04/08/2014 05:35 EDT | Updated 06/08/2014 05:59 EDT

New Brunswick insurance watchdog says his office will close at end of year

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's insurance watchdog says the provincial government is closing his office at the end of this year.

Ronald Godin, the consumer advocate for insurance, said Tuesday the Speaker's Office has told him his office will be eliminated on Dec. 31.

Godin said while he knew his 10-year term was coming to an end, he was surprised that the consumer advocate for insurance will be shut down altogether.

He says his office had a $500,000 budget and handled over 1,200 cases a year, assisting customers who have complaints about how their insurance claims are handled.

The office was originally set up in 2005 after public concerns rose about high auto insurance rates.

Godin says about one quarter of complaints are about home insurance claims.

The Speaker's Office said there is legislation that creates a new Financial and Consumer Services Commission, but referred questions about the commission to the province's Justice Department.

The Justice Department was unavailable for comment.