Province's auto insurance review not rushed at all, says Insurance Bureau of Canada
Lawyers representing accident victims want delay, but insurance conglomerate says everything is fine
A group representing the interests of insurance companies in Newfoundland and Labrador disagrees with a court challenge to delay hearings in the province's insurance review.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says it has accomplished its goals within the timeframe set by the province's Public Utilities Board.
This comes after a group of lawyers representing accident victims filed an application with the Court of Appeal to delay hearings until it had time to review the reports done by the province's Public Utilities Board.
"We've had the exact same amount of time to prepare and we've had the exact same amount of time to review the submissions," said Amanda Dean, the vice-president of IBC's Atlantic region.
The review process began with a work plan being released last August, with start dates and completion dates for each task in the review. To date, the PUB has stuck close to most of the targets in the plan.
The goal was to start public hearings in the spring of 2018. Those hearings are slated to begin June 4 — still technically within the boundaries of the spring season.
The lawyers, dubbed Insult to Injury, are concerned with a lack of specific information in those hearings, and reported having problems booking expert witnesses to testify when they don't know what day they will be needed.
The group also has concerns with the narrow timeframe between the end of the hearings and the date the review is due on the desks of government officials — which could be as little as two weeks.
Insurance system not sustainable
The Insurance Bureau of Canada, however, is not concerned.
"This is not just a rushed process," Dean said. "This is a process that has a lot of thought behind it and a lot of people in government as well as the PUB pushing it along."
In the end, Dean hopes the review will be successful in stabilizing rates for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
"Where we are motivated is ensuring that we do our part to ensure that auto insurance in Newfoundland and Labrador is a sustainable system. Because right now it's not," Dean said.
She pointed to the high cost of covering bodily injury claims in the province — $409 of each policy goes towards that cause, whereas Nova Scotians pay only $196.
Unlike Insult to Injury, the Insurance Bureau of Canada supports a minor injury cap on payouts for pain and suffering.
Dean said her group is ready for the hearings to begin on June 4, even though an appeals court judge may rule in the favour of Insult to Injury and grant a delay.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada would rather see things go ahead as soon as possible.
"Our view is, it's a completely reasonable process and a completely reasonable timeline, especially given the pressures facing Newfoundland and Labrador drivers," said Dean.