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Companies Forum - Minutes of Meeting October 28, 2003

Attendees:



Insurer Representative FSCO -DRS

Adam Fox (Chair) Belair (Chair) Barbara Dudzinski
Mavis Haws Dominion Shonna Neil
Mike DeLa Haye Wawanesa Margaret Orlander
Cassandra Phillips AXA Asfaw Seife
Martine Vaz ING
Ron Bouwmeister Aviva
Brenda Dyke Aviva
Margaret Morrison Aviva
Mary Wright Royal & Sun
Scott McDonald Co-Operators
Iain Convery Allianz


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 Financial Services Commission of Ontario on issues relating to the dispute resolution system.


Opening


The meeting was called to order at 10:00a.m. on 28th October, 2003.


Review and Approval of Minutes of previous meeting.


Minutes of the 18th June, 2003 meeting were approved with no matters arising.


Automobile Insurance Reform – update (Margaret Orlander)

  • Review of Bill 198 regulation process to date.

  • New Minister now – no idea where we are heading yet.

  • Auto Insurance is hot topic. Government priority is rate freeze.

  • Concerns re Regulation/Bulletin wordings are being gathered and new, clearer Bulletins may follow.

  • In regards to questions on the new Regulations – the FSCO Contact Centre should be able to direct callers to the right person. Details on the Contact Centre will be provided to members at the next meeting.

  • Implementation Committee is to continue. The committee is composed of:

    - Bryan Davies (Chair, FSCO)
    -Cheryl Cottle (FSCO)
    -Darlene Hall (FSCO)
    -Willie Handler (FSCO)
    -Philippa Samworth (DAC Committee)
    -Greg Sommerville (Aviva)
    -Ann MacKenzie (Dominion of Canada)
    -Andrew Rogacki (RBC Insurance)
    -Lee Samis (Samis & Company)
    -David MacDonald (Thomson Rogers)
    -Dr. Faith Kaplan (Coalition of Health Providers)
    -Dr. Carlan Stants (Coalition of Regulated Health Professionals)
    -Bob Carter (IBAO)
    -Barbara Sulzenko-Laurie (IBC)
    -Mark Yakabuski (IBC)


Mediation – status report
(Shonna Neil)

  • Mediation Services experienced a significant increase in application activity from late spring through the summer of 2003. A number of strategies were introduced to deal with this increase including hiring additional contract staff. These strategies resulted in a temporary glut of applications being sent to insurers. It was agreed that FSCO would notify the insurers of any future significant change to the regular application processing rate. Currently the pending caseload, although still high, is beginning to reduce.

  • It was noted that the "face to face" mediation percentage had reduced. The target rate is about 10%. Some insurers would prefer most if not all of their mediations be done face to face while others prefer teleconference. It was suggested that insurers refer to the "Criteria for Face to Face" when recommending face to face meetings and be selective with their choices for face to face. Mediators try to obtain a consensus on the format with the parties before deciding how to proceed. Mediators will be advised at their next staff meeting of the slippage in the face to face statistic.

  • A few additional concerns were raised including insurers feeling that they are pushed to resolve issues at face to face mediations when the insured is not in attendance. A suggestion was made that FSCO should track these non-attendances.


Arbitration & Appeals – status report (Barbara Dudzinski)

  • Stable activity

  • Expect increase due to increase in mediations and flow through from backlog; lag is about 9 months.

  • Staffing freeze by Ministry – seeking exemption to hire 2 Arbitrators and Senior Arbitrator.

  • 13 Appeals in last qtr.

  • Should be improved stats next qtr.

  • Stuart McMahon has left; appeals vacancy will be filled.


DRS Operational Changes – update (Barbara Dudzinski)

Smart Forms/E-filing

  • As of October 1st – fillable forms available.

  • Next stage is to provide Response and Notice of Appeal – by early 1st Qtr next year.

  • Due to ongoing legislative changes, difficult to finalize forms for E-filing & Practice Code.


DR Practice Code

  • Internal Staff Committee is working on Practice Code changes.

  • October 2003 DR Practice Code changes will be made available on website effective October 29th. Hard copy will be mailed out to members. In regard to form changes – change requests are requested from the insurers by the end of November.


Outreach

  • Committee of mediators/arbitrators are developing programs to be delivered in Hamilton & Kingston in February/04.


Paralegals

  • 130 filed at time of meeting.

  • 88 unregistered.

  • Filing is not available for paralegals who do not have E & O coverage.

  • Complaints protocol being established.

  • Non-compliance with the Code of Conduct may be addressed by a notice letter.

  • Request to add the stats for next meeting and future meetings.


Pamphlets

  • IBC pamphlets are due out by end of year

  • FSCO pamphlets require review – may be changed next year.


Bill 198 – update

Settlement Philosophies – Insurer (Ron Bouwmeister)

  • Focus has to change back to Dispute Resolution not settlement.

  • Some companies are concerned that mediators are pushing for settlements and not resolving the issues.

  • A change in the Regulations requires a change in philosophy.

  • Think about what is a resolution to a dispute other than closing a claim/issue by settlement.

  • Need mediators to understand – not to introduce or encourage settlement as an option – especially where not available by Regulation.


Mediation & Arbitration fees (Cassandra Phillips)

  • Question regarding status of DRS Cost Recovery changes was raised asking when transaction-based insurer assessment fees would be replaced by market share assessment.

  • A cabinet submission is scheduled to go forward in December/03.

  • If implemented, it will still be retroactive to April 2003.

  • FSCO to update group at next meeting.


Other Business

No other business.

Next Meeting 13th January, 2004 10:00am. FSCO

Minutes submitted by Iain Convery, Allianz Canada.