Tell The Government What You Think Of Auto Insurance In Ontario
Although most of us would like to start the year off with optimism, things are off to a bleak start this year for auto insurance consumer and injury victims rights in Ontario. One might even consider it a crisis.
Thankfully, the recently elected Ontario Government has decided to turn their attention to the desperate need for auto insurance reform in the province and they want your opinion. They have set up a website where any member of the Ontario public can provide their feedback. We urge everyone to participate in sending a strong message to the government that the auto insurance industry cries out for consumer protection-focused reforms. (Click Here to complete the survey).
Not sure where to start with your feedback? Here’s a few things to consider:
We all recall that the previous government had promised rate reductions by fifteen percent. When they didn’t meet this promise, they called it a “stretch-goal”. What we unfortunately saw happen instead, is that critical benefits for injured victims were drastically reduced. Now if you are in an accident and don’t break any bones, your insurance company will very likely consider any soft tissue injuries as “minor” and cap your recovery to $3,500 for medical expenses. They also reduced benefits for those who are seriously injured and those who are catastrophically injured, despite offering no break in premiums.
To add insult to injury, insurance companies are not required to report their profits from the Auto insurance sector in Ontario. Insurance companies, many of which are foreign owned, for years have complained that they are “losing money” on auto insurance because of “claim costs” but recently we found out Ontario pays the highest premiums in the country, despite having the lowest fatality rates and second lowest injury rate in North America, and none of these big companies are declaring bankruptcy or leaving the market. All the while insurance companies continue to falsely label consumers as fraudsters and have convinced the government that rather than focus on strengthening consumer rights, they should be pouring millions of dollars into” fraud reduction”.
The previous government also moved adjudication of any accident benefits claims to the License Appeals Tribunal which has unfortunately been mired with inefficiency and questions about impartiality. They have also barred injury victims from recovering their costs in these disputes, which will make it very difficult for such victims to find representation in a very complex legal framework that any average person would have difficulty navigating.
Add to this the recent Jordan Decision by the Supreme Court of Canada which puts strict timelines in place for criminal cases to move forward in court, which means injury claims are pushed to the bottom of the priority list due to a lack of funding for judicial resources. The combination of these events has left injury victims effectively in a very real access to justice crisis.
All the while rate payers in Ontario face real discrimination related to postal code, gender, and other factors insurers have decided will dictate premiums which rate payers have no control over, which other Jurisdictions are already taking concrete steps to address. Ontario deserves a proper insurance regulator that acts in the interests of Ontario consumers and Ontarians injured as a result of car accidents, not one that rubber stamps insurance companies’ requests for rate hikes.
Let your government know, these issues need to be addressed and Ontario drivers and injury victims deserve an insurance system that protects the rights of consumers first. Take the Ontario Governments Survey by clicking here.
Want more insight before you take the survey? Check out some of our other blogs on this topic: