News release

More New Insurance Regulations Unveiled

New regulations clarifying the definition of minor injury in the new auto insurance reforms were approved by government today, Nov. 21.

The regulations ensure the auto insurance reforms which came into effect on Nov. 1 are interpreted and applied properly by insurance companies and the legal system to achieve the rate reductions intended by the new legislation.

"Improving an auto insurance system is a big job. There's still more work to be done, but these regulations are an important measure to clarify the legislation and allow insurance companies to get on with the job of lowering rates for consumers," said Ron Russell, Minister responsible for insurance.

The regulation amends the auto insurance reform legislation by clarifying terms and clauses not previously defined in the acts or regulations. It defines terms such as "permanent," "important bodily function," and "resolves" which are used in the act and outlines more clearly what a personal injury does not include (for the purposes of the minor injury cap). This will better clarify the earlier regulations and the act by providing more detail on the types of coma, chronic pain, serious burns and amputations that the government wants to affirm as being exempt from the minor injury pain and suffering cap.

The regulations also set out the standards for evidence determination that will assist doctors, lawyers and the courts in determining how an injury is to be assessed. It also includes a provision, that will come into effect on April 1, 2004, which finds individuals to have 25 per cent contributory negligence if they are not wearing a seatbelt, as prescribed by law.

Mr. Russell said other regulations may come later, when the new Nova Scotia Insurance Review Board is appointed and begins its work. The new board is responsible for reviewing all future applications for rate increase in auto insurance.

Beginning Nov. 1, all new and renewed auto insurance policies were to be reduced by 20 per cent from the rates that were in effect May 1, 2003. In addition, consumers will be reimbursed 20 per cent of their current policy on a pro-rated basis for the time between Nov. 1 to when the policy expires. The reimbursement is required to ensure consumers are not paying for services or benefits that they cannot receive, since effective Nov. 1 all claims for pain and suffering for minor injuries are subject to a cap of $2,500.

A full list of the legislation and regulations is available on the Environment and Labour website by visiting www.gov.ns.ca and clicking on the link to Auto Insurance.


FOR BROADCAST ONLY:

New regulations clarifying the definition of minor injury in

the new auto insurance reforms were approved by government today,

(November 21st).

The regulations amend the auto insurance reform legislation

by clarifying terms and clauses not previously defined in the

acts or regulations.

The Minister responsible for insurance, Ron Russell, says

this is an important measure to clarify the legislation and allow

insurance companies to get on with the job of lowering rates for

consumers.

-30-

Contact:

Valerie Bellefontaine
Environment and Labour 902-424-2575 E-mail:
kjd            November 21, 2003        10:03 A.M.