David Marshall, the former CEO of the workers compensation system and the man tasked with reviewing Ontario’s auto insurance market says the system must do more for catastrophically injured claimants.
“The real problem with catastrophic compensation in Ontario is that it stems from the fact that you can give a lump sum to a person who is catastrophically injured and then forget about them,” said David Marshall, at the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario annual convention.
Marshall was tasked by the Ontario government to review the auto insurance market in the province. His report – Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered – was released April 11.
David Marshall has previously said the “main cause” of high Ontario auto insurance costs “is not inefficiency, or excess profits by insurance companies or the behaviour of claimants, providers or lawyers,” Marshall said in his report. “It is the way the system is structured.”
“In many ways, the need to have lawyers involved to negotiate settlements in what should be a straightforward, no-fault, accident benefits system signals a failure in the system,” he wrote.
“There should not be so much uncertainty that neither accident victims nor insurers are confident as to what constitutes fair benefit,” Marshall added.
Regulations “should be amended to include only broad principles and entitlements for benefits” Marshall suggested.
Currently, private passenger vehicle owners need accident benefits coverage with a limit of at least $65,000 limit for medical, rehabilitation and attendant care, for non-catastrophic injuries. Mandatory protection for catastrophic injuries is currently set at $1 million.
“There should be an acceptable way of making an assessment and then settling a claim because right now, the person is spending thousands and thousands on assessments and doctors and lawyers fees and so on,” Marshall said at the IBAO convention.
Marshall points out that a claimant involved in an auto collision and is catastrophically injured “may only be getting $600,000 out of it” and “then they have to use that money for their lifetime.”