Why Ontario drivers pay highest premiums in Canada, when Ontario roads are safest in country? New report asks
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According to a recent report by David Marshall, CEO of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board released on April 11, Ontario drivers paid the highest premiums in the country even though Ontario's roads were considered to be safest in North America, media reports said.
The report, called Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System in Ontario, found that while premiums here are well above the national average of $930, the province's roads are the safest in the country, CBCNews reports said.
Ontario premiums are 24 percent higher than Alberta's ($1,179) and twice as that of Quebec's ($724). According to the report, Ontario drivers paid an average insurance premium of $1,458 per vehicle, which, adds up to $10 billion a year.
Marshall stated in his report that the Auto Insurance System in Ontario was one of the least effective insurance systems in Canada and said despite reductions in automobile accidents including serious ones, the cost of claims had been soaring.
Steve Kee, a spokesperson with the Insurance Bureau of Canada applauded Marshall's report and said its hybrid structure and its government-mandated service attribute is the right example in improving the insurance system in the province.
The report recommended that Ontario should deviate from switching to a government-run auto insurance system which add up to medical and legal expenditure.
Kee said that although the services are delivered by private insurers, it has proved successful and could continue to serve Ontario drivers.
Marshall wrote that the leakage of funds of claims from the system totaling about $1.4 billion a year revealed that victims of accidents do not receive their deserved benefits, showing a discrepancy between the real value and the derived values by the government auto-car insurers.
"Insurers shared with me that it is taking them over a year to close even the simplest claims [and] accident victims are having a difficult time getting what they perceive to be fair benefits," wrote Marshall.
He also pointed out that one out of three accident-benefits claims went into a dispute resolution system.
Marshall recommended that insurers should give top priority to seriously injured persons.
Hiring lawyers or other professionals to get their entitlement adds to the lawyers’ fees.
But Mike Smitiuch, personal injury lawyer, said the province's lawyers should not be blamed for problems with their insurance systems.
"Lawyers play an essential part in holding insurers accountable and obtaining justice for individuals…lawyers are essential because insurers are denying and forcing [customers] to prove why they need the benefits," said Smitiuch, CBCNews reports said.
The report recommended the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to develop a service to assess the costs for lifetime management of care for seriously injured accident victims because independent evaluators in hospitals to mediate disputes had been an utter failure, said Smitiuch.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Automobile accident: Wikipedia