NDP calls for lower insurance premiums

The possibility of lower insurance premiums has Humber Students revving in anticipation.

The possibility of lower insurance premiums has Humber Students revving in anticipation.

Students who drive themselves to class could find themselves with more bank for their tank if a new NDP proposal finds traction.

In a Feb. 6 letter to premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath called on the provincial government and Federal Services Commission of Ontario to instruct insurers province-wide lower insurance premiums by 15 per cent.

If implemented, this means Humber students who drive to class could see premiums reduced, on average, by more than $200 per year.

Pete Karageorgos, manager of consumer and industry relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said it is great the NDP is recognizing auto insurance costs are high, but their proposal lacks long-term vision.

“Saying we’re going to cut, without a plan, that’s irresponsible,” Karageorgos said.

Rather than simply forcing a decrease, he said a more sustainable approach to lowering insurance rates would be to address total costs, such as those associated with insurance fraud.

Jagmeet Singh, the Ontario NDP’s consumer affairs critic, said shifting the focus to fraud is, “ridiculous and ludicrous,” and, “a politics of distraction.”

“There’s no reason we need to wait for the implementation of any anti-fraud measures. You can go ahead and do those,” said Singh. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t cut down on fraud,but we’ve already cut down costs incurred by insurance companies astronomically.”

Singh said the Liberal government’s 2010 insurance reforms have fostered a climate of declining costs and rising profits, making it only fair that the consumer sees reduced rates as a result.

In a Jan. 21 statement, the Ministry of Finance said for 2012, auto insurance rates in Ontario actually decreased an average of 0.26 per cent.

Darcy McNeill, director of communications for the Ministry of Finance, said it is important any changes to insurance policy are made with industry input.

“It’s easy to just throw out a number, but the devil is in the details,” he said.

McNeill said the province’s anti-fraud taskforce is a key example of the government working alongside the insurance industry to cut costs, and as in 2012, their cooperation is expected to lead to lower rates over the long term.

Premier Wynne’s office was unavailable for comment.

Social tagging: > >

Comments are closed.