By: Luke Jones, Published on September 25, 2016 10:35 PM, Last Update on September 26, 2016 08:08 AM
Ontario’s recent reforms and efforts to lower auto insurance premiums in the province have been praised by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). The group said that the Government of Ontario is “continuing to make auto insurance reforms a priority”.
The praise came as the government issued its mid-point mandate letter for Cabinet Ministers. Ontario’s progress towards more affordable auto insurance rates has been far from smooth, and there is much work yet to be done. However, there is a genuine feeling that progress has been made and the market is moving in the right direction.
It is worth remembering that the Ontario government is still short of making the 15.6% cut to auto insurance premiums that it promised would be in place by Sept. 2015. That 2013 promise is now viewed as nothing more than a vote grab and is still plenty of fuel for opposition to say the Liberal has not done enough on the auto insurance front.
However, premiums have still declined by over 9% over the last three years and the government has implemented genuine reforms to keep rates low. Criticism for that failed promise is absolutely justified, but there is also recognition that auto insurance premiums in Ontario are declining.
The province is home to the most expensive auto insurance prices in Canada, in some cases more than 40% more expensive than other provinces. In the mandate letter, Minister of Finance Charles Sousa says the province will work with its advisor on auto insurance to ensure rates continue to fall.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, who drew criticism for describing the premium reduction promise as a “stretch goal” in retrospect is also working to make sure the province eventually reaches its targets. The Premier has tasked the Minister of Infrastructure to work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to help improve the situation.
“This is an important step in building more resilient infrastructure that can better withstand the impacts of climate change – a key priority for many of Canada’s insurance and reinsurance companies,” IBC said in the statement.
“The government’s continued focus on auto insurance reforms builds on the progress already made and shows a strong commitment to helping Ontarians keep more of their hard-earned money for other household priorities,” said Don Forgeron, president and CEO of IBC, in the release. “Insurers look forward to continuing to work with Premier Wynne, her government, and all MPPs to best serve the consumers of this province while making their lives more affordable.”