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Archive for July 2012

Anti-Fraud Task Force Steering Committee is Seeking Public Comment

The Ontario Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force Steering committee is seeking public input on a number of potential recommendations prior to their final report in the fall of 2012.

These recommendations include:

  • Regulation of health clinics
  • Regulation of the towing industry
  • Enhanced authority for FSCO to regulate the business practices of health care treatment and assessment facilities
  • Tightened controls on the delivery of Accident Benefits, including requiring the patient’s signature on invoices before they are submitted, a second Examination under Oath, and billing claimants $500 if the claimant fails to attend an insurer’s examination.  Also being considered is requiring insurers to provide itemized statements to claimants every 60 days
  • Amending the consent provisions of the auto insurance applications to provide greater certainty about the ability to share information for the purpose of detecting and preventing fraud.
  • Provide insurers with broader civil immunity to protect them from lawsuits for reporting suspicious behaviour to regulators and the police
  • A website devoted to informing those injured in motor vehicle accidents about accident benefits and how to detect and report suspicious or inappropriate behaviour
  • Mandatory disclosure by insurance companies to the public about how they select and supervise their preferred providers of services – including independent medical examinations
  • For FSCO to hire appropriate staff and resources to carry-out these recommendations

The entire update can be read by clicking here.

Ontario Court of Appeal: It is possible to work and be entitled to a Non-Earner Benefit

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal ruling confirmed that it is possible for someone injured in a motor vehicle accident to work but still be entitled to a Non-Earner Benefit.

In the decision, Galdamez v. Allstate Insurance Company of Canada [2012 ONCA 508], Hayfa Galdamez returned to work shortly after her accident.  Because of this, Allstate took the position that she was not entitled to income replacement benefits.  However, even though she was able to work, her medical professionals were of the opinion that she met the test for a non-earner benefit; namely, that she suffered a complete inability to carry on a normal life.

It has been well established in case law that entitlement to a non-earner benefit goes beyond the ability to simply go through the motions of everyday life.

The Court stated the following:

[43] Although I consider it unlikely that persons who can work at their pre-accident jobs following an accident will often meet the disability standard for non-earner benefits, I do not rule out such a possibility.

[44] For example, in jobs where mobility is not a requirement (e.g. department store greeter, telemarketer, etc.) and the job was not of great importance in the claimant’s pre-accident life, it may be possible for a claimant who returns to his or her pre-accident employment following an accident to satisfy the test for non-earner benefits.

This decision can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

FSCO Awards MIG Protocol Contract

Dr. Pierre Côté has been awarded the consulting contract by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) to develop the Minor Injury Protocol.  Dr. Côté is Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, at the University of Toronto.

According to the FSCO website, “Scientists and other experts will contribute to the development of an evidence-based Minor Injury Treatment Protocol (MITP) that will form the basis of a new Minor Injury Guideline.  The protocol will be used by insurers and health care providers when treating minor injuries resulting from automobile accidents and ensure that there is an extensive continuum of care based on current and scientific and medical evidence.  The MITP will include clinical prediction rules to screen for patients who may be at higher risk for developing chronic pain and disability. In addition, it will focus on treatment outcomes and provide health care providers with numerous milestones that could be used to measure progress.”
No details with regard to timelines for the protocol were released.

Health Care Providers: Congratulations, You’re Getting A Raise!

The Finanacial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has released the 2012 Professional Fee Guidelines.

According to the FSCO website, the revised guideline increases the maximum hourly rates by 2.9 per cent.  This increase is based on the 2011 Consumer Price Index (CPI) and applies to services rendered on or after July 14, 2012.

You can read a copy of these guidelines by clicking on the line below.

2012 FSCO Fee Guidelines

Michael Smitiuch Quoted Again in the Financial Post

Smitiuch Injury Law’s Principal, Michael Smitiuch, has been quoted again by the Financial Post in an article regarding misrepresentation on insurance policies.

You can read the Financial Post article by clicking here.

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