Association wants insurance reform for trucks too

TORONTO, (July 18, 2003) — Ontario Trucking Association president David Bradley and manager of government relations Doug Switzer met today with Ontario government policy advisors to discuss insurance reform of commercial vehicle insurance issues.

While the OTA agreed that the government’s recent announcement on tort reform is a good start in limiting claim costs in general, it is emphasized the Tories also need to include the commercial fleet market as part of its reform package.

The OTA is specifically asking for a review of the threshold for loss transfer provision for collisions involving commercial vehicles and other types of vehicles; and limiting a carrier’s liability for costs to the extent to which they are found to be responsible for causing a collision.

The current insurance regulations allow for the subrogation of costs between the carrier’s insurance company and an automobile owner’s insurance. This means that if the claim exceeds the threshold, the car driver’s insurance pays the claim up to the threshold and the carrier’s insurance must pay the remainder, regardless of the extent to which the carrier is responsible in any way for causing for the collision. The OTA maintains this policy of loss transfer is based on the assumption that commercial vehicles, because of their size, are automatically responsible for any damage exceeding the threshold, regardless of the negligence of the carrier, and creates an unfair upward pressure on commercial rates and should be eliminated.

The current no fault regime in Ontario still allows parties to seek damages in those cases where the personal injury exceeds a given threshold. The courts have had a tendency to assign a greater share of the costs to the carrier’s insurance because they have taken the position that the carrier is more able to pay (the so called “deep pocket” theory). The OTA says this approach is patently unfair to the trucking industry which “will always be viewed to have more resources than those involved in collisions with trucks.” The association also told advisors that the government’s tort reform package should include a limitation on the carrier’s liability up to the extent that it was negligent.

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