Economical and Atlantic broker Macdonald Chisholm Trask Insurance raise more than $25,500 for Victorian Order of Nurses

When Macdonald Chisholm Trask Insurance (MCT), one of Atlantic Canada’s largest insurance brokerages, teams up with Economical Insurance on MCT Day to raise funds for charity, good things happen.

This year, their partnership raised more than $25,500 for the Victorian Order of Nurses, a critical part of health care services in the numerous communities where MCT has offices in Atlantic Canada.

Every year for the past five years, MCT has hosted MCT Day, its largest annual fundraising initiative, in partnership with Economical, one of Canada’s leading providers of home, auto and business insurance.

Leading up to MCT Day, brokerage staff throughout Atlantic Canada sold 1,850 tickets to win a $5,000 travel voucher from Maritime Travel. The lucky winner was Kathy Atwood of Barrington Passage, NS.

In Bedford, staff held a Washer Toss Tournament and a dessert cook-off at which MCT and Economical staff brought their best dessert and people paid $5 to taste and judge the best of the lot. Elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, MCT staff was joined by Economical employees at local BBQs, bake sales and bottle drives to raise funds for the VON.

“MCT Day is an opportunity for MCT Insurance and Economical Insurance to show support and appreciation of organizations that help those in need,” said Liz Cosgrove, Head of Atlantic Canada for MCT. “Over the years, MCT has raised funds for the IWK Heath Centre and KidSport. This year, our employees selected the VON, which provides home and community care every day in our communities. We’re grateful to Economical Insurance, our employees and communities for their time, energy and dedication in making fundraising initiatives for the VON a success. Giving back is a team effort.”

“We are honoured to have been selected as MCT’s cause of choice this year,” said Jo-Anne Poirier, President and CEO, VON Canada.  “This partnership injects critical funds to support VON investment in innovative approaches to delivering care, and will have a direct impact on those we serve.  The funds will support safety and assistive devices and kits that reduce risk for our clients and service providers, and will boost our ability to invest in time-saving technology that allows our service providers to spend more of their time with clients. MCT’s support will also enable investment in important leadership training for our teams, once again with a focus on delivering exemplary care to those we serve.”

“We are delighted to partner with MCT every year to give back to the communities where we live and work,” said Karen Kaminska, Regional Vice-President of Atlantic Canada for Economical Insurance. “This partnership highlights the depth and quality of our relationship with MCT that benefits our customers and the communities we are so proud to support.”

About MCT
Macdonald Chisholm Trask Insurance (MCT) is a progressive insurance brokerage dating back over 70 years with a tradition of building long-lasting relationships with customers and local communities. With over 135 insurance professionals in 18 urban and rural offices, MCT is one of the largest brokerages in Atlantic Canada. MCT is a BrokerLink company. The BrokerLink companies are subsidiaries of Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) and affiliated with Intact Insurance Company, Novex Insurance Company and Jevco Insurance Company.

About Economical Insurance
Founded in 1871, Economical is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with more than $2.2 billion in annualized premium volume and more than $5.5 billion in assets as at June 30, 2017. Based in Waterloo, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Sonnet, Petsecure, Economical Financial, and Family Insurance Solutions.

SOURCE Economical Insurance

New Farm Business Unit to better serve SGI CANADA’s farm customers

As farms have become bigger and operations more expensive, farmers’ insurance needs have become more sophisticated. The staff in SGI CANADA’s newly-launched Farm Business Unit understand these changes in the industry and are equipped with the farming knowledge and insurance know-how to better protect today’s agricultural producers.

“Customers have told us that the insurance industry in general hasn’t done a good enough job understanding or serving the ag sector,” SGI CANADA Chief Operating Officer Don Thompson said. “We agree. After talking with customers and independent broker partners, we have begun to make some improvements.  With the new Farm Business Unit we’re looking forward to giving our farm customers better service and the best coverage possible to meet their needs.”

According to the 2016 Census, the average value of Canadian farmland and buildings was 39 per cent higher in 2016 than it was just five years earlier. Farm equipment is getting more sophisticated every year, which also means it’s getting more expensive.  Farmers need an insurance company that understands how the agriculture industry is evolving and is committed to evolving with it.

The Farm Business Unit is ready to meet the growing demands of this rapidly evolving sector, with a specialized team of underwriters and adjusters dedicated to serving only farming and ranching customers. A professional agrologist leads the unit, and all staff have training and knowledge of farming and ranching operations, crop production, farm vehicles, machinery, livestock, equipment, farm buildings and other assets.

