QUEEN’S PARK – Yesterday, the Ministry of Finance publicly released the final report produced by the Anti-Fraud Task Force that makes recommendations to deal with the severe auto insurance fraud problem in Ontario. The report was 16 months in the making and submitted to the Ministry of Finance a few weeks ago.
PC Deputy Finance Critic Jeff Yurek noted the report confirmed that fraud constitutes a material cost ranging from 8 to 15 cents of every dollar paid in premiums. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.
“I have pushed the government since my appointment as our party’s deputy finance critic to address this problem,” said Yurek, “The Minister has constantly evaded my inquiries by saying that a report on the matter was in the works.”
Now that the report is finished, the big question is what will be done? The Liberal government has a long track record letting reports produced by various committees they have appointed collect dust.
“It’s not really a government of action. I think the decision to prorogue parliament best exemplifies this government’s aversion to action,” charged Yurek, “At a time when we face a jobs crisis and a deficit projected to hit $30 billion by 2017, the Liberals have packed up and gone home.”
The Anti-Fraud report outlines significant reforms that require legislation to implement. With Queen’s Park shuttered, these pieces of legislation cannot be introduced, debated, or passed.
“This is a document with a number of recommendations. Due to the scope, it’s important to have a conversation about how these recommendations will affect Ontario. Despite knowing the report would be complete this fall, the Liberals closed down parliament effectively avoiding any conversation on the issue.”
“We can’t afford to have the Liberal government continuing to drag their feet when there are so many problems that need to be addressed. Unfortunately, while the Liberals are busy finding a new leader, customers will continue to pay more for their auto insurance.”
- Ontario’s premiums are some of the highest in Canada. In 2010, Ontario’s nominal average premium was nearly $1,500 with the second highest occurring in BC with average premiums of around $1,300.
- In 2010, claims costs in Ontario averaged about $55,000 with Saskatchewan coming in second at $45,000 and New Brunswick coming in third at about $12,000.
- Despite only a 14% increase in claims frequency, a decrease of 7% in auto accidents, and a decrease of 9% in injuries since 2006, accident benefits claims costs have increased 118%. These figures suggest the prevalence of fraudulent activity.
- Since 2007, the Liberal government has presided over a nearly 17% increase in auto insurance premiums.
- The PC Party was the only party to advocate for harsher penalties and increased investigative efforts in the last election. The Anti-Fraud Task Force affirmed these ideas in its recommendations.