Ontario to Tackle Auto Insurance Fraud with “Serious Fraud Office”

Published: February 25, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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While the Ontarian government has drawn criticism for its auto insurance policies of late, it is continuing to chase cutting average premiums in the province, while also tackling insurance fraud. That is according to the Liberal government’s Finance Minister, Charles Sousa.

Sousa says that the Wynne government’s budget includes a new plan that will go after perpetrators of auto insurance fraud. The government will create a “serious fraud office” that will specialize in detecting and tackling auto insurance fraud.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said that it was delighted that the government is committed to stopping car insurance fraud in a province with over 9 million drivers.

"Auto insurance fraud continues to be a serious problem and has plagued the Ontario auto insurance system costing as much as $1.6 billion a year," said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada.  "We are thrilled to see the Government make the fight against fraud a priority."

Auto insurance fraud in Ontario is at epidemic levels according to most sources and studies. It is thought that the crime contributes to over $200 on every average auto insurance policy in Ontario, contributing to the province’s position as comfortably the most expensive place in Canada to insure a vehicle. The average price is over $1,500 to take out an insurance premium in Ontario, but tackling fraud could help insurance companies decrease rates.

Many providers in Ontario are taking the fight against fraud seriously, with some of the biggest insurance companies in the country operating dedicated fraud detecting teams. However, those private companies need the backing and aid of the government to take the fight against insurance fraud to the next step.

With that in mind, Sousa’s promise of a serious fraud office is good news.

Sousa also stressed that the budget will seek to find smoother ways to adopt sharing services, such as Uber, which connects passengers to freelance drivers via a smartphone application. He said the Government and the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) will work with insurance providers to come up with policies that take into account sharing companies.

Aviva Canada became the first insurer in the country to offer a ride-sharing specific auto insurance policy when it launched a new product this month.