Ontario auto insurance is changing and brokers will need to educate their clients to ensure they have the best coverage for their lifestyle.
The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) said it is preparing to launch a multi-faceted awareness campaign on Ontario Auto Reform, ahead of new changes coming into play June 1, with the aim of combatting widespread fraud and abuse of the system.
Back in 2014, the provincial government passed the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act. In a nutshell, new regulations include lower accident benefit limits in standard insurance policies, new options to increase coverage, new procedures for payment and a mandatory Winter Tire Discount (up to 5%) offered by insurance companies across Ontario.
The winter tire discount came into play as of January 1, while most changes come into effect June.
“It’s important consumers understand that Ontario Auto coverage is changing,” said Jim Murphy, IBAO CEO. “These changes continue the trend of more choice for consumers – products can be tailored to suit individual needs and budget.
“Client lifestyle is a real focus of this campaign. This is a tremendous opportunity for brokers to lead the conversation with their clients and ensure they have the best coverage for their lifestyle,” Murphy added.
But the IBAO acknowledges that car insurance can sometimes come with negative connotations, but remind consumers that insurance is a safety net, protecting against risk; insurance is a critical factor in individual and collective welfare.
The opportunity with this new set of measures is to step back and look at what your client really needs. Does their employer provide a Group Insurance Plan? Look into what that policy covers, as most benefit packages are limited to $500/year per practitioner, which can be exhausted quickly even in cases of minor accidents.
Client with dependents, like children or elderly parents, who would care for them in the event of injury?
The IBAO reminds brokers to inform clients that standard policies are just that – standard. They don’t include benefits like dependent care, and that gaps might exist depending on the lifestyle. The good news is there’s opportunity to fill those gaps by increasing coverage or adding options to cover specific areas.
The IBAO campaign will include broker education, including an on-demand webinar that reviews changes and the transition process and a panel discussion featuring insurers, legal experts and brokers – that takes a more in-depth look at the implications changes will have on consumers.
In related news, the IBAO is addressing concerns over MTO and Service Ontario, after broker feedback indicated instances of delayed connectivity between a broker's issuance of an auto policy and proof of insurance when the client arrives at the MTO or Service Ontario office.
A directive from the MTO will be sent to Service Ontario offices to reconfirm that proof of insurance by way of a liability certificate (even a faxed copy) will enable your customers to renew their stickers.
If your clients continue to have problems getting renewal stickers, the IBAO requests the location of the Service Ontario office. This will help the MTO identify those areas which may require further training.