Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Public auto insurance

Public auto insurance is a government owned and operated system of automobile insurance operated in the Canadian provinces of British ColumbiaSaskatchewanManitoba and Quebec. According to studies by the Consumers' Association of Canada, rates charged for auto insurance in these four provinces are lower than in provinces that use a private auto insurance system In Quebec public auto insurance is limited to coverage of personal injuries while damage to property is covered by private insurers. Saskatchewan has the oldest public auto insurance system with Saskatchewan Government Insurance being founded in 1945. Manitoba Public Insurance was created in 1971 followed by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia in 1973 and the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec in 1977.
Other provinces have considered introducing a public auto insurance system. The Ontario New Democratic Party won the 1990 provincial election on a platform that included public auto insurance. After assuming office, Premier Bob Rae appointed Peter Kormos, one of the most vocal proponents of public insurance, as the minister responsible for bringing forward the policy. With the onset of the recession, however, both business and labour groups expressed concern about layoffs and lost revenues. The government rejected the policy in 1991.
Public auto insurance has also been considered in New Brunswick after private insurance rates nearly doubled from 2003 to 2005, but was ultimately rejected by the provincial government. It was also an issue in Nova Scotia during its 2003 provincial election and remained in the platform of the official opposition, the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party during the 2006 election campaign. However, it did not appear in the NDP platform in the 2009 campaign, and now that the NDP has formed a majority government, it seems unlikely that the party will keep its former promise to introduce a public insurance scheme. Public auto insurance was also under consideration by the Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservative government of Danny Williams in 2004 as a "last resort" when private insurance firms threatened to pull out of the province in response to legislation rolling back premiums

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