I just got back from CES 2017 and everyone was talking about autonomous vehicles. Regardless of whether you were a traditional technology maker or automaker, if you attended CES, you had autonomous vehicle tech to announce. Twelve months ago at…Read more →
This week I was speaking to my insurance agent who preparing my renewals. I was asking her about how the optional benefits have been impacted by the regulatory changes that became effective on June 1st. During the conversation it came out that she only…Read more →
Another insurer has entered into Ontario’s ridesharing insurance market. Effective December 1, 2016, Northbridge Insurance provides ridesharing coverage for users of RideCo., a Waterloo Region-based ridesharing company. The new product seeks to fill existing coverage gaps under Ontario’s standard Ontario…Read more →
A FSCO arbitrator has confirmed that the first insurer that receives a completed application for accident benefits is required to adjust and pay the claim, even if the insurer is taking an off-coverage position. Overview In Cankaya v. Intact /…Read more →
The changes to the Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule introduced on June 1st, 2016, were complicated enough. Now, to make matters worse, there are mixed messages coming from the industry as to when policyholders are affected by these changes. For…Read more →
FSCO’s latest quarterly rate approval numbers have been released and the news is not good for consumers. Half the savings as a result of statutory accident benefit cuts that became effective on June 1 are already gone. FSCO approved 25 private pa…Read more →
Effective April 1, 2016, the Licence Appeal Tribunal began accepting applications to the new Automobile Accident Benefits Service (AABS) system with an aim to quickly resolve disagreements between individuals and insurance companies about statutory acc…Read more →
As I reported previously, the Ontario government amended the fleet definition in Regulation 664 in early July. The amended definition reads as follows:
From my perspective, this is not an ideal resolution. However, it does fill in the insurance gap that has existed since Uber began providing its services in Toronto in 2012. One of the most important elements in the fleet definition has always been the requirement that there be common management. Common management is an element that is required in order for a group of vehicles to be considered a fleet, if they are not commonly owned or where they are owned by a leasing company. It refers to the fact that the owner or manager has a measure of control over the vehicles. A fleet is typically a discrete risk exposure whose experience and characteristics can be monitored and rated, and is affected by the actions of the owner or manager. The vehicles in a fleet are not individually rated as this is inconsistent with a key principle in fleet rating to establish a rate specific to the experience of the fleet. Usually, the manager of a fleet will implement rigorous risk management programs to monitor and improve experience and rating.
None of these circumstance remotely exist when it comes to Uber drivers and their vehicles. They are network of drivers connected to customers through an app provided by Uber. Their is no common ownership or management. It suggest that once an Uber driver turns on the app on his phone, he or she becomes part of a fleet. That decision isn’t even made by Uber.
Is this such a bad thing? It could be if it leads to further erosion of the fleet definition. The regulator has for years denied fleet policies because they failed to meet the test of common ownership or management. Will they be able to continue to push back against synthetic fleets? It would have been better, if the government had created a provision in the Insurance Act to deal specifically with transportation network companies. I expect it will take some time to determine whether the government and the insurance industry will regret the newly amended fleet definition.Read more →
FSCO’s latest quarterly rate approval numbers have been released and suggest that consumers will see very few savings the statutory accident benefit cuts that became effective on June 1.FSCO approved 14 private passenger automobile insurance rate filin…Read more →
After months of uber anticipation, FSCO has approved a new fleet auto policy, from Intact, for private passenger vehicles engaged in UberX activities. The announcement comes days after Intact launched a similar product in Alberta. Background UberX is a Web-based…Read more →
New regulations are now in effect if you repair, tow or store vehicles in Ontario. The new regulations under the Repair and Storage Liens Act took effect on July 1, 2016. Further regulations will come into force starting January 1, 2017. The follo…Read more →
This week, the Ontario amended Regulation 664 to expand the definition of a fleet to accommodate ride-sharing services like Uber. The change opens the door for insurers to offer policies to drivers of vehicles for hire using an online app.
