Ontario’s Liberal government is introducing legislation that would, they say, protect the province’s nine million drivers and fight fraud in the auto insurance system.
As the next step in the Auto Insurance Cost and Rate Reduction Strategy, the government introduced the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014, a combination of two pieces of legislation that died on the Order Paper when the 40th Parliament of Ontario was dissolved. The bill, if passed, would protect consumers and continue its crackdown on auto insurance fraud by:
• Transforming Ontario’s auto insurance dispute resolution system (DRS) to help injured Ontario drivers settle disputed claims faster. Administrative changes would help reduce financial and administrative pressures, which can increase costs and cause rates to go up.
• Regulating the towing and vehicle storage industries through measures that tackle questionable practices.
• Giving the province authority to change the current 60-day period that a vehicle can be stored after an accident, accruing charges, without notice to the owner.
• Ontario is also proposing to include tow trucks in the province’s existing Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration system to improve road safety through government monitoring and enforcement measures.
• The province is also exploring the establishment of a special investigation and prosecution unit on serious fraud, including auto insurance fraud.
• Since 1990, mediation has been a mandatory first step for disputes between claimants and auto insurers over entitlement to, or the amount of, statutory accident benefits before a claimant can choose to go to court or arbitration. “Efforts to tackle fraud and reduce auto insurance rates for Ontario drivers are working. The measures we’re introducing today build on our previous work and will help ensure a fair and affordable auto insurance system for Ontarians. We are committed to protecting consumers and helping them save more money,” said Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance