Currently the Insurance Bureau of Canada, on behalf of auto insurers, is attempting to convince both governments and the public that auto insurance provider costs must come down, which could result in higher premiums for drivers and reduced awards as a result of auto-related injury. That makes it particularly interesting to note that IBC’s public website currently speaks to the great value Ontario drivers enjoy with their insurance policies. Seems to be a little contradiction going on here!
The dissertation in question claims that Ontario’s auto insurance system has undergone extensive change over several years, resulting in a system that offers excellent value to the province’s drivers. It concludes that the provincial government and the insurance companies have together produced an efficient system of insurance delivery and a stable price structure.
IBC reports that savings over the last decade came from reduced medical rehabilitation costs and lowered court awards paid by insurance companies to policyholders who were guilty of causing damage and injury. Reduced costs, they say, were achieved by regulating several changes:
- Lowering fees paid by auto insurers to health care providers, to be in line with what other insurers pay for the same services
- Introducing new standards – pre-approved frameworks – to treat minor injuries like whiplash
- Replacing Designated Assessment Centres with a new system of independent medical assessors
- Allowing only seriously injured people to seek court awards beyond their actual losses
- Increasing deductibles to discourage minor injury sufferers from clogging courts
- Introducing measures making it harder to defraud the system including regulation of paralegals and health care providers (against knowingly prescribing unnecessary treatment)
In conclusion, the IBC piece reports that insurance companies are continuing to seek ways to improve value for Ontarians, noting that their primary focus is on the cost of health care spending.
We conclude that in the face of mounting financial problems, the auto insurance industry’s focus is on reducing costs that may improve their own bottom line but will ultimately adversely affect drivers themselves and the health care industry that supports them.