Editorial: Good move on legal expense insurance

Canadians are generally a cautious people, so it’s no surprise legal expense insurance has been slow to catch on here.

While the scheme has done well in Quebec, it has had less success in the rest of Canada despite the arrival of DAS Canada in 2010. That’s when the company got its insurance licence from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario to offer policies here. For a relatively modest premium, the product offers coverage for legal issues such as labour and employment and personal injury matters.

For the legal profession generally, it’s certainly positive to have another mechanism for clients to be able to retain someone for legal services. People with legal problems, of course, benefit by having a relatively affordable way to pay for legal services.

So it was good to see the Canadian Bar Association embracing the concept last week. It announced it’s partnering with DAS Canada to encourage the development of more legal insurance policies and educate people and the profession about their benefits. The announcement followed a CBA report on access to justice released last month that called on the organization to increase awareness about the benefits of legal insurance; collaborate with providers; work with governments to explore the feasibility of mandatory coverage; and communicate its positive stance on the concept. The idea is to help expand the reach of legal insurance with a target of 75 per cent of middle-income Canadians having adopted it by 2030.

As the CBA report notes, legal expense insurance isn’t a panacea. There are always going to be gaps and limits in coverage, and the report repeatedly refers to the idea of expanding legal insurance to family law matters, an area many Canadians are more likely to need legal assistance in. But given the benefits of having coverage and the success in promoting legal insurance in Quebec, it’s a good time to try to give the idea a boost in other provinces. The CBA’s effort, then, is a welcome one.

For more, see "Legal costs insurance needs official boost, says longtime provider."
Glenn Kauth

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