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Insurance Business | 26 Jan 2017, 07:30 AM Agree 0
Drivers in the province pay as much as 70% more than motorists in neighbouring locales
  • Brian | 26 Jan 2017, 12:53 PM Agree 0
    Yes. Contingency fees need a look. Insurance business is quick to jump all over that issue but sticks its head in the sand re "hired guns" in lab coats with multiple judicial rebukes for their shoddy, partisan insurer assessments (see NP and Star coverage). Clearly you select your new with an eye toward pleasing your insurance industry audience - and screw their customers.
  • Paul - Editor | 26 Jan 2017, 01:02 PM Agree 0
    Hi Brian... appreciate your feedback. I think we have proven however, that we will cover any relevant stories for the insurance industry irrespective of whether they are positive or negative. We're always open to hearing story suggestions. Feel free to email me any time if you'd like to raise an issue. Thanks.
  • Jokelee Vanderkop | 26 Jan 2017, 03:59 PM Agree 0
    Why focus just on contingency fees, thus laying, in fact, the brunt of the blame on personal injury lawyers for high insurance costs. Insurers need to also accept responsibility for high costs. Claimants don't want to have to hire a lawyer to get the accident benefits they're owed but no injured party gets through the auto insurance dispute resolution system successfully unless they hire a lawyer.

    Insurers retain high-priced defence lawyers to too often back up unscrupulous, dishonest, or downplayed IME assessments of injuries by equally high paid insurer-hired medical experts. It costs a lot to keep these IME rogue experts in the stable to benefit the insurer outcome rather than claimants. What about an automatic $36,700 deductible for insurers on tort settlements. That's no small change and it benefits the insurer.

    The March and October 2015 Schulich Reports by Professors Fred Lazar and Eli Prisman show that the auto insurance industry has been very profitable for a long time and that policyholders have been over-paying on average $100-$120 per year. The companies that weren't profitable were so not profitable, due to bad management, that they should not have been allowed to stay in business. And now, accident benefits have been further reduced in June 2016 from already dramatic benefit cuts in 2010.

    It's time the auto insurance industry cleaned up its act, cleaned out its IME assessor stables and paid policyholders who are injured what they promised to pay in their policies. Insurers and the IBC need to stop pointing the finger elsewhere for high premium and insurance costs, and stop putting shareholders and the corporate bottom line, despite their government-approved 6% Return on Premium benchmark which works out to a 12% annual return on equity, ahead of injured accident victims.

  • Jokelee Vanderkop | 26 Jan 2017, 04:02 PM Agree 0
    Why focus just on contingency fees, thus laying, in fact, the brunt of the blame on personal injury lawyers for high insurance costs. Insurers need to also accept responsibility for high costs. Claimants don't want to have to hire a lawyer to get the accident benefits they're owed but no injured party gets through the auto insurance dispute resolution system successfully unless they hire a lawyer.

    Insurers retain high-priced defence lawyers to too often back up unscrupulous, dishonest, or downplayed IME assessments of injuries by equally high paid insurer-hired medical experts. It costs a lot to keep these IME rogue experts in the stable to benefit the insurer outcome rather than claimants. What about an automatic $36,700 deductible for insurers on tort settlements. That's no small change and it benefits the insurer.

    The March and October 2015 Schulich Reports by Professors Fred Lazar and Eli Prisman show that the auto insurance industry has been very profitable for a long time and that policyholders have been over-paying on average $100-$120 per year. The companies that weren't profitable were so not profitable, due to bad management, that they should not have been allowed to stay in business. And now, accident benefits have been further reduced in June 2016 from already dramatic benefit cuts in 2010.

    It's time the auto insurance industry cleaned up its act, cleaned out its IME assessor stables and paid policyholders who are injured what they promised to pay in their policies. Insurers and the IBC need to stop pointing the finger elsewhere for high premium and insurance costs, and stop putting shareholders and the corporate bottom line, despite their government-approved 6% Return on Premium benchmark which works out to a 12% annual return on equity, ahead of injured accident victims.

