The 2013 Ontario Budget and Car Insurance
Last Thursday, Minister Charles Sousa presented the 2013 Ontario Budget at Queen’s Park. Whether or not this Budget, and the current government, survives will be determined in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we outline a few of the proposed auto insurance changes contained in the Budget.
Proposed 15% Reduction
One of the highlights of this Budget picked up by the media is the proposed 15% reduction in auto insurance rates, which would apparently translate into an average savings of $225 a year for Ontario motorists.
In addition to this commitment, the Ontario government is proposing additional legislative amendments in the auto insurance area. As outlined in Chapter IV of the 2013 Ontario Budget, the government’s stated intention is to reduce the average auto insurance rate and modernize Ontario’s insurance legislation to ensure an efficient and competitive marketplace.
Other Proposed Amendments
Included in the 2013 Ontario Budget are the following proposed auto insurance changes:
making the Superintendent’s Guidelines binding;
expanding and modernizing the Superintendent’s investigation and enforcement authority, particularly in the area of fraud prevention;
giving the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) authority to license and oversee business practices of health clinics and practitioners who invoice auto insurers;
creating a transparency and accountability mechanism in the form of an independent annual report by outside experts on the impact of auto insurance reforms introduced to date on both costs and premiums; and
conducting further study and consultation regarding provincial oversight of towing and amending the definition of catastrophic impairment in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.
While certain of these proposals appear to expand the role of FSCO, the impact of these proposals on car accident victims’ rights to access timely, necessary and appropriate medical treatment remains to be seen – as does the question of whether or not these proposals, along with the rest of the Budget, will ever see the light of day.
To read all of the proposed changes to the auto insurance legislation contained in the 2013 Ontario Budget, click here.