After a few years of progress in reducing auto insurance premiums in Ontario, the market is now once again moving in the wrong direction. The cost of insurance a vehicle in the province will rose over 2 percent last quarter and is at nearly 5% for the last six months.
Critics are rounding on the Liberal government, which promised to reduce premiums by 15% before August 2015. That was an election promise that failed when the date came and went without the 15% pledge being reached. The government said it would continue to push towards 15% even though the deadline was missed.
Premium rates did continue to fall, to around 9% at one point. However, over the last 16 months premiums have started increasing again and it’s almost back to square one for the market. In response to the continued struggles, Finance Minister Charles Sousa released the following statement:
“Our priority is to make auto insurance more affordable, address fraud in the system, and put victims first by providing better access to care for those injured in auto collisions.
We know that while other provinces across Canada have seen their auto insurance rates rise over the last five years, people in Ontario have seen a decrease.
However, we've been clear that auto insurance rates are still far too high in Ontario – it's why we've taken action with policies to lower rates, including introducing a mandatory discount for drivers who use winter tires, helping people resolve disputes about benefits faster, and clarifying towing and storage costs after an accident. And it's why we launched our Fair Auto Insurance Plan in December – a plan to reduce costs by implementing significant structural changes to crack down on fraud and make the system more responsive to the needs of accident victims.
We expect the significant structural changes contained in the Fair Auto Insurance Plan to produce lower rates over time.
Since December, we've made significant progress with our plan. The Serious Fraud Office has senior leadership in place and is set to open by fall 2018, we are developing standard treatment plans for low back pain, working to ensure drivers aren't being discriminated against based on where they live, and our implementation team is getting up and running to help carry out the rest of the rate lowering measures.
Our plan's primary focus is on targeting systemic issues within the auto insurance sector to effectively and permanently lower rates. We remain completely committed to seeing our plan through, and to moving forward as quickly as possible so that drivers across Ontario can start seeing reductions. Reductions in auto insurance rates require a real plan of action and continued hard work on the part of government – and that's exactly what we continue to do.”