Canadian Underwriter

Industry in the dark on auto reform

January 15, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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Nearly two years after David Marshall released his report on Ontario auto insurance reform, there is still no indication on where the government plans to go with it.

“We haven’t had a concrete yes or no that they are going to implement any or part of the Marshall report,” Jeff Gatcke, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, said in a recent interview.

Marshall, a former CEO of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board, was appointed in 2015 as a special advisor to Charles Sousa, then Ontario’s Liberal minister of finance. Sousa has since been replaced by Vic Fedeli as a result of the June 2018 election that returned the Progressive Conservatives to power.

Ontario legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ontario government

Marshall made 35 recommendations in Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System in Ontario, released Apr. 11, 2017.

“What stood out the most was Marshall’s recommendation to adopt programs of care based on the principles of evidence-based medicine,” May Gibillini, founder and president of Toronto based auto claims adjuster InHealth, said in an interview.

The big problem with Ontario auto, Marshall suggested, is the duelling assessments – where claimants and insurers often disagree on how exactly an injury should be treated. As a result, claimants and insurers spend thousands on medical assessments alone.

“You’re got to get that medical care to the person quickly, which means you can’t start wringing your hands and doing your research and arguing about what care is appropriate each and every time,” Marshall said in October 2017 during IBAO’s annual convention in Ottawa. “There’s lots of medical evidence to show that for straightforward injuries, which are 85% or so of auto injuries, they are not complex.”

The Ontario finance department has not specifically announced whether they will implement any of Marshall’s recommendations, other than measures that were already in the works, such as the new Financial Services Regulatory Authority.

In its 2018 fall economic statement, the PCs said they plan to conduct a review of how rates are regulated and to create a “framework” that allows for innovations such as electronic pink slips.

“When the Marshall report came out, IBAO was in support of many of the recommendations because there were a lot of recommendations in there that would help make the product sustainable,” Gatcke said. “Whether this new government chooses to implement any of that – I think time will tell.”