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Hail damage the worst in Alberta compared to all other Canadian provinces: AMA

The excerpted article was written b

Experts warn to brace for summer storms in Alberta, which sees more insured losses than all the other provinces combined.

AMA insurance experts have compiled numbers from insurance providers across the province and said 51 percent of all storm-related damage in Canada since 2010 has occurred in Alberta.

Vishnu Singh with AMA said people need to protect their vehicles and their property when a storm hits.

“You want to make sure you go underground or find a parkade,” Singh said. “The kinds of expenses to a vehicle is, on average, $5,000 for a hail claim for vehicles.”

The growing cost of damages is leaving a big dent in the bottom line for car dealerships. For many, it was no longer feasible to leave their inventory so vulnerable. Many have invested in protective shields.

T&T Honda in Calgary’s northeast spent just over $1 million to install six tents.

A car lot in Calgary has invested $500,000 for three tents to act as protective shields from hail.

The dealership’s general manager, Navroz Jessani, said they were left with no choice.

“We had to do something to mitigate that risk as well as keep insured,” Jessani said. “We got hit with a massive hailstorm in August 2012, and there was a significant amount of damage and getting insurance after that point became more and more difficult for us.

AMA released more statistics that reveal 66 percent of Canada’s major hail storms happen in Alberta — the most severe to date was in August 2010, causing nearly $400 million in damages.

Ways to prevent summer storm damage include parking your vehicle in a garage or under a covered structure and tying down lawn furniture. The most important thing, according to the AMA, is to know when severe weather is on the way, advising people to get weather alerts on their phones.

Edited for ILSTV

Province ordered agreement involving brokers in online auto insurance at expected cost of $23M

A month after saying brokers shouldn’t be involved in providing ‘unnecessary service,’ MPI changed tune

Ian Froese · CBC News

The board of Manitoba Public Insurance will turn over all of its online services to insurance brokers in a deal it didn’t want, but felt compelled to take because of the insistence of the provincial government, internal documents show.

A package of documents, emails and presentations show Tory-appointed board members were squeamish about an agreement with insurance brokers that MPI estimated will cost Manitobans an extra $23 million over five years.

The Crown insurer wanted to move some of its simpler transactions — like renewing driver’s licences — online. The move, MPI thought, would appease customers and save cash, since it felt insurance brokers weren’t necessary in those transactions.

But the corporation and its board members say the government intervened to ensure brokers are involved in every transaction going forward.

Those MPI emails do not match statements from Crown Services Minister Colleen Mayer, who has said repeatedly the government only asked the board of MPI and the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba (IBAM) to work together and did not prescribe any specific action.

The decision was government’s: MPI

The internal documents, obtained by the Opposition NDP through freedom of information requests, show MPI will transfer some of its services online in five years, while ensuring that brokers will be part of the move.

The expected compensation to brokers as part of that move to online services will increase by $23 million over five years, above the $84.5 million they already receive. Autopac rates will rise by 0.4 per cent, a memo said.

In an email on March 11, 2019, describing the change, MPI president and CEO Ben Graham wrote “the [government] has made the decision.”

The documents also reveal MPI extended the current compensation agreement with brokers until Feb. 28, 2021, “on the advice of government,” a letter written last November by former MPI chief administrative officer Ward Keith reads.

A month earlier, Graham wrote to a government official that “MPI does not believe it is appropriate or reasonable to increase broker funding to compensate for unnecessary services currently being provided that do not require the professional expertise of a broker.”

A clash between the board and brokers became public in March when the Winnipeg Free Press reported the province was lobbying on behalf of the insurance agents, which prompted MPI’s board to seek a legal opinion to determine its rights.

The various emails appear to add credence to the claim the province had a hand in the decision — but the minister responsible for Crown services says the province’s involvement doesn’t violate legislation intended to reduce government interference since it never got in the way.

The Pallister government introduced legislation in 2017 that compels the province to inform the public within 30 days of issuing a directive to the Crown corporation.

