THE CBC REPORTS THE DOMINION'S AUTO RATES ARE UNDER REVIEW
TORONTO - The 2009 rate filing of The Dominion is caught in the middle of a dispute involving the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs, which includes the Attorney General and the Insurance Branch, and the New Brunswick Insurance Board which is an independent quasi-judicial administrative tribunal that supervises auto rates.
Earlier this week, CBC news reported, "The provincial government expects the 14,000 New Brunswick consumers who use Dominion auto insurance will have their rates rolled back significantly after the company's 2010 rate application is re-heard ...".
"It is important that all who are interested should have all of the facts," states George Cooke, CEO of The Dominion. "The media coverage of this event has been misleading and less than objective leaving out many important facts". CBC news has not contacted The Dominion for comment.
On September 22, 2009 The Dominion submitted a rate filing to the NBIB seeking a 0.49% increase in rates, effective March 1, 2010. Following a review by independent actuaries, the Board approved this filing in January 2010.
Subsequent to this approval, the Office of the Attorney General appealed the decision on a number of grounds, challenging both the process followed by the Board, and its decision to approve the rates (a similar appeal also was launched involving another insurer). Late last year, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal agreed with certain of the Attorney General's criticisms of the process followed by The Board and ordered that the 2009 filing be reconsidered under a differently constituted panel of the Board. "This is a reasonable response for the Court if it feels that procedural errors have occurred and we are happy to cooperate in the process" said Cooke. "To require a rehearing is not a comment on the Board's decision." The rehearing of The Dominion's 2009 rate filing occurred earlier this week on Monday, April 11, 2011.
The Dominion maintains that the 2009 rates previously approved are just and reasonable. The Dominion's rate filing was prepared using accepted actuarial practices and follows the guidelines set out by the NBIB. The Dominion disputes the assumptions used by Oliver Wyman, the firm relied on by the Attorney General. "In our view, no prudent insurer would base its rates on their approach," said Cooke. The NBIB is compelled by the Province to ensure that auto rates are just and reasonable, based on New Brunswick driver and company experience.