But the proposal, included in Thursday’s pre-election budget that is doubling as a PC party platform, lacked specifics as to what exactly they have in mind.
The budget includes a brief section titled “Reducing the Cost of Auto Insurance.”
“Ontario will be proceeding with additional measures to create choice, crack down on fraud and enhance fairness,” the document says.
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“The current mandatory insurance product may not offer the choices Ontario drivers deserve. This is why the government intends to propose changes that over time would provide consumers with more options when purchasing automobile insurance.”
The PC government wants drivers to have more ability to customize insurance plans, with usage-based policies being an example that determine a person’s premium and risk depending on how they use their vehicle.
While the PCs claim they’ve made “significant progress” on a strategy first announced in 2019, they said “more work is needed.”
The government said they and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) have already been able to make progress on commitments made in the multi-year strategy, including enabling insurers to develop usage-based programs, increasing competition by making it easier for providers to offer discounts and increasing consumer choice by making not-at-fault property damage coverage optional.
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They have also made progress on making the supervision of insurance more “transparent, dynamic and flexible” through an FSRA rule that defines unfair or deceptive practices, the budget says.
The government said it is also committed to creating “strong anti-fraud measures” in the insurance system and is proposing an amendments to the Insurance Act that would require insurers to provide fraud information to the FSRA on an ongoing basis.
“This would hold insurers accountable for managing, tracking and reporting fraud,” the budget states.
“FSRA will also be consulting on the implementation of a fraud reporting service tool that would better prevent, detect and ultimately deter fraud.”
The budget says the FSRA will consult for further proposals on combatting fraud and removing fraudsters.
The FSRA is also implementing a strategy for reforming auto insurance regulations.
“As part of the new strategy, FSRA will be developing a new framework for ensuring fairness in rates that would replace outdated guidance, including existing guidance on territorial rating,” the budget says.
That’s an issue also highlighted by the Ontario New Democrats in their recently released election platform, which promises to “explore every avenue” to bring down insurance rates.
The NDP also wants to tackle “postal code discrimination” which sees residents paying rates based on where they live.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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