Ontario to make changes to auto insurance systems in hopes of combating fraud

Ontario is noted as the most expensive provinces for auto insurance, the price even doubling that of some other Canadian provinces, despite having one of the lowest levels of accidents and fatalities in the country. According to Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, much of this cost is due to the costs associated with auto insurance fraud. Sousa said that the cost auto insurance fraud in Ontario could be estimated to be as high as $1.6 billion a year. Sousa noted that this is something he is adamant about stopping.

To help curb the cost of auto insurance fraud, and in turn lower premium prices for those in Ontario, the government is proposing changes to the system. Sousa announced that the Ontario government will be developing standard treatment plans for common collision injuries, create independent and neutral examination centers to provide medical assessments for more serious injuries, and establish a Serious Fraud Office, all to help to tackle fraud in the system.

"We recognize that in order to achieve substantive, sustained rate reductions over time, we've got to make these structural changes," Sousa told reporters Tuesday morning. "The gumming of the system, the abuse within the system is creating unnecessary costs.”

Once the details of Sousa’s plan were announced, numbers of personal injury layers came forth to combat the proposal. They claim that it will complicate the treatment and claims process for victims of auto accidents.

"This is a government that really has a pattern of really punishing those who need help the most," said Michael Smitiuch, who runs Smitiuch Injury Law in Toronto. "I foresee more difficulties for injury victims in the future, I foresee problems claiming benefits and having them actually paid out.” 

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