Canada’s oil giant cuts capital spending by 26%

By Bloomberg

Canada’s largest oil and gas company said it would cut its capital program this year by 26% as it tries to outlast the plunge in crude prices.

Suncor Inc. will lower its capital program by C$1.5 billion ($1 billion) this year to between C$3.9 billion and C$4.5 billion, the company said in a statement. It will also reduce operating expenditures by C$1 billion from C$11.2 billion in 2019, and is adjusting refinery utilization because of the drop in fuel demand. The company is also delaying its target of C$2 billion of incremental free funds flow by two years to 2025.

Suncor’s cuts follow $4.4 billion in reductions already announced by other companies in the nation. Canada has been particularly hard hit by the oil crash, as pipeline constraints force steep price discounts even beyond the drop in global benchmark prices. Workers in the remote oil-sands region in Alberta are also bracing for potential outbreaks of the coronavirus.

“The simultaneous supply and demand shocks are having a significant impact on the global oil industry,” Mark Little, Suncor’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “We are adjusting our spending and operational plans to be prepared in the event the current business environment persists for an extended period of time.”

The company’s full-year production outlook is 740,000 to 780,000 barrels a day, compared with about 743,000 in the first quarter. That includes an increase in bitumen output offset by lower production expected from Fort Hills, where the partners are reducing it to a one-train operation to increase cash flow, according to the statement.

The Syncrude annual coker turnaround is being deferred from the second quarter to the third, while MacKay River’s return to operations has been intentionally extended to May because of the virus and low prices. The company is also seeking options for its project to extend the life of the Terra Nova floating production vessel as Spain is no longer able to accommodate a dry dock slot.

Edmonton travel agents field calls, re-book and cancel trips over COVID-19

The excerpted article was written by  

Approximately 100 people working in tourism gathered Thursday in Edmonton for an industry conference that touched on the novel coronavirus and its impact on travel.

The coronavirus COVID-19 has reached every continent except for Antarctica and has upheaved the travel industry, disrupting flights, accommodations and tourist attractions around the world.

The conference included tour suppliers as well as independent travel agencies in the city, and some agents said they are busy fielding calls from concerned travelers.

Hidar Elmais, manager of Travel Gurus, said the agency was busy last month repatriating travellers who were stuck overseas in infected areas.

He said this month, the agency is working with travellers who are uncertain about booking a trip or mulling whether a trip should be cancelled.

Elmais said travel insurance is an important consideration, adding that if the federal government said Canadians should avoid non-essential travel to certain countries, travel insurance would kick in to offer a full refund for those looking to cancel or bring travellers who are already overseas back to Canada.

“Travel insurance can be purchased at any time. The problem is it has to be unforeseen. If you were to purchase travel insurance after Canada had declared non-essential travel to that country, you won’t be covered because it was foreseen. The earlier you purchase travel insurance, the better,” Elmais said.

He said that the most important period of time to purchase extra coverage, such as cancel for any reason coverage, is within the first 72 hours of booking a trip.

Ashish Sanghrajka, president of Big Five Tours and Expeditions, said there has been a roughly 10 to 20 per cent drop in business to certain countries. He said that business to Asia has come to a standstill because of the virus.

“Fear is real. People look at this and say, ‘What do I do?’ There’s a lot of questions,” he said.

However, Sanghrajka said the industry has experience in dealing with major disruptions, citing the SARS epidemic as well as concerns over Ebola.

He said travellers have asked to postpone their trips by a year or have asked to re-book in different parts of the world, such as Africa and Latin America.

He said that it is important for travellers to understand their travel insurance and its limitations.

“This is what will happen. Your deposit does become non-refundable because of this, this and this. Understanding all of that. Much like when you’re buying a car, much like when you’re investing in a portfolio,” he said.

Leah Wood of Peace River has been planning a family trip to England and Scotland since last year but the coronavirus prompted her family to re-think their plans.

“The rate of spread. The videos I was seeing out of China. It just was really concerning and now it seems to be spreading – not just in China, everywhere else. I just didn’t want to put my family at risk,” Wood said.

Wood said her family intended to book this month but has decided to postpone travel overseas until the risk of the virus lessens. They could explore Canada instead, she said.

