400 plus vehicles written off since acid spill on B.C. highway last year: ICBC

TRAIL, B.C. _ British Columbia’s public auto insurer says about 450 vehicles have been written off since sulphuric acid spilled along a busy commuter route near Trail, B.C., in two incidents last spring.

The Insurance Corp. of B.C. says there have been more than 4,450 claims received in the wake of the spills but the vast majority of those vehicles were not damaged.

It says it is still in the early stages of a lawsuit but no trial date has been set.

The spills happened on April 10 and May 23, 2018, when tanker trucks owned and operated by Westcan spilled sulphuric acid from Teck’s plant in Trail along a stretch of highway near the city.

ICBC filed a notice of civil claim against Teck Metals, Teck Resources, Internaitonal Raw Materials, Westcan, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, the City of Trail, two drivers and the provincial government in October.

Most defendents have filed responses denying responsibility.

The insurer alleges that it has incurred “extraordinary expenses” in investigating and addressing the “enormous volume of claims resulting form the spills, and says the defendents failed to warn the public to avoid the highway.

It also claims the acid was not properly secured and the facility and tankers weren’t properly inspected.

When the spills happened, ICBC alleges there was no prompt response, posted warnings or restriction on public access, and the defendents failed to reduce the risk of future spills.

ICBC is seeking costs and damages.

But Teck alleges that ICBC was not obligated to compensate the owners of damaged vehicles under comprehensive or collision insurance and any such payments were voluntary, while Westcan says RCMP should have diverted traffic.

The city says it has no responsibility for road maintenance, including responding to hazardous spills.

The regional district says that while it has an emergency response agreement with Teck, it doesn’t consider hazardous spills an emergency.

Self-driving cars might kill auto insurance as we know it

Written by PAUL TULLIS, BLOOMBERG  

Dan Peate, a venture capitalist in California, was thinking of buying a Tesla Model X a few years ago—until he called his insurance company and found out how much his premiums would rise.

“They quoted me $10,000 a year,” Peate recalled.

For all the concern over accidents involving driverless cars, including Tesla’s troubles with its limited self-driving “Autopilot” mode, it’s easy to forget one of the supposed virtues of autonomous vehicles: they will make the roads safer.

A sophisticated array of lidar, radar and cameras is expected to be more adept at detecting trouble than our mortal eyes and ears. And computers never get drunk, check Tinder or fall asleep at the wheel.

Peate, 40, wanted to launch a new firm specializing in insurance for vehicles with automated-driving modes (and eventually fully-autonomous cars), and on January 30 announced the creation of Avinew, with US$5 million in seed funding led by Los Angeles’ Crosscut Ventures.

Its insurance product will monitor drivers’ use of autonomous features on cars made by companies including Tesla, Nissan, Ford and Cadillac, determining discounts based on how often the feature is used.

Avinew has agreements with most manufacturers, and is working to tie up the rest, Peate said, allowing it to access driving data once a customer gives it permission. It said it expects to be writing policies later this year in select states.

The transition points to a larger, existential crisis for the multi-billion dollar car insurance industry. If nobody’s driving, why do we need auto insurance?

Premiums—and company revenues—are based on a driver’s likelihood of being in an accident and actual crash rates. With more than 90 percent of accidents caused by human error, taking the driver out of the equation is going to mean big changes for insurers.

“When you think of all these sensors and calibration, a little fender-bender could be a much more costly proposition,” said David Ross Keith, an assistant professor of system dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As automation reaches Levels 4 and 5—fully autonomous capability with the option for a human driver to take over, and fully autonomous with no human involvement, respectively—insurance is going to change dramatically.

“It’s foreseeable that insurance is a much less consumer-facing industry in the future,” Keith said.

That’s because the driver won’t be the risky part. “Liability is likely to migrate from the individual to the manufacturer and the licensers of the software that drives the AV,” said Rodney Parker, an associate professor of operations management at Indiana University.

That means insurers will be selling more policies to companies and fewer to drivers: carmakers and suppliers of communications systems, software, and sensors are going to be on the hook for the failure of their products, rather than drivers paying for not checking their blind spot.

Nationwide is one insurance company that’s started thinking about this problem. Drivers today are rated based on factors including sex, age and driving history. “If we’re getting data from the vehicle, that rating changes dramatically and gets very complex,” said Teresa Scharn, associate vice-president of product development.

Determining who’s at fault when something goes wrong could get thorny in this new world. If the lidar goes on the blink, is that the carmaker’s fault or the supplier of the lidar? What if the driver failed to get the latest firmware update—so now it’s his fault? If a Cadillac with Super Cruise loses its internet connection, is that on GM or Verizon?

