“I have serious concerns about how many of these homeowners will get through the winter without having further damage to their homes and the high energy costs that they will face because their homes just aren’t as adequately protected.
“Many of these individuals work two jobs to make ends meet. So this is a challenge — on getting your kids to school, working about, aging family members or grandparents that may reside with you [and] fixing your home and being able to do all that, and having challenges working with insurance and then getting contractors to rebuild these homes.”
Pamela Fischer lives in Saddleridge. While she’s one of the luckier ones who recently had her home repaired, she’s concerned for her neighbours who are still waiting for repairs.
She and her husband Jason are part of the Hail Action Committee. They’re calling for more action from officials and want to see support in the way of a $5,000 interest-free loan available to all homeowners. They also want more resources made available.
“The community is still in the throes of recovery… There are kids in these homes. There’s generational families in these homes, and we’re [in the] middle of a pandemic. So not only that, how are they going to heat their homes? The whole home has been subjugated to outdoor conditions. It’s horrible,” Jason said.
In a statement, the province said it is continuing to encourage Albertans to work with their insurance providers.
“Calgarians have been hit hard by this disastrous hailstorm and our hearts go out to all those affected. Albertans pay insurance and rely on it for situations just like these. We continue to encourage Albertans to work with their insurance providers for damages caused by the storm, and our MLAs remain committed to assisting with this process,” municipal affairs press secretary Justin Marshall said.
READ MORE AT GLOBAL NEWS
SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA – October 2, 2020 – Westland Insurance Group Ltd. (“Westland”) is pleased to announce the closing of two acquisitions, effective October 1, 2020. Westland’s new retail offices, both located in Alberta, support the company’s expansion strategy to serve more communities in Alberta and across Canada
Ironside Insurance Brokers is a family-owned brokerage located in Carstairs, Alberta. Its professional insurance advisors are experts in residential, auto, life, travel, recreation, farm and commercial insurance services.
G&E Insurance has been providing insurance products to Picture Butte, Alberta, and its surrounding area for over 35 years. Their professional advisors provide residential, auto, travel, recreation, farm and commercial insurance services.
Westland Insurance is excited to welcome these agencies to the organization. With these acquisitions, Westland will be adding two branches and 19 employees in Alberta. Post-acquisition, Westland will have over 1500 employees and 131 offices in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Westland Insurance Group is a client-focused and community-based Property & Casualty insurance brokerage established in 1980 in Ladner, B.C. The company is one of Canada’s largest independent P&C insurance distributors with over 130 offices throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Westland is considered a leader in home, business, farm and auto insurance.
The excerpted article was written by
A parking lot outside a hotel in northeast Calgary is full of American licence plates from states like Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Utah and South Carolina.
CRU Adjusters confirmed to Global News it has hired adjusters from across the continent following the hail storm that pounded the city earlier this month.
About 300 adjusters have come in from outside Alberta, including about 100 from the United States, for a mix of desk and fieldwork.
A CRU executive said it has strict COVID-19 protocols — employees are to stay in their rooms as much as possible, wear masks when leaving, and practise social distancing at customers’ homes. Customers are contacted by phone and do not come out of the home for exterior inspections. When CRU adjusters have to go into the home, homeowners are advised to stay in different rooms during assessments.
Before being dispatched to Calgary, the adjusters had to answer health, travel and close contact questionnaires for CRU, and are advised to immediately self-isolate if they have any coronavirus-related symptoms and to contact Alberta Health.
The adjusters have been in Calgary for nearly two weeks and have more than six weeks work ahead of them. CRU said they are not planning on bringing any more adjusters to the province.
The adjuster company said they worked with the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), who deemed these adjusters an essential service and provided them with necessary documentation.
And according to PHAC’s website, the documentation excuses the adjusters from having to self-isolate for 14 days.
Alberta Health said it was unaware of this group of adjusters coming to Calgary, and have begun working with PHAC to monitor the adjusters.
One hotel employee Global News spoke with said they ask out-of-province guests to respect social distancing, and even ask them to skip attending the complimentary breakfast.
In email from General Manager Ryan Ocbina said Element by Westin Calgary Airport follows all provincial and federal public health guidelines and follows a chain-wide commitment to cleanliness during the coronavirus pandemic. Ocbina’s hotels also provide complimentary masks and have removed all high-contact areas like self-serve coffee.
In an emailed statement, IBC confirmed it does help insurance companies “gain approval from relevant authorities to bring adjusters in from outside jurisdictions to assist consumers in response to catastrophic events, if required.
“Insurers are utilizing as many in-house and local claims representatives as possible to manage the high volume of claims from this event.”
But most insurance companies Global News spoke with confirmed they are using local adjusters.
“We can confirm that the vast majority of insurers have been using Canadian adjusters,” the ICB statement said.
“Some insurers utilize third-party independent catastrophic adjusting firms during catastrophic events to ensure clients get help as quickly as possible.”
By Dean Bennett
THE CANADIAN PRESS
EDMONTON _ Alberta is cutting business taxes, pumping billions into infrastructure and making a full-court press to lure jobs from Toronto, Montreal and elsewhere to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re going to be placing a huge emphasis on finance and financial technology,” Kenney said Monday in Calgary.
“All of those banks and insurance companies down on Bay Street that are paying way more taxes. Their workers are paying way more taxes. They are paying way more for rent. They’re fighting Toronto traffic.
“We’re going to be telling them that they can save money for their shareholders, for their workers, for their operations by relocating financial and fin-tech jobs to places like downtown Calgary, downtown Edmonton.”
Kenney said they will also target companies in other locations such as Montreal, Houston and New York as his province works to dig out of a cratered provincial economy caused by the pandemic and by a global oil price war that sent profits into a tailspin.
