In 2016, Ontario made auto insurance reforms in another bid to lower what are the highest premiums in Canada. However, despite improvement in recent years, the auto insurance market remains out of control in the province. A review conducted by David Marshall found the industry still needed many changes. Despite this, it is unlikely more reforms will be made.
At least not until after next year’s provincial election. “I suspect auto insurance legislation is not necessarily the biggest priority in the government,” Willie Handler, principal of Willie Handler and Associates, said on Tuesday.
Marshall became the advisor or auto insurance and pensions in February 2016. provide advice and recommendations to governing and regulatory bodies in an effort to reduce auto insurance costs in Ontario, while the role also involves him overseeing the roll out of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). He worked as a direct advisor to Ontario finance minister Charles Sousa.
The finalized review recommends 35 changes that needed to be made to auto insurance systems in Ontario, but the government is unlikely to act with an election campaign looming. Interestingly, further solving the auto insurance problem in the province could win voter support, but the liberal will be cautious.
In 2013, Premier Kathleen Wynne made a pledge to reduce auto insurance premiums by over 15% by August 2015. The date came and went without the goal being met. The government has addressed the prohibitive cost of premiums, which have been reduced by nearly 9% since the pledge was made.
However, Wynne and her government were criticized for making a promise that could not be kept, in order to win votes. The Premier later admitted the promise was a “stretch goal” so the government will likely not want to be drawn into a debate by making similar promises.
Handler believe a spring election will stop any discussions on further auto reforms being made. Speaking to Canadian Underwriter, he said there will not “be an opportunity to introduce legislation.”
Even if the election happen in the fall, “it would be difficult, if not impossible, to pass legislation in that time frame,” Handler said. “They might be able to make a few regulatory changes but that’s about it.”