“As a society we’ll have to figure out who’s liable for these different things and that will determine who’s required to insure against what risks,” MIT’s Keith said.

Nationwide thinks the smoothest road ahead will be one on which insurers and automakers each have a hand on the wheel. “We’re working to build deeper relationships with car manufacturers,” Scharn said.

And if that sounds like it hints at mergers on the horizon between insurers and automakers, you’re not off the mark. Other analysts confirm “those conversations are going on as we speak.”

Source: Bloomberg

SGI’s Valentine’s Day tips for road safety (and also dating)

SGI’s Valentine’s Day tips for road safety (and also dating)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The love gurus at SGI have come up with some road safety tips that can double as advice for your love life.

(We figure this is timely, as some people might be planning romantic road trips for the long weekend, or – if a relationship has progressed – a family getaway during the kids’ February school break.)

The tips are below. 

Take it slow

Moving too fast can be dangerous. Wherever your relationship is heading, if it’s really important or special, it’s worth it to take things a little slow. And, when dealing with winter driving conditions, remember to adjust your driving speed to match the road conditions even if it means driving slower than the posted limits.

 

Give them some space

For a relationship to be healthy, it’s natural for both partners to have some time to themselves for their own interests. Crowding someone isn’t good on the road, either. Never tailgate. You should always follow a minimum of three-to-four seconds behind the vehicle ahead, and increase your following distance if there are poor road or weather conditions

 

Hold them tight (with a seatbelt)

There’s nothing quite like a loving embrace to make someone feel safe and secure. It’s the same feeling you get from a properly secured seatbelt. So buckle up, turn on a seat warmer, and it’s almost like being spooned! (OK, maybe that’s a stretch.) Seriously though, you need to wear your seatbelt. It’s the quickest, easiest thing you can do protect yourself and others sharing a vehicle with you in the event of a crash. And make sure any children in the vehicle are safe and snug with the appropriate car seat or booster seat.

 

Pay attention to what’s important

Any relationship will have a few bumps in the road, but if you keep your head up and focus on what really matters, you’ll be able to see those rough patches coming. When you’re behind the wheel, you need to focus on just driving, so you’ll be ready for anything in your path – like pedestrians, other vehicles, or wildlife. So put down your phone – or hand it to your passenger – and avoid other distractions.

 

Make a plan so you’ll be safe

If your Valentine’s Day (or weekend) plans involve sharing a bottle or two of wine in front of a roaring fire, or an evening out with dinner and cocktails, nothing puts a damper on a romantic evening quite like a being pulled over by police or having your vehicle impounded. If your plans involve alcohol or drugs, don’t drive. Plan a safe ride before you go out. If you’re impaired, call a sober person to come pick you up. Or, hey, maybe you can stay the night!

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of your friends at SGI, and enjoy the long weekend ahead. Remember: whether you’re driving or dating, take care out there.

Tyler McMurchy

Manager, Media Relations

SGI

www.sgi.sk.ca   www.sgicanada.ca

 

B.C. limits court experts in auto insurance to spur early settlements

By Dirk Meissner

THE CANADIAN PRESS

VICTORIA _ The B.C. government is going to try and contain financial losses at its Crown-owned auto insurance corporation by reducing the use of experts in accident lawsuits.

The government has amended the rules for civil cases in the B.C. Supreme Court to limit the number of experts and the reports they write in lawsuits involving the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Attorney General David Eby said Monday.

Accident injury claims have increased 43 per cent in the past five years and the use of experts has contributed to a 20 per cent rise in the corporation’s injury settlements in the past year, Eby told a news conference.

The changes are designed to trim the excesses in the system, he added.

“It doesn’t advance any interest to have six-plus adversarial experts on a claim. It doesn’t advance any interest to have a $50,000 expense to resolve a $100,000 claim.”

Eby, who is also the minister in charge of the Crown corporation, said the agency is on track for a year-end loss of $1.18 billion, compounding the blow of last year’s $1.3 billion deficit. He described the financial situation left by the former Liberal government at ICBC as a “dumpster fire” last year.

Last week he said the financial situation at the public auto insurer is critical and getting worse, with losses of $860 million in the first nine months of this fiscal year.

Eby said the government estimates it can save $400 million with the limitation measures, but that depends on lawyers and judges supporting fewer reports and experts.

The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. said it supports measures to make the civil justice system fairer, faster and cheaper, but it criticized the government for acting unilaterally.

