Better solutions needed for keeping auto insurance rates low

Feb 19, 2013

Re: Auto insurance: When the bills are too high, Star editorial, Feb. 14.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s push to lower automobile insurance rates by 15 per cent is a modest proposal designed to provide some relief to Ontario’s beleaguered drivers. In response, the Insurance Bureau of Canada spokesperson whined out tired clichés about New Democrats.

Let me suggest what really worries the IBC. Now that New Democrats are, at last, again stepping into the fray on auto insurance, lobbyists are haunted by fears that a 15 per cent rate cut is a down payment to voters on creating an Ontario public auto insurance plan.

Ms. Horwath has made no such assertion. Yet, there is no better solution to keeping auto insurance rates low and limiting opportunity for fraud than a non-profit, driver-owned, publicly administered plan.

Canadians have had public auto insurance longer than we have had our treasured national health plan. Tommy Douglas brought the first plan to Saskatchewan in 1945.

Now, roughly half the population of our nation has public auto coverage. Manitoba, British Columbia and Quebec have, with variations designed to fit their own provincial economies, also instituted public auto insurance. These plans have survived many elections, served governments of various political stripes and operate in both official languages.

If an Ontario legislative committee were to make an unbiased review of the other provinces’ plans via testimony and close study of annual and other reports, legislators would see these are practical number and individual risk-based models of insurance.

The non-profit companies operate with one major difference: any surplus is returned to the province for use in ways the province sees fit. The money stays in Canada, in the province, and invests in communities.

Here, an auto insurance plan offers a tantalizing prospect beyond much-needed low rates. What better way to draw on our knowledge of the auto industry and our excellent college and university than to seek to have an Ontario public auto insurance plan instituted and then headquartered here?

Perhaps more persons could then afford the total cost of car ownership and better yet, our young people could find good jobs at home.


Leave Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.