  • Rhona DesRoches | 26 Jan 2017, 05:46 PM Agree 0
    It's an interesting path to get to the contingency fee problem by a large insurance company. For there to be a need for a PI lawyer first an insurer must turn down a legitimate claim. So the victim, who is blocked from resources gets a lawyer to fight to get what's needed, not for fun, not in a chase for the fictitious big pot of gold, but for recovery.

    Victims who have lost their livelihoods, their homes, and worse their health, and who get a lawyer to help them are considered to be the problem if you believe what Aviva is saying. Have insurers forgotten that this is actually what they've been paid for - to cover the cost of injury? It's why we pay premiums and if that's the problem then they shouldn't be in the service industry. A 50% claims turndown rate is nothing to be proud of, it's a shameful example of the result of the lack of consumer protection. In 2014 Ontario's legislators heard from the Aviva representative at Queen's Park hearings on Bill 15 that Aviva paid out 44 million dollars in 2013 in legal costs- four times as much as the average value of what a claimant received. That's the legal costs buried in our premiums, stop denying legitimate claims, and those costs go down.

    And to be clear, insurers are made to pay only a portion of the costs that victims are responsible for on the road to holding their insurer to account. Costs that are the direct result of the insurers poor claims handling practices, the poor quality and biased medical examination evidence they commission, and the delays that they've created in our courts with an overload of denied claims. Insurers have even managed to create a 'deductible' of over $37,000.00 that many victims must pay for the act of holding a reluctant insurer to account, money insurers get to keep. At this point the LAT system is not allotting any legal costs to victims, a departure from the FSCO policy that will result in fewer victims getting what they need because they will not be able to afford to hire legal representation. Of course the Charter rights of victims to access courts had to be stripped away to get to the desired profit margin, but that's just a small detail to an industry dedicated to profit and not service.

    There's even an effort here to distort “recent revelations on referral fees and advertising costs in the personal injury legal community” having an effect on premiums. How does that work? Are they, the insurers, being billed for PI lawyers advertising and we don't know about it? Of course not, but what is built into premiums, aside from the outrageous insurers legal cost of denying half of all claims, is the $30 million per year that the IBC is spending to reassure consumers that everything is just fine and that the big problem here is PI legal costs to victims.

    Victims see it quite differently. They'd prefer to have their claims adjusted with honest and non-partisan medical evidence and to not ever have to hire a lawyer. They'd prefer not to be made sicker by a complicated system and insurers that bully them. They'd like to get what they paid for without the need for a lawyer. There's a lack of claims adjusting and it's been replaced by denying and downloading to the taxpayer. Insurers have created the present system and/or had a hand in all of the auto insurance legislation that leads us to today - not victims with zero input into the system and not their legal representatives who are equally ignored at Queen's Park. Insurers need to own it. Acknowledge that the problems are their creation and that the fake war on fraud has created fake coverage for victims who can't be blamed for fighting for what they paid for.
  • Brian | 02 Feb 2017, 03:52 PM Agree 0
    @Rhona,
    If you really want to know how Ontario auto insurers treat seriously injured auto accident victims; don't listen to the highly paid IBC spin-doctor lobbyists. Read what investigative reporters write when they decide to have a look for themselves. Here's one of a plethora of examples of how far auto insurers will go to screw over their injured customers:
    http://www.torontosun.com/2011/11/17/injured-hamilton-man-having-difficulties-with-insurance-company
  • Brian | 02 Feb 2017, 04:06 PM Agree 0
    Good for Insurance Business for covering the issue of plaintiff lawyer fees. Now, if this was a trade journal interested in even-handed reporting of insurance matters - it would be asking some questions about the auto insurer defense lawyers as well. How much are they paid by the insurers to try and defeat seriously injured claimants? And why do the insurer defence lawyers keep foisting known hired-gun experts on to the civil courts given it is a violation of professional/ethical standards to do so? The courts promise impartial experts and the defense lawyer are deliberately undermining that promise. These lawyers know which medical experts have multiple judicial rebukes for being biased against claimants. But they keep on trotting them into court and pretending they are impartial - hoping nobody will notice.
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