Today Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced that the government intends to introduce legislation that if passed with lower average annual premiums by 15% or $225 per vehicle for safe drivers.
It appears that FSCO will be authorized by legislation to compel insurers to refile rates to achieve the 15% average roll-back. Although not mentioned, I expect FSCO will be able to make exceptions where a full roll-back could create solvency issues for an insurer.
The Minister said there should be an immediate impact but did not say exactly when drivers would see the savings. Based on past roll-backs, it may not be until a driver renews their insurance.
The Minister appeared to link rate roll-backs with fraud prevention initiatives and road safety improvements. FSCO will be provided with expanded powers to investigate fraud and enforce compliance.
FSCO will also be authorized to license and oversea health clinics and practitioners that invoice auto insurers. When asked about regulating the towing industry, the Minister was non-committal.
Finally, the Insurance Act is to be amended to make Superintendent's Guidelines, incorporated by reference in the SABS, to be binding. This proposed amendment appears to specifically address a view expressed by the arbitrator in the Scarlett and Belair decision.