|Mike De La Haye: Wawanesa (Chair)
|Pierre Gravesande: Economical Insurance
|Patrick Lau: Dominion of Canada
|Lynn Anderson: Aviva
|Janice Hedington: The Co-operators
The Dispute Resolution Group – Companies Forum includes representatives from auto insurance companies dealing with disputes before the Commission involving motor vehicle accident claims and Statutory Accident Benefits. It consults with the Dispute Resolution Group of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario on issues relating to the dispute resolution system.
Review and Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting-August 12th 2010
Amendments were made as follows:
Page 2 - Review of Minutes from previous meeting on March 11th, 2010.
CAT Impairment Definition – “The government will look at slightly changing the definition to include single amputees.” Amended to remove the word “slightly”.
Matters Arising from the Minutes
This is available only to Insurers, at a later stage open to plaintiff counsel. As of end of October, old user accounts were disabled. Most have re-registered at this time and have full interactive access. This directory eliminates the need for faxes, all sent electronically. For companies not registered yet there is pro-active contact to get them signed on to the directory. Some companies have requested more passwords; this has been reviewed with IT department and not possible at this time. Each company has to have the same number of passwords. There is a need to ensure the system has capacity first and will review the request for more passwords in the future. The focus is on electronic scheduling. This is a much more efficient way to handle disputes, less paper and saves time for all involved.
An automated online system is being created for booking mediation meetings, without the involvement of mediators. It is anticipated that there will be phased in approach, with parameters put into place, cutting back on some of the administration functions currently performed by mediators, with e-mail notifications in some cases will replace existing letters. Files going onto the e-scheduling system will be assigned to a place holder or generic mediator, with a mediator being appointed 2-3 weeks before the mediation meeting.
Project is in the infancy stage, with an anticipated roll out in April 2011. An overbooking system is anticipated to continue, to ensure mediation time slots currently lost when a file settles or does not proceed, are filled.
Mediation Pilot Project:
Due to the intake volume and current wait times there has been an increase in file assignment to mediators as of October 4th. In addition, an “on-duty” roster and an over-booking system has been introduced. Currently 2 mediators are scheduled to be “ on-duty” per week and are re-assigned files if a mediator calls in sick or is away from the office. The “on-duty” mediators are also assigned any overbooked files.
DRS raised the concern that parties are not always available within the 60 day time period, in addition to increased requests for adjournments and extensions.
A reminder to notify DRS when settlement is reached before assignment of a file to a mediator, so that these files can be pulled of the assignment track and closed with a letter, allowing only those files with a dispute to proceed to a mediator. Win-Win situation for all, as no assessment fee charged on files closed without a report and another means to reduce current increased wait time.
Mediators during the pilot project are also collecting data on some of the administrative functions, not currently recorded, which will be reviewed and will assist in the development and implementation of e-scheduling.
Reminder that parties can assist DRS in dealing with the backlog, by:
- Ensuring application is complete
- Where possible, ensuring all issues are listed up front
- Call back promptly with tentative mediation dates within the 60 day time period
- Cut back on adjournment and extension requests
- By being prepared to proceed
- Having appropriate authority to settle
- Notifying DRS when file has settled.
DRS Status Report:
Statistical reports provided were organized in four batches showing activity for the last four months, last quarter and the last four years. Significant intake volume in mediation, despite more files being closed year over year, has resulted in increased processing and waits times. On a positive note, settlement rates have been increasing.
Appeals show a 50% decrease when compared to previous years.
Arbitration trends are similar to those found in mediations: number of files received, pending continues to grow, closing more than previous year. Currently booking 14 months in to the future due to scheduling problems. This is being monitored closely to avoid further delays. There is an increase in adjournment requests and people are not prepared. The increase in adjournments leaves Arbitrators with unusable open schedules.
Another trend is a significant increase in the last minute request for pre-hearing to be conference not face to face. This is usually done by Insurer when counsel is out of town; everyone is cognizant of costs associated and resources not local. FSCO does request that either the Claims Representative or the Legal Counsel be present if the applicant lives in GTA.
Judicial Review Update:
Refer to memo provided.
Pastore and Aviva Canada-hearing scheduled for February 23, 2011.
Lahtinen and Wawanesa Mutual-application for judicial review - January 19, 2011.
Owusu and Sarpong and TD Home and Auto-hearing date November 29 & 30, 2010
Maryasin and ING Insurance-hearing date December 14, 2010
Outreach Committee Update:
FSCO is looking to carry the momentum forward following the successful meet and greet. Ottawa and Kingston are next potential locations. Also under consideration:
seminars and/or workshops. Any suggestions or feedback are welcome.
A question was raised about a client being allowed to proceed to mediation although they did not attend IE. File now going to Arbitration. Discussion surrounded whether the insurer needs to raise this as a preliminary issue and whether costs could be awarded against the client at Arbitration.
Minutes by Janice Hedington