By Moira Gracey
Yesterday, the Ontario government announced the “Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act” (Bill 171), which among other things would move the current dispute resolution system for auto insurance claims from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which regulates auto insurers, to the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Licence Appeal Tribunal. The government says the proposed move will “help cut down on consumer frustration as well as curb financial and administrative stress on the system, which can increase costs and cause rates to go up.”
However, hidden in this bill is a provision that significantly reduces the interest paid to innocent, injured accident victims. This change will let insurance companies delay payments to innocent accident victims as long as they like without any consequences, in order to fuel further profits, removing an important incentive to deal with claims promptly.