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Bill 41 and the Proposed Changes to the Insurance Act

The government of Alberta recently introduced Bill 41 to update the Insurance Act, proposing various changes to the automobile insurance industry. Some of the critical points of Bill 41, if passed, include:

  • For matters proceeding to trial:
    • where the claimed damages are $100,000 or more, limiting parties from calling more than three expert witnesses and submitting more than one report per expert called on motor vehicle injury damages;
    • where the claimed damages are $100,000 or less, limiting parties from calling more than one expert witness and submitting more than one report from that expert on motor vehicle injury damages;
    • Some exceptions to the above limits if the parties call a ‘joint expert’, as defined, or if the consent of all parties is obtained.
    • The Court will have discretion to permit a party to call more expert evidence or rely on more expert reports if the conditions set out in the bill are satisfied.
  • Implementing a ‘no fault’ system which limits an insured’s right of action solely as against their insurer to recover damages to their automobile, contents, loss of use, and removes the insurer’s right of subrogation against the at-fault party except where permitted by the regulations;
  • Preventing the award of pre-judgement interest for any period prior to the earlier of:
    • The day on which the Statement of Claim is served on the defendant, and
    • The day on which the Plaintiff provides written notice to the insurer of the defendant of the plaintiff’s intention to make a claim in respect of loss or damage

In addition, new Orders in Council enacted changes effective November 1, 2020 to the Minor Injury Regulation, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols Regulation, and Automobile Accident Insurance Benefits Regulation, among others. Notable changes include:

Automobile Accident Insurance Benefits Amendment Regulation

  • Increasing the limits under various headings for recoverable expenses;

Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols Amendment Regulation

  • Including dentists, occupational therapists, and psychologists as providers of adjunct therapy, and implementing a $1,000 limit on expenses payable for such therapy;

Minor Injury Amendment Regulation

  • A ‘certified examiner’ now includes dentists;
  • A ‘minor accident’ is now defined as a sprain, strain, or WAD injury “caused by the accident that does not result in a serious impairment and includes, in respect of a sprain, strain or WAD injury that occurs on or after November 1, 2020, any clinically associated sequelae of the sprain, strain or WAD injury, whether physical or psychological in nature, caused by the accident that do not result in a serious impairment”