“We get that it’s still a busy time of year as farmers race to get the last of the crop in the bin,” Thompson said. “Once harvest has wrapped up, we encourage them to talk to their insurance broker to learn more about SGI CANADA’s Farm Business Unit. We’re here to help.”


Longboard rider faces legal battle after $598 ticket for using electric board

A Vancouver man has pulled the plug on his electric skateboard after receiving a $598 ticket the first time he took it out on the street.

Daniel Dahlberg said he was riding the longboard, marketed as a Boosted Board, on Friday, June 9, 2017 down a hill in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood when he was pulled over by police.

The board can be used as a normal skateboard but also has a battery attached to the bottom, giving the wheels enough torque to push a rider up a steep hill.

Dahlberg said he hadn’t even engaged the battery yet, but his maiden voyage was also the first time he learned from a police officer that riders need insurance.

“I asked him, I had no idea, how do I get insurance, and he told me that there isn’t any to purchase, it doesn’t exist,” Dahlberg said.

“I kinda stared at him. I was trying to think of a way to respond to that because it doesn’t make any sense to me, and then he hands me a $598 ticket.

“Not once was I warned about this or did I read about this.”

Dahlberg has filed notice that he intends to dispute the ticket and said he had already received offers of support after posting about his predicament online.

“I’ve had a lot of attention from that and a lot of people reaching out to me with advice, retired B.C. lawyers who are interested in offering me advice,” he said.

The local boarding community was also rallying, Dahlberg said.

Online checks show the boards sell in shops in Vancouver for more than $2,100 and Dahlberg said the store where his board was purchased has been selling them for at least two years.

But Dahlberg said his board isn’t rolling anywhere, anymore.

“Luckily the manufacturer of the board has a 30-day return policy. So I have already been in touch with them and I’ll be sending back my board for the time being because I don’t really see a reason to use it if I’ll get another fine like this,” he said.

“And then I’ll contest the ticket in court.”

The court process is just beginning and Dahlberg said he didn’t know when the matter might be heard.


Drug Screening Device Pilot Project receives positive reviews from police

Public Safety Canada:

Participating police officers were able to successfully use oral fluid drug screening devices in various conditions across Canada.

Results from the oral fluid drug screening device pilot project suggest the devices can be successfully used in Canada to identify drivers who test positive for certain drugs, and can provide another tool for law enforcement to detect and deter drug-impaired driving.

While drivers can currently be tested for impairment by Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) and Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Public Safety Canada, in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), led the pilot project to test the use of oral fluid drug screening devices as an additional tool for detecting drug-impaired drivers.

Police officers from seven jurisdictions across Canada collected over 1,140 samples between December 18, 2016 and March 6, 2017. Feedback from officers involved in the pilot project was largely positive. Officers reported that the devices were easy to use at the roadside with some standard operating procedures. They also said they were able to successfully use them in various weather, temperature and lighting conditions. The officers also noted their comfort and confidence increased the longer they used the devices, and they were able to adapt and trouble-shoot problems encountered at the roadside.

The pilot project is an excellent example of a successful federal partnership with provinces, territories and police forces across Canada. The report includes key recommendations such as developing a list of standards for device functionality, as well as standard operating procedures at the roadside, and development of core training for police forces.

Farmers decry Trump plans to cut agriculture subsidies

Farm groups and some members of Congress from farm states are decrying proposed cuts to crop insurance and other safety net programs for farmers included in President Donald Trump’s budget.

The proposed cuts come even as farmers are facing their fourth straight year of falling income, and could particularly affect farm states such as Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska that helped Trump win the November election.

“Clearly, this budget fails agriculture and rural America,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

The proposed budget would cap the amount of money the U.S. government provides to help farmers pay insurance premiums and eliminate insurance coverage for lost revenue when crop prices and per-acre yields fall. That would reduce the federal insurance program’s budget by $28 billion over 10 years.

Trump has also proposed reducing subsidies to farmers, cutting those programs by $9 billion by decreasing the maximum income level from $900,000 to $500,000 for a farmer to be eligible. The budget would also cut 5,263 jobs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 5.5 per cent reduction in staff.

Farmers, economists and agriculture experts say it is important to support the agriculture sector, which makes up about 11 per cent of U.S. employment, or about 21 million jobs, and contributes nearly $1 trillion to the nation’s domestic productivity.

