[This is the fourth part of a series by Patrick Brown on upcoming changes to Ontario’s Auto Insurance Laws]
Starting September 1, 2010, many family members who provide basic care needs to their injured family members will be cut out from receiving any compensation for these essential services. The new law eliminates any benefits going to a family member who help the disabled family member unless they show they suffered an “economic loss” because of it.
This will have a devastating impact on families who chose to have family members look after their severely injured loved ones. The new law was passed at the request of the insurance industry. It will force families to use outside agencies. Right now for instances, if a family member is hit by a car and suffers serious injury to the extent they can no longer dress, bathe or feed themselves, a benefit is available up to either 3,000 or 6,000 per month so that other families members can help. Under the new system, this funding will stop unless mom, dad or sibling can show they lost money somehow [i.e. they have to quit work or miss work without pay]. The only way to access the benefit is to have a third party care agency come in and provide the services.
Insurance companies are more than aware that families are simply not prepared to allow strangers in their home. They know that these types of services are highly personal in nature. Ranging from dressing and bathing to personal hygiene; family members will only allow each other to help them at their most embarrassing and vulnerable times. As a result, insurance companies recognize they will no longer have to pay out attendant care benefits in the majority of cases.
Why not let parents get the benefit for helping their disabled child get dressed? Why should a complete stranger get compensated and not a parent? Why is the extra time a parent has to spend helping their child worthless now? The real question that has to be asked is why would the provincial government change the law at the request of the insurance industry?
On February 17, 2010, Intact Financial Corporation (one of Ontario largest insurance companies) reported net operating income for the quarter ended December 31, 2009 of $98.1 million, up 30.2% compared to the same quarter last year.