It appears that politicians are finally responding to public outcry against the continued record profits being made by car insurance companies in light of their decreased settlements to injured people. The Government promised a 15% insurance rate cut nearly 3 years ago.
In the three years we have seen rates drop by 7.1%, not the 15% promised, and we have seen the continued erosion of benefits payable to injured persons to limits so low they hardly cover the cost of a minor injury let alone an injury that is slightly more than minor. More and more we see attempts to broaden the scope of the definition of Catastrophic Injury in order to attain settlements for injured drivers and passengers in order that they be able to afford the care they need.
No NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh has taken up the cause. He says the Wynne government’s current approach has not resulted in the insurance rate cuts hoped for. He argues that the reduced benefit payouts which the insurance companies have lobbied for and gotten have more than covered the proposed 15% cut.
In essence we have seen our rate cuts be far outpaced by our benefit payouts. According to a study commissioned by the OTLA (Ontario Trial Lawyers Association) Ontario drivers are overpaying approximately $840 Million a year in auto insurance rates. The Insurance Bureau of Canada disputes the figures and calls the report misleading.
Many accident victims are stunned to find out that if they have a ‘minor injury’ as a result of the car accident, then they are entitled to receive up to $3,500.00 in medical and rehabilitation benefits and services.
Where the injured person’s injuries are not considered to be catastrophic, then the injured person is entitled to receive up to $50,000.00 of medical and rehabilitation benefits for expenses incurred up to 10 years after the accident. An individual may purchase optional coverage providing for the increase in the level of medical and rehabilitation benefits to $100,000.00 to $1,000,000.00. You should note that optional coverage will not increase the medical and rehabilitation benefits for those suffering from a minor injury.
If the injured person’s injury is catastrophic as defined by the Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule, the catastrophically impaired car accident victim is entitled to receive $1,000,000.00 of medical and rehabilitation