Ontario Taking Further Action to Reduce Auto Insurance Rates
New Legislation Would Reduce Costs, Fight Fraud and Protect Consumers
Ontario is moving forward with its plan to help reduce auto insurance rates, by introducing legislation that would, if passed, protect the province's nine million drivers and fight fraud in the auto insurance system.
As the next step in the Auto Insurance Cost and Rate Reduction Strategy, today, the government is introducing the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014, a combination of two pieces of legislation that died on the Order Paper when the 40th Parliament of Ontario was dissolved. The bill, if passed, would protect consumers and continue its crackdown on auto insurance fraud by:
- Transforming Ontario's auto insurance dispute resolution system (DRS) to help injured Ontario drivers settle disputed claims faster. Administrative changes would help reduce financial and administrative pressures, which can increase costs and cause rates to go up.
- Regulating the towing and vehicle storage industries through measures that tackle questionable practices.
- Giving the province authority to change the current 60-day period that a vehicle can be stored after an accident, accruing charges, without notice to the owner.
Ontario is also proposing to include tow trucks in the province's existing Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration system to improve road safety through government monitoring and enforcement measures.
- The province is also exploring the establishment of a special investigation and prosecution unit on serious fraud, including auto insurance fraud.
- Since 1990, mediation has been a mandatory first step for disputes between claimants and auto insurers over entitlement to, or the amount of, statutory accident benefits before a claimant can choose to go to court or arbitration.
- So far, the province has taken action to address over half of the 38 recommendations made by Ontario's Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force aimed at preventing fraud and helping to protect consumers, and is committed to addressing the remaining recommendations over the coming months.
- In August 2013, the province announced a plan to reduce auto insurance rates for Ontario drivers by a target of 15 per cent on average within the next two years.
- The Financial Services Commission of Ontario is currently accepting licence applications from health service providers who bill auto insurers directly in connection with statutory accident benefits. This authority was established by Bill 65, the Prosperous and Fair Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2013. As of Dec. 1, 2014, a licence will be required in order to continue receiving direct payment from auto insurers.
- An independent third party is assessing the government’s efforts to reduce auto insurance costs and premiums. An interim report was delivered to the province in April, and a final report is expected in the fall of 2014.
- The act, to be introduced later today, is a combination of the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, originally introduced on March 4, 2014, and the Roadside Assistance Protection Act, originally introduced on April 15, 2014.
“Efforts to tackle fraud and reduce auto insurance rates for Ontario drivers are working. The measures we’re introducing today build on our previous work and will help ensure a fair and affordable auto insurance system for Ontarians. We are committed to protecting consumers and helping them save more money.”
“We are strengthening protection for Ontario drivers who need roadside assistance. Consumers should have confidence that tow truck operators are properly trained and will treat them fairly. People who need a tow are in a vulnerable situation. We want them to feel protected, and we want to make our roads safer.”