If you’re a motorist that likes to keep a close eye on the insurance industry, a bill that was recently passed by the Ontario Legislature and given royal assent on November 20th will be of particular interest to you. The bill, known as “The Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Rates Act” or Bill 15 for short, will affect motorists, tow truck drivers and the insurance industry itself.
What Is Bill 15?
The main concept behind Bill 15 is to reduce auto insurance premiums by an average of 15 percent by no later than August 2015. The starting point for the reduction is the summer of 2013, and they have already dropped roughly 6 percent since then.
The bill is also aimed at lowering the operating costs of insurance companies by focusing on fraud in the insurance industry. Lowering the costs for insurance companies will contribute to lower premiums for Ontario drivers.
How It Affects Motorists
Some of the highlights of Bill 15 for motorists include the rate reduction of roughly 15 percent for drivers with clean records, and
if you’ve been injured in a collision, the legislation will help you settle your claim faster and more efficiently.
This will be accomplished by moving a dispute resolution system from Ontario’s insurance regulator to an existing tribunal run by the Attorney General’s office. By making this small change, an entire step will be eliminated from the appeals process, speeding up the end result.
Motorists will also have more control over what happens with their vehicles after a collision. Tow truck operators and vehicle storage yards are required to keep drivers informed about where their car is towed, and how much they will have to pay for each day it is stored there.
Effects on the Tow Truck Industry
Bill 15 has affected the tow truck industry in several ways. Along with having to inform drivers where their vehicle is being towed, they will also require permission from the driver before being able to charge for their services. The prices have to be posted, they must accept credit card payments and they have to provide invoices.
Bill 15 is designed to regulate the tow truck industry by adding the drivers to the Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration system. Previously, they were exempt from this designation. In an effort to maximize safety for everyone, the legislation limits the number of hours tow truck drivers can operate, topping out at 13 hours per day or 60 hours per week.
As you can imagine, most tow truck drivers aren’t impressed with the new rules. Many feel they will be deprived of earning the same kind of living as before, since the bulk of calls happen during the winter months. A protest at Queen’s Park was attended by hundreds of tow truck drivers.
Haas Insurance Leading the Way
The Insurance Bureau of Canada was pleased about the introduction of Bill 15 and as always, Haas Insurance is right there following the government legislation and leading the way. If you have any questions about Bill 15 and how it affects your auto insurance, feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to explain!