This sounds like Limited Liability to me .
I think Home Inspectors should be able to have coverage like this … Roy
Back to Roseman: Car insurance should be election issue
**Roseman: Car insurance should be election issue **
October 04, 2011
Rapidly rising car insurance rates created controversy in past election campaigns.Ian Law for Wheels
If the upcoming Ontario election is about pocketbook issues, why is no one talking about car insurance?
Rapidly rising car insurance rates created controversy in past campaigns. Former NDP Premier Bob Rae planned to set up a public auto insurance system before nixing the idea in 1991.
But neither of the opposition leaders, Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath, mentions car insurance in their platforms.
That’s a shame because Premier Dalton McGuinty’s car insurance reforms, which took effect a year ago, slashed benefits to accident victims in the hopes of stabilizing car insurance rates.
The benefits for serious, but not catastrophic, injuries were cut to $50,000 (from $100,000). Assessment costs were included as part of the benefits, cutting the amount for treating serious injuries to less than $50,000.
Car insurance companies in Ontario will save more than $1 billion a year in payouts to victims. And they can now deny funding for medical services without getting a second opinion.
Whatever happened to truth in packaging? You don’t expect the government to use the same trick that grocery manufacturers do in shrinking coverage while keeping prices up.
Ontario motorists may not realize they’re getting less value for their money. If they did, they’d be buying extra coverage to replace what they lost.
Only 1.3 per cent of policyholders have opted to pay extra to get more than $50,000 in medical and rehabilitation benefits, according to a survey by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).
Most people are sticking with the standard coverage, which will force them to pay huge out-of-pocket costs if they’re injured in an accident.
Hudak and Horwath talk about removing the HST from home heating or gasoline. But that’s insignificant, compared to the impact of car insurance on a typical household’s budget.
Costs are creeping up again since the insurance reforms took effect.
Auto insurance rates in Ontario increased 6.4 per cent in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period a year ago, according to Kanetix, an online insurance quote website.
FSCO, which regulates car insurance rates, has different figures. It says the average increase was 1 per cent in the second quarter of 2011.
But shouldn’t rates have stayed the same or dropped after Ontario made such big concessions to car insurers?
The issue popped up this week in Brampton, which has lots of commuters paying higher than average premiums.
Horwath called for more transparency in setting car insurance rates. Hudak promised to target criminals who stage phony car accidents, saving up to $1.3 billion for Ontario motorists.
The statement that fraud accounts for $1.3 billion in insurance costs has been tossed around for years. It’s only an estimate, never substantiated, analyzed or broken down into component costs. And surprisingly, it never changes.
I found articles referring to an estimated $1.3 billion cost of fraud for all kinds of insurance (including life, health and property) in newspaper stories in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2003, 2010 and 2011.
Later articles made it sound as if the full $1.3 billion went to pay benefits to fraudsters staging car accidents in Ontario.
The McGuinty government has set up a task force on auto insurance fraud, whose members include James Daw, a former Toronto Star columnist. But shouldn’t it have done so already if the cost was really $1.3 billion?
Fraud is a fact of life in most industries. They investigate it and try to stop it.
Only Ontario’s car insurance industry gets permission to pass on the estimated cost of fraud to the public in the form of higher rates — or drastically reduced benefits, as in this case.
The government betrayed the trust of motorists and didn’t protect them from inflated insurance costs.
Let’s hope whoever wins the election will make things right in the future.
Ellen Roseman writes about personal finance and consumer issues. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.