Liberals question delay in auto insurance reforms
Deputy minister of justice says reforms coming 'in the near future'
The Opposition Liberals are pushing provincial justice officials for answers on why it is taking so long to change car insurance rules.
The New Brunswick government proposed raising the cap on minor-injury awards and indexing it to inflation last June.
But those regulatory changes have not been implemented and the delay sparked a debate inside a legislative committee on Wednesday.
Liberal MLA Bernard LeBlanc questioned Judith Keating, the deputy minister of justice, about the lengthy delay in implementing the provincial government’s reforms.
"We're not seeing anything which is affecting the cap or anything. I know there's been recommendations but there's been no action taken solidly. How long will it take," LeBlanc said.
Keating explained the provincial government has been getting input from insurance companies and others about the proposed changes.
She said there needs to be actuarial calculations to determine if the provincial government's changes are sustainable.
"I have to disagree that there's been no action," Keating replied to the Liberal MLA.
The Alward government launched the working group, which included industry experts, shortly after the 2010 election campaign. The working group released its report in November 2011, which called for the raising of the cap to between $4,000 and $6,000 and clarifying the definition of minor injuries.
The Alward government responded to a provincial working group on automobile insurance in June, where it called for the cap on damages for minor personal injuries to jump to $7,500 from $2,500.
The provincial government also announced plans to redefine what is considered a minor injury.
At the time, Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais said the changes may not come into effect until 2013.
When LeBlanc pushed the deputy minister for a clear time frame on when the rules would be announced, Keating replied: "In the near future."
She said the provincial government still needs to conclude its assessments on the long-term cost of the changes.
"It does appear to be a long time, but you have to do the work that you have to do," she said.