“We’ve seen a lot of people stuck on cruise ships, people stuck at hotels. I did not want to be quarantined to an airplane or another country where I’m not from there and I don’t have family,” Wood said.

“It broke my heart. [But] the safety of my four kids and my family is more important than just a vacation.”

Foxquilt, Canadian Insurtech Company, Launches Service in Alberta & B.C. in 2020

Foxquilt, a leading insurance technology company that empowers groups, businesses and B2B networks to band together and save on business and home insurance, announced today it is launching its services in Alberta and B.C. this month. The company’s insurance platform is also complemented by a unique data and machine learning underwriting infrastructure. After establishing a robust client base in Ontario, Foxquilt will expand into these western provinces, allowing more Canadians to access Foxquilt’s group savings and better buying power on Business and Home Insurance.

“After a strong start in Ontario this past year, our team is looking to bring Foxquilt’s simple and tailored insurance solutions to Western Canada, beginning in Alberta and B.C.” says Mark Morissette, co-founder of Foxquilt. “Our goal is to offer our innovative insurance products to more Canadian small business owners and consumers – all while bringing value through our group sharing model and our customized solutions.”

Foxquilt brings a unique and modern twist to insurance. When a client signs up for Foxquilt, they band together with others in a group, based on their profession, hobby or lifestyle passion. For example, if the client has a side-business, they can join Foxquilt’s “Side Hustlers” community and immediately access group savings on their insurance with other side-business owners. The insurance technology company uses its own AI and behavioral science platform to help customers find the best coverage at the lowest price.

This expansion into Western Canada is a strategic next step in Foxquilt’s overall growth after planting initial roots in Ontario. In late 2018, the company raised $1.2M Canadian in a seed round of investment and from this success, have built up their team, platform and products.

For more information on Foxquilt, please visit www.foxquilt.com

About Foxquilt: Foxquilt is a Canadian financial technology company that creates new value opportunities for customers by bringing people and communities together online with a smart and modern approach to insurance. Leveraging innovative technology and creating unique products, Foxquilt makes it easy for customers to buy insurance online from leading carriers and access group purchasing power. Foxquilt customers achieve savings upfront on premiums, reduced deductibles and are rewarded with further savings at renewal. For more information, please visit www.foxquilt.com

SOURCE Foxquilt

Driving has gotten more expensive in Alberta: Insurance, fuel & fee increases

Matthew Black CTV News Edmonton

EDMONTON — Albertans are paying more to drive their vehicles compared to a year ago, including increases in the cost of insurance, fuel, and licensing and registration fees, according to newly released StatsCan numbers.

StatsCan says the cost of passenger vehicle insurance premiums rose by 7.6 per cent last month, the largest monthly increase since November 2002.

The numbers also show premiums in Alberta have increased by 17.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis.
“A significant share of private passenger vehicle insurers in this province submitted applications to increase rates following the removal of a rate cap,” reads the report.

Fuel prices rose in Alberta as well last month, up 0.9 per cent from December 2019, according to the report. Alberta gas prices were up 6.6 per cent over the same month last year.
The federal carbon tax was introduced in Alberta on Jan. 1, 2020.The report also details a 14.4 per cent increase in other vehicle operating expenses in Alberta compared to a year ago.

“This was due, in part, to increases in service fees, including fees for drivers’ licences and passenger vehicle registration, introduced in the 2019-2020 provincial budget,” reads the report.
The 2019 Alberta budget raised motor vehicle registration fees by $9.20, up to $93.65.

In reponse, the province attributed rising gas prices as likely being due to the Jan. 1 roll out of the federal carbon tax, a levy Alberta continues to fight in court.
“We are ensuring that key services Albertans need are properly funded and more accurately reflect the costs of delivering them, including achieving modernizations such as online service delivery, which Albertans are asking for,” a government spokesperson wrote in an email to CTV News.

In late August, the province scrapped a five per cent cap on auto insurance rate increases implemented by the prior New Democrat government.
In December, Finance Minister Travis Toews introduced a new committee to advise on potential reforms to the province’s insurance system.
“This issue is such a significant issue that touches every Albertan,” Toews said. “To assemble a very credible, experienced committee like this, I believe we will be best-informed to make decisions around automobile insurance.”

