Insurance Bureau of Canada calls on personal injury lawyers to end the uncertainty for Alberta drivers: Don't appeal cap decision



    EDMONTON, June 16 /CNW/ - The insurance industry today called on
Alberta's personal injury lawyers to do the right thing for Alberta consumers
and abandon their drive to remove government legislation that brought
stability and affordability to the auto insurance system in the province.
    Jim Rivait, Vice-President, Alberta and the North, Insurance Bureau of
Canada (IBC) said: "In response to the recent Court of Appeal of Alberta
decision upholding the cap on pain and suffering pay-outs, IBC is removing its
call for a 40.2% increase in auto premiums at this week's Automobile Insurance
Rate Board hearings. This is the right thing to do for the drivers of this
province."
    He added: "Now, the ongoing affordability of auto insurance in Alberta is
largely in the hands of personal injury lawyers as they deliberate on whether
to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada - a process that would
take years. Let's hope, for the sake of Albertans, they abandon this challenge
now, and spare them an extended period of uncertainty."
    The Court of Appeal of Alberta issued its highly anticipated decision on
Morrow v. Zhang last Friday. The unanimous decision confirmed the validity of
the province's $4,504 cap on pain and suffering awards for minor,
non-permanent injuries. The 2004 legislation that implemented the cap also
raised the limit for no-fault medical rehabilitation services from $10,000 to
$50,000, and brought in diagnostic and treatment protocols for sprain and
strain injuries.
    The Appeal Court decision dismissed the argument that the cap is
discriminatory, and said, "the legislation, as a whole, responds to the needs
and circumstances of those suffering minor soft tissue injuries."
    In addition, the decision stated that "the nature of the interest
affected here is not of 'fundamental' societal or constitutional importance."
    Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association
representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member
companies represent nearly 95% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance
market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 110,000 Canadians,
pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal
governments, and has a total premium base of $38 billion.
    To view news releases and information, visit the media section of IBC's
website at www.ibc.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Suzanne Hughes, (416) 723-3474; or James
Geuzebroek, (416) 362-2031 ext. 4364


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