In this case, Mayer maintains the government had no say in MPI’s decisions, even though internal emails from MPI staff say they were pressured.

“There was no official directive from Crown Services, the department has been involved in discussions with both organizations on how to deliver services most effectively for Manitoba consumers,” Mayer said in an emailed statement.

“Both MPI and [the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba] are encouraged to work together to find a way to provide Manitobans with the services that meet their needs, while understanding the value of professional insurance advice provided by brokers.”

MPI exposed to ‘inconsistent directives’

In a letter to Mayer on Nov. 16, 2018, MPI’s then-board chair Brent VanKoughnet expressed frustration with signing a two-year extension with the insurance agents.

“Without a significant change in [the negotiating] process we are destined to relive the many communication challenges, misunderstandings and unmet expectations that regrettably erode trust, damage reputations, stifle innovation, and limit progress.”

A month earlier, Graham wrote to Grant Doak, deputy minister of Crown services at that point, saying his words were being manipulated by brokers “aimed at getting their lofty and unquantified financial objectives adhered to by government.”

VanKoughnet responded later that night that Graham’s address had a “little more edge” than he’d prefer, “but I understand the frustration and agree that we can’t just keep exposing ourselves to inconsistent directives.”

VanKoughnet was demoted as chair in February, but remained on the board until May. He was replaced by Michael Sullivan, a dentist from Portage la Prairie, Man., the same city in which Premier Brian Pallister previously made his living in the insurance business.

The plan to transition all online services to brokerage oversight was approved less than a month later, an email indicates.

Manitoba Public Insurance has already spent $2.4 million as it evaluates the move to online service delivery.

The corporation estimated if brokers had been left out of the online services, the impact to the agents would be minimal, since online adoption of the simplest transactions would be low. Based on an estimated 20 per cent adoption rate, broker compensation would drop $40,000 — 0.12 per cent of total compensation.

Should the Crown have eliminated insurance broker compensation outright, MPI would save $473 million, the corporation’s documents say.

“Customers’ needs are the driving factor in establishing an online service delivery strategy including a broker network that is invaluable in being a key distribution channel for MPI products and services,” the Crown corporation said in an email Tuesday.

“We recognize this is a big change and MPI and IBAM will work in collaboration regarding online services and how they meet the changing needs of Manitobans.”

CBC News

N.L. moves a step closer to scrapping tax on auto insurance

Rebates to be offered to anyone who renewed their insurance after April 15

CBC News 

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has announced the legislative changes necessary to eliminate the province’s tax on automobile insurance.

Finance Minister Tom Osborne introduced the amendment to the Revenue Administration Act on Tuesday in the House of Assembly.

The amendment has yet to be passed, but Osborne said he expects that will happen hopefully by the end of June.

When passed, that means an end to the 13 per cent tax on auto insurance renewal statements.

“At that particular point the insurance companies can do what they need to do to act as expeditiously as possible in rebating their customers,” Osborne said.

“And once we find out what that dollar figure is from the insurance companies, we’ll rebate the insurance companies.”

Rebate retroactive to April 15

Anyone who paid for their renewal between the amendment’s passing and April 15, the day the Liberal government first announced the end of the tax, will be eligible for the rebate.

However, anyone who renewed their insurance before mid-April won’t see a change in their insurance until their next renewal date.

Osborne said the exact amount that the province will have to pay insurance companies for the rebates is unknown, and will rely on when the amendment passes.

“That’s a moving target, the time that rebates start or that this becomes official, because the moment it becomes official and it’s law, insurance companies can stop charging the tax,” Osborne said.

“But every day there are further renewals … so we haven’t calculated that, but it’s about $57 million on an annual basis that the reduction in automobile sales tax will be for the province.”

Osborne said getting the changes to the bill through will mean there’s more time for all members in the House of Assembly to debate the Liberal budget.