Alberta has flattened the curve on COVID-19 and has reopened much of its economy, albeit with health safety conditions, and Kenney said now is the time to get the economy back on its feet.
This year’s budget deficit is expected to balloon from $7 billion to $20 billion.
Kenney announced an immediate $10 billion will be spent on a range of infrastructure projects, including roads, health-care facilities, and schools to create construction jobs, with spinoff benefits to other service providers.
Kenney cut the corporate income tax rate to 10 per cent from 12 per cent after taking office last year. That figure was to go down to eight per cent in the coming years, but Kenney announced it will be done this week. That makes it four percentage points lower than key competitors such as British Columbia.
Albertans already have the lowest tax regime in Canada and pay no sales tax.
There will also be an Innovation Employment grant to encourage high-tech companies and investment. The grant replaces tax incentives put in place by the previous NDP government, which Kenney scrapped on the grounds the incentives were too narrowly focused.
Details on this fund, and other sector-specific initiatives are expected in the coming days.
NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said the $10 billion will help as a short term “shock absorber” but called Kenney’s other ideas unimaginative, adding the corporate income tax cut didn’t bring back jobs before the pandemic, and won’t bring them back after.
“There’s very little new that is in here and it proves that this government is already out of ideas,” said Notley.
Ken Kobly, head of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, said the announcement delivers critical aid.
“The measures announced today will help business operators get back on their feet so they can begin rebuilding our economy,” he said.
The plan is a marked departure from the laissez-faire economic platform Kenney championed and won on in the election. Kenney chastised then-premier Notley’s NDP at the time for heavy spending on infrastructure and on day-to-day operations, saying it would cripple future generations with unsustainable debt.
Since then, as the oil and gas economy has been slow to recover, Kenney assumed a more direct interventionist approach.
In March, his government agreed to provide $1.5-billion, plus a $6-billion loan guarantee, to Calgary-based TC Energy Corporation, enabling the completion of the KXL pipeline.
Finance Minister Travis Toews said Monday that “there’s good debt and bad debt.” Bad debt, he said, is borrowed money for operations while good debt invests in infrastructure that in turn lures businesses to the province.
“This is an incredible ditch that we have to get through, and so it warrants a significant investment,” said Toews.
The Plaintiff and her employer were defendants in an action that made a number of allegations, including negligence and fraud (the Original Action). The Original Action triggered partial coverage for both the Plaintiff and her employer under the employer’s Professional Liability policy (the Policy). The Policy set out that the insurer, in the insured’s name and behalf, had the right and duty to investigate, defend and conduct settlement negotiations, but it agreed that it would not settle any claim without the consent of the insured.
The insurer appointed counsel to defend the Plaintiff and her employer in the Original Action. The Plaintiff alleged the lawyer retained by the insurer was negligent, thus giving rise to the litigation in question.
Early in the Original Action, the Plaintiff raised the possibility of seeking a summary dismissal with the lawyer. The lawyer held the opinion that there was no real chance of succeeding in a summary dismissal application at that stage of the litigation. The Plaintiff was aware of this opinion and did not push the matter further at that time.
Several years later, the Plaintiff instructed the lawyer to have the claims made against her dismissed. The lawyer advised the Plaintiff that he could not follow her instructions as the insurer had the sole right to instruct counsel and, even with the passage of time, he held his opinion that the summary dismissal application would likely not succeed.
Later, the claimant in the Original Action made an offer of discontinuance on a without costs basis (the Offer). The insurer and employer consented to the Offer, but the Plaintiff did not. The lawyer ultimately withdrew as counsel for the Plaintiff due to this disagreement.
The Court in Kostic found that the lawyer misunderstood the nature of his role as defence counsel. Although he was retained through the insurer, the lawyer’s clients in the Original Action were the insureds, the Plaintiff’s employer and the Plaintiff herself. The lawyer was obliged to take instructions from the Plaintiff, unless those instructions put him in a position of conflict between the Plaintiff, her employer and/or the insurer. The Court held that the lawyer’s misunderstanding of the nature of his role as counsel for the Plaintiff resulted in her receiving poor communication. The reporting letters sent to the insurer as the Action proceeded should have been copied to the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff should have been made more aware of the defence strategy.
The Court ultimately dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim against the lawyer and found there was no evidence of a conflict of interest until divergent instructions were given by the Plaintiff respecting the Offer. At that time, the lawyer properly withdrew as counsel for the Plaintiff. The Court held that the prior disagreement on bringing a summary dismissal application was a mere disagreement with respect to litigation strategy, which did not amount to a conflict of interest. If it did, the insurer’s right to control the defence stipulated in the Policy would be effectively meaningless.
Kostic serves as a reminder of the obligations an insurance defence lawyer has to insureds. Defence counsel should be aware of their obligations to both the insurer and insured in these situations. In this sense, Kostic is not “ground-breaking”. Where Kostic is of greater assistance is in its commentary respecting communication obligations. While insurers may have control of the defence of an action, it is clear that there must be communication with insureds to an extent that would permit the insured to understand strategic decisions. Whether this understanding is to be held to a subjective or objective standard is unclear from the ruling. We would assume it would have to be objective, albeit counsel would be well served to cater to her audience. At a minimum, it would seem prudent for defence counsel to report to the insured as frequently as her reports to the insurer. Finally, Kostic provides helpful clarification on when a conflict of interest might arise in these circumstances. It seems very reasonable to find, as the Court did, that counsel would need to remove herself where there is a material divergence of views on key strategic decisions such that there is a reasonable apprehension of a conflict between the interests of the insurer and the insured. Imposing such an obligation at an earlier stage would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for counsel to represent both the insured and insurer.
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