Since 2003, Ontario Liberal leaders have repeatedly promised to lower the province’s punishing auto insurance premiums and deal with fraud partially responsible for driving up rates.
And they’ve repeatedly broken those promises.
Auto insurance rates here under the Liberals skyrocketed 42% in the past 14-plus years. The average annual cost of premiums have risen from $1,200 in 2003 according to Insurance Board of Canada figures to a current annual average rate of $1,700, price aggregator Kanetix recently told CBC.
That growth handily outpaced inflation, which increased 29% over that same period and Ontario rates remain 55% higher than the Canadian average, according to a recent government report.
Ontario drivers pay the highest and most expensive auto insurance rates in the country, despite having one of the best accident safety records.
Bottom line, we are getting ripped off and have been for a long time under the noses of the province’s Liberal governments.
Now premiums are on the rise again – up 2% in the first quarter of 2018 show figures posted by a government agency Friday. According to industry estimates, rates are poised to increase at least 5% this year.
And once again, before an election, Liberals are promising rate relief is on the way.
It’s been a pattern with the Liberals.
Promise to fix auto rates before an election. Break the promise after the election.
Let’s ride the wayback machine to 2003.
Auto insurance rates had risen 10% since 1996 and drivers frustrated by increasingly unaffordable premiums were screaming.
Dalton McGuinty promised Ontario Liberals would freeze auto insurance rates – and cut them by 10% within 90 days of being in office.
He never did.
McGuinty also promised to crack down on fraud.
He didn’t, not meaningfully. Then in 2010, following a rise in accident injury claims, the Liberals dramatically cut benefits to accident victims at the behest of the auto insurance industry, padding insurance company profits by $1.6 billion in 2011.
Fast forward to the 2013 when Kathleen Wynne was Premier.
Wynne struck a deal with the NDP to cut auto insurance rates 15% by August 2015 in exchange for NDP support of her minority government’s budget bill. She repeated the 15% rate cut promise prior to the 2014 election campaign.
After winning a majority in that election, Wynne then broke that promise and called the 15% premium cut a “stretch goal.”
She had also promised to deal with fraud – but beyond announcing a “Fair Auto Insurance Plan” in December on the eve of another provincial election, her government has done little over the past several years to meaningfully address the fraud that drives up insurance costs.
Earlier this month, CTV’s W5 aired a report on an undercover sting operation by auto insurance company Aviva Canada that used hidden cameras and found widespread fraud at auto repair shops. Repair bills on average are being inflated by 57% amounting to some $547 million in fraud annually province-wide, Aviva found.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa now claims the government’s actively dealing with fraud and that auto premiums went down 3.2% over the past five years. Given average premiums went from $1,500 to $1,700 now and continue to rise, Sousa’s numbers seem off. But in any case, they are a long way from Wynne’s promised 15% rate cut.
Ontario PC critic Vic Fedeli’s suggests the government’s repeated claims that rates will go down over time and that they’re taking action against fraud are worthless.
“How many times can you re-announce the same thing?” Fedeli said. Change is needed, he said, and although Ontario PC leader Doug Ford has not yet detailed Conservative auto rate plans “help is on the way.”
“It’s obvious it can be done,” Fedeli said. “The other provinces are doing it.”
Meanwhile, the biggest fraud afflicting Ontario’s unaffordable and broken auto insurance industry continues to be Liberal promises to fix things.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies