March 14, 2019
Government Maintains Commitment to Work with Taxi Industry Toward Better Insurance Rates
The current administration is the first to actively seek solutions and address a decade’s long problem facing the provincial taxi industry regarding insurance costs. That includes meeting with representatives of the taxi industry on a number of occasions and, together, implementing measures to help strengthen the industry and enhance the safety of taxis in the province.
Effective July 1, 2018, there were a number of policy amendments focusing on skilled drivers; experience in driving in provincial road conditions; driving history; passenger safety and safer vehicles. A zero tolerance policy for drugs or drugs and alcohol when operating a taxi came into effect on December 18, 2018.
In Budget 2018, government approved a one-third reduction in the auto insurance tax over four years. This will particularly benefit those paying the highest rates, such as taxi operators.
In addition, as part of seeking solutions, the Provincial Government engaged the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB) for support and research in the issue. In its recent review of automobile insurance in Newfoundland and Labrador, the PUB noted the taxi industry faces acute challenges regarding high insurance costs. In the Terms of Reference for the review, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador placed a specific focus on the taxi industry, including a closed-claims study specific to taxi operators.
The PUB’s report demonstrates that the insurance pressures facing the taxi industry have been ongoing for more than 20 years. Facility Association - an unincorporated non-profit organization of all automobile insurers - has filed for rate increases almost yearly since 2012. The total cumulative rate increases over the period 2012 to 2018 for all coverages combined is approximately 244 per cent.
The goal of the PUB’s review of auto insurance was to help inform the Provincial Government’s decision making in an effort to stabilize insurance rates and provide the best product possible. Since the report was released in late January, government has met with representatives from the insurance industry, legal community, the taxi industry and, most recently Facility Association, to review the findings.
Changes to legislation will take place within this current sitting of the House of Assembly.
“The current administration is the first to actively seek solutions and address a decade’s long problem facing the provincial taxi industry regarding insurance costs. We acknowledge the pressures facing the industry, and we are currently exploring all options to stabilize rates for the taxi industry and all consumers in our province. As the taxi industry is well aware, I’m always available to meet and try to find viable solutions. Working together, using the information available to us, I believe we can achieve better outcomes for all stakeholders in this matter.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister of Service NL
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2019 03 14 12:20 p.m.