The Ontario Court of Appeal has released an interesting (from an insurance perspective) decision on whether an insurer’s failure to use a prescribed form invalidates an otherwise proper agreement between an insurer and insured. In Royal & Sun Alliance v.…Read more →
For Ontario brokers who thought they could rest easy after a year of dealing with the changes to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, I’m afraid your prayers have not entirely been answered. Effective July 1st, the Highway Traffic Act in…Read more →
I recently read a Superior Court decision about a woman who burned herself with hot coffee at a McDonald’s drive-through. Sound familiar? This case has nothing to do with the notorious hot coffee tort case in the U.S. that made…Read more →
Does an ATV become an “automobile” under Ontario insurance law if it is involved in an accident outside Ontario? In Benson v. Belair, an Ontario resident fell off the back of an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) in Fort Nelson, British Columbia.…Read more →
I don’t think there’s a better way to say “I love you” than to give that special someone their very own copy of Auto Insurance Coverage Law in Ontario. For those dark and lonely nights when your loved one wants…Read more →
Can the definition of “owner” under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act include someone who does not have dominion and control over the dog? The Court of Appeal for Ontario says “yes”. Take a Bite of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act By way of background,…Read more →
A FSCO arbitrator has confirmed that the first insurer that receives a completed application for accident benefits is required to adjust and pay the claim, even if the insurer is taking an off-coverage position. Overview In Cankaya v. Intact /…Read more →
The changes to the Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule introduced on June 1st, 2016, were complicated enough. Now, to make matters worse, there are mixed messages coming from the industry as to when policyholders are affected by these changes. For…Read more →
This summer, the threat of a labour stoppage at Canada Post has caused many people and institutions to reconsider just how crucial mail delivery is to their business. In the insurance industry, we have already taken great strides to minimize…Read more →
New regulations are now in effect if you repair, tow or store vehicles in Ontario. The new regulations under the Repair and Storage Liens Act took effect on July 1, 2016. Further regulations will come into force starting January 1, 2017. The follo…Read more →
This week, the Ontario amended Regulation 664 to expand the definition of a fleet to accommodate ride-sharing services like Uber. The change opens the door for insurers to offer policies to drivers of vehicles for hire using an online app.
The regulation amendment expands the fleet definition to include vehicles available for hire through a common online-enabled application or system for the pre-arrangement of transportation. The vehicle owner or lessee is to be named insured under an auto insurance contract. The regulation change will make it easier for Ontario businesses to insure a group of privately owned vehicles under one insurance policy as a “fleet” when they are available for hire using an online app.
FSCO has already approved a fleet policy proposed by Intact Insurance Company. The Intact policy provides blanket fleet coverage under a standard automobile owner’s policy (OAP 1) for private passenger automobiles used in the transportation of paying passengers who utilize Uber.
The Intact fleet policy does not provide coverage when the driver is not logged onto the Uber online app. Coverage under the personal owner’s policy for the automobile is applicable.
FSCO also approved the use of an electronic insurance card for use in connection with ride sharing. The electronic insurance card will permit ride share drivers who are covered under the Intact policy the option to provide evidence of insurance electronically using an online-enabled app (e.g., to law enforcement officials).Read more →
The Ontario government should establish a new organization that would perform the functions currently performed by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO), an expert advisory panel said in a report released Monday.
The panel recommends that a new Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) be established, and it should exercise both prudential and market conduct functions. The panel – comprised of George Cooke, James Daw and Lawrence Ritchie – made its recommendation to create FSRA in an interim report released in November, 2015. The final report, dated March 31, was made public Monday and contains 44 recommendations.
The mandate review was partly made necessary with the transfer of responsibility for operating an auto insurance dispute resolution system from FSCO to Ministry of the Attorney General’s Licence Appeal Tribunal on April 1, 2016.
The report suggests that FSRA should consolidate functions, but it should have separate divisions for the regulation of market conduct; prudential oversight; and pension administration. These divisions of the regulator should operate in a coordinated manner, but each division should be insulated from the routine regulatory activities, pressures and resource demands of other divisions.
FSRA should be a self-funded corporation without share capital, operationally independent of government, yet accountable to the Legislature through the Minister of Finance. The FSRA should be outside of the Ontario Public Service and be empowered to hire its personnel from outside of the Ontario Public Service’s collective agreements, compensation restraints, and other hiring restraints to support its ability to recruit professionals and industry expertise as it deems necessary.
FSRA should have a skills-based Board of Directors appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Board would oversee FSRA’s operations and the Board should have the authority to appoint a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The Board Chair should report directly to the Minister of Finance.
FSRA’s Board should be given authority to make rules that would be enforceable pursuant to the statute, having a similar authority as Cabinet Regulations.
Auto Insurance Rate Regulation
The panel did not make any recommendations with respect to the prior approval of auto insurance. However, it did recommend that FSRA’s Board should be obliged and empowered to decide how auto insurance rates are to be regulated and make use of its rule-making authority to scope out a rate approval process.
The view of the panel is that when it comes to the regulation of automobile insurance rates, FSCO is not ultimately protecting the public interest or enhancing confidence in the sector.
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
The panel recommends that responsibility for operating the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) be transferred to the Facility Association (FA), a non-profit organization funded by automobile insurers in the provinces and territories that operate private insurance systems. This responsibility would fit well with the FA’s original purpose, which is to act as the ‘insurer of last resort’ for high-risk drivers. The FA already operates uninsured motorist funds similar to the MVACF in the Atlantic Provinces.
The panel indicated that the new mandate should require FSRA to utilize its statutory authorities to adequately, firmly and consistently discourage fraudulent activities or behaviours that mislead or harm consumers and pension plan beneficiaries.
FSRA should be directed to identify and seek to eliminate gaps in protection for consumers who might be defrauded by licensed sales agents, brokers and corporations. FSRA should also have the authority to establish a fraud compensation fund such as exists in Quebec if or where enhancements to mandatory insurance coverage would not fully close current gaps.
There is no word from the government on implementing the panel’s recommendations.Read more →
It is never a bad idea to consider an increase in limits. In light of the recent changes to the Ontario automobile insurance wording, an increase in limits may be particularly advisable when it comes to the medical, rehabilitation and…Read more →
In an earlier blog, I discussed the impending changes to the Ontario automobile insurance product and the opportunity for brokers to demonstrate to their customers the value of a broker’s expert advice. There is another side to that coin. It…Read more →