Ontario’s Fair Auto Insurance Plan aims to provide the best auto insurance plan.
We all want the best auto insurance. Ontario is taking action to make auto insurance more affordable for the province’s almost 10 million drivers.
Since 2013, in an attempt to provide the best auto insurance, the government has introduced a number of reforms that have resulted in lower auto insurance rates. These include 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. With these measures in place, the average auto insurance rates are now 6.6 per cent lower than they were in 2013, but still not the best auto insurance.
The government understands that rates are still too high for many people and in order to provide the best auto insurance, we are now moving forward with a package of significant reforms to the system.
The Fair Auto Insurance 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, as well as, other steps to improve consumer protection.
Following consultations on Mr. Marshall’s proposals, Ontario is now implementing the following initiatives:
Standard Treatment Plans
Making sure people with the most common collision injuries receive the best auto insurance that is timely, appropriate, and effective treatment by developing and implementing standard treatment plans that focus on recovery, monitoring health outcomes and increasing awareness of the best treatment practices, including an increased emphasis on making sure victims receive the care they need. The first of these standard treatment plans will be developed by spring 2018. This is expected to reduce costs in the system by changing the emphasis from cash payouts.
Independent Examination Centres
Creating independent examination centres to provide assessments of serious auto collision injuries. This will help to resolve and reduce diagnosis disputes, to reduce system costs and to curb the inefficiencies stemming from those disputes. Included in this plan will be the development of standards for assessors to ensure that the opinions of neutral assessments are respected. This will go a long way in ensuring the best auto insurance plan
Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
Establishing an integrated and dedicated office, with representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of the Attorney General, that will support activities to combat auto insurance fraud in Ontario. Another great step to help ensure best auto insurance.
Risk Factor Review
Drivers pay different premiums based on a number of factors, including where they happen to live. The province has directed the Financial Services Commission of Ontario to review these factors to ensure that people in certain parts of the province are not subject to unfairly high rates. This review is expected to be completed by spring 2018.
Working with the Law Society of Upper Canada, the province will ensure that people who need the services of lawyers and paralegals are protected and understand the agreements that they are signing.
To support clients entering into contingency fee agreements, the Law Society of Upper Canada has approved the following changes that will:
- Introduce a mandatory standard contingency fee agreement
- Create a guide for the public, which contains information on consumer rights in relation to contingency fee agreements.
- Require legal professionals to publicly disclose the maximum contingency fee percentage they charge by practice area.
- Require lawyers and paralegals to report annually on their contingency fee practices.
Establishing a Strong, Independent Regulator
Modernizing the auto insurance rate approval process, reducing red tape and strengthening consumer protection through amendments to the Insurance Act will provide the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario with rule-making authority, thus enabling it to promptly and effectively respond to insurance market trends, facilitating industry innovation to benefit consumers.