Today, the Opposition NDP called the increases “very concerning” and called on the government to immediately reinstate the five per cent cap.
“In my office we have heard many, many stories from my constituents and Albertans … worried about people who are unable to afford these increased costs,” said New Democrat MLA Jon Carson.

The data was included in StatsCan’s monthly Consumer Price Index report which tracks changes in the average price for commonly purchased goods like groceries and haircuts.
Across Canada, the cost of gasoline and insurance premiums combined to result in a nearly 20 per cent increase in the CPI.

Alberta General Level 1 GLQP

Alberta General Level 1 GLQP

As of January 01, 2020, all students must study current educational materials from an approved General Level 1 Educator in order to be certified as having met the prerequisites to write the Alberta General Insurance Level 1 Licensing Exam.  You can no longer challenge the Alberta General Level 1 Licensing Exam.

This new certification format is known as the Level 1 General Licensing Qualification Program (GLQP).

Why implement the General Licensing Qualification Program?

The intention of candidate certification in order to register and write the licensing exam is to ensure the competency of new entrants into the General Insurance field. Low pass-rates have been an ongoing subject of concern with educators and industry stakeholders.  A change in program approach is now being delivered to ensure consistent education delivery and to improve student success rates.

How do I prepare for the Alberta General Insurance Level 1 Licensing Exam and become certified with ILScorp?

The first step to starting your new career as an insurance professional in Alberta is to obtain a CIPR number. What is CIPR? CIPR is short for Canadian Insurance Participant Registry.

Once you register with CIPR online, you’ll receive a unique identifier called your CIPR # which can be used to identify you.  ILScorp needs your CIPR number in order to eventually certify you to write the Alberta Licensing Exam.

Get your CIPR number here: https://www.cipr.ca

Now you’re ready to enroll in the ILS Alberta Level 1 General Insurance Licensing

ILS Alberta Level 1 General Insurance Exam Preparation Program.

The ILScorp L1 Program has everything you need in one package to successfully pass your Alberta Level 1 General Insurance licensing exam, including your certification exam.

How the Alberta L1 Program Works and What’s Included

  • L1 General Insurance Licensing online course – 12 Chapters
  • L1 Textbook hardcopy – 12 Chapters
  • L1 Workbook hardcopy – over 650 quiz questions
  • L1 Workbook Answer Key
  • L1 Flashcards– over 300 exam type mobile questions
  • Alberta Auto Essentials online course
  • An Insurance Professional’s Regulatory Responsibilities online course – AIC council rules and code of conduct
  • Alberta online supplement – specific to Alberta insurance requirements
  • Accident and Sickness Review Course
  • Review Tests – 17 review tests including multiple choice answer options
  • L1 Alberta General & Adjuster Insurance Licensing Practice Exams
  • ILS Level 1 Certification Exam

 

More info on exam prep program

The program is broken down into 8 Modules.

When you first log in to your e-learning campus you will be presented with the Alberta Level 1 Terms and Conditions. If you agree with the terms and conditions you will then have access to the very first Module of the program, Module 1: Concepts and Characteristics of Insurance.

Each Module is broken into chapters with the end of chapter quizzes. At the end of each Module is a  Module final exam.

Once you successfully complete all review quizzes and pass the final Module Exam you will get access to Module Two. This pattern continues for each Module and once all 8 Modules are successfully completed you will have access to the online certification exam. Once you pass your certification exam, ILScorp will receive a notification that you have completed all course material and qualify to become certified.

ILScorp will then mark you as certified in the CIPR system. This is why you need a CIPR number, without it we cannot mark you as certified. As soon as ILScorp marks you as certified, you can immediately register for the licensing examination with the Alberta Insurance Council.

You will then be certified for 1 full year. If you do not write the Alberta Licensing Exam within the year, you will be required to purchase course material again and go through the certification process again.

If you do not complete all ILScorp course material and pass the ILScorp certification exam you will not be marked as certified and will not qualify to register for the Alberta Licensing Exam.

What if I do not have Certified status and I try to register for the Licensing Exam?

Students will not be able to register for a General Licensing Level 1 examination if they have not been certified by an approved educator.

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