Saskatoon - Thursday, November 15, 2001 - Saskatchewan Coalition Against No Fault response to SGI announcement


The Saskatchewan Coalition Against No Fault says the Government‚s proposal to give motorists the option of tort insurance as an alternative to the current no fault coverage raises many unanswered issues.




"Clarification is needed on how the two systems will interact", the Coalition says. The Government announcement had nothing to say about this.




"On the surface this appears to be a step in the right direction," says Dr. Daryn Mintzler of the Coalition. "The Government is obviously paying attention to the complaints of thousands of accident victims who are frustrated with no fault. The question remains, though, of whether motorists will really benefit."




"They could be creating a legal nightmare," says Lorie Terry of the Coalition. "What happens when a driver with tort coverage is hit by someone with no fault coverage?”




If the no fault driver is to blame, who is going to pay the tort driver for pain and suffering? This dual system exists in many jurisdictions of the U.S.; however, it is not successful there.



tort choice

According to the Government announcement, motorists who choose tort coverage will be entitled to less rehabilitation and income replacement benefits, but will be allowed to sue an at fault driver for pain and suffering.



no fault

Meanwhile, motorists who choose no fault coverage will be entitled to even greater benefits than now.




"In this way they are promoting no fault as the superior brand,” says Terry.




"Why didn’t they adopt The Premier Option, which provides both the tort option and no fault benefits for everyone?” Terry asked. "This system being proposed by the Government is simply going to double the bureaucracy and increase the expense of vehicle insurance.”




Mintzler says the ambiguity of how the two systems will function side-by-side needs to be removed before the Coalition makes a definitive response.




"It is possible that tort insurance could be worthless in the event that someone with tort coverage is the victim of an accident caused by a no fault driver,” says Mintzler.



pain and

"If, on the other hand, SGI will pay the tort victim for pain and suffering on behalf of the driver who is at fault, this could end up being very expensive for SGI,” he said.




"The announcement fails to address one of our major criticisms of no fault, that of a lack of victim control over medical care and rehabilitation. Will those who choose the tort system still be required to deal with insensitive adjusters and forced rehab?” he asked. "Will they still be at the mercy of SGI?”




The Coalition is also perplexed at why the Government is taking so long to implement the tort option, if it feels there is a need for it.



January 1, 2003

According to the Government announcement, it will not be available until January 1, 2003.



eight years

"This means that the people of this province will have suffered for eight years under the oppressive no fault regime,” says Terry. "But we could very well have the Saskatchewan Party in Government by then, or, if not then, soon after.”



Sask Party

The Saskatchewan Party has promised to replace no fault with The Premier Option after coming to power.