The steering committee of the  Ontario Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force has asked its working groups to consider the licensing and regulation of health-care clinics, plug current gaps in regulation (such as the introduction of a regulatory regime for tow truck drivers, for example) and the establishment of a dedicated fraud investigation unit.

In addition, the working groups have been asked to develop a consumer engagement and education strategy so people will be aware of the claims system and thus not susceptible to misinformation provided by fraudsters.

Finally, the working groups will consider the development of a single Web portal for Ontario auto insurance claimants. The portal would be a source of consumer information and education on matters such as approved protocols for treatments on specific auto related injuries.

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These and other recommendations are part of an extensive report issued by The Ontario Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force, which the Ontario government established in July 2011 to determine the scope and nature of automobile insurance fraud and make recommendations about ways to reduce it. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) issued a press release saying it was “pleased” with the interim report.

“To have a real impact on Ontario”s efforts to eliminate insurance fraud, we need to address the underlying factors that contribute to the problem,” said Ralph Palumbo, IBC”s vice president of Ontario. “The Task Force has accurately identified those factors, as well as other issues that require further examination.”

In addition to endorsing the recommendations in the Task Force report, IBC is advocating for the imposition of tougher criminal and civil penalties for identity fraud and theft.

The recommendations in the task force will go now go to three separate working groups for further review. The Task Force established a working group to look at each one of the following topic areas related to auto insurance fraud:

  • prevention, detection, investigation and enforcement;
  • regulatory practices in the automobile insurance system; and
  • consumer engagement and education.

The steering committee overseeing the work of the Task Force and its three working groups will issue a final report due by Fall 2012.

The full interim report can be viewed at:  http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/autoinsurance/interim-report.html