Ontario auto insurance premium reductions to save consumers $900 million this year: Shop around, Insurance Bureau of Canada says

TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2005 – Insurance Bureau of Canada today announced that Ontario auto insurance consumers will save an estimated $900 million this year.

“Consumers can expect lower auto premiums in 2005. This is a direct result of a financially stronger, more competitive insurance industry and essential reforms undertaken by the Ontario government,” said Mark Yakabuski, Vice President, Federal Affairs & Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“Drivers should shop around and consult with their insurance representatives to make sure they are taking advantage of declining rates. These savings are unprecedented.” he said.

Yakabuski was responding to the release by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) of approved auto insurance rate changes for the fourth quarter 2004. FSCO confirmed that approved rates are now 10.6% lower than they were one year ago. This reduction exceeds the government’s own commitment.

The approved rate reductions of 10.6% tell only part of the insurance savings story. According to industry data collected by IBC, premiums for private passenger vehicles in Ontario have actually gone down by 12% since November 2003. The average premium has declined from $1,499 to $1,319 during this period. Savings are even greater if commercial vehicles are included.

“This good news is the result of industry working closely together with the government to implement essential reforms to the Ontario auto insurance system over the past several months,” Yakabuski said. “Today’s announcement shows that the intense work over these months to address mounting claims costs has been well worth it — for consumers most of all.”

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents more than 90% of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada. To view news releases and information, visit IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.