believe too little of the claim settlement goes toward medical rehabilitation and automobile repairs.”

The poll results also show that 60 percent of automobile insurance consumers agree that using the outcomes of earlier compensation cases to determine the outcome of new cases has contributed to escalating auto insurance premiums.

“We’re pleased to learn through this poll that insurance customers support legislative change to resolve the problem,” says Mr. Forgeron. “We are sharing these recent results with government leaders because it is only through legislative change that costs can be controlled.

The data was collected through telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1008 insurance consumers in Nova Scotia, 16 years of age and over. The margin of error was +/- 3.1 percent, 19 times out of 20.

A copy of the report highlights and statistical breakdowns is available at the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s consumer centre in Halifax (902-429-2730, ext. 227 or at 1-800-565-7189, ext. 227) or you can download a copy from the IBC web site at

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents the companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada. To view news releases and information, visit the media section of our web site at