Ivan Luxenberg (Chair)
Stephanie Zwicker Slavens (for Catherine Zingg)
Approval of Minutes - Meeting of November 26, 2004
- The Minutes were approved as submitted.
Business Arising from Minutes
At the last meeting counsel forum members had asked if Bruce Green could attend the next meeting and provide information about what statistics, if any, FSCO kept on complaints about DACs. Bruce was unable to attend but did advise that in fact FSCO does not keep statistics.
Auto Insurance Reform Update - Margaret Orlander
Draft regulations re: changes to DAC were released and lots of feedback received, including from lawyers. These are reviewed by staff in the Minister's office; we don't know when a decision will be made or if there will more consultation.
Eric Grossman identified the lack of defense medicals (as in courts) as a real problem in the dispute resolution process; Stanley Pasternak pointed out that Insurers usually terminate benefits on the basis of an insurer examination in the first place and suggested that for every IE obtained by insurers, Applicants should be able to receive an equivalent medical assessment under s. 24. There was agreement that a faster-track process was needed now, to address the issue of medical assessments in the dispute resolution process.
DRS Statistics - Mediation - John Lobo
- John Lobo presented the statistics.
The monthly stats for Sept - Dec 2004 indicate a decrease in the number of applications, a decrease in the settlement rate and a slight improvement in Applications completed when filed.
As for yearly stats (Jan -Dec 2004):
- 14,457 applications were received in 2004, as compared to 16,850 in 2003;
- the number of insured persons represented by law firms (including supervised paralegals) increased during this period.
- there was a reduction in the average application processing time in 2004.
- full settlement rate decreased.
- In response to a question about whether it was possible to track the number of referrals to mediation within one year of an accident to determine if the one-year limit on settlements resulted in parties waiting longer to settle files, David Draper explained that this had been attempted but no clear pattern was evident.
Arbitration - Status and Statistics - Susan Sapin
Reviewed and discussed.
Pre-hearings can now be offered within 6-8 weeks.
DRS Statistics - Appeals - David Draper
The Appeals statistics showed a downward trend in the numbers of open pending files during the period under review and the age of pending decisions was considerably less. Staff complement will continue as is.
DRS Excellence Review Project
David Draper now heads the Dispute Resolution Services and no longer hears appeals. The new organisation chart was distributed and explained. DRS will be looking for ways to conduct business more efficiently, eg updating our use of electronic modalities.
Improvements to DRS Case Directory
DRS is considering innovations to the current DRS Case Directory that would be useful for law firms and requested members to provide suggestions. Suggestions accepted.
Jurisdictional Issues in Mediation - Susan Sapin
- An internal committee of DRS staff is reviewing these issues to come up with options for a more efficient and compliant procedure for dealing with front-end jurisdictional issues such as non-attendance at medical exams, time limits, etc.
- The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 p.m.
- Next Counsel Forum meetings are scheduled for March 31, 2005 & May 27, 2005. NOTE: As March 31 is a Thursday, that meeting will take place on Friday, April 1.