CRUSHING COMPLAINTS – Collision Repair Magazine
Tros Riveries estimator strained to see license reinstated
Story by ALLISON ROGERS
Trois-Rivières, Quebec, estimator Stéphane Lachance can finally breathe a sigh of relief after a long process of deliberation regarding a complaint filed against him by Intact Insurance last year.
On September 14, the Mouvement Carrosiers Québec (MCQ) announced a “total victory” for Lachance, which had recently seen its qualification certificate revoked by the disciplinary committee of the Groupements des assureurs automobiles (GAA) following a complaint filed. against him by Intact Insurance in 2020.
In January 2020, following a minor collision, the owner of a 2004 Toyota Prius filed a damage claim with Intact Insurance. Their vehicle was considered a total loss. Dissatisfied with Intact Insurance’s decision, the vehicle owner filed a lawsuit against Intact Insurance in the Court of Quebec, small claims division, and called Lachance as an expert witness — who, at the time, was on temporary suspension. permit for unspecified reasons. .
On March 13, 2020, Intact Insurance filed a claim with the GAA, which oversees auto insurance in the province. The complaint alleged that Lachance had performed the function of estimator in a “derogatory manner”; that he improperly used a GAA document to prove his skills and failed to enter a certificate qualifying number on an estimate he allegedly helped build for his client for small court receivables.
In response to the complaint, the GAA dictated that its complaints officer “may contact anyone who may provide information relevant to the handling of the complaint and collect its version.” Anyway, the officer moved to denounce Intact Assurance to the effect that Lachance had committed ethical faults.
Fast forward a year and the GAA Discipline Committee allowed parties to share their views – and Lachance has spoken. He argued that he did not act as an experienced accident repair assessor, but rather as a knowledgeable bodybuilder capable of making a judgment on the repairability of the Toyota Prius in question. The documents he allegedly wrongly prepared were only intended to illustrate his knowledge and skills in collision repair.
On May 25, the discipline committee declared Lachance guilty of failing to fulfill his professional obligations by acting as an assessor while his license was suspended.
The committee also alleged a risk of recurrence on the part of Lachance and hammered home the seriousness of the fault, ordering a “complete and final withdrawal” of Lachance’s qualification certificate. But Lachance knew he had never been wrong. Faced with the decision, he retained the services of legal support via Mr. Estelle Savoie-Dufresne and submitted the decision of the disciplinary committee to arbitration.
On August 25, the arbitrator reversed the committee’s decision and dismissed Intact Insurance’s original complaint. In its decision, the MCQ indicated that the arbitrator noted that the Committee “did not, as provided by law, justify its decision”. In other words, the committee did not explain what led to the sanction imposed on Lachance.
The arbitrator also said that Lachance’s explanations in the case “were not even accepted or considered by the committee as if the appraiser had not testified or disputed the complaint.”