Ontario announces insurance system upgrades

PLANS FOR auto insurance system enhancements announced in this month’s Ontario budget have been welcomed by the province’s insurers.

The Progressive Conservative government said it will be introducing amendments to allow electronic proof of auto insurance, enable innovation and new business models to give drivers more options — such as car subscription services that include insurance — and make it easier for insurance companies to offer more discounts and options to consumers.

“The ‘Putting Drivers First’ blueprint is a transformational, multi-year strategy,” it said in the budget document said. “The government recognizes that consumers need change to happen now and is taking early action to make the consumer insurance experience easier and more convenient.”

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli’s plan brings “consumer choice, competition and innovation in auto insurance, as well as initiatives to reduce fraud,” said Phil Gibson, Aviva Canada’s managing director of personal insurance.

“By cutting red tape and reducing costs in the system, the government’s plan will allow insurers to offer products that meet an individual consumer’s specific needs at more affordable prices.”

Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said the budget is a win-win for the insurance industry and consumers.

He said it shows the government is serious about changes to the province’s auto insurance system.

“The government recognizes that there is no simple solution and that change requires various stakeholders (working together),” he said. “It’s a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the system.”

One of the initiatives proposed in the budget is a new ‘driver care plan’ which includes a ‘care-not-cash’ approach to treatment.

The government said in the budget that this approach would include a “default clause to ensure that a driver’s auto insurance coverage will pay for treatment instead of costly legal fees while giving the driver the option to be eligible to receive cash settlements if they so choose.”

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