Auto Insurance Companies Whine about Medical Costs

Update: see previous posts – May 18, 2009 Ontario Auto Insurance – Reducing Accident Benefits from 100 to 25 Thousand Dollars., June 11, 2009 Insurance Companies exercise discrimination due to “perceived genetic risks”., July 19, 2009 Insurance Rates Skyrocket in Ontario, October 5, 2009 Ontario Liberals Support Auto Insurance Profits, November 5, 2009 Liberals Take Care of Ontario’s Auto Insurance Companies, November 13, 2009 Home Insurance Skyrockets in Ontario, August 22, 2010 Auto Insurance Rules Change September 1, 2010 (Ontario).

Auto Insurance companies are complaining again, this time about the costs of treating people with psychological issues, as a result of auto accidents. Apparently the profit margin isn’t as healthy and robust as these private insurance companies expect.

The latest profit figures released this week by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions suggest insurers of homes, autos and businesses enjoyed about a 40 per cent bounce in profits in the second quarter of the year.

See this story in the Toronto Star.

A dispute is simmering over the role psychologists will play in treatment of Ontario residents who suffer minor injuries in motor vehicle accidents.

Auto insurers wanted to see treatment of depression and anxiety after more minor sprains, strains, cuts and dislocations paid from a new $3,500 treatment cap that will come into effect starting September 1, 2010.

But a report prepared by a task force of psychologists suggests stress disorders and phobia may develop, regardless of the severity of an injury, and the cost of assessment and treatment should not be caught by that cap.

“It would be inappropriate to consider… psychological conditions and disorders… as being similar to the ‘minor’ physical injuries that are addressed in the (new) minor injury guideline, minor injury definition, and by extension, treatable with the $3,500 cap,” argues a task force whose 100-page report on auto insurance claims is posted to on the website of the Ontario Psychological Association.

The Ontario Psychological Association (the “OPA”) prepared the July 29, 2010 report, named “The OPA Guidelines for Assessment and Treatment in Auto Insurance Claims” in anticipation of the changes in Auto Insurance effective Wednesday, September 1, 2010 and the Auto Insurance Industry does not agree with it.

This isn’t the first time that the Auto Insurance Industry has disagreed with a report from the OPA. On March 31, 2009 OPA prepared a response to the recommendations of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario or (FSCO) regarding auto insurance in the Province of Ontario. The response was named “Ontario Psychological Association Response: Report on the Five Year Review of Automobile Insurance”. One of the concerns that the OPA expressed was the limited caps on healthcare needs and the resulting reality wherein those that are affected by an motor vehicle accident, would end up having his or her benefits end and would then be forced to go to our public healthcare services, thus putting an unnecessary strain on Ontario’s OHIP system.

The argument for Public Auto Insurance continues to be made through the actions of the Private Auto Insurance Industry. As the Private Auto Insurance Companies continue to successfully lobby FSCO and the McGuinty government to allow them to function as extremely profitable Corporations and continually raise the premiums for mandatory auto insurance in Ontario; Ontarians are getting fed up with the corporate greed, which has the overall effect of emptying their already lean pockets.

Ontarians deserve to have access to fair affordable auto insurance, as other Provinces currently enjoy, that already have Public Auto Insurance in place.

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