May 27, 2018 by Greg Meckbach
If an election were held today in Ontario, the country’s largest private auto insurance market would be governed by a party that has promised public auto insurance in the past.
Forum Research announced Thursday it projects a New Democratic Party majority government if an election were held today. The provincial election is scheduled June 7.
About 47% of 906 Ontario voters surveyed Wednesday by Forum say they would support the NDP. The Liberals, which have been in power since 2003, have about 14% support while the Progressive Conservatives have about 33% support. In essence, Forum predicts a 95% probability that the margin of error is 3%.
As it stands, the NDP is promising to reduce the average private passenger auto rate by 15%, a promise the ruling Liberals made in 2013. The NDP does not go so far as to promise a public auto insurer in its platform, but when questioned by Canadian Underwriter, the party did not rule it out either. British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all have public auto insurers.
“We will look beyond the current system if insurance providers do not provide the savings people deserve,” the NDP says in its party platform.
The New Democrats first asked for a 15% reduction in insurance rates in 2013. At the time the Liberals ruled Ontario with a minority. Jagmeet Singh, at the time an Ontario NDP MPP, claimed that Ontario auto insurers had made $2 billion in “extra profits” in 2011. What in fact happened, according to Insurance Bureau of Canada, was the P&C industry lost $2.7 billion on auto insurance in Ontario in 2010, and followed up with a profit of less than $300 million in 2011.
In the summer of 2013, the Liberals passed a law requiring Ontario auto insurers to explain in their rate filings to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario how their proposed rate changes would contribute to an industry-wide rate reduction of 15%. The intent was to reduce the industry-wide auto premium by 15% over two years.
But figures from industry watchers including A.M. Best Company Inc. indicate the actual reduction was less than 10%.
Before the 1990 general election, the NDP promised to introduce public auto but abandoned that promise after taking power. In the 1995 election, the Progressive Conservatives won a majority government.
Both the Liberals and NDP have promised to put the kibosh on the use of territory as a rating factor. So did Vic Fedeli when he was interim PC leader earlier this year. Doug Ford, elected PC leader in March, has not publicly said whether or not he would end territory as a rating factor. As of press time, the PC party has not responded to requests by Canadian Underwriter to confirm the party’s position on territorial ratings.