Sun Life named one of the 2017 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World

For the eighth consecutive year, Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) (“Sun Life Financial”) has been named among the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World (the “Global 100”), in a ranking maintained by Corporate Knights, a Toronto based media and investment advisory company. Sun Life is one of only six Canadian companies across all sectors included in the ranking, and the only North American insurance company to earn a spot on the 2017 Global 100.

“At Sun Life, we understand that sustainability is key to meeting our long-term commitments to clients, employees, advisors and shareholders,” said Melissa Kennedy, Executive Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer and Public Affairs, Sun Life Financial. “Being named as one of the most sustainable companies in the world aligns with our commitment to continue to strengthen our sustainability practices and advance our strategy.”

Sun Life’s sustainability strategy is focused on four areas where the company continues to deepen its commitment to building sustainable, healthier communities for life:

Community Wellness – Since announcing our support of diabetes in 2012, Sun Life has proudly committed over $17 million to diabetes awareness, prevention, care and research initiatives across the globe.

Organizational Resilience – In 2017, Sun Life was recognized as one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, and in 2015 received Excellence Canada’s platinum award recognizing Sun Life as one of the nation’s best-run corporations in areas such as leadership, strategy, client experience and engagement.

Environmental Responsibility – Sun Life has continued to ensure strong environmental stewardship across its properties worldwide, including its new global headquarters at One York in Toronto, Canada, and through investments across asset classes, including private fixed income investments in green and renewable energy projects.

  • In 2016, Sun Life invested approximately half a billion dollars in eight green and renewable energy projects
  • In 2017, Sun Life’s headquarters will relocate to One York, a newly constructed office tower which is targeting LEED Platinum Certification
  • For six consecutive years, Bentall Kennedy, a Sun Life Investment Management company, has been ranked among the top firms around the world for its commitment to sustainable investing by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB)
  • Also for six consecutive years, Bentall Kennedy has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for its continued leadership and achievements in energy efficiency

Governance and Risk Management – Sun Life was the first major Canadian life insurer to become a signatory to the United Nations supported Principles for Responsible Investment in 2014, and Bentall Kennedy was an early adopter, becoming a signatory in 2009. In 2016, Sun Life ranked in the top ten in the Globe and Mail Report on Business’ Board Games review of corporate governance practices of Canada’s largest companies.

The Global 100 ranking was announced today by Corporate Knights at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Applying a data driven approach, Corporate Knights assesses roughly 4,000 global mid-, large-, and mega-cap companies in all industries and geographies to arrive at the 2017 Global 100. The ranking is based on companies’ scores on key performance indicators covering resource, employee and financial management and supplier performance.

To learn about Sun Life’s sustainability strategy and initiatives, visit the Sustainability page on www.sunlife.com.

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2016, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $908 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars except as otherwise noted.

Media Relations Contact:
Krista Wilson
Director
Corporate Communications
T. 519-888-3900 ext.3414896
krista.wilson@sunlife.com

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.

Tennessee Wildfires Damage Estimated at $500M

On December 14, 2016 local officials in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a tourism community nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, estimated the damage from the wildfires which bullied its way through the town on November 28, 2016, at $500 million dollars.

Larry Waters, the Mayor of Sevier County, who announced the estimate at a news conference, and also made a promise to do a full scale review of the emergency response and see what was done well and what can be done better.

With winds blasting close to 90 MPH, power lines fell like writhing serpents-causing other fires to ignite.

It was a scene out of a disaster movie as citizens fled on foot or by car as the persistent flames closed in.

 

Damaged or completely destroyed were more than 2,400 buildings, including 2,100 homes. Sixty businesses were also annihilated.

Photo by Lyle Guinn

Save

Supreme Court won’t hear NFL concussion lawsuit, leaving settlement in place

Andrew Kulp, Associated Press

The NFL is no doubt breathing a sigh of relief Monday, December 12, 2016, as the biggest and most famous concussion lawsuit ever filed is officially a thing of the past.

The Associated Press reports the United States Supreme Court has rejected challenges to the estimated settlement of $1 billion that was already reached in the case. Since the court has opted not hear the case, the settlement will remain in place as is, and the lawsuit is over.

With the lawsuit reaching its conclusion, the AP notes former NFL players who are suffering as a result of concussions should soon begin to receive payouts. Those awards could reach as high as $5 million in cases of severe brain trauma.

Over 20,000 retired players were part of the lawsuit. Some felt the settlement was not large enough.

