Atlantic provinces ponder harmonized insurance

MONCTON, (Aug. 1, 2003) — Atlantic truckers waiting for reforms that would help reduce rates for commercial insurance got some good news this week after it was announced that all four Atlantic provinces are working on harmonized insurance regulations for the region.

The Moncton Times and Transcript is reporting that New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and P.E.I. are expected to draft the Atlantic Canada Insurance Harmonization Project by Sept. 30. The plan, which would create one large Atlantic market, theoretically reduces rates by cutting red tape and opening a wider market for competition.

While the N.B. government recently introduced a reform package that caps injury claims –and also plans to legislate a law that forces provincial insurance companies to cut premiums — provincial commercial carriers feel left out, saying the reforms mostly target private auto insurance.

However, the Moncton Times reported the governments are now looking at all forms of insurance and are already working toward reduced rates Atlantic-wide. “Government has not explored commercial general insurance nor other forms like house or life insurance and that’s why no one is seeing those rates going down,” the newspaper quoted Tracy Burkhardt, who is the newly-appointed government spokesperson on insurance. “That said, there is now a task force out there looking at harmonization of all forms of insurance in all four Atlantic provinces.”

— With files from the Moncton Times and Transcript

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