Ontario’s Political Take on Auto Insurance

When it comes to Ontario provincial elections one of the top issues that seems to be addressed is auto insurance. Each political party has its own take on ways in which auto insurance can cater more to customers, offering more for a fraction of the cost. An article by Willie Handler “What the Ontario Party Platforms Say About Auto Insurance” offers some insight into each party’s propositions.

Liberal

The Liberals offer a “rate reduction strategy” which promises that rates will be lowered by 8% by August 2014 and by 15% by August 2015. Unfortunately, it is unclear just how such rates can be achieved, with the party failing to disclose any specific plans.

The party’s position is strengthened with the introduction of the Bill 117, the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance rates Act, 2014. The bill offers an insight into ways to combat barriers to rate reductions, such as tracking and dealing with auto insurance fraud and abuse as well as cost saving measures. Furthermore, Bill 117 would provide regulation-making authority which would oversee vehicle storage periods and fair value regarding daily fees. The main efforts by the party are to reduce auto insurance costs, rates and make sure any fraudulent activity is brought under control.

New Democratic Party

Originally the NDP put pressure on the Liberal government in 2013 to reduce auto insurance premiums by 15%. Since then they are criticizing the government for taking too long to lower rates, arguing that most consumers have yet to see any significant rate decreases. They have promised to lower rates by 15% within a year of coming to power. This promise carries less weight with it when stacked against the Liberals, shortening the process by two month in comparison. In addition NDP wants to give more power to the people by trying to make sure that an average consumer can have a saying in the rate-setting process. Unfortunately there is little clarity with how this can be achieved.

Progressive Conservatives

The Conservatives, just like the Liberals and the NDP agree that auto insurance premiums are too high. Their plan is to address four specific areas:

  • eliminate red tape
  • fight insurance fraud
  • make dispute resolution system more affective
  • ensure auto insurers are accountable to customers

As a result of large rate increases approximately 10 years ago, a number of Canadian jurisdictions moved away from file-and-use system. However the Progressive Conservatives point out that the market could stand to benefit from more competition with the elimination of the red tape concept. In addition the PCs would like to see more discounts available to consumers. Fraud is another big target for the PCs who would like to establish a special office of Crown Attorney to prosecute fraudsters.

Regardless of which political party you stand with, many can agree that Auto Insurance Costs are too high in Ontario and fraudulent activity is plenty.

Kate Lucoff is a Paralegal student at Centennial College in Toronto studying professional communications with Omar Ha-Redeye.

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