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ALBERTA'S PREMIER FREEZES AUTO INSURANCE RATES FOR 18 MONTHS.

Alberta's conservative cabinet accepted the recommendation from Premier Ralph Klein Nov. 2 to freeze auto insurance rates, but extended the freeze from his recommended one year by an additional six months.

The decision came one week after Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty froze rates in Ontario and four months after Alberta's Tory legislative majority lost 18 seats in a provincial election because of a backlash against soaring insurance premiums.

Nova Scotia recently passed legislation providing for a 20 percent premium rollback and New Brunswick insurers have started sending rebates to customers after its legislature approved a cap on minor injury claims.

Alberta has higher premiums than the other three western Canadian provinces and is the only one of the three that does not have a public insurance program.

"We want to make sure we're on par, at least, with other jurisdictions and that we put in place a competitive regime, which is still operated ostensibly by the private sector," Klein said. An Albertan legislative committee recently recommended removing age, gender and marital status as factors in rate determinations and capping soft-tissue injury claims at $4,000, but the Tory caucus rejected the committee's recommendations.
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Publication:Liability & Insurance Week
Date:Nov 9, 2003
Words:193
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