Bulletin from SLASTO – March
Members will be aware that the Licence Appeal Tribunal is set to begin receiving applications for SABS disputes as of April 1, 2016. The Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals (SLASTO) Ontario just distributed a memo concerning transition issues including information on sessions for legal and insurance company staff.
More information is available online on these info sessions as well as details on the “Getting Ready” package.
New Concerns: Validity of Insurer Terminations and New Challenges for Insureds
Members should be aware that OTLA is addressing significant concerns about the transition to the new procedure under the LAT and specifically an insured’s ability to access the new dispute resolution process.
For some time, insurers have been sending termination of benefits notices that outline the insured’s right to mediate or arbitrate a dispute through FSCO. Of course, insurers have been aware for many months that FSCO would cease to accept applications as of April 1. It is unclear why insurers have not modified their termination letters and the accompanying forms to state that all such applications after April 1 must be made to the LAT. It is currently not known whether an application by an insured to FSCO after April 1 (as opposed to the LAT, where such applications ought to be filed) will be sufficient to stop the limitation period from running. Obviously, this could give rise to needless litigation on limitation period issues, as well as substantial inconvenience and delays for insureds.
OTLA has raised these concerns with FSCO. We want to ensure that insureds who follow the process spelled out in the termination letters from their insurers, have access to the dispute resolution through the LAT. We have suggested that FSCO should deem an application to FSCO after April 1, to be an application to the LAT.
FSCO and/or the LAT would need, as well, to inform insureds of the new process after taking the steps outlined in the termination letters. The key is to make sure that no insured is denied an opportunity to dispute a denial of benefits if they follow the process set out in the termination letter.
As of this morning, OTLA has learned that FSCO is reviewing this situation in light of our intervention.
We will keep you informed on developments.