Proposed Further Changes to Accident Benefits and Tort Claims Announced by Finance Minister Charles Sousa on April 23, 2015
COVERAGE FOR ACCIDENT BENEFITS (SAB’s) TO BE REDUCED FOR CATASTROPHIC INJURIES, CATASTROPHIC DEFINITION TO BE REDEFINED AND AMENDMENTS TO TORT CLAIMS …….
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa announces further restrictions to auto insurance coverage in Provincial Budget, April 23, 2015.
The first major development is that the definition of a catastrophic injury is set to be severely restricted. We expect that the change will meant that combining physical injures and psychological impairments will no longer be permitted.
Coverage that is available for catastrophically impaired victims will be effectively cut in half. The previous limit of $1,000,000.00 for each of medical and rehabilitation expense and attendant care expenses will be limited to $1,000,000.00 combined. There will be optional coverage available for the very few who would choose to buy back this coverage to $2,000,000.00.
The standard duration for medical and rehabilitation expenses will be reduced to 5 years instead of the previous 10 years except in the case of children.
Non-Catastrophic coverage will be reduced. Henceforth, medical and rehabilitation and attendant care coverage will be a combined $65,000.00 from the current combined total of $86,000.000. Consumers will have an option to increase this coverage up to $1,000,000.00 at an additional premium cost.
The six month waiting period for non-earner benefits will be eliminated and the duration of the non-earner benefits will be limited to two years after the accident.
The government will be introducing amendments to the Insurance Act to adjust the deductible (currently $30,000.00) and the disappearing deductible amount to reflect inflation since 2003 and link it to future changes in inflation.
There will be further changes to allow for the effect of the tort deductible to be taken into account when determining a party’s entitlement to costs.
These changes are expected to be announced by the Provincial Government in the coming months.