KAWARTHA LAKES-The Province announced today they will be taking “significant steps” to reform the auto insurance industry in Ontario, including cracking down on fraud.
Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, along with Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General made the announcement today in Toronto, introducing the Fair Auto Insurance Plan.
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.
The plan includes:
- 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
- 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 plan also includes launching the province’s first Serious Fraud Office in the spring of 2018. The province says 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. “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.” said Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Service.
A panel will be established to guide the enactment of reforms contained in the Fair Auto Insurance Plan.
Recent Ontario auto insurance changes introduced by the government have included: a mandatory discount for drivers who use winter tires.
Minor injuries account for between 70 and 80 per cent of claims, while catastrophic injuries account for about one per cent according to statistics released by the province. “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.” Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General said.