35,000 cases and counting. What happens when the dam bursts?
Under the current Ontario Insurance Act, if you have a dispute with an Insurer involving the payment of accident benefits under the SABS (Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule), you must file for mediation with the Dispute Resolution Practice Group (DRPG) at FSCO (Financial Services Commission Of Ontario). This mediation must take place before the claimant can proceed to the courts through a law suit or by arbitration (again to be filed with the Dispute Resolution Practice Group).
The Act provides that such mediation shall take place within 60 days of the filing date with FSCO. FSCO have found themselves facing some staffing issues and an unusual volume of cases being presented which resulted in a backlog of about 35,000 mediations.
The Auditor General of Ontario commented on this situation and FSCO has posted an RFP for outside services to assist in aggressively attacking the backlog. One of the problems may be, however, what happens when the case is not settled at mediation. If only 60% settle, 40% of these or 14,000 new cases will appear before the courts or at arbitration within the next few years. Are we ready?
A great article in the Law Times talks a bit more on this subject.
We can help Insurers to get ready for mediations, and coach on mediation best practices.
Thanks for reading,