Fair Auto Insurance Reform
December 28, 2017, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
The Province of Ontario has released its plan to reform Ontario’s auto insurance scheme in an attempt to control costs. They have been struggling to meet the reductions in premiums they promised band with the election around the corner action needs to happen soon. Their plan based on recommendations from a report released this past summer (see my blog post on the recommendations of the report) was released this month.
The Government intends to take a multipronged approach to streamline the system, presumably reducing cost, fraud, and waiting times for claims and appeals of denied claims. The biggest moves include the establishment of ‘independent’ assessment centres in response to news reports, and tribunal (FSCO and LAT) criticism of ‘expert’ evaluations being highly biased. There have been too many instances where seriously injured people have been denied benefits as a result of unfairly completed and biased evaluations, and conclusions drawn by insurance companies. On that springs to mind is the young man who had become paraplegic as a result of an accident, but because he could ‘walk’ with the use of an exoskeleton was denied CAT benefits. ‘
These independent assessment clinics should help address concerns that that under the current system many ‘experts’ are hired by lawyers and insurers to refute one another’s claims – duelling assessments is an accurate term. Lawyers, doctors and insurers can all benefit from this system, victims don’t. The intent of the independent assessors would be to inject neutrality into a broken system, which can see claims coverage fights drag on for months or years.
My concern with this reform is that the changes are being announced directly before a provincial election and they may well never be enacted. Even if the changes are implemented before the election, it may be difficult to create these independent assessment centres if the insurance companies are paying for them. Provincial hospitals and specialists are already facing long wait lists, I don’t know whether or how they would be able to assess injured people in a timely manner.
Rates of fraud in the system are not clearly documented, and the government has relied upon insurers to provide the numbers there. They may be grossly high, or accurate, but we don’t know.
Finally, the Ontario government also proposes to create ‘standardized treatment plans’ for common injuries. This may be a nice idea, the creation of templates of care, but in reality, I don’t believe that a ‘one size fits all’ treatment model is necessary effective.
There are some serious questions that are yet to be addressed and time is running out before the election. Sadly, injured drivers will continue to suffer.
|Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Car Accidents
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About Deutschmann Law
Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.
It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.