Canadian Underwriter

Raise auto accident benefits: Ontario politician

October 31, 2018   by Greg Meckbach

Print this page Share

The cuts to mandatory auto accident benefits made in 2010 and 2016 need a second look, says Ontario’s opposition auto insurance critic.

“It’s something we need to re-examine,” Gurratan Singh, the New Democratic Party’s auto insurance critic, said Wednesday in an interview.

He was referring to the fact that mandatory accident benefits are lower now than they were in 2010. Eight years ago, Ontario vehicle owners had to buy first-party auto accident benefits insurance, with $100,000 in medical and rehabilitation benefits and $72,000 for attendant care.

Gurratan Singh, MPP for Brampton East and Ontario NDP auto insurance critic

Those benefits were cut by 50% in 2010. A second round of cuts took place in 2016. Now, for accidents occurring on or after June 1, 2016, there is a single $65,000 limit – for medical, rehabilitation and attendant care expenses, for non-catastrophic injuries. The limits for catastrophic impairments were $1 million each for attendant care, and for medical and rehab. That changed – for accidents occurring on or after June 1, 2016 – to one single $1-million limit.

“We need to ensure that people get the coverage that they need if they get into an accident so they get taken care of,” Singh told Canadian Underwriter Wednesday.

The cuts were made by Charles Sousa – then the Liberal Finance Minister – in an effort to cut auto claims costs. The Progressive Conservatives defeated the Liberals this past June in the provincial election.

Asked Wednesday whether accident benefits should be restored to the 2010 level, Singh said he plans to “work with stakeholders involved to determine that specific number and find out where we need to go to make sure that every single Ontarian has the protections they need if they get into an accident” and require services such as rehabilitation, attendant care or income replacement.

Singh represents Brampton East in the Ontario legislature.

“We need almost a complete overhaul of the auto insurance system in Ontario,” said Singh, who also tabled Oct. 16 a private member’s bill proposing that the Greater Toronto Area be considered one single territory for the purpose of determining auto insurance premiums. Ontario law allows insurers to use postal codes to determine rates.

A different private member’s bill – by backbench Progressive Conservative MPP Parm Gill – proposes to do away with territorial ratings altogether. Many private members’ bills get defeated.

Although the mandatory accident benefits coverage was cut in 2010 and 2016, motorists can still buy optional additional coverage.

Explaining the cuts and providing advice is a “perfect example” of how brokers can connect with clients, Brian Purcell, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, said in 2017 at the IBAO Convention in Ottawa.

“How many brokers looked at [communicating the reforms to clients] as an unwelcome increase in workload and took the easy way out just to fire off an extra piece of paper in a renewal envelope?” Purcell said in 2017 during his incoming president’s address. “How many others took that as an opportunity to make personal contact with their client, review personal situations and uncover greater needs?”

Print this page Share

7 Comments » for Raise auto accident benefits: Ontario politician
  1. Julie Couwenberg says:

    As a broker we did notify all our client but over 75% did not buy up limits on their accidents even when we explained the need. As soon as they heard there was a cost related to the options they listen no further and most declined the increased limits. What more can we do as a btoker???

  2. Every year we connect by a new novel approach: We CALL the client and followup with an email. Being in Brampton it is a tough sell because of the increase in rates. But we feel it is what we should do a brokers give good advise.

  3. Why are the comments on lack of education to the consumer fired off at the ‘broker’. The brokers of Ontario are ‘service and education oriented’ with rare exceptions. What have the direct writers done?
    As a broker our office sends out renewal letters annually pointing out the need to review and continue to include our AB brochure in “ALL” mailings. Some markets automatically include an AB buy up in their Accident Benefits package.
    The public is looking for lower rates but do not distinguish between the ‘medical coverage’ and the ‘auto’ insurance coverage.
    If the government is serious on broader injury coverage, accident benefits, to protect all, then take back the AB portion under OHIP as was the coverage prior to the 1985 provincial download.

  4. Terry Allison says:

    It’s amazing that Mr Singh and Mr Gill are looking to unload the high costs which are inflated by the rampant claims fraud and abuses in the Brampton/Caledon are on the backs of those living in the rest of the GTA. Someone needs to explain to both of them the backing principal to rate determination which is “risk”. Do something to reduce the risk in your areas, address the rackets which exist there and THAT will drive rates down. This is why the NDP can never be in power.

  5. Rafik Z says:

    Why don’t we just completely remove Accident Benefits from automobile insurance? Individuals can then be responsible for retrieving their own private extended health insurance themselves. This should cause a significant drop in premium.

  6. linda says:

    how do you perceive a “need” until the occurrence happens? who wants increased insurance – most people think they don’t need it !! until something happens and then bingo! look who gets blamed for not communicating this “need”

    put the onus back on the consumer

  7. Lea says:

    Provide more substantial tools for the broker. How much does it cost for continued physical therapy? How much does it cost for house renovations for a wheelchair? How much do prosthetic limbs cost? You keep telling the broker to explain to the consumer why they might need more, well can you provide hard facts of accident benefit costs, attendant care costs – we, who are also the consumer, need that type of information. Give examples of injuries and types of costs associated.

Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *