NDP demands release of secret report on insurance profits
The Ontario New Democrats are continuing to pressure the governing Liberals to release a secret report that spells out exactly how much profit insurance companies are making.
The NDP wants the government-commissioned report made public, so that Ontarians can see for themselves whether auto insurance companies can afford to cut premiums and still turn a profit.
According to NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, the value of statutory accident payouts dropped by just under $2-billion in 2011, a 50 per cent reduction from 2010 when Ontario’s auto insurance rates increased by five per cent.
Horwath has called for the government to mandate a 15 per cent cut to premiums, as it is empowered to do through the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. She’s made it clear that if the reduction doesn’t come, her party will not support the spring budget. And that would mean triggering a provincial election.
Premier Kathleen Wynne agreed earlier this month that insurance rates need to be “worked on” but that her government also wants to tackle auto insurance fraud and have the savings applied to premiums.
But NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh called that promise a “red herring.”
Speaking to reporters at Queens Park on Monday, the Bramalea Gore Malton MPP and attorney general for the Department of Justice and Consumer Services said “the issue of waiting for fraud reduction measures… is a political distraction.”
Horwath has said her party supports the government’s plan to reduce fraud, but more needs to be done to provide financial relief to drivers.
According to the NDP, a 15 per cent reduction in premiums will save the average driver in Ontario approximately $226 a year.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada told The Canadian Press that calculations didn’t factor in expenses, just claim payouts, and said insurance fraud costs drivers in the province up to $1.6-billion a year.
Steve Kee, a spokesperson for the Insurance Bureau of Canada told The Canadian Press that Ontario insurance companies see very little profit and that there are many factors driving up rates.
Some people abuse the system, he said, pointing to the fact that the average claim in Ontario is $30,000 while in Alberta its $3,500.
“That’s ridiculous…. We need to deal with that core issue.”
With files from The Canadian Press.