We need to fix the current system because it now costs drivers in this province more in premiums than their counterparts pay elsewhere in Atlantic Canada. In fact, on average, premiums are 40 per cent higher here.
Drivers in this province are unhappy with their high premiums, their limited choice and the presence of uninsured drivers on the road.
N.L.’s government is listening, too. Led by Service NL Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh, the government will consider how best to encourage more insurers to compete in the marketplace.
The government has stated that it will work to deliver a system that works for all drivers — accident victims and incident-free alike. This leadership role is appropriate because the auto insurance product and its price are regulated by government.
N.L.’s Public Utility Board will also be seeking public input. They, too, will be listening. Specifically, the PUB’s process will include an independent study of auto insurance claims that have already been settled.
This anticipated consultation process provides N.L. drivers with an opportunity to be part of the process. It is an invitation to get involved, to join the conversation. It is a good first step toward a good result.
It has been 14 years since a review of the auto insurance system was held in this province. It is long overdue. What’s more is that other provinces have found a balance for claims payouts, sustainable premium amounts and the ability to get accident victims better quickly, while retaining all of their rights, including the right to sue. It’s about time N.L. joins them.
If you have an opinion on what is wrong with the auto insurance system, or if you have ideas on how to fix it, we would like to hear from you: email@example.com.
Amanda Dean, vice-president, Atlantic
Insurance Bureau of Canada