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(St. Johns) CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador president Wayne Lucas will tell the provinces review of automobile insurance hearings this morning that the drivers of this province need and deserve to have a public, non-profit insurance plan just like B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In the unions submission to the Public Utilities Board, Lucas says, Only this system will provide drivers with the lowest and fairest rates. It will reduce rates by 30 50 per cent. The three provinces with the lowest and fairest rates in Canada all have public, non-profit plans.

Says Lucas, Public auto insurance is owned by the drivers of the province and paid for entirely through their premiums. Because of this, all savings and surpluses go back to drivers. Its a no-brainer for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to get behind this system.

And the cost to provincial taxpayers is zero. In Manitoba and British Columbia, the government made the small loans needed for start-up costs before the plan began to provide insurance. Those loans were repaid with interest within a year because premium revenue was enough to fund liabilities and pay overhead, said Lucas.

Adds Lucas, Once a driver-owned plan is established, administrative savings alone represent a reduction in costs of anywhere from 15 to 25 per cent.

Its ironic, concludes the CUPE president, that the figures came out this week showing private insurance companies with $4.2 billion dollars in profits last year - a five-fold increase! People have had enough of these tyrants.

(ATTENTION ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Mr. Lucas will make his presentation to the Public Utilities Board at 9:30 a.m., February 25 at 120 Torbay Road)

For information:
Wayne Lucas, President, CUPE NFLD., (709) 727-2509 (Cell);
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep., (902) 455-4180 (o).