“Passing such consequential changes to our system of civil justice with no legislative debate is undemocratic,” the association said in a statement.  “Time and again this government seems to favour ICBC’s financial interests over the legal rights of British Columbians, and this rush to pass restrictions on how victims of negligence must prove their cases at law is the most recent illustration of making car accident victims pay for reckless driving.”

Raj Sahota, a Victoria personal injury lawyer, said the changes are workable especially since there are options to apply for further expert opinions if required.

“Generally speaking, I think these changes now are good for the system and good for this particular (practice) within personal injury litigation,” he said.

Eby said he expects there will be legal challenges, but added the changes bring B.C. into line with other provinces that limit experts in injury claim cases from motor vehicle accidents. Australia and the United Kingdom have much tougher restrictions on the use of experts and expert reports, he said.

“We believe the balance we have struck between unlimited adversarial experts under the current system and the no adversarial expert rules of other jurisdictions will reduce the costs and delays associated with using duelling experts while preserving a party’s ability to get evidence in front of a court,” Eby said.

The changes mean the parties in injury claims cases are limited to the use of one expert and one report for claims of less than $100,000 and up to three experts and three reports for all other claims.

Eby said the courts will also be able to permit more court-appointed or joint experts at its discretion.

The changes start immediately on motor vehicle accident claims, he said. The government is also considering making the injury expert changes apply to all personal injury claims by Feb. 1, 2020.

“The challenge with the issue, as all issues on this file, is finding the right balance between protecting the interests of British Columbians injured in motor vehicle accidents and finding ways to make the current system work better,” Eby said.

The B.C. Utilities Commission approved ICBC’s request in January to allow for an interim basic auto insurance rate increase of 6.3 per cent.

A number of other cost-saving reforms are also being implemented starting April 1, including higher fines for repeat offenders and a payout limit of $5,500 for minor soft-tissue injuries.

Auto Insurers Seize Growth Opportunities by Offering Financial & Insurance Tools over Digital Platforms

he average investment in fintech by automotive original equipment manufacturers(OEMs) is forecast to grow from $16 million in 2016 to $230 million by 2025 as they look to completely digitise the car finance process. Financers and insurers are responding to this digitisation drive by building deeper working partnerships with data analytics companies so they can optimise customer engagement through novel payment options such as mobile paymentswearables, and virtual currency.

“Collaborations between auto OEMs and fintechs can result in digitised, transparent, and faster financing processes,” said Shruti Pathak, Research Analyst, Mobility. “The technologies employed by both parties should simplify budget calculation, financing product search, vehicle selection, and paperwork for customers. These benefits are expected to improve customer retention rates and generate more direct leads.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Innovative Business Models in Automotive Finance and Insurance, Forecast to 2025, analyses the auto finance and insurance industry and its stakeholders in the North American and European markets. It focuses on identifying the factors responsible for the shift from the traditional business models to technology-based models. The study includes the trends that are likely to drive innovation from 2018 to 2025.

“Start-ups are disrupting the traditional usage-based insurance (UBI) business models with their on-demand insurance models as new mobility solutions like car-sharingride-sharing, and integrated mobility require novel insurance and dynamic business models,” noted Shruti. “Insurance providers will also offer tailored solutions such as bundled insurance policies covering electric vehicles (EVs), home charging statione-bike, and recreational vehicles.”

Finance and insurance companies will be looking to tap further growth opportunities by:

  • Providing subscription-based services, as they can create new revenue streams for vehicle lenders in the luxury car segment.
  • Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their solutions to enhance claims processing, ensure fair insurance premiums, and perform data analysis more efficiently than possible with traditional methodologies.
  • Focusing on customer-centric pricing models and value-added services.
  • Developing UBI tracked by telematics systems as well as collective peer-based insurance calculations.

Innovative Business Models in Automotive Finance and Insurance, Forecast to 2025 is part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Automotive & Transportation Growth Partnership Service program.

About Frost & Sullivan

For over five decades, Frost & Sullivan has become world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success. Contact us: Start the discussion.

Innovative Business Models in Automotive Finance and Insurance, Forecast to 2025
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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan

David Assman has cheeky response after being denied personalized licence plate

MELVILLE, Sask. _ A Saskatchewan man has come up with a cheeky response to the province rejecting his request for a personalized licence plate.

David Assman, pronounced Oss-man, wanted to put his last name on his licence plate.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) said no because it could be considered offensive when seen out of context.

Assman says in a Facebook post that he appealed the decision but was again rejected.

In response, he added a large “ASSMAN” decal to the back of his truck that’s designed to look like a licence plate.

The move has gotten a lot of response on social media including from the SGI twitter account.

“All’s well that ends well,” said ?SGItweets.

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