Hundreds of Fort McMurray insurance claims unresolved two years after wildfire

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. _ Deadlines have been extended for hundreds of insurance claims that remain unresolved more than two years after a wildfire dubbed “The Beast” tore through Fort McMurray and surrounding areas in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

“This is unprecedented, not just for the people of Wood Buffalo, but for our industry,” Bill Adams, with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said Wednesday.

“We’ve never dealt with an event nearly of this magnitude.”

The ferocious fire in May 2016 consumed 10 per cent of the buildings in the northeastern Alberta city and forced 88,000 people from their homes for at least a month.

With $3.7 billion in insured damage, the bureau has pegged the fire as the costliest disaster in Canadian history.

Legislation sets out a two-year limit for insurance claims to be resolved, meaning the deadline for affected Wood Buffalo residents passed earlier this month.

Normally, that would be more than enough time, Adams said. But insurers had to be flexible in fire’s aftermath.

“Individual insurers recognize that given the magnitude of the rebuilding, it’s just physically not possible for all claims to be resolved within a two-year period,” he said.

As of May 10, 97 per cent of residential claims had been resolved. Some 900 are outstanding, but 85 per cent of those have been granted extensions some by as much as a year.

The courts are another avenue for recourse, but Adams could not say how many people have had to resort to that option so far.

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said he was in Fort McMurray recently, where residents and the city’s mayor raised concerns about unsettled insurance claims.

“I heard loud and clear that our work in Wood Buffalo was not done,” he said.

Through the Superintendent of Insurance, the Alberta government urged insurers to allow more time for claims to be worked out.

“I’m pleased to report all insurance companies have answered our call,” Ceci said.

“I truly appreciate the commitment by insurance companies to extend the limitation period and I appreciate the support the insurance industry has provided to the people of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo since the very beginning.”

Mayor Don Scott, who represents the area, said in a statement that the extensions are a positive step for residents who are still slogging through their insurance claims.

“I encourage anyone with an outstanding insurance claim to contact their insurance company immediately to find out if they are willing to provide an extension, and if they experience any difficulty, they should contact Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance,” he said. “I would also encourage them to contact a lawyer about filing a statement of claim to preserve their rights.”

Global Insurer Selects Symbility’s Platform for its Newest Insurance Brand

TORONTOFeb. 27, 2018 /CNW/ – Symbility Solutions (TSX.V: SY) (“Symbility”), a global software company focused on modernizing the insurance industry, is pleased to announce that a Fortune 500 worldwide property & casualty insurance and reinsurance holding company has selected Symbility’s claims management cloud platform for its newest high net worth personal lines insurance brand launched in the United States.

 

This new brand, offering specialty personal insurance coverages tailored to the needs of their affluent client base, will implement Symbility’s complete suite of cloud-based tools. This technology platform enables everyone involved in the claims process be integrated into one system, to provide a single, transparent and unique claims experience to their clientele. The platform includes Symbility’s Claims Connect®, a property and casualty claims workflow solution that will streamline the claims estimating process. Inside Staff will be able to take advantage of Symbility’s Desk Adjuster™, a guided experience to help ask policyholders the right questions to create a consistent, simplified, and optimized desk adjusting process. Adjusters and third-party contractors will use Symbility Mobile Claims®, the industry’s most intuitive mobile-enabled field estimating solution. Along with Mobile Claims, the Carrier will use Symbility’s Video Connect application, which enables adjusters a direct way to engage the policyholders to visually perform a complete, accurate and secure remote inspection of the damaged property using the camera on the policyholder’s mobile device.

“We know that this Carrier’s mission is to create personalized one-on-one relationships that best serve their policyholders, and trust that Symbility will help them achieve this goal,” said James Swayze, Chief Executive Officer of Symbility Solutions. “Our technology will enable them to always be in the know, ask the right questions, and process claims from start to finish in a manner that makes their policyholders feel like they are their only customer, which is the service every policyholder expects.”

ABOUT SYMBILITY

Symbility (TSX.V: SY) believes in creating world-class experiences that simplify business and improve lives. With a history in modernizing insurance claims solutions for the property and health industries, Symbility has established itself as a partner that puts security, efficiency and customer experience first. Symbility PROPERTY™ brings smarter thinking to property insurance. Symbility HEALTH™ helps benefits professionals build their brands and businesses. Our strategic services team, Symbility INTERSECT™ empowers a variety of businesses with smarter mobile and IoT product development strategy, design thinking and engineering excellence. With our three segments pushing industries forward, Symbility proves that change for the better is entirely possible.  symbilitysolutions.com

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

All trade names are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE Symbility Solutions Inc.

Shoppers Drug Mart signs marijuana supply deal with Aurora Cannabis

Licensed producer Aurora Cannabis has signed a deal to supply medical marijuana to Shoppers Drug Mart.

The agreement is subject to Health Canada’s approval of the pharmacy chain’s application to dispense medical cannabis.

Aurora’s products are expected to be sold online, as current Canadian regulations prohibit the sale of medical marijuana in pharmacy locations.

Shoppers Drug Mart’s deal with Aurora comes after it recently signed similar deals with licensed medical marijuana producers Aphria, MedReleaf and Tilray.

The pharmacy chain’s parent company Loblaw Companies Ltd. applied in October 2016 for a license to dispense medical marijuana.

