IBC – Auto insurance industry reaction to Nova Scotia reforms: Commendable, but proper implementation is vital

HALIFAX, NS, Nov. 9, 2011 – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) supports the direction of Nova Scotia auto insurance reforms announced today, but expressed concern regarding the complexity of implementation issues associated with such comprehensive changes.

“IBC applauds the Nova Scotia government for its direction with these reforms and the thoughtful and consultative process that led to them,” said Bill Adams, Vice President, Atlantic, IBC. “This government’s approach to auto insurance reform is an example of how to do it properly.”

He added: “But it will be critical to implement the reforms properly, with a full understanding of the complexity of the task ahead. The insurance industry looks forward to working with the government to help make this happen.”

Among the key changes announced today by the Nova Scotia government are the doubling of mandatory no-fault accident benefits for medical and rehabilitation treatments to a maximum of $50,000; adopting minor injury diagnostic and treatment protocols that mirror those used successfully in Alberta; and introducing an optional full-tort product.

Adams added: “These reforms will better serve collision victims, and ensure that they get the treatments they need to get well. At the same time, we are cautiously optimistic that the additional claims costs anticipated as a result of the reforms do not adversely affect the affordable price of auto insurance for all Nova Scotia vehicle owners over the long term.”

The changes announced today represent phase two of the Nova Scotia government’s auto insurance reforms, following initial ones made in April 2010, which tripled the minor injury pain and suffering damages cap to $7,500, indexed it to inflation, and amended the definition of a minor injury. IBC was pleased with the Nova Scotia government’s approach of adopting Alberta’s definition of minor injury, one that has been tested in the judicial system and thus provides greater stability than alternatives considered at the time.

Adams added, “We are also pleased with the government’s commitment to have mandatory reviews of the auto insurance system every seven years and see this as a good start. However an effective and stable auto insurance system demands more continuous monitoring and frequent sharing of information among all stakeholders.”

For more information on the Nova Scotia auto insurance reforms in their entirety, please visit novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20111109003.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada and Nova Scotia’s Insurance Industry

In March 2010, Nova Scotia Business Inc. and Greater Halifax Partnership released a report authored by the Conference Board of Canada and Jupia Consultants Inc. titled INSURECONOMY (www.insureconomy.ca). The report’s economic impact analysis revealed that the insurance industry contributed 4,500 direct jobs to the Nova Scotian economy, with wages 38% higher than the provincial average, and a $460 million annual GDP contribution to the provincial economy. Halifax had one of the highest concentrations of insurance industry firms and employment among urban centres across Canada, with a projected 25% employment growth by 2013.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion.

To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.