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Insurance Industry Investment Profit of $987 Million in Three Months Yet No Relief in Auto Insurance Premiums

October 10, 2017

The insurance industry recently reported a doubling of net investment income for property and casualty insurance in Canada. The industry publication Canadian Underwriter recently reported on research from MSA Research Inc. “Net investment income was up 101% from 490 million in Q1 2016 to $987 million in Q1 2017, MSA reported”. This profit was only in the first three months of 2017.

Insult to Injury Campaign to Protect Accident Victims is raising the importance of ensuring the auto insurance review that is pending at the PUB looks closely at the overall profitability of the insurance industry as required by its terms of reference; not just at Underwriting income (the cost paid in claims compared to premiums collected).

A profit of $987 million in just the first three months of the year would raise questions about whether insurance premiums could actually be lower if the insurance investment income was used to lower rates.
“The insurance industry will have you believe that they are losing money when you only look at the cost of claims compared to premiums collected. What these large multinational insurance companies don’t tell you, is that the auto insurance premiums paid by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are sent out of the province to be invested,” said Insult to Injury spokesperson Brad Wicks. These Newfoundland and Labrador premiums are part of the investments that have doubled.

“Our group believes that the upcoming insurance review to be completed by the PUB should be focused on the right things. The review should look closely at the significant investment profits being made on the premiums paid by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to mainland insurance companies and the excessive profit that allows them to earn,” continued Wicks.

The Insult to Injury Campaign to Protect Accident Victims was launched recently to ensure the victims of car accidents do not lose their right to access justice when injured. If the cap on compensation for innocent victims of soft tissue injuries proposed by the insurance industry is implemented after the PUB review, it will simply mean that the insurance industry will decide what your pain and suffering resulting from injuries sustained through no fault of your own is worth; not the Courts. That is why we have a justice system.

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For more information:
Bradford Wicks
709 570 8144


Campaign to Protect Accident Victims Launched in Newfoundland and Labrador

St John’s

September 14, 2017

Victims of motor vehicle accidents in this province could lose their right to seek fair compensation if the provincial government agrees to a cap on compensation for pain and suffering claims that has been proposed by the insurance industry. A Campaign to Protect Accident Victims is being launched to counter this threat.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), on behalf of the large national and international insurance companies it represents, has asked our government to institute a cap on compensation for pain and suffering claims, including for people who suffer life altering injuries as the result of an accident. A cap would take away a victim’s right to access justice. It also stands to increase profits for the insurance industry while at the same time taking money out of the Newfoundland and Labrador economy. This should not be the result of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s review on auto insurance.

“Every single day we talk to people in our province who have been innocent victims of a car accident caused by distracted or impaired drivers. These are young mothers and fathers who can no longer lift their babies; men and women of all ages who cannot do their housework and sometimes their jobs and who can no longer enjoy playing sports or snowmobiling because they are in life altering pain,” said Brad Wicks, a member of the local legal community who is part of a team which has come together in a campaign to ensure the victim’s voice is heard in the upcoming review of automobile insurance. “The insurance industry does not place any value on this pain and suffering, including the mental health anguish that often follows an injury.”

The facts around this issue must not be ignored:

Total premiums charged for auto insurance have increased over time, but the portion of the premiums charged for third-party liability (the part that relates to injury claim payments) has remained relatively flat for the last decade.

  • The cost of average bodily injury losses and related expenses incurred by insurance companies has been stable since 2011 and has, in fact, steadily declined since 2013.
  • The number of claims is actually decreasing, consistent with recently released RNC accident statistics showing a 25% decline in motor vehicle accidents in its jurisdiction between 2013 and 2016, contrary to the insurance industry claims.
  • Based on a comprehensive review of information available about the financial performance of auto insurers representing most policies sold in this province between 2011 and 2016, it has been estimated that consumers have overpaid insurance premiums by as much as $92 million dollars as these insurers have made much more during that time than what would be considered to be a fair rate of return.

“We have also seen real impacts in the Courts of how victims have the most to lose.  If you have ever been a victim of a car accident, you will understand how injuries from a car accident can turn your life upside down. If you have never been a victim, you should be very concerned about the rights you may be losing,” Wicks continued.

These examples from other Atlantic provinces, where a cap has long been in place, highlight the negative impact on real people:

In the 2010 New Brunswick case of Fraser v. Haines, the Court deemed the injury of a construction worker to fail the non-minor injury test because his shoulder injury which lasted for over two years and limited his heavy physical work did not qualify as a “serious impairment.” His damages were therefore capped at $2,500. Had the cap been absent, the trial judge found that he would have awarded Mr. Fraser $30,000 for pain and suffering.

In the 2014 Nova Scotia case of Hopkins v. Graham, the Plaintiff was driving a vehicle home when the Defendant crossed the yellow line and crashed into him head-on.

At the time of the trial, Mr. Hopkins experienced “mid to upper-back pain (between the shoulder blades), shoulder pain and bilateral knee pain.” He also suffered from a “constant burning sensation across the middle of his back” that did not respond to medication and that would sometimes shoot up to his neck. All of this was aggravated by physical activity like chopping wood, or gardening, things he used to engage in habitually including his heavy physical work as a Crew Foreman with a foundation company and lobster fishing. It was more difficult for him to engage in recreational activities he previously enjoyed, like playing sports, gardening, or using his four-wheeler.

The Court found this was a minor injury and the amount awarded for aforementioned was capped at $2,500 for pain and suffering, rather than the $50,000.00 claimed.

The insurance industry is comprised of large insurance conglomerates operating from Toronto, New York, and London. It receives hundreds of millions of dollars in auto insurance premiums from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians every year. These premiums leave the Province and are invested for the benefit of these insurers’ bottom lines. Our Government should not accept their proposal to take away the right to fair compensation for the value of an innocent auto accident victim’s life altering physical and mental pain and suffering.

That is why we have a justice system.

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For more information:
Brad Wicks
709 570-8144