OTLA President responds to the IBC

The following letter from OTLA President Paul Harte appears in the September 16, 2011 edition of the Kingston Whig-Standard in response to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.


Letter to the editor
Re: “Letter writer obviously has own agenda,” Sept. 12.

Auto insurance review is needed

We must take issue with the letter from the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s spokesman, Pete Karageorgos.

What we find so troubling is not that he has his own agenda. And clearly he does. It’s also not that he questions the motives of respected Kingston lawyer and advocate for injured people, Edward Bergeron. Or that he bizarrely suggests that somehow personal injury lawyers have some perverse interest in seeing more people get hurt in car crashes. Or further that when lawyers raise legitimate questions, they are dismissed as “fear-mongering.”

No, what we find really disturbing is that the IBC says that “Ontarians should be confident” they will get the care they need when they’re injured in an auto collision. The harsh reality is that none of us can be confident that our insurance coverage will provide the care we need. Auto insurance coverage has been steadily eroded for many years. To make matters worse, now insurers want to drastically cut care for the most seriously injured. We need a serious review of and a grownup discussion about auto insurance in this province; one that is focused on the facts and the truth.

Paul Harte
Ontario Trial Lawyers Association
Burlington, Ont.


Here is the IBC’s letter, which appeared on September 12, 2011, in the Kingston Whig-Standard:

Letter writer obviously has own agenda

(Re: "Make auto insurance an issue in election," Sept. 8.)

It would have been appropriate to fully reveal Edward Bergeron's interest in the subject that he wrote about. It's obvious that Bergeron has his own agenda in mind with his unfounded arguments supporting Alan Shanoff's piece, ("Bilked by the insurance industry?" Aug. 8). The reality is personal injury lawyers make their money when people are injured.

To reiterate an important point from IBC's previous response to Shanoff's piece, insurance fraud in Ontario is not inconsequential -- it is, in fact, a growing and costly occurrence and a threat to public safety and premium stability. Also, Ontario's auto insurance system still provides the most generous accident benefits in the country, a fact that Shanoff and now Bergeron both appear to ignore.

The bottom line is that Ontarians should be confident that they will get the medical and rehabilitative care they need to recover if they are injured in an auto collision. There is no need for fearmongering among lawyers to suggest otherwise.

Pete Karageorgos
Insurance Bureau of Canada