Insurance News – Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Here are the leading auto insurance headlines from ONTARIO AUTO INSURANCE TOPICS ON TWITTER for Tuesday, November 11, 2014:

  • Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014 passes second reading and has just one day of public hearings.
  • Toronto man charged with selling fake auto insurance some drivers on the road without coverage
  • Will we need a learner’s permit for self-driving cars?
  • Utilities, taxis, construction and mining, government and public sectors, emergency services, public transportation and local delivery services will all likely have telematics installed on their vehicles.
  • Fatal California accident will test Lyft’s $1 million auto insurance policy.
  • B.C. Transportation Minister says plainclothes transit agents posing as potential customers will be deployed to ensure taxis and their drivers are operating by B.C.’s rules, which are enforced to ensure passenger safety.

Ontario Auto Rates Steady In 2016 But Only After Benefit Cuts

FSCO’s latest quarterly rate approval numbers have been released and at least rates are holding steady for now. However, considering the statutory accident benefit cuts that became effective on June 1, 2016, consumers are getting less coverage but paying about the same money.

 FSCO approved 10 private passenger automobile insurance rate filings during the fourth quarter of 2016. These 10 insurers represent 24.17% of the market based on premium volume. Approved rates decreased on average by 0.14% when applied across the total market. Overall, approved rates decreased on average by 1.38% when applied across the total market for the 2016 calendar year.

 The high cost of auto insurance creates a strong disincentive to purchase coverage that was taken away by product reforms. This is the case even when coverage can be purchased for about the same cost as a tank of gas. Sitting on my desk is my own auto insurance renewal. The cost of buying $1 miillion in medical/rehabilitation/attendant care coverage is $50 for on my two vehicles. I also purchased an additional $1 million in catastrophic coverage for just $19.

Product reforms have created an environment where consumers are inadequately covered for more serious injuries. Rather than make coverage for minor injuries optional, consumers are allowed to opt out of purchasing adequate coverage for more serious injuries. That would be analogous to making physical damage coverage mandatory with no deductible for minor collisions but not covering total loss claims.

A new delivery system is needed to bring Ontario’s costs in line with other jurisdictions. For a discussion on how to address the systemic problems in Ontario, see my article entitled Ontario’s 25-Year No-Fault Journey.

Insurance News – Thursday, November 12, 2015

Here are the leading auto insurance headlines from ONTARIO AUTO INSURANCE TOPICS ON TWITTER for Thursday, November 12, 2015:

  • Ontarians pay more than double in car insurance than in some provinces.
  • Trial lawyers have updated their report on profitability in the Ontario auto insurance market.
  • Self-driving cars will be tested on Canadian roads in 2016.
  • Car companies intend to accept full liability for self-driving car accidents.
  • Tesla just beat Google to make the self-driving car.
  • Could Google be auto-piloting itself into the insurance business?

Insurance News – Monday, June 22, 2015

Here are the leading auto insurance headlines from ONTARIO AUTO INSURANCE TOPICS ON TWITTER for Monday, June 22, 2015:

  • State Farm in the U.S. is considering a plan that would charge customers on a per-trip basis could factor in elements not considered in traditional insurance policies, including the identity of the driver, driving behaviour, number of passengers, weather and time of day.
  • New California ride service Shuddle allows parents to book trips around town for their children – Uber for kids.
  • Ontario auto insurers and lawyers blame each other as reason for high premiums The truth is, they’re both responsible.
  • The battle between Uber, Lyft and taxis has moved to airports.
  • When does auto insurance cover ride-hailed drivers’ cars?
  • How ruling that drivers are employees upends Uber’s business model.

Insurance News – Tuesday, November 17, 2015:

Here are the leading auto insurance headlines from ONTARIO AUTO INSURANCE TOPICS ON TWITTER for Tuesday, November 17, 2015:

  • Ontario Conservatives seek to regulate Uber, AirBnB and the sharing economy province-wide.
  • Insurer cancelling policies of UberX drivers: “considered commercial use and is unacceptable for personal vehicles”.
  • Uber says it needs self-driving cars to avoid ending up like the taxi industry.
  • A decline in accident frequency due to safer vehicles and the adoption of autonomous vehicles could shrink the U.S. personal auto insurance sector by 60 percent within 25 years,
  • Ready or not, Tesla Autopilot means self-driving cars are already on Canadian roads.
  • Public consultation on Ontario tow truck regulations coming to a close.

Insurance News – Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Here are the leading auto insurance headlines from ONTARIO AUTO INSURANCE TOPICS ON TWITTER for Wednesday, January 27, 2016:

  • Kathleen Wynne says pledge to cut auto insurance 15 per cent was a ‘stretch goal’ – classic govt speak!
  • Ontario’s finance minister is hard-pressed to explain why he continued to declare publicly that the government would meet an election pledge to cut auto insurance rates despite being aware that keeping the promise would be challenging.
  • Canadians are wary of self-driving cars.  They would rather see technology make driving safer.
  • Google’s monthly report for its self-driving car project is in, and according to data recorded by onboard computers, the car’s human drivers intervened 13 times between September 2014 and November 2015 to avoid an accident.
  • Is State Farm preparing for the end of auto insurance?
  • The biggest roadblock facing driverless cars is not government regulation but lawyers.
  • Windsor wants to become test site for self-driving vehicles.

