Intact president says brokers must help lobby Ontario politicians to change auto insurance pricing

Published: October 20, 2018

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Brokers must step up their lobbying to Ontario MPPs to push for pricing reform in auto insurance. That’s the message coming form the president of Canada’s largest property and casualty insurance provider.

Louis Gagnon, president of Intact Insurance, believes brokers can make a front-line push regarding pricing problems in Ontario.

“I think the activities of the brokers towards lobbying and informing the new politicians [in Ontario] of the insurance marketplace is a very important part of the next step right now,” Gagnon told brokers attending the 2018 Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) Convention. “You are probably doing it already, but I think we actually have to increase the intensity.”

Gagnon spoke during a BIP Talk alongside Doug Downey, Ontario parliamentary assistant to the minister of finance. His comments on broker lobbying was in response to a question raised that the provincial government might include insurance in its upcoming Fall Economic statement.

Downey all but confirmed the statement will include auto insurance: “We’re going to have the Fall Economic statement, and I think we may see something in there.”

Increasing Costs

Insurance companies face a worsening situation in Ontario. Customers in the province already pay among the highest premiums in Canada, but insurers have no way of reducing the costs. Rising frequency of collisions and increasing costs of repairs have left auto insurance providers with one hand tied behind their backs.

Many of the major providers in Ontario have raised their rates and some have suggested they will reduce focus on auto in the province. Data from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) seems to back up insurers’ positions. OSFI reports Canadian P&Cs paid $535 million more in auto claims through Q1 2018 than they did the previous year through the same period.

Gagnon says insurance companies in Ontario are likely to seek more premium increases of the next 12 to 18 months.

 “I think Ontario auto is going to take a while to get [rates] back to something reasonable,” Gagnon said. “There’s a lot of volatility right now, lots of discussions at various levels.”