High auto insurance rates in Brampton are uniting two government parties to take action. On Monday, New Democrat MPP Gurratan Singh, who represents Brampton East, and Progressive Conservative MPP Parm Gill, who represents Milton, each spoke about introducing separate private member’s bills that would seek to lower insurance rates in the Flower City.
“In the last year alone, my community of Brampton has seen premiums increase at a rate nearly five times higher than the provincial average,” Singh was quoted as saying in a Toronto Star article. “The average Brampton driver’s annual premiums are nearly $1,000 more than the average driver in much of Toronto.”
Brampton has historically been a more expensive city to insure vehicles in than the rest of the country. Why? Namely due to a higher number of claims and more instances of fraud.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, for every 100 vehicles in Brampton, there are 11.5 claims, compared to an average of 9.3 for the rest of Ontario.
The Star reported that Peel Regional Police have said that Brampton is a “hotbed of staged collisions that scofflaws used to defraud insurance companies by overstating the damage to their cars.”
In their respective bills, both Singh and Gill would try to bridle rate discrimination based on postal code. Singh in particular spoke of wanting to amend the Insurance Act so companies would no longer be able to charge GTA residents different premiums based on where in the GTA they live.
“Drivers in the Peel Region and other parts of the GTA pay significantly higher auto insurance rates than others in the same region, for no good reason,” said Singh.
The Star reported that, in 2016, the average claim amount per vehicle in Brampton was $2,268. For comparison, the provincial average is $1,316.
Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said that the Conservatives promise to take Gill’s bill into consideration. “The previous Liberal government, backed by the NDP, failed to deliver anything but stretch goals when it came to auto insurance rates,” Fedeli told the house, according to the Star.
“Our member from Milton’s bill, if passed, will end the unfair practice of discriminating against drivers simply based on where they live,” he said.
Singh and Gill’s joint frustration might make way for a cross-party collaboration on the issue. Singh said he would be willing to work with Gill “on a bipartisan consensus to help motorists.” He would like to see the GTA considered one geographic area.
“I hope that the Conservatives are strong on this issue,” said Singh. “This is something that affects all people.”