Justice and Consumer Affairs

New motorists encouraged to use First Chance program (08/09/10)

NB 1301

Sept. 10, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - New motorists are being encouraged by the provincial government to take advantage of a program offering significant savings on automobile insurance.

(Multimedia)

An awareness campaign about First Chance was launched today at the second annual Teens Against Drinking and Driving (TADD) charity golf tournament, organized by the New Brunswick Insurance Board (NBIB).

The First Chance program has already helped many new drivers obtain lower insurance rates. The program offers significant savings by crediting new drivers with three years of driving experience, or six years of driving experience if they take a driver's education course.

"First Chance can mean hundreds of dollars in savings for new drivers on their auto insurance," said Justice and Consumer Affairs Minister T. J. Burke. "However, it is important that new drivers understand that First Chance is their only opportunity to prove they are responsible and safe drivers. If they lose their First Chance discount, they will be rated as new drivers with no experience and pay premiums based on being a higher risk."

The government is working with TADD, NBIB, the New Brunswick Consumer Advocate, Insurance Brokers Association of New Brunswick and driver education schools to get the message out about First Chance.

Consumer Advocate Ron Godin has received calls from drivers who have lost their First Chance discount - their insurance premium has gone up by hundreds or even thousands of dollars as a result - for what they consider to be minor infractions.

"From the calls I have received, there is a misconception that new drivers are over-penalized for what they consider a minor infraction," said Godin. "What they have to understand, however, is that under First Chance, experienced drivers with clean records are essentially giving new drivers the same good rates that they enjoy. But if the new driver does not keep a clean driving record, then good drivers will not be subsidizing them, and they lose their First Chance discount."

08/09/10

MEDIA CONTACTS: Valerie Kilfoil, communications, Justice and Consumer Affairs, 506-453-6543; Ron Godin, consumer advocate, 1-888-283-5111; Denis Daigle, Insurance Brokers Association, 506-423-7642.

08/09/10