Effective today – April 1st any individual who wishes to dispute a denial by an insurance company for SAB (Statutory Accident Benefits) will now have to go through the Attorney General’s License Appeal Tribunal (LAT) and NOT the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).
Other major changes include:
- Applications for mediation, neutral evaluation, or the appointment of an arbitrator for arbitration will not be accepted by FSCO as of April 1st. Under the new system there will be no actual mediation or option to go to court if you are unable to resolve a dispute. Instead, there will be an adjudication using an independent panel of decision makers from the LAT, paid by the Government for each day they work. We can soon expect postings for LAT panelists; current FSCO arbitrators/mediators will be among those appointed to handle these claims on and after April 1, 2016.
- Applications to the Director of Arbitrations for appeals may only be made where the application for appointment of an arbitrator was received by FSCO before April 1, 2016.
- Applications to the Director of Arbitrations for variation/revocation may only be made where the application for appointment of an arbitrator was received by FSCO before April 1, 2016.
- The Office of the Director of Arbitrations will continue until all notices of appeal and all applications for variation/revocation have been finally determined.
- SAB schedule provisions that apply to the dispute resolution process at FSCO will continue to apply, as they read on March 31, 2016, to all applications that were received by FSCO before the transition date but are not finally determined before that date. The SABS will also be amended to apply to applications filed at the LAT on or after April 1. 2016, where necessary.
With the initial mediation process removed, the system will do less to encourage early settlement but claims will proceed more cheaply and quickly.
Additional changes include a reduction of the interest rate on accident benefit payments made late and on claims for pain/suffering made in liability claims.
The Goal?: To speed up the dispute process by taking out steps and save significant amounts of money intended to help the Government in its goal of reducing auto insurance premiums. The transition, however, may prove to be a difficult one.
How will it affect you?
While auto insurance can sometimes be a bit of an afterthought, big changes have been put in place that may affect your benefits in a big way if you’re not prepared, so it’s time to re-visit your insurance policy and ensure you are covered in case of an accident.