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Auto Insurance Reform

Dr. Helena Jaczek, MMP, Oak Ridges – Markham

The McGuinty government has announced proposals that would give consumers an opportunity to save money on their auto insurance.

Drivers would be offered more choice and flexibility to purchase coverage that best meets their protection needs and budgets.

Drivers would benefit from a wider range of options on medical and rehabilitation benefits, attendant care, housekeeping expenses, home maintenance expenses, caregiver expenses, death and funeral expenses, court compensation, and compensation for property damage.

We have proposed a new basic level of auto insurance coverage that would allow drivers to opt for medical and rehabilitation benefits coverage of $50,000 and attendant care benefits coverage of $36,000 for non-catastrophic injuries.

This means that drivers could work with their insurance company or broker and professional in health care to choose accident benefit coverage that is appropriate for them.

For example, drivers could opt for basic coverage, or choose additional coverage of $100,000 or $1 million in medical and rehabilitation benefits coverage. They could also increase their attendant care benefits to $72,000, up from $32,000.

This would allow some drivers to better integrate their automobile insurance with private disability insurance coverage, or individual or group health insurance coverage.

Ontario’s basic medical and rehabilitation benefits would remain the most generous of any province with a similar auto insurance marketplace in Canada.

Ontarians would also benefit from 17 consumer protection measures also being proposed, including prohibiting the use of credit scoring to determine whether a driver is insurable or how much to charge a driver for auto insurance.

The reforms would also streamline a number of processes to reduce transaction costs and create a less complex auto insurance system, ensuring more accident benefit dollars go to treating accident victims.

The proposals we have introduced are based on the Financial Services Commission of Ontario’s (FSCO) Five-Year Automobile Insurance Review.

We also heard from consumer groups, accident victims, numerous health care providers,insurers, insurance brokers, agents, and legal professionals – as well as individual consumers.

We will continue to work with our stakeholders to ensure Ontario drivers can get auto insurance that is affordable and adequately protects them.

Average auto insurance premiums remain lower than they were when our government came to power in October 2003. Contrast this record with the 43 per cent increase in rates during the last three years the Harris-Eves government was in office.

These reforms are important next steps in addressing issues in the Ontario automobile insurance system. We continue to monitor the auto insurance marketplace.

If necessary, we will continue to enhance the province’s automobile insurance system to ensure it meets the best interests of Ontario drivers and accident victims.

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