October 28, 2019 by Greg Meckbach
A $2.2 million settlement of a class-action privacy lawsuit against The Personal has been approved by a judge, plaintiffs’ law firm Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation announced Monday.
The lawsuit arose after The Personal asked some auto claimants if it could access their credit scores. This resulted in a complaint with the federal Privacy Commissioner and the launch of the class action in Federal Court.
The settlement – approved recently by Justice Benjamin Glustein of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – was originally announced this past August.
The Personal was originally checking some clients’ credit scores when investigating auto claims but has since stopped doing this, a DGIG spokesperson Canadian Underwriter earlier. DGIG said at the time The Personal was checking the credit scores only if the claimants consented. The intent was to triage claims for a possible second look in case there were signs of possible fraud.
The Personal has not admitted any liability or wrongdoing.
A representative plaintiff, Kalevi Haikola, made an auto accident benefits claim with The Personal in 2012. Haikola alleges he was asked to give The Personal permission to obtain his credit score.
Of the $2.2 million, $585,000 will go to the plaintiffs’ class lawyers, an honorarium of $15,000 will go to Haikola and the remainder will be divided among the members of the class who either automatically qualify for a payment or who submit a valid claim form before the claim deadline of February 7, 2020, Waddell Phillips said Monday.
There are about 8,525 class members, meaning that if every class member receives a payment, then each would receive about $150.
The settlement is comprised of people who: had a valid auto policy with The Personal Insurance Company policy between January 2012 and May 2019; made a claim under that policy with The Personal during the same time frame; and consented to the collection and/or use of their credit score by The Personal or its agents as part of the fraud prevention and detection needs of The Personal’s claims management process.
Clients may opt out of the class-action and file their own claims against The Personal, reports CA2 Inc., a firm appointed to manage the claims from the settlement. The deadline to opt out is December 6.
Class members who are currently insured by The Personal do not need to do anything to make a claim. They would be automatically included in the distribution of the settlement fund, unless they choose to opt out, says CA2. Class members who are no longer customers of The Personal and who wish to receive compensation must complete an online claim form or email a completed claim form to CA2.