Auto collision: Wikipedia
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Toronto, July 20 (Canadian-Media): An increase in the Ontario auto insurance premium rate of the second quarter of 2017 showing an average increase of of 0.76 percent was posted by Financial Services Commission of Ontario -- a regulatory agency of the Minister of Finance that regulates the automobile insurance of Ontario -- while last quarter’s rates had gone up by an average of 1.24 percent, media reports said.
An average auto insurance premium in Ontario is $1,458, which is almost 55 percent higher than the average of all other Canadian jurisdictions, said David Marshall, Ontario’s auto insurance adviser, in his report 'Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System in Ontario'.
The report continued, “Overall, Ontario has one of the lowest levels of auto accidents and fatalities in Canada and the most expensive auto insurance premiums"
The report continued, "What is more disappointing is that while the number of automobile accidents in Ontario – especially very serious ones – have consistently come down, the cost of claims has consistently gone up. Ontario also has one of the least effective insurance systems in Canada. It is filled with disputes and inefficiencies, and a very high percentage of premiums are being used to pay experts and lawyers and not going directly to injured persons.”
Marshall’s report also highlighted insurance system favoured cash settlements in lieu of care and it often took more than a year in settlement of majority of claims and about one-third of overall benefit costs is spent on competing expert opinions, lawyers’ fees instead of going to treatment.
“Simple minor injury sprains and strains (80 per cent of claims) often take over a year to settle and incur high medical costs. -- Instead of a system that helps accident victims recover from their injuries, a significant portion of the system has been diverted into a cash settlement system in lieu of care. Each year about one third of benefit costs, some $1.4 billion – about $7 billion over five years – is being paid for competing expert opinions, lawyers’ fees and insurer costs to defend claims – instead of going to treatment of injured parties.”
Marshall recommended, in his April report, to adopt an approach based on care and not on cost and to explore better ways of caring for catastrophically injured people and said,
“No one in the system is actively managing medical care for accident victims. There are clear indications that accident victims are not receiving appropriate care, they are taking longer to recover and many report that they have developed permanent impairments from simple soft tissue injuries.”
He also stressed, in his recommendations, that there should be more transparency of contingency fees of lawyers.
Ontario’s Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the government, in the coming months, will hold consultations on Marshall's report recommendations.
(Reported by Asha Bajaj)