Insurance Bureau of Canada sets record straight: Auto insurance companies support changes that benefit consumers

TORONTO, May 22 2009 – An alliance of medical/rehabilitation providers has issued another press release attempting to blame Ontario auto insurers for every ill currently plaguing the Ontario auto insurance system.

“This group of rehabilitation providers is misleading the public with false accusations that serve no purpose but to further their own financial interest,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, Insurance Bureau of Canada. “The auto insurance system needs to put consumers first. The only acceptable priority is an affordable system that also ensures accident victims get back to health as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Ontario auto insurance is in crisis, and it is in crisis, in part, because the cost of no fault health care services has gone up more than 40% in the past four years, and over the past 12 months, these cost increases have been accelerating. And not enough of this is going to treatment. For every dollar spent on therapy, another 60 cents goes to providers conducting assessments.

Forgeron added: “Other provinces have much lower accident benefit limits than Ontario. These systems work well and accident victims return to health more quickly than they do in Ontario. Despite the alarm raised by some rehabilitation providers in the system, the vast majority of people injured in car collisions suffer sprain and strain injuries and simple fractures. For these people, $25,000 is more than enough to restore them to full health. For those who need more, we have called for provisions to be in place to ensure they get more. The goal is the right amount of treatment for everybody.”

Ontario has the most generous auto insurance system in North America, and Ontario drivers pay at least 25% more for auto insurance than drivers elsewhere in Canada. Despite that fact, there is no evidence that accident victims in Ontario are getting any better any faster than those in other provinces. After 6 months, 80% of sprain and strain claims in Ontario are still open and people continue to receive treatment. In Alberta, after the same period of time, only 40% of similar cases remain open.

Contrary to accusations from these rehabilitation providers, reducing Ontario’s medical rehabilitation limit will not transfer costs from insurers to the public health system. The province already collects $142 million a year from insurers to compensate for the cost to the public system of treating auto collision victims. In the unlikely event that auto collision-related costs to public health were to increase as a result of changes to the system, this health levy could be raised.

Auto insurers can sell any product that government wants, no matter how generous. But there is a corresponding cost. And it is up to everyone involved in that system to ensure that costs are kept reasonable for the benefit of all drivers.

Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent nearly 95% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 108,000 Canadians, pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal and provincial governments, and has a total premium base of $36 billion.

To view news releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at