August 6, 2018 by Jason Contant
Although Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government has not publicly disclosed its plans for auto insurance reform, the industry’s trade association has some thoughts on where it should go.
Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations with Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), said that implementing recommendations in the Marshall report and allowing greater innovation and technology for insurers should be on the government’s radar.
“Taking some of the recommendations within that report would go a long way,” Karageorgos said Thursday, adding that the new government is “aware” of the Marshall report, Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered. “Taking that report and implementing all of the recommendations would be ideal.”
In particular, one concept in the report that the industry is “very supportive” of is that there needs to be a focus on the care the people need to help them recover from injuries after vehicle collisions, Karageorgos said. “There’s a whole industry out there that is focused on quantifying the dollar amount on a person’s injury, but that doesn’t necessarily help them get better quicker,” he said. “So, I think as an industry we have to focus on helping people recover quicker.”
Speaking from his own experience, Karageorgos said that in his second year of university, he was involved in a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian. “The system back then, just before no fault came in, was a very adversarial, dollar-driven system and I don’t think it served my purposes much in terms of helping me get the services I needed to recover from my injuries,” he said. “And that’s been with us all these years.”
There is work that is already underway, too, such as the Serious Fraud Office and the new regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, that Karageorgos hopes will continue.
IBC would like to see a modernization of the rate regulation and the ability for “use and file” rates (insurers would self-regulate to increase rates) which would allow carriers to more quickly and efficiently adjust rates.
As for innovation and technology, IBC is urging for products that more greatly align with consumer’s needs. For example, pay-as-you-drive options, a “more fuller” option for telematics, electronic proof of insurance and the ability to deliver forms in email rather than through the mail would allow consumers to tailor their insurance needs to their particular situation.
“If people don’t drive much, their ability to buy a product that reflects that would be great,” Karageorgos said. “They are more able to, or they are greatly able to, purchase a product that meets their needs and I think some of that really needs to be highlighted going into the future.”