Changes to the Automobile Insurance Act and the Insurance Companies Act will receive second reading in the House of Assembly today. The changes are intended to help stabilize insurance rates while enhancing consumer protection to benefit the people of the province.
Some of the key changes to the legislation include an increase in the deductible from $2,500 to $5,000 for bodily injury claims; introduction of treatment protocols for common injuries as the primary payer; no access to the Uninsured Automobile Fund for losses by uninsured motorists; direct compensation for property damage; requirement for insurance companies to notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles of the cancellation or expiration of insurance policies; and changes to procedural rules for motor vehicle collision claims.
Proposed amendments will also provide a mandated insurance discount for winter tire usage, implementation of underwriting guidelines concerning the optional use of telematics, and changes to the rate setting process.
The proposed amendments can be found in the backgrounder below.
In addition, as part of Budget 2019 the Provincial Government will eliminate the remaining tax on automobile insurance. More details will be provided on Budget Day.
There are also other changes to be implemented that are part of the Provincial Government’s suite of measures to stabilize insurance rates that do not require changes to auto insurance legislation, including permitting electronic proof of auto insurance and plate-to-owner program.
The proposed amendments are the result of feedback received through the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities’ independent review of the automobile insurance system, as well as public consultations in the spring of 2018 on government’s EngageNL website, and consultations with stakeholders such as the insurance industry, legal community, the Consumer Advocate and the taxi industry.
Recognizing that driver behaviours also play a role in helping stabilize insurance rates, the Provincial Government is committed to highway safety and continually updates the Highway Traffic Act to keep current with safety practices.
A number of recent changes to the Highway Traffic Act include enhanced move-over provisions; changes to reflect the legalization of cannabis; introduction of a one-metre rule; strengthened distracted driving rules, excessive speeding and street racing provisions; as well as penalties for stunting. Changes were also made to the Act to deter impaired driving including mandatory ignition interlocks, impoundment of vehicles and zero tolerance for novice drivers and drivers under age 22.
“Our number one priority during the automobile insurance review has always been the consumers of Newfoundland and Labrador. When we initiated the review, our goal was to identify opportunities to keep rates as low as possible and help bring stability to the industry. We recognize that we cannot provide a single quick fix for the high insurance rates in our province but, together, the amendments we have introduced today will help achieve our objective.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister of Service NL
“The amendments strike a balance between stabilizing insurance rates for the consumer while maintaining access to justice for victims. I want to thank the Public Utilities Board for their comprehensive report that contributed greatly to the first significant review of auto insurance in almost 15 years.”
Honourable Andrew Parsons
Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General
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