At this point, the NFL is likely happy to put this chapter behind them and begin moving forward. While concussions in general and the lawsuit alleging the league actively engaged in hiding their effects don’t appear to be hurting the league’s bottom line right now, just knowing that it’s out there in the news must make executives nervous.

And while concussions aren’t going away with this lawsuit, the NFL can now begin to distance itself from shady practices of the past and point to their focus on player safety in the present. That doesn’t mean there won’t be more negative press stemming from the inherent violence of the game, but this has been a black cloud hanging over the league for awhile.

Most important of all, retired players will begin to get money to put toward their medical costs and treatments that weren’t necessarily available to them previously. For some, it still might not be enough to correct the damage that’s been done by concussions, but it’s a start.

Plan ahead – holiday CounterAttack roadchecks on now

Plan ahead – holiday CounterAttack roadchecks on now

Impaired driving remains a leading cause of fatal car crashes, with an average of 66 lives lost every year in B.C.

That’s why the B.C. government, police and ICBC are urging drivers to plan ahead and make smart decisions to get home safely this holiday season. Starting today, CounterAttack roadchecks will be set up by police across the province to keep impaired drivers off our roads throughout December.

ICBC is helping to prevent impaired driving this December with an education campaign, funding for CounterAttack roadchecks and get home safe promotion with businesses, sports facilities and community groups.

ICBC also supports Operation Red Nose, a volunteer service in 19 B.C. communities that provides safe rides to drivers who have been drinking or feel too tired to drive during the holidays. This service is available now until December 31 on Friday and Saturday nights, including New Year’s Eve.

Get more stats and facts from ICBC’s infographic and learn more about the CounterAttack campaign on icbc.com.

Quotes:

Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

“Getting home safely should be part of everyone’s holiday planning but the reality is that impaired driving remains a leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Do your part this Christmas season and look out for family and friends – take a stand and don’t let them get behind the wheel impaired.”

Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

“We’ve made significant progress but too many people are still losing their lives due to impaired driving,” said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “CounterAttack remains a key part of our provincial enforcement strategy to further reduce crashes involving alcohol and drugs and making our roads safer for British Columbians.”

Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction, and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch

“Protecting public health and safety is a critical part of our government’s ongoing efforts to modernize B.C.’s liquor laws,” said Coralee Oakes, Minister responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch. “With the holidays fast approaching, we are updating social responsibility materials in BC Liquor Stores throughout the province to remind British Columbians to make smart choices – plan ahead, have a designated driver or call a taxi if you plan on drinking. Please, for your safety and that of everyone around you, don’t drink and drive.”

Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Police officers across the province will be working hard to keep impaired drivers off our roads this December,” said Chief Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “The hardest part of a police officer’s job is telling a family they’ve lost a loved one – a loss that could have been avoided. We can all help prevent these crashes by always planning a safe ride home.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety

“We want everyone to enjoy the holidays with family and friends so make sure you plan ahead for a safe ride home,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “Whether you’re attending a holiday get-together or meeting friends to watch a game, arrange a designated driver, call a taxi, take transit or use Operation Red Nose.”

Statistics:*

  • On average, 16 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Lower Mainlandevery year.

  • On average, 23 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Southern Interior every year.

  • On average, 10 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving on Vancouver Islandevery year.

  • On average, 19 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in North Central B.C.every year.

 *Based on five year average from police data (2011 to 2015). Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.

Media contact

Sam Corea
604-982-2480

Change EI to make it simpler, more equitable

By Jordan Press

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ The federal minister in charge of the employment insurance system says the program needs a serious redesign in the next few years to meet changing economic and social conditions.

In a roundtable interview with The Canadian Press this week, Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said he believes the EI system should be simplified, include better work incentives and improve the quality and the availability of services that people expect.

An economist who specialized in social policy as an academic, Duclos said the EI system is overly complex, with even the best officials in his department typically having difficulty understanding the ins and out of the program.

He said EI needs to support current living standards and improve the ability and willingness of people to invest in housing, training and education that could improve their future.

“Our labour market circumstances are changing very rapidly leading to both challenges for the middle class when it comes to having good jobs, sufficiently well paid (jobs) for them to invest in their future and the future of their families, as well as their sense of income and work security,” Duclos said.

“It’s not only the current living standards that are of great concern to many of our families  it’s also their vision of the future that generates stress and anxiety that have an impact on their ability, again, to project themselves into the future.”

