News release

Fairness and Equity Sought Through Auto Insurance Regulation Change

ENVIRONMENT/LABOUR--Fairness and Equity Sought Through Auto Insurance Regulation Change


As part of its plan to bring fairness, equity and lower auto insurance rates to Nova Scotians, the provincial government has amended the Risk Classification Regulations.

The amendment changes the date for implementing a risk classification system based on non-discriminatory factors to Nov. 1 for Facility Association. This deadline is now consistent with a similar requirement for all automobile insurance companies.

"We're very concerned about today's reports that insurance company profits are rising once again. On one hand, it's important to know that the industry is improving, but that's only good if consumers see some benefit from these profits," said Ron Russell, the minister responsible. "Over the long term, as the insurance industry recovers in Nova Scotia, competition should follow, meaning more choice and stabilized rates for consumers."

In a letter to the minister, the Nova Scotia Insurance Review Board relayed information from the industry that delaying the implementation date should keep more drivers out of Facility Association and would avoid "potential for disruption in the marketplace" and also avoid "raising issues of fairness and equity amongst consumers."

"Our goal continues to be the fairest and most equitable rates possible for consumers," said Mr. Russell.

The minister noted that improvements have already taken place. Reports from the Facility Association show their new business in Nova Scotia has decreased steadily since the government introduced regulatory changes in August 2003. Those changes ensured that Nova Scotia drivers could only be placed in Facility Association because of their driving record and for no other factor, such as age or marital status. Facility Association data also indicates that between January 2003 and January 2004 their new business figures have gone down a total of 32 per cent in Nova Scotia.

Facility Association is often the only option for drivers who are considered to be high risk because of their previous driving record or other circumstances.

A risk classification system is a set of rules and criteria used by an insurance company to assess the likelihood that a person insured may be involved in an accident and suffer injury, damage, or loss.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The provincial government has amended one of its insurance regulations.

The amendment changes the date for implementing a risk classification system based on non-discriminatory factors to November 1st for Facility Association. This deadline is now consistent with a similar requirement for all automobile insurance companies.

The minister responsible for insurance, Ron Russell, says the change will avoid increasing the number of consumers placed in the high-risk insurance category.

He says that government's goal continues to be the fairest and most equitable rates possible for consumers.

-30-

Contact:

Valerie Bellefontaine
Environment and Labour 902-424-2575 E-mail:
njm            March 16, 2004      2:53 P.M.