Insurance industry lobbyists, having found that no-fault auto insurance is unpopular with Albertans, now want to change the legal definition of “minor injuries” to include significant, chronic conditions like concussions, traumatic brain injuries, chronic pain, TMJ injuries and psychological injuries as a way to shortchange Albertans and increase their profits.
Severe concussions can lead to traumatic brain injuries and permanent damage. Common effects of a severe concussion can include: trouble concentrating, memory problems, personality changes, sensitivity to light and noise, insomnia, depression.
Jaw injuries are very painful and some cases render patients unable to chew, talk or open their mouth. Jaw injuries are also associated with chronic pain.
Chronic pain cannot be treated and is ever present in a patient's life. Many who experience chronic pain develop severe depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Patients suffering from mental injuries usually develop depression and phobias as a result of an accident. These changes can manifest as changes to their personality, insomnia and inability to perform their job.
These types of injuries are not minor. An injury that at first appears to be minor, may turn out to cause long-term problems. Besides, limiting access to the courts for compensation for these injuries will make insurance companies less accountable.
Alberta’s insurance system should not be designed to protect industry profits at the expense of consumers. When someone is injured in an accident, they deserve to have their rights protected and to hold bad drivers and insurance companies accountable through the court system.
Albertans shouldn’t have to pay more in premiums only to have fewer rights – but if the insurance industry gets its way – that’s exactly what will happen.
The UCP government needs to stand up for Albertans and ensure insurance regulations are fair to both insurance companies and everyday Albertans.
Industry lobbyists want to change the definition of “minor injuries” to include chronic conditions.
This means Albertans who suffer injuries like chronic pain, concussions or traumatic brain injuries could pay more out of their pocket to recover from an already traumatizing vehicle accident.
Albertans deserve fair compensation for minor injuries, not laws developed by the multibillion-dollar insurance industry.
These changes to Alberta’s insurance regulations are unfair to consumers, as they won’t decrease premiums, and would result in injured Albertans carrying more of the financial burden to support their recovery to the benefit of multi-national insurance company bottom lines.
The government of Alberta needs to put consumers first and not usher in reforms that only enrich insurance company executives and shareholders.
The proposed reforms to expand minor injuries will only benefit them to the detriment of consumers and injured Albertans.
Despite claims that they’re losing money, Alberta’s insurers remain highly profitable and are still making hundreds of millions of dollars every year. For instance, auto insurance companies in Alberta are set to rake in almost $1 Billion in pre-tax profit over 2019 and 2020. Yet, premiums are skyrocketing across the province.
Multinational insurance companies have manufactured a crisis by hiking rates so that they can change insurance laws and increase their profits. The changes insurers are looking for would reduce consumer rights and protections.
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