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



    TORONTO, May 22 /CNW/ - 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 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 www.ibc.ca.




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For further information: or to arrange an interview please contact:
James Geuzebroek, (416) 362-2031 ext. 4364


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