Duclos said he didn’t know how long it would take to study, discuss, deliberate and decide on changes.

Changes to the EI system can be politically problematic for a government. In the last election, the Liberals swept Atlantic Canada, riding a promise to reverse Tory changes to EI. Almost 20 years earlier, the Jean Chretien Liberals lost 20 seats in region in the 1997 election after angering voters over their own changes to EI.

Duclos tried to strike a more balanced tone when discussing the future of the program, saying the focus needs to be on making the program equitable

“We want equity in the quality of services, we want equity in a way which combines both the short-term and the long-term benefits that workers receive from EI,” Duclos said.

The Liberals first budget made a number of changes to the system, all designed to expand eligibility, lengthen the duration of benefits for hard-hit regions, decrease the time applicants wait before they receive benefits and revamp training programs.

The budget said the spending measures this year and next would cost almost $2.5 billion, not including $175 million this year for skills training programs delivered with the provinces targeting workers whether they qualify for EI or not.

Some of the measures are already in place: Extended benefits for 15 regions hard-hit by the drop in commodity prices kicked in July 1. The government has expanded work-sharing agreements to 76 weeks from 38 weeks, cut the number of work hours that recent entrants or re-entrants to the labour force need to qualify for EI, and extended a program to let EI recipients work without a deep clawback in their payments.

There is one measure still yet to take effect: The government’s promise to reduce the waiting period for a first benefit payment to one week from two. That is due Jan. 1.

Duclos said the government is still working on improving services, which includes hiring more workers to answer phones at EI call centres and process applications. A panel of MPs is scheduled to report to the government by the end of the this year about issues in the EI service system with recommendations on how to address them.

The minister said the Liberals are willing to work with provincial governments to better streamline the social safety net and eliminate complexities.

“If they want to act, we’ll be there to help, either by providing the data and research or by engaging them on issues of program alignment that they might find of interest,” he said.

CP3

Insurance Fraud & Insurance Rates – Who to Believe?

questionmark-thumbnail-1Ouch! My ICBC insurance rates are going up as much as 42% over the next five years according to an article in the Province newspaper. I already paid $630 this year for the privilege of having my fellow British Columbians help me pay for collision liability if I make a mistake and crash my pickup. I’m not looking forward to paying $895 in 2021, but when you consider how much you could be on the hook for if you didn’t have insurance, even that doesn’t look too bad.

If you are a fan of B.C. politics, this is an interesting situation. ICBC tried to have the B.C. Utilities Commission (which oversees the setting of ICBC rates on behalf of taxpayers) keep their increase forecast under wraps. The Commission ultimately refused to do this.

The N.D.P. points out that this is an attempt by the Liberals to hide bad news just prior to an election.

The provincial government takes “dividends” out of ICBC coffers that could have remained for investment and the reduction of our insurance rates.

ICBC rightly points out that insurance rates have been impacted by the cost of bodily injury claims, insurance fraud and the cost of repairing high end vehicles. If I’m reading their annual report correctly, the cost of claims totalled just over 4 billion dollars in 2015. That’s for an average (2009 to 2013) of 52,000 injury crashes (about 142 per day).

Fraud costs us all between $100 and $150 per year according to ICBC, which is definitely significant in my view. Both ICBC and the Insurance Bureau of Canada hope that we’ll all help by preventing frauds. In fact, ICBC has two units that work to expose fraud, the Special Investigations Unit and the Cyber Unit that uses information available on the internet and social media to catch offenders.

Examples of frauds are highlighted in ICBC’s 2015 Hall of Shame and Cyber Fraud files.

To the contrary, a pair of lawyers from the law firm Murphy Battista in Vancouver think that insurance fraud is only a drop in the bucket of claims each year.

I don’t understand refusing to insure high end vehicles as a cost cutting measure though. ICBC and other insurance companies know how much these vehicles cost and how much they cost to repair. Setting an appropriate premium for the risk is what an insurance company is all about. If they do cost six times as much to repair, surely the rates should be six times higher.

The Fraser Institute is a Canadian think tank that, in part, communicates the effects of government policies on our well being. Their last report claims that B.C. drivers are paying rates that are too high due to a lack of competition.

So, how do we as drivers decide what is reasonable and what is not for our mandatory vehicle insurance purchase? The true answer probably lies somewhere in the middle of all of this.

I’d be willing to bet that if we quit crashing into things our rates would be much lower. That may seem trite, but we do it about 700 times a day in this province.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest