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Ontario drivers see average of $150 savings; minister says more should be done

Last Updated Jun 17, 2020 at 1:53 pm EST

Traffic on Highway 401 in Toronto passes under a COVID-19 sign on Monday, April 6, 2020. Canadians looking to tighten their belt may want to look to their auto insurance for savings during the pandemic as many are driving less and working from home, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Insurance companies have provided $685 million in relief to Ontario drivers using their cars less during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the province’s finance minister says more should be done.

The regulatory body said about 70 per cent of policy holders are receiving some form of relief, with an average savings of $150.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority said the $685 million in relief amounts to about five per cent of the total annual premiums Ontario drivers pay.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips said 10 out of the 14 major insurance companies have provided rebates to customers.

Phillips announced a regulatory change in April to enable the companies to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the emergency has ended.

Phillips said he will look at the companies not supporting their customers and will publicly name them if necessary.

“I believe there’s still more that can be done,” he said in an interview. “I don’t believe all of the companies are participating at the level that they should.”

Phillips has said rebates should be commensurate with the scale of difficulty Ontario families are facing.

“People made it clear they weren’t driving as much, there were fewer accidents,” he said. “I made it clear to the insurance industry we wanted them to take care of their clients during this difficult time.”

The NDP has called on the Ontario government to mandate a three-month, 50 per cent discount on auto insurance.