“The strength of the agricultural economy has implications for rural America, but also for the larger U.S. economy,” Robert Johansson, the USDA’s chief economist, told senators last month.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the leading Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, warned that the proposed cuts “would have a disproportionate impact on small towns across our country and leave those communities in crisis.”

But some people say there’s no need for farmers to worry just yet.

“What I’ve been telling farmers is let’s just relax a bit before we panic. It’s going to be hard for Trump to get anything done. That’s become really obvious,” said Brent Gloy, a former Purdue University agriculture economist who now works full-time on his family’s corn, soybean and wheat farm in southwest Nebraska, where Trump had strong support.

Indeed, Republican U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, who owns a farm in Iowa and is a member of the agriculture and budget committees, doesn’t expect the crop insurance cuts to make it through Congress. Grassley considers Trump’s budget a non-starter, much like the budget proposals of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who also suggested farm program cuts that never materialized.

“Most budgets are dead on arrival,” Grassley said during a recent conference call with reporters. “I don’t say that to be negative about any of the three presidents I’ve said it about.”

Farmer Harold Wolle, who lives in a Minnesota county where 55 per cent of voters chose Trump, makes the same point and says it’s too early in the process for Trump supporters to be disappointed.

“We’re fortunate that Congress writes the budget, not the executive branch,” said Wolle, who is president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

Subsidies for crops and crop insurance have sustained grain farmers in recent years as prices plummeted for wheat, corn and soybeans thanks to favourable weather that boosted harvests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in February net farm income is expected to fall 8.7 per cent this year to $62.3 billion, half of the $123.7 billion income posted in 2013.

The Trump administration says the proposed cuts help fulfil a campaign promise to balance the federal budget.

“I believe the people knew what they were doing when they elected President Trump president,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in conference call with Iowa reporters. “I see it as an opportunity to demonstrate to the American people we can do more with less and we will do more with less. We’re going to be winning in the end.”

Iowa farmer Chris Petersen, who voted for Hillary Clinton in November after supporting Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, actually supports some cuts to farm subsidies, saying they promote the overproduction of certain crops.

“I believe in protecting agriculture and farms of all sizes up to a certain size. It’s a national food security issue,” said Petersen, who raises hogs, cattle and vegetables, which he sells to local residents and restaurants. “But it comes to a certain point where it’s just on steroids basically and there needs to be more management.”

At the same time, he says Trump supporters from depressed rural areas who thought they were electing someone who would help them should have known better.

“You get what you voted for,” he said. “People better be thinking about rural economies, the rural people, jobs, stability and changing things around so it works better for rural. A lot of people didn’t think this out too good.”


Why you probably need renters insurance

Yahoo Finance’

Did you know that if there’s a fire in your apartment or building, your landlord’s insurance likely won’t pay for your property losses? Same goes if someone swipes your stuff. So how can you protect yourself financially? Easy. Renters insurance.

This coverage usually compensates you if your belongings in your apartment or rental home are unexpectedly damaged, stolen or ruined. Plans can also cover costs incurred if someone gets injured in your apartment and then sues you.

You might think such gloom-and-doom scenarios are so unlikely that you don’t need renters insurance. But chances are, it’s worth it. The average policy costs about $16 a month and will cover most everything in your apartment—your clothes, electronics, furniture and more.

The best way to figure out how much coverage you need it is to do a little math. Make a list of all your belongings—clothing, artwork, instruments, sporting equipment, devices, etc. Then tally up how much you’d have to pay to replace them all; that’s the level of coverage you need.

Keep in mind, however, that it’s not always wise to file a claim. Most plans will make you pay a deductible, or a pre-arranged amount of the bill. Think about how much the cost of your insurance might increase if you file a claim. Does it outweigh the cost of just replacing the item on your own?

Many renters insurance plans will also help cover the cost of living expenses—such as hotel bills and food expenses—if long-term repairs need to be done.

But every insurance policy is different. There are events that most renters insurance policies don’t cover, including floods, earthquakes and other “acts of God.” (That’s actually the term insurance companies use.)

These things can be covered, but companies typically charge an extra premium for them. Make sure you check your policy for specific details.

A 2014 study showed more than half of young renters don’t have renters insurance. Don’t be one of them. Paying a little bit each month can save you thousands of dollars in the event of a major catastrophe.

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