New Brunswick

N.B. reviews auto insurance laws

The New Brunswick government is reviewing the $2,500-cap on soft-tissue awards for people in vehicle accidents, Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais announced on Thursday.

The New Brunswick government is reviewing the $2,500 cap on soft-tissue awards for people in vehicle accidents, Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais announced on Thursday.

The review, which was outlined in the Progressive Conservative party's campaign platform, will be conducted by a working group that will consult with citizens, consumer groups, lawyers and the insurance industry.

Blais announced on Thursday that the report is expected to be completed within six months.

"We want to ensure that people injured in car accidents are getting the help they need, while safeguarding the stable auto insurance rates New Brunswickers have come to expect," Blais said in a statement.

"Seven years have passed since the current rules were adopted, so we feel it is time to take another look at this issue to make sure the compensation and the legislation are appropriate."

The working group will specifically address two areas:

  • whether the $2,500 cap on financial awards for accident victims is adequate and what would be the impact on insurance premiums if the cap on financial benefits was changed.
  • whether the definition applied to soft-tissue damages should be changed and what would be the impact on insurance premiums if a reform was made.

The Progressive Conservative government has not yet named the chairperson for the review. The chairperson would then select the remaining members of the group.

Bernard Lord's former Progressive Conservative government brought in the $2,500 cap as a way to tackle the controversy over skyrocketing insurance premiums.

The insurance industry had argued that court-ordered financial compensation awards for soft-tissue injuries following automobile accidents was causing premiums to rise.

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