Many Ontario drivers struggle to identify auto insurance fraud

Many Ontario drivers struggle to identify auto insurance fraud

The survey conducted by Ipsos for the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) asked a series of questions to gauge drivers’ knowledge and attitudes toward auto insurance fraud. When put to the test, 27 per cent of drivers received a failing grade when confronted with accident scenarios and true or false statements. Baby Boomers, aged 55 and over, were most knowledgeable, while Millennials, aged 18-34, were least likely to identify acts of fraud.

Other findings include:

  • Eleven per cent admit they’re aware of a family member who’s made an exaggerated or false claim
  • The most popular type of admitted fraud was convincing an auto body repair shop to add in unrelated fixes and put the full cost through insurance (five per cent)
  • Only 35 per cent knew how to report auto insurance fraud
  • Thirty-five per cent did not know that defrauding an insurance company is an offence under the federal Criminal Code
  • Twenty-five per cent did not know that auto insurance fraud affects auto insurance premiums.

While nearly one in ten said they had submitted an exaggerated or false claim, nearly two in ten say they know a friend who has done the same. Men and Millennials were significantly more likely to admit they committed auto insurance fraud than other groups. Five per cent of men admitted to claiming false injury from an auto accident compared to only one per cent of women. Similarly, nine per cent of Millennials admitted to this compared to one per cent of Baby Boomers.

The survey was conducted as part of FSCO’s Fraud Prevention Month campaign, which aims to increase awareness of potential fraudsters and victims regarding how to recognize, reject and report auto insurance fraud.

FSCO recommends that Ontario drivers:

  • Read their insurance policy carefully – understand their coverage, rights and responsibilities
  • Never sign blank insurance claims forms
  • Fill out their auto insurance application or claim forms accurately and make sure they haven’t made any mistakes
  • Keep records: get the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate and driver’s license numbers, and insurance information from all those involved in an accident. If it’s safe, take photos of the accident scene
  • Do not sign any documents or agree to any terms at the site of an accident
  • Report all accidents and losses to your insurance company
  • Call local police if they suspect auto insurance fraud
  • Review benefit payment information from their insurance company to confirm that treatments, medical providers and dates are accurately listed

Quick Facts 

  • 83% of auto insurance fraud in Ontario takes place in the Greater Toronto Area (FSCO)
  • Estimates of auto insurance fraud range from 9 to 18 per cent of claims costs, which represents between $116 and $236 per average premium paid in Ontario (KPMG, 2010)

Additional Resources


“Auto insurance fraud is illegal and factors into the cost of premiums. We encourage Ontarians to reject the many types of auto insurance fraud and know how to report suspicious behaviour to their local police and their insurance company.”
–       Tom Golfetto, Executive Director, Auto Insurance Division, FSCO

Survey Methodology

This online survey was conducted by Ipsos between February 13 and February 17, 2017. A sample of 1,052 Ontarians who are licensed to drive and are aged 18+ from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.  In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ – 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Ontario drivers been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About FSCO

FSCO’s legislative mandate is to provide regulatory services that protect the public interest and enhance public confidence in the sectors it regulates. FSCO regulates the insurance sector; pension plans; loan and trust companies; credit unions and caisses populaires; the mortgage brokering sector; co-operative corporations in Ontario; and service providers who invoice auto insurers for statutory accident benefits claims. FSCO is accountable to the Minister of Finance.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is Canada’s market intelligence leader and the country’s leading provider of public opinion research. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in Canada, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and on-line panels. Ipsos’ Canadian marketing research and public affairs practices are staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, offering the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada—all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information

SOURCE Financial Services Commission of Ontario 

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