Province Introduces Fair Auto Insurance Plan to Promote Better Care for Victims and Affordable Rates for Drivers
Ontario is taking action to make auto insurance more affordable for the province’s nearly 10 million drivers by introducing the Fair Auto Insurance Plan. The plan includes significant reforms that will address fraud in the system, put victims first by providing better access to care for those injured in auto collisions and strengthen consumer protection.
Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, along with Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General made the announcement today in Toronto.
The plan is based on recommendations made by David Marshall, Ontario’s advisor on auto insurance. In a report released in April 2017, he urged transformative changes aimed at improving the care received by people hurt in collisions, reducing disputes around diagnosis and treatment — and promoting innovation, competition and other steps to improve consumer protection.
With the Fair Auto Insurance Plan, the government is moving forward with significant structural reforms to address issues identified by Mr. Marshall, and an ongoing implementation strategy.
Highlights of the plan include:
- Implementing standard treatment plans for common collision injuries such as sprains, strains and whiplash to help people receive the treatment they need after an accident, changing the emphasis from cash payouts to ensuring appropriate care for victims
- Reducing diagnosis and treatment disputes between insurance companies and people injured in collisions by instituting independent examination centres to assess more serious auto collision injuries
- Cracking down on fraud by launching the province’s first Serious Fraud Office in spring 2018. The office will use an integrated and dedicated approach to combat serious fraud, with a focus on auto insurance fraud, which has been identified as one of the factors contributing to higher premiums
- Directing the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) to review risk factors used by insurers to calculate premiums with the goal of ensuring drivers in certain parts of the province are not subject to unfairly high rates
- Ensuring that lawyers’ contingency fees are fair, reasonable and more transparent
The province will establish a panel to guide the enactment of reforms contained in the Fair Auto Insurance Plan.
Making auto insurance more affordable and improving the care people injured in accidents receive is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- Recent Ontario auto insurance changes introduced by the government have included: a mandatory discount for drivers who use winter tires, helping people resolve disputes about benefits faster, and clarifying towing and storage costs after an accident.
- Minor injuries account for between 70 and 80 per cent of claims, while catastrophic injuries account for about one per cent.
- David Marshall is a former president and CEO of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. He is also an advisor to the government on pensions.
“We’ve introduced a number of important changes over the years that resulted in lower insurance costs for Ontario drivers, but they don’t go far enough. That’s why we commissioned David Marshall to uncover the root of the problem and provide recommendations to improve consumer protection and system efficiency. Based on the findings of his report, we are taking action through the Fair Auto Insurance Plan to help victims, tackle fraud and further reduce premium costs.”
“We are working with the Law Society to increase access to justice, and protect accident victims from unscrupulous practices and unreasonable fees. This is critical to protecting consumers and another step to building a more accessible and fair justice system for Ontarians.”
“Ontario’s new Serious Fraud Office has a broad mandate to pursue many different types of cases, including auto insurance fraud that contributes to higher premiums. We take enforcement seriously, and will pursue fraudsters with vigour. This new office will help our government create fairness and opportunity all across Ontario.”