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Local senior engaged in battle with car insurer, provincial government

February 22, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

An elderly Dufferin County resident is currently fighting on two fronts after launching a lawsuit against a national insurance provider and calling on the provincial government to review what he called “bogus” legislation. 

Keith McKibbon is no stranger to controversy. Sitting down with the Citizen earlier this month, the Amaranth resident explained how a car crash back in December 2016 is still heavily impacting his life today. 

Going back a little over two years, Mr. McKibbon was involved in a collision on Fourth Line in Amaranth that changed his life forever.

“It was icy conditions, unfortunately I slid right through an intersection and was hit. The crash totalled my car and just about totalled me,” Mr. McKibbon said. “I wasn’t admitted to hospital, but had extensively injured my back and neck.”

At the time, his doctor recommended he seek physiotherapy to aid with his recovery. He received treatment at Physio Plus in Orangeville and, he says, noticed some improvement in his condition. Seven months later and, still requiring treatments, Mr. McKibbon was informed that his insurance allotment for the year had been used up and he wouldn’t be eligible for any further medical care. 

“Aviva, my car insurer, denied me any more treatments,” Mr. McKibbon said. “I didn’t know it at the time, but all they had approved was for my private insurance to pay for the physiotherapy. So, the treatments I received, used up all of my private health insurance for the year.”

Still in considerable pain, Mr. McKibbon made the decision to travel down to a private pain clinic in Waterloo on a weekly basis to be administered injections in his neck. He estimates those trips cost him approximately $100 per week. They went on for six months. 

“It was probably a couple thousand dollars at least,” Mr. McKibbon estimated when asked how much he was out of pocket. 

Then, in Dec. 2017, after securing a lawyer and reaching out to Aviva, Mr. McKibbon was told he could receive a further 24 treatments. He presumed these treatments would be paid for by Aviva, but, just a couple of months later, those treatments were discontinued. 

“My private plan was once again used for a portion of the physio and I very quickly maxed out on what I could use,” Mr. McKibbon said. “I was told I was approved for treatments totalling $2,464, but $1,300 of that came from my private plan. I feel that my private insurance shouldn’t have been involved. This should have been something Aviva covered.”

Mr McKibbon struggled for weeks. The pain was, at times, unbearable. He didn’t know who to turn to. His lawyer, it appeared, had hit a brick wall and he wasn’t getting anywhere dealing with Aviva himself. So he reached out to local MPP Sylvia Jones. He explained his struggles in a very intimate letter.

“Right now, I no longer have any insurance to receive physio treatments. I am in considerable pain and I am not sure what to do next. If I want to continue treatments, I will have to borrow money to do this. Seniors do not have large reservoirs of money to take care of these problems,” he wrote.

Ms. Jones directed a letter of her own to Charles Sousa, who was, at the time, Ontario’s Minister of Finance. She asked Mr. Sousa to “look into” Mr. McKibbon’s issue. What has transpired, Keith says, is a thorough regulatory review carried out by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). A compliance officer that has been assigned to his case is currently investigating to see is there is non-compliance with provincial legislation and regulations on Aviva’s end. 

But that may be where part of the problem lies. According to Mr. McKibbon, current provincial legislation allows car insurance firms to essentially pass the buck to private insurers if a client requires continued medical care following an accident.

“I’m in the process of trying to get that legislation changed,” Mr. McKibbon said. “The government is checking everything out and reviewing the current procedures. I don’t expect anything to happen immediately, but I would like to see the legislation clarified or corrected.”

One of the stumbling blocks along the way, Mr. McKibbon concludes, has been a mis-diagnosis whereby he believed for years he suffered with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). At various stages, Aviva pointed to MS as being a potential cause for the pain or root of the problem, rather than the 2016 car crash. Keith says he has since been diagnosed with cerebellar atrophy, a condition that leads to the deterioration of nerve cells in the area of the brain that controls muscle coordination and balance.

“The pain stems from the collision, and the collision alone,” Keith said, a fact reiterated in a letter he obtained from Nadine Locas, a doctor based in Orangeville. 

Since involving Ms. Jones and the finance department, Mr. McKibbon noted Aviva has had something of a change of heart. In July of last year the company agreed to fund a further 24 treatments, which Keith admitted he was still making use of today. His concern, however, is that once those treatments are complete, he will be back at square one.

“I don’t know what number I’m at right now, but once those treatments are over, I’m sure I’ll run into the same issues again. They may decline to pay,” he said.

In the meantime, Keith remains in constant contact with his Toronto-based lawyer as he considers launching a class action lawsuit. 

“I haven’t figured out all the bills or how much I had to pay out of pocket for different things, but it’s a fair amount. Then there’s the pain I’ve had to endure along the way,” Mr. McKibbon said. “Right now, we’re waiting for a hearing and then we will move forward with things.”

Using his own personal motto of “nothing said, nothing done”, Keith is committed to continuing with his fight to ensure that nobody has to endure what he has gone through over the past two years. 

“They picked the wrong guy to nickel and dime. I’m not afraid to stand up and fight,” Mr. McKibbon said.



         

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