The regulation amendment expands the fleet definition to include vehicles available for hire through a common online-enabled application or system for the pre-arrangement of transportation. The vehicle owner or lessee is to be named insured under an auto insurance contract. The regulation change will make it easier for Ontario businesses to insure a group of privately owned vehicles under one insurance policy as a “fleet” when they are available for hire using an online app.
FSCO has already approved a fleet policy proposed by Intact Insurance Company. The Intact policy provides blanket fleet coverage under a standard automobile owner’s policy (OAP 1) for private passenger automobiles used in the transportation of paying passengers who utilize Uber.
The Intact fleet policy does not provide coverage when the driver is not logged onto the Uber online app. Coverage under the personal owner’s policy for the automobile is applicable.
FSCO also approved the use of an electronic insurance card for use in connection with ride sharing. The electronic insurance card will permit ride share drivers who are covered under the Intact policy the option to provide evidence of insurance electronically using an online-enabled app (e.g., to law enforcement officials).Read more →
The Ontario government should establish a new organization that would perform the functions currently performed by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO), an expert advisory panel said in a report released Monday.
The panel recommends that a new Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) be established, and it should exercise both prudential and market conduct functions. The panel – comprised of George Cooke, James Daw and Lawrence Ritchie – made its recommendation to create FSRA in an interim report released in November, 2015. The final report, dated March 31, was made public Monday and contains 44 recommendations.
The mandate review was partly made necessary with the transfer of responsibility for operating an auto insurance dispute resolution system from FSCO to Ministry of the Attorney General’s Licence Appeal Tribunal on April 1, 2016.
The report suggests that FSRA should consolidate functions, but it should have separate divisions for the regulation of market conduct; prudential oversight; and pension administration. These divisions of the regulator should operate in a coordinated manner, but each division should be insulated from the routine regulatory activities, pressures and resource demands of other divisions.
FSRA should be a self-funded corporation without share capital, operationally independent of government, yet accountable to the Legislature through the Minister of Finance. The FSRA should be outside of the Ontario Public Service and be empowered to hire its personnel from outside of the Ontario Public Service’s collective agreements, compensation restraints, and other hiring restraints to support its ability to recruit professionals and industry expertise as it deems necessary.
FSRA should have a skills-based Board of Directors appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Board would oversee FSRA’s operations and the Board should have the authority to appoint a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The Board Chair should report directly to the Minister of Finance.
FSRA’s Board should be given authority to make rules that would be enforceable pursuant to the statute, having a similar authority as Cabinet Regulations.
Auto Insurance Rate Regulation
The panel did not make any recommendations with respect to the prior approval of auto insurance. However, it did recommend that FSRA’s Board should be obliged and empowered to decide how auto insurance rates are to be regulated and make use of its rule-making authority to scope out a rate approval process.
The view of the panel is that when it comes to the regulation of automobile insurance rates, FSCO is not ultimately protecting the public interest or enhancing confidence in the sector.
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
The panel recommends that responsibility for operating the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) be transferred to the Facility Association (FA), a non-profit organization funded by automobile insurers in the provinces and territories that operate private insurance systems. This responsibility would fit well with the FA’s original purpose, which is to act as the ‘insurer of last resort’ for high-risk drivers. The FA already operates uninsured motorist funds similar to the MVACF in the Atlantic Provinces.
The panel indicated that the new mandate should require FSRA to utilize its statutory authorities to adequately, firmly and consistently discourage fraudulent activities or behaviours that mislead or harm consumers and pension plan beneficiaries.
FSRA should be directed to identify and seek to eliminate gaps in protection for consumers who might be defrauded by licensed sales agents, brokers and corporations. FSRA should also have the authority to establish a fraud compensation fund such as exists in Quebec if or where enhancements to mandatory insurance coverage would not fully close current gaps.
There is no word from the government on implementing the panel’s recommendations.Read more →
Unlike the 2013 flood in southern Alberta, the Fort McMurray wildfire is a heavily insured event. Considering that property insurance got its roots in fire (indeed it used to be widely known as ‘fire insurance’, still is in certain circles,…Read more →