Ontario Premier Doug Ford unleashed a figurative food fight with the insurance industry Thursday.
“I’m fed up with these guys ... They have made a fortune over all these years,” he said during his daily press briefing.
“They’re absolutely just refusing to insure people. We don’t play that game … You guys don’t get to get all the cream and gravy and the whipped cream and just slough off everything else and say, ‘We aren’t going to insure it.’”
He said he’s heard stories of insurance companies refusing to insure shops and banquet halls.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, some businesses have sued insurance companies for refusing to pay out claims related to government-ordered shutdowns. Rates are also rising for some companies, like gyms and restaurants, because the cost of insurance is based on the policy holder’s risk exposure, lawyer Scott Hawryliw told The Canadian Press.
But one MPP said the issue came along before the pandemic.
Independent MPP Jim Wilson asked the government Wednesday about skyrocketing insurance rates in his riding of Simcoe—Grey.
“In the case of the Green Briar community in Alliston, they saw modest annual rate increases in the period leading up to 2018. Then out of nowhere, and with no claims, they were shocked to learn of their premium doubling to almost $16,000 in 2019,” Wilson said during question period at Queen’s Park.
“Incredibly, it doubled again in 2020, to almost $30,000. Now, as a new year approaches, Green Briar is looking at another potential doubling, to $60,000, and that’s if they can get the insurance at all.”
He called the insurance industry’s conduct “near criminal” and asked if the government would bring in more regulation on policy pricing.
Finance Minister Rod Phillips said he’s aware of the “difficult matter” and had been meeting with affected customers, the industry and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario.
He also said his government’s new proposed law, Bill 218, which protects businesses from lawsuits related to COVID-19 exposure, will address “one of the factors that’s affecting the insurance industry.”
An association representing long-term care homes has said homes are having trouble renewing their insurance because they are liable to be sued for exposing residents to COVID-19.
Ford said Thursday that he’s heard about insurance companies just refusing to insure stores and banquet halls.
“I can assure you that … The people are the priority,” he said. “Not the big insurance companies making gazillions of dollars.”