Canadian Underwriter

Battle over DAC elimination continues

December 9, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter

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Designated assessment center (DAC) representatives and trial lawyers continue to wage a war of words over the elimination of DACs as proposed by the Ontario Liberal government.
Thursday, the Association of DACs (ADAC) penned an open letter urging Premier Dalton McGuinty to rethink getting rid of the system. ADAC president Susan Filuk accused the Liberals of giving false information to the media in a bid to give more power to insurers and trial lawyers at the expense of consumers. She writes: “The Liberal government is telling the media that 80% of cases handled by DACs end up in arbitration even after the DAC assessment. This is simply untrue. In fact, Government of Ontario statistics for 2003 show that only 8% of cases referred to DACs ended up in arbitration.” She also says the $60 million price tag for the system would not be eliminated, but instead cost will go up as private lawyers become more involved in auto insurance claim disputes. “We believe this will ultimately drive up insurance premium rates.”
The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA), on the other hand, supports the move, with president Robert Munroe saying, “the elimination of DACs by the Liberal government is a strong blow in favour of consumers. It shows that the McGuinty government is interested in stopping unnecessary and costly intrusion into the healthcare rights of people hurt in car accidents.” Munroe refutes Filuk’s claim that DACs are a neutral form of assessment and contends DACs were most often used against consumers, who had already sought the recommendation of their own health care professional. He points to the obvious financial interest DAC owners have in keeping the system running. “The repeal of this archaic system was long overdue,” he concludes.

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