The report points out that while the number of accidents including major collisions has come down, “the cost of claims has consistently gone up.”
The former Workplace Safety and Insurance Board CEO said the system is riddled with disputes and inefficiencies “and a very high percentage of premiums are being used to pay experts and lawyers and not going directly to injured persons.”
Called Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System in Ontario, the report posted online by the finance ministry finds that Ontario drivers paid an average annual insurance premium in 2015 of $1,458 per vehicle, nearly 57 per cent higher than the national average of $930. Auto insurance rates in the heavily urbanized GTA are even higher than the provincial average, noted Insurance Bureau of Canada spokesman Steve Kee.
“From for-profit medical clinics to lawyers, there are a number of people who have a part in this system,” said Kee, who added that his organization is committed to working with all stakeholders with a goal of moderating vendor costs across the claims process.
The Marshall report also recommends measures to reduce insurance costs and improve customer experience and care for those injured in collisions, including:
• prohibiting most cash settlements;
• implementing mandatory programs of care to treat common injuries;
• the introduction of independent, hospital-based examination centres to provide single medical assessments;
• an increase in the financial services regulator’s role in monitoring and investigating practices in the auto insurance system.
The report recommended that Ontario not change its hybrid auto insurance system, which sees mandated insurance for the province’s nearly 10 million drivers provided by the private sector.
In the past several years the government has reduced benefits, Singh said, such as reducing coverage for catastrophic injuries from a maximum of $2 million to $1 million.
The issue is that there are hundreds of paralegals, lawyers and doctors running clinics and body shops that are being supported by the auto insurance industry. Until the bad apples are taken out of the basket, it is unlikely things are going to change anytime soon. – CINEWS