Toronto, Ontario — April 16, 2015 — The Fair Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform (FAIR) is calling for the Ontario Auditor General to investigate and report on the auto insurance sector.
In a statement, the non-profit organization — made up of MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident) victims injured in collisions — says there are an unprecedented number of innocent, injured victims who have not had their claims properly handled by insurers.
Citing a recent Statscan Civil Court Survey, the advocacy group states there are now 61,063 auto insurance cases waiting for hearings in Ontario’s Superior Court, and over 30,000 unresolved claim disputes at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, according to the 2013 Minister of Finance DRS Report.
FAIR says there are a large number of seriously injured victims facing a wait-time of up to 10 years or more to hold their insurer accountable, without timely access to treatment and rehabilitation.
“Ontario drivers pay the highest prices in Canada for insurance, almost double what some other provinces are paying for similar coverage,” the organization said in the release. “With so many unresolved claims in the system, it is time to take a hard look at whether our government should be legislating Ontarians to buy this inferior product.”
According to the Auditor General’s (AG) 2011 Report on auto insurance, approximately half of all claims are turned down by Ontario insurers.
“What the AG report doesn’t talk about is how these claims are turned down,” the release states. “Victims are forced to attend multiple and excessive medical examinations by their insurer in course of a claim. Insurers spend more on assessing a victim than they do on treatment and rehabilitation, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s own statistics in the HCDB Standard Report.”
FAIR says insurer medical examinations (IME) are often performed with bias, and used as a tool to deny claims.
Victims then must hire legal representation in a province where the cost of the service is the highest in the country, with many hiring more than one lawyer during the course of the claim, the organization says.
“We pay our premiums and we should be able to access the coverage we paid so handsomely for,” FAIR states. “What we have is legislators who are listening only to the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s incessant calls to slash benefits and our government is now on board with blocking victim’s access to fair and balanced hearings in court through Bill 15.
When insurers don’t pay, we all will. We are paying for private insurers who, according to the OTLA’s recent report, are making unprecedented and excessive profits on the backs of victims they refuse to pay.”
For more information on FAIR, please go to fairassociation.ca.