Recently Ontario’s Minister of Finance, the Hon. Charles Sousa, introduced the 2013 Ontario Budget at Queen’s Park promising to lower auto insurance premiums by 15% on average over time for Ontario drivers.
IBAO is encouraged that the government intends to implement key measures of the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force as a central part of its plan to lower auto insurance premiums.
While the proposed reforms are welcome, IBAO is still very concerned that consumer expectations for a 15% reduction will be very high. It’s important to understand that the reforms underlying the promised reductions will take time and must be done responsibly. This will require the combined effort of the government, the opposition and the industry. We do not want to set a false expectation for consumers.
The Ontario government’s Anti- Fraud Task Force report estimates that fraud is costing Ontario drivers up to $1.6 Billion per year! The targeted reduction is tied to reforms and cost reductions related to combating fraud that will require the passage of legislation. Without that legislation any potential decrease will be delayed.
In Ontario, automobile insurance is regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, a regulatory agency of the Ministry of Finance.
To protect yourself from auto insurance fraud, FSCO recommends that Ontario drivers should:
- Use a licensed insurance company, agent or broker when buying auto insurance. Consumers can visit FSCO’s website to check whether an insurance company or agent is licensed and they can visit the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario’s website to check whether an insurance broker is licensed.
- Collect as much information as possible at the scene of an accident using a camera or cell phone if it is safe to do so without confrontation. It is important to record the contact information of other drivers, drivers’ licence numbers and licence plate numbers and insurance information from vehicle “pink cards.”
- File an accident report with a Collision Reporting Centre – even if the accident is minor – to ensure there is a legally documented description of what happened.
- Be suspicious of any referrals at accident site. Fraud collaborators often recommend auto body shops, storage facilities and health and legal professionals.
- Refuse to sign blank forms in advance of receiving any services or health care treatment related to your accident.
- Demand detailed repair and medical bills for any goods and services related to an accident and review them carefully.
The affordability of auto insurance for our customers is of prime concern to the IBAO. As an Association we have been urging the government to deal with the fraud problem and we are glad to see that they intend to do so. The challenge now is to get the needed legislation passed as soon as possible.