Auto Insurance System Continues to Serve New Brunswickers Well

FREDERICTON, Aug. 11 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds New Brunswickers that auto insurance premiums have decreased by 35% since the implementation of a cap on pain and suffering awards for minor injuries sustained in traffic collisions.

As in every jurisdiction, a stable auto insurance system must strike a balance between providing fair benefits for those who make a claim and affordable premiums for all who drive. In New Brunswick, auto insurance rates are reviewed and approved by the New Brunswick Insurance Board. It is a very competitive marketplace with 67 auto insurers competing for business.

Thanks to the minor injury cap, which set a reasonable limit on the right to recover damages for pain and suffering in specific circumstances, consumers in New Brunswick now enjoy some of the lowest auto insurance premiums and among the best benefits in the country. Claimants who are unhappy with their claims service have numerous avenues for recourse, including complaint mechanisms, mediation and the courts.

"Prior to the minor injury cap's introduction, significant pain and suffering court awards for minor injuries were driving up claims costs and destabilizing the entire system," said Bill Adams, Vice-President Atlantic, IBC. "Premiums shot up and the affordability of auto insurance became a serious issue. Today, on the other hand, New Brunswickers enjoy one of the most stable and competitive auto insurance systems in Canada."

IBC stresses that the minor injury cap applies only to pain and suffering damages awarded to collision victims who have suffered minor injuries. When these awards remain reasonable, a more stable auto insurance system ensues.

Attached is a backgrounder for more information about the minor injury cap.

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.

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

BACKGROUNDER: The Facts about the Cap on Minor Injury Pay-outs

According to recent polling, only 45% of New Brunwickers know that auto insurance can pay more than $2,500 for a minor injury.

Contrary to misconceptions, New Brunswickers continue to enjoy generous auto accident benefits (up to $50,000 in medical and rehabilitation payments), and they retain the right to sue at-fault drivers for (uncapped) pain and suffering damages for permanent or long-term injuries.

The minor injury cap applies only to one part of the court awards and only when injuries are minor.

In other words, the cap applies only when an individual, suffering minor injuries, sues the at fault driver for pain and suffering damages.

The cap in no way represents the sum total that injured victims suffering minor injuries receive to heal from their injuries.

To be clear, the cap DOES NOT apply to:

    
    -  the compensation victims receive from their own insurer (regardless of
       who caused the collision) to heal from their injuries, including lost
       wages.

    -  court awards for medical and/or other economic losses that victims may
       recover in court when suing an at-fault driver - even if the injury is
       classified as minor.

    -  the pain and suffering awards victims with permanent or long-term
       injuries may recover from the at-fault driver.
    

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: For further information: Pete Karageorgos at 416-362-2031 ext. 4329


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