By Allison Jones
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO _ After two straight quarters of increases, auto insurance rates in Ontario have now dropped by less than one per cent.
Approved rates posted Friday by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario for the third quarter of 2017 show an average decrease of 0.14 per cent.
Rates went up in the second quarter by an average of 0.76 per cent and in the three months before that, they increased by 1.24 per cent.
That means rates have decreased on average by around eight per cent since 2013, when the Liberal government promised to cut rates by an average of 15 per cent by August 2015.
But when that self-imposed deadline passed, Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted it had been what she called a “stretch goal.”
A report earlier this year by Ontario’s auto insurance adviser found that the province has the most expensive auto insurance premiums in Canada despite also having one of the lowest levels of accidents and fatalities.
David Marshall found that the average auto insurance premium in Ontario is $1,458, which is almost 55 per cent higher than the average of all other Canadian jurisdictions.
The government consulted on the report’s recommendations over the summer and is now reviewing the feedback, said a spokeswoman for Finance Minister Charles Sousa.
“Since 2013, we have made progress on lowering rates through product reforms, including changes made in 2015 that require insurers to offer discounts for the use of winter tires, create a new dispute resolution system to help Ontario claimants get faster access to the benefits they need, prohibit premium increases on minor at-fault accidents, and lower the maximum interest rate charged on monthly premium payments,” Jessica Martin wrote in a statement.
“Based on Marshall’s recommendations, we are considering systemic changes to further reduce costs.”
Marshall’s recommendations included adopting a “care not cash” approach, exploring better ways to care for people who are catastrophically injured and making lawyers’ contingency fees more transparent.