Ontario Ministry of Finance Has Provided Notice On Intent To Introduce New Rules For Service Providers

The Ministry of Finance is proposing to amend O. Reg. 7/00  to make it an unfair or deceptive act or practice (UDAP) for a person who provides or offers to provide goods or services for the benefit of a person who claims statutory accident benefits to communicate any false, misleading or deceptive information regarding their business or billing practices, services provided, or any other matter related to licensing.

 This UDAP is intended to apply to both licensed and unlicensed service providers. An unlicensed service provider may not advertise that they are a licensed provider. A licensed provider that has had their licence suspended or revoked may not continue to advertise that they are licensed. This amendment would ensure that consumers can identify licence holders and avoid confusion about what licence holder status means. This will also discourage inaccurate claims about what a licence signifies.

 In addition, the Ministry is proposing regulatory amendment to allow the Superintendent to apply variable administrative monetary penalties (AMP) to deal with significant contraventions of the regulations that can involve or potentially lead to improper billing practices. The service provider would have the opportunity for a hearing before the Financial Services Tribunal on the proposed AMP.

The Ministry is also proposing to amend O. Reg. 90/14 (Service Providers – Standards for Business Systems and Practices) to introduce a duty to report accurately to the Superintendent of Financial Services, in the periodic return established under section 288.4(5) of the Insurance Act, all information necessary to calculate any applicable fees established pursuant to section 121.1 of the Insurance Act.

The Ministry is proposing to amend O. Reg. 89/14 (Service Providers – Listed Expenses) to prohibit licensed service providers from invoicing claimants directly – they will receive direct payment from insurers. The proposed amendment will allow licensed service providers to seek payment for outstanding accounts directly from claimants in prescribed situations (where a full and final settlement has been reached and signed between the insurer and the insured person that includes these amounts).

Finally the Ministry is also proposing to amend O, Reg. 34/10 (SABS) to require claimants who go to unlicensed service providers to obtain specified billing information from their service provider and submit this information to their insurer when seeking reimbursement.

The SABS would also be amended to require insurers to provide HCAI the billing information when they reimburse a claimant for a “listed expense”. These amendments will ensure the continuity of robust and more complete data collection by HCAI. It will avoid possible loss of data that may otherwise occur when claimants are invoiced directly by service providers who are not licensed to be paid directly through the central processing agency.

The Ontario government’s Regulatory Registry is inviting stakeholders and interested parties to provide comments on these proposed regulations (that have yet to be made public). The deadline for comments is November 6, 2014.

 Ontario’s Regulatory Registry provides information on new proposed regulatory initiatives that could affect Ontario businesses and recently approved regulations that affect business. Regulations are approved by the provincial Cabinet.

 Once a regulation is approved, a plain language summary of the regulation is posted on the Registry website, with a link to the regulation posted on the Government of Ontario’s e-Laws website.

Insurance News – Friday, September 5, 2014

Here are the leading auto insurance headlines from ONTARIO AUTO INSURANCE TOPICS ON TWITTER for Friday, September 5, 2014:

  • Ontario plans to reintroduce their road safety bill (formerly Bill 173) with $1,000 fines and 3 demerit points for texting while driving.
  • ICBC wants to base auto insurance rates to cover the rising cost of injury claims due to distracted driving.
  • One of the issues of self-driving vehicles is legal liability for death or injury in the event of an accident. If the car maker programs the car so the driver has no choice, is it likely the company could be sued over the car’s actions?
  • Florida’s third-party bad-faith lawsuit environment may have resulted in more than $800 million in additional auto liability claim payments in 2013.
  • The economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. is the equivalent of 1.9 percent of the $14.96 trillion Gross Domestic Product which is nearly $900 billion.
  • New era of self-driving cars will transform cities.

It’s Time For The Insurance Industry To Be Serious About Optional SABS

This week I was speaking to my insurance agent who preparing my renewals. I was asking her about how the optional benefits have been impacted by the regulatory changes that became effective on June 1st. During the conversation it came out that she only had two clients with optional benefits – me, and my daughter and son-in-law. That’s it!

Insurance consumers in this province aren’t that risk averse. They are foolish and misinformed. As the government continues to whittle away at mandatory accident benefits, consumers maintain the belief that the basic level of coverage is adequate. Who’s fault is that? Who is responsible for ensuring consumers are properly informed? The insurance companies, brokers and agents.

When I walk into Best Buy, just about any purchase comes with an aggressive pitch for extended warranty. The sales reps will try to convince how little it costs to purchase that extra protection. They sell a lot of them. People have no problems dropping $100 on an extended warranty for a dishwasher but can’t get their head around spending that on one million dollars of additional health care protection. I paid just $98 for that over the past year. Just two tanks of gas.

People aren’t happy about the price of auto insurance so they try to keep coverage down to save money. It’s the responsibility of the insurance industry to make sure that they at least understand what they are getting for the money.