The Court of Appeal has once again confirmed an insurers’ right to the predictability of the two year limitation period in Bonaccorso v. Optimum Insurance Company Inc., 2016 ONCA 34.
The plaintiff appealed the decision of Justice H.S. Arrell which dismissed her claim for income replacement benefits by way of summary judgment motion.
An accident occurred on February 4, 2008 injuring the plaintiff. She returned to work on June 28, 2009 and Optimum terminated entitlement to ongoing income replacement benefits as of her return to work date. By correspondence dated February 8, 2010 Optimum wrote to the plaintiff confirming her income replacement benefits were discontinued effective June 29, 2009. This correspondence included an explanation of benefits form.
The plaintiff continued working until February 15, 2011, when she left her employment allegedly due to accident related injuries. She requested reinstatement of income replacement benefits on July 13, 2012 and Optimum denied this request on July 20, 2012. Mediation was subsequently filed on October 9, 2012.
The crux of the plaintiff’s argument before Justice Arrell and the Court of Appeal was that the temporary return to work section of the SABS (section 11) would serve to make the termination of income replacement benefits premature.
On appeal, the court disagreed, finding that the limitation period trumps the temporary return to work section of the SABS. To allow otherwise would extend a claimant’s entitlement to income replacement benefits for an indeterminate amount of time, which is inconsistent with the underlying purpose of the limitation period; certainty and finality.