Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath called for the provincial government to step up the pace of reducing auto insurance rates in Ontario.
“Drivers paying the highest auto insurance rates in the country are wondering how long they’re going to have to wait for their rates to actually come down,” Horwath said in the legislature Monday, arguing that government is “moving as slowly as possible when it comes to lowering their auto insurance rates.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne responded that government is not “dragging our feet” on auto insurance. “In fact, we’re implementing the changes that will allow those average decreases to happen,” Wynne said.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced in August that government was targeting a 15% average rate reduction – something the NDP demanded in exchange for support of the minority Liberal’s budget – within the next two years. The government has set an average 8% reduction target by August 2014.
The reductions will be achieved by, among other things, providing the Superintendent of Financial Services with authority to require insurers to re-file rates; continuing to crack down on fraud, including licensing health clinics that invoice auto insurance companies; and continuing to require insurers to offer discounts for consumers with safe driving records.
“The government will take further action as required and all necessary steps to achieve the 15% average rate reduction target,” a Ministry of Finance statement noted at the time.
The provincial government’s Auto Insurance Cost and Rate Reduction Strategy was introduced as part of the 2013 Ontario budget. With the measures government is putting into place, it expects the report from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario in January 2014 to show an approved rate reduction of 3% to 5%.
Following the government’s announcement in August, Jeff Yurek, Ontario PC critic for auto insurance reform, criticized comments that drivers would have to wait to see any savings on their auto insurance.
“The Liberals aren’t getting results for taxpayers, and neither are the NDP,” Yurek charged at the time. “By reducing bureaucracy while encouraging competition and innovation, we can ensure a fair, transparent system,” he added.
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