Insurance Reforms

In the summer, auto insurance reforms were introduced in Ontario as a method of reducing premiums in the province which is the largest insurance market in the whole of Canada. Meanwhile, personal injury attorneys argue that brokers may be subjected to lawsuits due to the transfer of accident benefit dispute arbitration to license appeal tribunal (LAT). Shop Insurance Canada is in agreement with this, and also adds that previously it has warned that customers will lose out due to the accident benefits reform.

Personal injury lawyers convened at a panel termed “Resort to the LAT of Last Resort,” at the Hilton in Markham where Jim Vigmond, past president of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association said insurers should persuade customers to subscribe to higher policies.

Vigmond said “We are making efforts to sensitize people about the benefits of having higher third-party liability limits, higher benefit policies, and to persons selling those policies, and the benefits of educating their clients.”

Vigmond, a partner at Oatley Vigmond LLP, a personal injury firm participated in a panel debating the LAT process in Ontario for arbitrating disputes concerning statutory accident benefits.

Vigmond warned that the process offloads nearly everything to the tort system and until the third party liability auto limit are taken up, it will be a big problem.

The auto insurance reforms which were introduced during the summer in Ontario were widely applauded for aiding the lowering of premiums in the province. Shop Insurance Canada was however more cautious and opined that modifications to the accident benefits would be inimical to customers.

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Online insurance experts had earlier opined that customers will be at the losing end, and now the risk has been extended to brokers.

Nothing goes for free; hence reducing premium rates implies consumers will have to give something in exchange. The modifications to the Statutory Accident Benefits amounts could be more than what most policy holders are willing to provide, but this is the situation on ground; you get less when you pay less.

The benefits for non-catastrophic damages have reduced from $86,000 to $60,000, although the coverage can be increased to $130,000. The benefits in terms of catastrophic damages have been reduced from $2,000,000 to $1,000,000 with an option of increasing it to $2,000,000.

Shop Insurance Canada points out that the most troubling reform is a total review of the Statutory Accident Benefits from injuries incurred during an auto accident.

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