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Ontario Auto Insurance - Government certainly not the answer

Guthrie Insurance

Tackle red tape that plagues Ontario's auto insurance system

Re: Public auto insurance: Why not? Guest column, by Howard Pawley, Feb. 22.

Howard Pawley has many questions for the private insurance industry in Ontario but does he have the courage to turn the same microscope on his own creation, Manitoba's public insurance system?

Mr. Pawley asks if the private insurers are providing appropriate transparency. In fact, private companies in Ontario provide more information to the government than the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) Corporation provides to its government.

He wonders if private insurers are charging appropriate premiums, while MPI has been ordered several times to give rebates to Manitoba drivers for charging them excess premiums.

Much of Mr. Pawley's information is incorrect (private insurers employ 77,000 people in Ontario, and 115,000 across the country), incomplete (he doesn't mention that setting up a government monopoly would cost hundreds of millions of dollars) and misleading (there is no guarantee that a government-run monopoly means lower premiums).

The fact is that private insurers pay back more than 90 per cent of every premium dollar collected in claims, taxes ($7.4 billion a year in federal and provincial levies), salaries, etc.

Having lived under both systems, I can personally assure you that the only things government-run auto insurance is certain to provide are a massive bureaucracy and poor customer service.

It's true that Ontario's auto insurance system is not working and drivers pay too much. But simplistic answers like a government monopoly are no substitute for the real solution — tackling the fraud, abuse, red tape, bloated costs and backlogs that plague the system.

Private insurers in Ontario are committed to the hard work of real reform that will reduce costs for everyone. I wonder if Mr. Pawley's beloved Manitoba bureaucracy can say the same.

HEATHER MACK, Regional Director, Government Relations, Insurance Bureau of Canada, Toronto

Courtesy of: The Windsor Star

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