In its 2014 Budget, The Ontario Government announced reforms to your auto insurance in this province. One such reform is the transfer of the Auto Insurance Dispute Resolution System from Finance Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT). The new Auto Insurance Dispute Resolution System began with LAT accepting applications on April 1, 2016.
The new system appears to focus on the speedy resolution of claims, with an emphasis on written submissions.
Matters currently open with FSCO will remain with FSCO. Therefore, if you have a file in the mediation stage at FSCO, you will need to file an Application at Automobile Accident Benefits Service (AABS), should that mediation fail. If your file is currently at the arbitration stage, it will remain at FSCO. All new claims must be filed at AABS. It is designed to provide individuals injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident within forum to adjudicate their claims.
According to AABS, their mandate is “to deal with your case in a fair, independent and timely manner. Our goal is to reach a final decision about your benefits within six months.” Individuals injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario will no longer be permitted to use the Courts to adjudicate benefits disputes with their insurance company. All Accident Benefit disputes must now be heard through AABS. LAT will adopt the new Rules of Practice and Procedure.
In addition, as of June 1, 2016 there are very specific changes occurring to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) and therefore, the benefits available in Ontario as a result of an automobile accident.
Overall, such changes will reduce the amount of money available for individuals who have suffered more significant injuries as a result of an automobile accident.
Currently, if you are in an automobile accident and suffer “catastrophic” injuries you can expect to have benefits available to you of $1,000,000.00 for medical and rehabilitation, and another $1,000,000.00 in benefits for attendant care. However, under the new policy, these will be combined providing a total of $1,000,000.00 in available limits.
With respect to non-catastrophic injuries, the maximum entitlement is now reduced to a total of $65,000.00 from the previous $50,000.00 for medical and rehabilitation, and $36,000.00 for attendant care. The benefits are now only available for five years as opposed to the previous ten years.
The definition of ‘Catastrophic Impairment’ will be changed.
Medical, rehabilitation and Attended Care benefits for injuries remaining with the Minor Injury Guidelines (MIG) remain at $3,500.00.
In addition, non-earner benefits will be available for only two years. More than ever it is important you read and understand your Policy. Many optional benefits are available for purchase.
The above is only a highlight of some of the significant changes; not a complete review.
The above is for information purposes only. Please consult your Broker and/or insurance provider for more specific details.