Ontario is cracking down on auto insurance fraud to reduce insurance premiums, make roads safer, and ensure people who are hurt in car accidents receive the treatment they need.
In an interim report delivered Friday, the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force recommends preliminary measures to reduce fraud in prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement, as well as regulatory practices and consumer education.
In addition, the report identifies several major issues the task force will examine in the coming months, including:
•the licensing and/or regulation of health clinics, and other possible gaps in regulation;
•the establishment of a dedicated fraud investigation unit;
•the development of a consumer engagement and education strategy; and
•the creation of a single web portal for Ontario auto insurance claimants.
Announced in the 2011 Ontario budget, the task force builds on a series of recent government initiatives to help address auto insurance fraud.
•implementing a package of auto insurance reforms in September, 2010 to stabilize rates and crack down on fraud;
•using the Health Claims for Auto Insurance database to detect potentially-fraudulent activity; and
•introducing new rules to ensure treatments are provided to patients as invoiced.
The government is working to ensure auto insurance rates are affordable and that coverage provides Ontarians with the best possible protection.
Under the McGuinty government, auto insurance rates have risen at a slower pace than inflation.
As well, Ontario’s accident benefits remain the most generous in Canada when compared to other provinces with similar auto insurance marketplaces.
“Auto insurance fraud is a serious issue and affects all of Ontario’s nine million drivers,” said Finance minister Dwight Duncan.
“The task force is helping us tackle fraud and I look forward to its final recommendations next fall.
“Our government is working hard to ensure auto insurance rates are affordable and available to all Ontarians,” he pledged.
Accident benefits claims costs increased by 118 percent from 2006-10—despite a reduction in the number of auto accidents, number of people injured in auto accidents, and the severity of injuries suffered over the same time period.
Auto insurance fraud generally falls into three categories:
•opportunistic fraud is the padding of originally legitimate claims;
•premeditated fraud involves an individual consistently invoicing an insurer for goods and services that either are not provided or unnecessary; and
•organized fraud involves many individuals creating an organized scheme designed to generate cash flow through a pattern of fraudulent activity.