QUEEN’S PARK – Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro is coming out swinging at proposed insurance changes that the New Democrats are supporting. “The NDP is proposing legislation that will force safe drivers in the Thunder Bay region, and throughout Northern Ontario, to pay more for auto insurance while lowering rates for dangerous drivers”, charges Mauro. “Andrea Horwath’s auto insurance scheme is a total mess. It will lower rates for dangerous and drunk drivers, while forcing Thunder Bay area families to pay more.”
“Independent experts agree the Horwath NDP bill will mean higher rates and more dangerous roads. Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving is against this disastrous bill.”
Mauro says, “Bill 45, the Insurance Amendment Act, would remove geographical location as a factor in determining auto insurance rates – an effort to reduce rates for Toronto drivers at the expense of drivers in other regions of Ontario. But the misguided plan would dramatically increase the cost of auto insurance all across Ontario, with drivers in the North the hardest-hit. If passed, Bill 45 would raise auto insurance rates in Northern Ontario by 30 percent”.
“The NDP bill also stipulates a driver’s safety record would only reflect at-fault accidents, not driving offences like impaired driving or street racing”.
“Under the NDP’s bill, drivers pulled over for dangerous driving offences such as drunk driving and street racing would face no increase in premiums,” added Mauro, citing public comments from MADD Canada:
“[The NDP] bill will force responsible drivers to subsidize the insurance premiums of dangerous drivers. … In our view, the bill sends all the wrong messages, punishes responsible drivers, rewards dangerous drivers, and will increase the risk to Ontario road-users,” according to Andrew W. Murie, CEO, MADD Canada.
Further, independent experts agree the bill will hike auto insurance rates across Ontario, particularly outside of Toronto: “The cost of implementing a new, unproven rating system will increase the premiums of all drivers,” states J.S. Cheng Partners, Expert Report, April 12, 2012.
“The rates for people in other parts of the province [outside of Toronto] would rise dramatically,” says Philip Howell, CEO, Financial Services Commission of Ontario, Testimony to Committee on General Government, May 28, 2012.
“[The NDP bill] would have a negative impact on premiums outside of the GTA,” according to Bryan Yetman, Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, in testimony to Committee on General Government, May 30, 2012
Mauro states, “Our government’s measures to tackle auto insurance rates have produced results. Since 2004, auto insurance rates have risen at a slower pace than inflation and more recent changes that include the creation of the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force have resulted in a decrease of 0.18 per cent in rates in the first quarter of 2012. These trends are encouraging. In contrast, under the former PC government, auto insurance rates jumped 44.9 per cent”.
“Ontario Liberal auto insurance reforms have stabilized prices and kept rate increases lower than inflation following years of skyrocketing rates under both the NDP and PCs,” concluds Mauro. “The Horwath NDP rate-hike proposal to penalize Northern families is the wrong approach.”