The majority of Fleets in Ontario and Quebec have allowed their Owner/Operators (O/O’s) to opt out of WSIB and purchase a private alternative solution that covers their O/O’s 24 hours/7 days a week for accidental injury. It’s important to understand that there is a process that needs to be followed in order to reduce your liability as a Fleet, but still allowing compliance and avoiding hefty fines from WSIB.
Who Can Opt Out?
O/O’s that own their own vehicle and pay the majority of expenses, have the ability to opt out.
A 1149A (WSIB Independent Status Document) must be completed and signed by all O/O’s and the Fleet, then it needs to be forwarded on to WSIB for consideration. Be sure to provide a copy of the vehicle ownership, articles of incorporation (if applicable) and a copy of the business registration (if applicable) to avoid delays.
Once approved, the O/O’s will receive a letter back from WSIB confirming that they have received independent status at your company or that they need to provide additional information. Please ask your O/O’s to provide you with a copy of this letter for their file.
O/O’s have 3 choices
- Personal Coverage with WSIB
- Private Coverage
- Nothing at all
Although number 3 is definitely an option, it’s not one that we support for the following reasons:
- When O/O’s opt out of WSIB, it gives them the right to sue both the Fleet and their Customer.
- Injury claims for any Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) related injuries will be directed to the Statutory Accident Benefits of the Fleets Auto Policy.
Who Cannot Opt Out?
Employee Drivers and Contract Drivers are automatically covered under WSIB, regardless of the type of contract that the Fleet has with them. Although there are Fleets that have perhaps made “special arrangements” with a Contract Driver’s agreement, unless the driver contracts their services with 4-5 other companies throughout the year, they will be considered an employee and WSIB must be paid premiums.
Because you have allowed your O/O’s to opt out of WSIB, we strongly recommend that you require them to purchase a comprehensive alternative coverage to WSIB, to reduce your liability and help control costs. Offering a comprehensive solution through settlement deduction will ensure your O/O’s not only purchased coverage but because you are paying the premium on their behalf (and charging them back), you can ensure coverage has been maintained. We also recommend that you select a provider that can instantly provide you with status updates, claims history and payouts for MVA type claims.
WSIB Alternative Review & Recommendations
Most accident disability policies look very similar on the surface and can be very confusing unless you know what to look for. Generally, when an O/O is shopping for coverage they look at two things:
1) how much does it cost?
2) what’s it going to pay me if I get injured?
Most won’t look at the general limitations or exclusions that can leave them and their Fleet fully exposed and only find out about it after a claim has been denied.
If you provide us with a copy of the policies (wordings) that your O/O’s have purchased, we can review and provide our recommendation in writing of any gaps in their current coverage. On the following page, we have provided you with a recommended “minimum criteria” as a guideline when looking for coverage.
Recommended Minimum Criteria
Owner/Operator WSIB/CSST Alternative Coverage
INCOME REPLACEMENT ACCIDENT DISABILITY COVERAGE
- 1st-day accident disability – no waiting or elimination period
- Benefits should be paid based on gross earnings – not net
- “Own Occupation” Definition of at least 5 years
- Benefits Payable to Age 70 (not just a lump sum)
- Strains/sprains limitation – 60 days per injury
- $300,000 AD&D
- $110,000 of Accident Medical
- Rehabilitation, Retraining, Funeral Expense, Spousal Education Benefit, Dependent Education Benefit, Home and Vehicle Modification Benefit, Repatriation, Etc.
- Post Traumatic Stress Benefit
It’s important to review all policies to ensure the coverage is set up as first payor and not directing claims to other insurance i.e. the Fleets Auto Policy (Statutory Accident Benefits).
EMERGENCY TRAVEL MEDICAL (Out of Province/Country for Drivers and OO’s)
- Direct Claims Settlement
- Covered on/off the job
- Covered while driving a commercial vehicle
- Must be first payor (not directing claim to the Fleets Auto Policy)
- Must cover pre-existing conditions that are stable (a number of programs require the O/O to be stable for at least 90 days)
It’s important that all Captive Members review their current process/procedure and compare the WSIB Alternative solution(s) that they have accepted from their O/O’s with the above minimum criteria to help control insurance costs and profits moving forward.
We also recommend that you provide a program through settlement deduction to ensure the premium has been paid and the policy remains in force.
Please be sure to work with an insurance expert that specializes in this type of insurance and always check their references.