IBC says groups opposed to updated CAT definition are fear-mongering

TORONTO, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) blasted contentions made today by groups opposed to updates to the definition of catastrophic injuries related to auto insurance as "self-serving fear-mongering".

Allegations were made by the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, the Alliance of Community Medical Rehabilitation Providers, and the Ontario Safety League that the Ontario government will bring about changes that will "dramatically reduce the insurance benefits available to severely injured victims of auto accidents."

"This is false, misleading, singularly irresponsible and is nothing more than self-serving fear-mongering," says Ralph Palumbo, VP, IBC, Ontario. "It is part of a campaign by people who make money from auto collisions and want to maintain the status quo.  They're worried that more money will go to treatment instead of their legal fees. Ontarians should listen to the advice of the medical experts and not lawyers."

An Expert Panel composed of medical experts and rehabilitation professionals has advised the government on treatment standards, particularly in the definition of catastrophic impairment. The Superintendent of Insurance has submitted his recommendations to the Minister of Finance, following which the public and all stakeholders will be able to provide their submissions. The government promised a public consultation in the 2012 budget.

The panel of experts was of the view that the current system leads to inconsistent catastrophic impairment determinations and frequently gets the diagnosis wrong. The proposed changes would make the process more accurate, consistent and objective and would incorporate leading edge science-based evidence into CAT determinations.

Auto insurance benefits were $1 million for catastrophic injuries before the September 2010 reforms and it remains so now -with the understanding that motorists can purchase more if they wish.

The Expert Panel report creates a new "interim" catastrophic injury category to get people the care they need even before a determination is made and puts children under 18 into the catastrophic category immediately.

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.

SOURCE INSURANCE BUREAU OF CANADA

For further information:

Helen Lialias 
Media Relations Officer 
Insurance Bureau of Canada 
416-362-2031 ext. 4312 
hlialias@ibc.ca

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