Other pharmacies have also lined up similar supply agreements, such as deals between Maricann Group. and Lovell Drugs and CanniMed Therapeutics and PharmaChoice.

 

Fort McMurray restaurant that started it all puts a cork in its B.C. wine boycott

Read more

B.C. wineries see red as Alberta declares war in pipeline dispute

Excerpreted Article was written by Nick Eagland | The Province 

B.C. vintners see red after the Alberta government launched a trade war against B.C. wine in retaliation for this province’s pipeline resistance.

Tuesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the agency of her government that is the provincial wholesaler of alcohol will stop buying B.C. wine.

The ban is Notley’s response to the B.C. government decision last week to try to restrict increases in bitumen shipments from Alberta until more studies are conducted on how spills of oilsands bitumen can be cleaned up.

Notley said Alberta imports about 7.2 million bottles of B.C. wine worth $70 million each year.

It is the latest blow in the fight between the two NDP governments over the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which was approved in 2016 by the federal government. It would triple capacity on the 1,150-km line running from Edmonton to Burnaby.

“We will not let the government of B.C. hold Alberta’s and Canada’s economy hostage, and jeopardize the economic security of hundreds of thousands of working families across this province and across this country,” Notley told a news conference at the Alberta legislature.

To scrap the pipeline would cost the Alberta economy $1.5 billion a year, Notley said. She said her province is willing to risk $5 million in fines for violating the New West Partnership Trade Agreement among the western provinces by the trade action.

“The wine industry is very important to B.C. Not nearly as important as the energy industry is to Alberta and Canada, but important nonetheless,” said Notley.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announces that Alberta will boycott all wine from B.C. Larry Wong / PNG
“I’m also encouraging all Albertans: Next time you’re thinking about ordering a glass of wine, think of our energy workers. Think of your neighbours. Think of our community. Think about our province, and maybe choose some terrific Alberta craft beer instead.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan shot back Tuesday, warning Notley to back off. He said in a statement that his government has every right to consult British Columbians on measures meant to protect B.C. lands and waters from a potential spill of diluted bitumen.

“If Alberta disagrees, they can make that argument in the proper venue, in our court system,” Horgan said.

“Our consultation on proposed new regulations hasn’t even begun, but Alberta has seen fit to take measures to impact B.C. businesses. I urge Alberta to step back from this threatening position. We stand with B.C. wine producers and will respond to the unfair trade actions announced today.”

The new B.C. Opposition leader, Andrew Wilkinson, slammed both the Alberta government for its wine ban and the B.C. NDP government for provoking the move with pipeline actions that he said will likely lose in court.

“The wine sector is going to be the innocent victim of a petty dispute between two NDP governments,” the Liberal leader said.

Manitoba PUB approves rideshare insurance, for now

Joyanne Pursaga | The Winnipeg Sun

The Public Utilities Board has granted “interim” approval to an insurance plan for Manitoba ride-share vehicles, which Uber has warned could delay its entry into the province.

In an order released Monday, the PUB approved Manitoba Public Insurance’s interim 2018/19 vehicles-for-hire premium rates.

“This order grants to MPI approval of its rates on an interim basis only, recognizing the urgency of the need for rates to be in place when The Local Vehicles for Hire Act … comes in to force,” wrote the board.

That permission allows MPI to initially require each ride-share driver to pay an “add-on” fee to basic insurance coverage, based on the hours they sell rides, charging them between $1,514 and $1,730 per year. The corporation stressed its plan would ensure other drivers don’t have to subsidize ride-share ones.

“Manitoba Public Insurance looks forward to continuing ongoing dialogue with ride-share service providers, such as Uber and Lyft, to make it as easy as possible to enter the Manitoba market … ,” said Ward Keith, MPI’s vice-president of business development, in a press release.

Uber, however, lobbied to buy blanket insurance coverage on its drivers’ behalf, noting ride-share drivers frequently change their hours.

In a submission to the board, Uber wrote this insurance model would leave it “unable to consider expansion of services to Winnipeg on March 1, 2018,” the first day ride-share companies are permitted in Manitoba.

In a Monday evening statement, Uber indicated it remains opposed to the plan.

“Uber continues to believe a blanket policy designed to cover all drivers during ride-share activity is the best insurance model for a number of reasons, including that it facilitates compliance for rideshare drivers,” wrote Uber spokesperson Susie Heath, in an email to The Sun. “We look forward to continuing to work with MPI and the Minister of Crown Services to find a way forward that expands Manitobans’ access to safe, reliable transportation options like Uber.”

Uber’s competitor Lyft has also expressed “serious concern” over the insurance plan.

MPI must still seek final approval of ride-share rates through its general rate application in 2019, which is due in June 2018.

“That will give MPI an opportunity to have some empirical evidence, some claims history to figure out what they’re actually doing,” said Darren Christle, the PUB’s executive director.

MPI will also be required to refund or charge affected ratepayers to cover any variance between interim and final rates.

Christle said Manitoba will be Canada’s first public insurance system to set rates for ride-share vehicles, which made it tough to gather evidence on what that fee should be.

“We’re on new ground here,” he said.

The board also recommends the provincial government review minimum standards and licensing requirements for all vehicle-for-hire drivers and that MPI further explore safety considerations in its general rate application.

“The PUB order indicates that safety needs to be part of those hearings,” said Christle.

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