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.
The plan is based on recommendations made by David Marshall, Ontario’s advisor on auto insurance. 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.
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. It also reduces 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 will be encouraged 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.
The Plan also directs 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. It ensures 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.