Ontario Insurance Accident Benefits
Ontario’s insurance reform seems to be back in the spotlight and unfortunately the proposed reform does not protect Ontario accident victims. This is not the first reform we’ve seen. Back in 2010, Ontario accident victims had their insurance coverage reduced and the definition for minor injury was changed and close to 80% of all accident victims found themselves receiving less Ontario accident benefits because their injuries qualified for reduced benefits. The minor injury guidelines were changed from $100 000 and limited to a maximum of $3,500 for accident victims who have suffered minor injuries, such as whiplash injuries, strains, and sprains.
This means that people in Ontario who are injured in an accident now have little access to covered treatments and in most cases will be denied coverage for medical and rehabilitative treatments. This is not good news for Ontario drivers , passengers, pedestrian and cyclists.
It got worse, the medical/rehabilitation benefits for serious, non-catastrophic injuries were also reduced by over 50% from $100,000 plus assessment costs to $50,000, including assessment costs. This was a huge decrease in compensation and directly hurt Ontario accident victims.
More reduction in accident benefits
Another reduction was in attendant care benefits for serious, non-catastrophic injuries . These benefits were cut in half to $36,000. You would think this is bad enough; however in February of 2014, attendant care benefits were further changed and insurance companies were only required to pay attendant care benefits in the amount of income lost by the family member, regardless of the hours incurred. This again, did not help Ontario accident victims. For example if a stay-at-home mother would not be paid any attendant care benefits to care for an injured family member, as they did not have an income before the accident.
The Toronto Star reported that in 2012, Ontario’s auto insurance companies collected $3.78 billion in accident benefits premiums from Ontario drivers but only paid out $1.67 billion in insurance claims and expenses. Who are these reforms protecting ? Ontario accident victims or insurance companies ?