Ontario Auto Insurance Premiums
We note that insurance premiums continue to be an important issue to be addressed in the upcoming provincial election.
We note that insurance premiums continue to be an important issue to be addressed in the upcoming provincial election with the focus being on keeping insurance premiums affordable for the residents of the Province of Ontario.
In terms of automobile insurance the insurers as usual have been using the mediation to divert attention away from their own profitability which is clearly tied to the limited treatment benefits they provide to claimants injured in automobile accidents. The first attack was launched against legal representatives based upon the questionable conduct of a minority of legal representatives in an attempt to undermine the legitimate role they play in assisting claimants to access benefits through their own automobile insurers.
The second attack focused on the role played by doctors, in particular, doctors hired by the insurance companies to discredit the credibility of claimants leading with the inference that the insurer has to subject claimants to examinations by their own doctors in order to curb fraud.
Most recently we see an article in Waterloo Region Record on March 12, 2018 titled “Insurance Company uncovers “pervasive” auto body shop scams. In this article Gordon Rasbach, Aviva Canada’s Vice President comments that “This is the first time in Canada that we’re aware of that anyone has actually taken a sample, albeit a small one, at random and used actual cases in progress to put some kind of numbers on it.”
“In its investigation ...Aviva simulated typical fender bender situations involving private passenger cars by deliberately crashing 10 vehicles. The company had experts detail the damage and estimate repair costs, then kitted out cars with hidden cameras and, and at various times put them on highways in the Toronto area...”
Following their investigation they found that 9/10 shops involved acted fraudulently in terms of the repairs and tow truck drivers billed for towing and storage that didn’t happen. In the article it was noted that industry estimates suggest between 5 and 15 percent of premiums drivers pay go to covering undetected fraudulent claims.
It should be noted that this study used an extremely small sample, only 10 cars and was limited to the Toronto area. One wonders if the results had shown the majority of repair shops were honest if the study would have received the same attention in the media. Certainly, so far there has been little interest in headlines to highlight the reality that the majority of claimants and legal representatives are honest. Further, it is of interest that the insurers are actively involved in referring claimants to their own preferred providers both for treatment and for repair services. That to date there has been so little interest in auditing repair shops to investigate and discourage fraud is surely evidence of the reality that insurers have been able to maintain their profitability despite the suggestion that insurance fraud is widespread and rampant.
In view of the fact that that we as individuals have so little control over automobile insurance and our safety on the road is dependent upon other drivers being as competent and courteous as we are the importance of purchasing every available optional insurance coverage to enhance your policy of automobile insurance cannot be overlooked. Make sure you can take the time to sit down with your insurance representative to find out what optional coverages are available to you and to decide if you should buy enhanced coverage to include them so that you will be better protected in the event that you are in a motor vehicle collision.
Lisa Morell Kelly - Lisa@morellkelly.com