Aviva Canada CEO calls for regulation overhaul

The CEO of Aviva Canada has spoken up about the state of auto insurance in Ontario, calling for more changes to be introduced in the province’s insurance system.

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In a special editorial piece with The Globe and Mail, Aviva Canada chief executive Colm Holmes noted how Ontario drivers continue to pay some of the highest rates for auto insurance in Canada. Holmes remarked that while the province’s mounting auto rates are something insurance companies like Aviva could profit from, he said that he is all for regulatory changes that support consumers.

Holmes praised the recent decision by the Ontario government and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario to hold a public consultation over the province’s insurance system, since it “is a great opportunity to get to the heart of the issue and most importantly sets the stage for genuine reform.”

“Consumers deserve to have more choice, innovative products, in a system that is free from fraud and abuse,” he added.

Holmes then suggested a number of reforms that could help both the industry and consumers.

The executive envisioned a reworked insurance policy that is simpler and easier to use and understand; one that is not weighed down by Ontario’s 600 or so government regulations. By eliminating red tape, Holmes believes that auto insurance costs can be better managed, saving consumers a lot of money.

Technology needs to play a larger role in the insurance industry, Holmes pointed out. For instance, the Aviva CEO said his company has long advocated for digital proof of insurance to replace insurance cards, making the claims process faster.

The elimination of redundancies and the flexibility in coverage options is another reform Holmes wants to see; he wants customers to be able to purchase only the coverage options and features they need and can afford. Currently Ontario customers are not allowed to opt out of coverages, even if they have similar protection through other products such as life insurance.

Holmes is also calling for the overhaul of Ontario’s current rate regulation process, and has suggested more competition is needed in the auto insurance market. Relaxed regulation and more auto insurance options will encourage innovation among insurers and more affordable prices for customers.

In closing his statement to the Globe and Mail, Holmes argues that insurers have to take a more active role in advocating a better system for all.

“We owe it to drivers in Ontario to break the status quo. We must create a better system, and that starts with imagining how it could be, not just complaining about how it is,” the CEO said.

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