Q: If government accepts FSCO's recommendation and slashes auto accident benefits, how much will this boost industry profits? A: No one knows, or at least no one is saying.



    TORONTO, May 22 /CNW/ - The Financial Services Commission of Ontario
(FSCO) is recommending that Finance Minister Dwight Duncan slash medical and
rehabilitation accident benefits from $100,000 to $25,000, yet it apparently
does not have the data to assess how much in additional profits this will mean
for insurance companies.
    The Alliance of Community Medical and Rehabilitation Providers sent a
formal request to FSCO, asking for financial information relating to the auto
insurance sector in Ontario including the estimated financial benefit that
would accrue to the industry if the recommendation is implemented by
government.
    "We were shocked when FSCO told us they didn't have that information"
says Patricia Howell, an Alliance member and an occupational therapist who
provides rehabilitation services to auto accident victims. "FSCO is the
insurance regulator in Ontario. How can it make recommendations to the
Minister, recommendations based on the industry's contention that it needs
financial relief, without knowing what the impact of its proposal will be?"
    The Alliance's own, admittedly crude, calculations suggest that the
proposed reduction in basic accident benefits could result in about $700
million in cost savings for the insurance industry in Ontario, yet there is
nothing in FSCO's recommendations that would mandate a corresponding reduction
in premiums. "We'll pay the same or more for auto insurance, and we'll get
less in benefits if we're hurt in an accident," notes Laurie Davis, an
Alliance spokesperson.
    It should also be noted that the estimated savings for the insurance
industry will result in a corresponding increase in costs for the health
system as accident victims, after exhausting their $25,000 in private
insurance benefits under the proposed new regime, will have to turn to the
publicly-funded system. "This amounts to a transfer of costs from insurance
companies to the public health system," says Howell.
    The Alliance is urging the Finance Minister to protect the consumers of
this province by rejecting the FSCO recommendations and maintaining the
current level of basic accident benefits. "The government should not be
pushing ahead without having the information it needs to make an informed
decision," states Mike Barneveld, another Alliance member.
    The Alliance urges consumers to contact their MPP and email Finance
Minister Dwight Duncan directly at dwight.duncan@ontario.ca. As well,
consumers can sign an online petition at www.feelinglucky.ca.

    The Alliance of Community Medical & Rehabilitation Providers is a
coalition of 43 organizations in Ontario providing direct clinical services to
victims of motor vehicle accidents and employing physiotherapists,
occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, chiropractors, social
workers, psychologists, case managers and family physicians.




For further information:

For further information: Rachel Sa, PR POST, office (416) 777-0368, cell
(416) 454-7713

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REHAB RESULTS INC.

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