Between now and February 15, 2019, the Ontario government is looking for public feedback about how to reform car insurance in the province.
Unfortunately, their focus seems to be exclusively on reducing premiums, rather than ensuring fair benefits for injured people. Like so many governments before them, the fear is that they will try to reduce rates by cutting benefits for accident victims even further, and by making the process to claim benefits even more difficult.
They need to hear from people who understand first-hand just how slow, complicated and unfair the system already is for accident victims.
If you’ve had experience with Ontario’s car insurance system, please take a moment to fill out their survey before February 15, 2019:
Make sure you include a brief comment about your experiences and how you think the system could be improved. It only takes a minute, and every comment helps!
Need some ideas? Here are a few of our ideas about how the government could reduce car insurance costs in Ontario:
- Insurance companies shouldn’t be allowed to waste thousands of dollars hiring industry doctors to fight every little claim. They should be forced to follow recommendations from people’s own treating doctors and healthcare professionals, not those of their hired-guns.
- Insurance companies need to face real punishments every time they are found to have wrongly denied benefits to an injured person to discourage them from frivolously denying claims and starting unnecessary disputes. These disputes drive up costs for the whole system, but right now, insurers have nothing to lose by denying claims on a whim and seeing if they can get away with it: even if they eventually lose a dispute, they are still better-off than if they’d just paid the claim right away, since they’ve been allowed to hold onto the money for months longer than they should have. So every time an insurer loses a dispute, in addition to reimbursing the injured person’s costs for having to fight them, let’s make them pay a fine big enough that they’ll feel it so they’ll have a reason to pay claims fairly from the get-go. (The fines could be used to fund the dispute resolution system, or to offset the cost of an auto premium tax credit to help consumers with limited means facing high rates).
- Do away with arbitrary benefit categories, eliminating all the complex and expensive fights about whether someone’s injuries correspond to a certain technical definition. Instead of high-stakes arguments about whether an injury is “minor” or “catastrophic,” insurers should just pay for the treatment or service up to the policy max, as long as a person can still prove it’s reasonably necessary as a result of the accident.
- Make trials simpler and cheaper when they happen, and make them less appealing for insurance companies in the first place so they are inclined to pay tort claims quickly and fairly, and before all sides have to spend a ton of money on lawyers and doctors. Do this by eliminating juries for car accident claims, and eliminating the threshold and the secret deductible.
- Force insurance companies to be completely transparent about their profits.