Passing the Buck: $1 billion available to Ont. drivers due to COVID relief fund

Toronto, Ontario – Ontario’s auto insurers have reported that there is about $1 billion in relief money saved and available to drivers in response to COVID-19.

“Our government took immediate action to make the required regulatory changes so that consumers could benefit from the change in driving behaviour during the pandemic, said Ontario’s Finance Minister Rod Phillips. “We made it very clear to insurers that drivers deserved more, which resulted in auto insurers making available almost $1 billion in relief for Ontario drivers. I have asked FSRA (Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario) to continue monitoring how insurance companies are providing relief to ensure consumers’ needs are being met as the pandemic continues to evolve.”

This marks a $300 million, or 45 percent, increase since May of this year. The billion-dollar relief fund is equivalent to 7.1 percent of total annual auto insurance premiums and made available to over 90 percent of the more than six million auto insurance consumers in Ontario.

Consumer relief is available through rebates, rate reductions, risk re-ratings, premium deferrals and other means, and varies by insurer.

Lowestrates.ca is a website that compares auto insurance rates and CEO Justin Thouin said his company’s data revelated that insurance rates in Ontario have dropped about 4 percent.

According to Thouin, insurance companies have either reduced premiums, changed policies or sent rebate cheques for customers. He believes by providing consumers with transparency of what insurance companies are doing for consumers, lower rates may become the result.

“The visibility and this competitive environment where insurance companies can see what each other is doing can only be good news for consumers,” he continued.

He also expects premiums for Ontario drivers to remain flat and possibly creep up once the fear from the pandemic trickles away.

But, despite the reduction due to COVID-19, Ontario drivers still pay the highest insurance premium in all of Canada.

The original LowestRates report can be found here.

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