“It takes pressure off of any timelines. We’ve agreed to provide whatever time is necessary to the members of the opposition and the third party and independent members to debate the budget as long as they wish, to whatever extent they wish,” Osborne said.

“This removes any time barriers. This interim supply measure will allow a debate to continue on into July if necessary.”

Automated Vehicles And The Future Of Automobile Insurance İn Ontario

Article by David M. Rogers

A few years ago, I listened to two friends have a long discussion about the relevance of automated vehicles. One friend believed people physically driving vehicles would become a thing of the past over the next 20 years. The other felt automated vehicles would never fully catch on as most humans enjoy driving and being in control of their own vehicle.

I, for one, dislike driving, especially for long stretches on large highways and would welcome a sophisticated computer system to take on that burden. But is this a reality? If so, will it be safe? Most importantly for some, what are the insurance implications?

Well, just maybe the automated vehicle is the long sought after solution to many of the problems found in Ontario’s current automobile insurance regime.

Automated Vehicles are Coming

Most people in the insurance industry know that fully automated vehicles are coming. It is now not a question of if, but rather where, how and for whom.

There are currently six recognized levels of self-automation in vehicles. These range from zero to five, with zero being a fully human operated vehicle and five being a fully automated vehicle with no steering wheel, gas pedal or other manual functions. Currently, partial self-automation is included in most new vehicles, including cruise control, lane departure warnings and automated braking.

Studies suggest there will be 21 million fully automated vehicles on the roads by 2026. The Victoria Transportation Policy Institute predicts that half of all new vehicles sales in Canada will be fully automated by 2040. There are already automated shuttles running in certain North American cities and university campuses.

It is anticipated the next use of this technology will come through ride share programs such as Uber and automated taxi services, possibly followed by automated farm equipment, mining machines and delivery vehicles, including long haul transport trucks. Perhaps we will see the end of most privately owned passenger vehicles, with a small percentage of the population who actually enjoy driving being the exception.

Automated vehicles will most certainly create safer roads for the people of Ontario. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that human error is the cause of 90 percent of motor vehicle collisions in that country.

Reliance on cameras, sensors and computer systems removes the problem of human error and significantly increases the ability of a vehicle to avoid a collision.

This technology will continue to advance and improve, which should significantly reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents that occur, and in turn, the number of people being injured.

Impact on Motor Vehicle Litigation

However, collisions will still occur. There will always be accidents between non-automated vehicles, but also between automated and non-automated vehicles and even between fully automated vehicles.

An important question then is: who is at fault? Is it the driver? Is it the owner? Is it the manufacturer, or is it the designer of the technology itself?

One can envision a scenario where apportioning fault for a motor vehicle accident turns into an overly complicated product liability dispute between multitudes of large sophisticated parties. There may be fewer claims, but those claims that do come forward will be significantly more complicated and expensive.

Take for example a straightforward rear-end collision involving an automated vehicle, where a person sustains a whiplash injury. Litigation over that person’s entitlement to damages would require a determination of fault, and whether there were failures in components of the automated vehicle, and if so, which ones.

For instance, was there a failure in the vehicle’s software or was the software not updated properly? Was it caused by a faulty sensor? Was there a manufacturer defect with a key component, or was it some tiny sub-component that failed? How difficult, and expensive, would it be for an injured plaintiff to prove fault in this scenario?

Solutions and the Future of Motor Vehicle Insurance

In order to avoid this problem, consideration should be given to a regulatory framework where a single party, such as the vehicle manufacturer, is deemed responsible for any defect with the vehicle, and a claim is resolved with the injured person on that basis. That party can in turn claim over against any of the other potentially liable parties.

There could even be some type of an agreement between vehicle manufacturers, dealers and software developers in order to apportion the risk between them, and avoid the extensive costs of litigating these types of disputes.

This framework is consistent with a recent recommendation made by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (“IBC”) in an attempt to update insurance coverage in light of the rise of automated vehicles.

The IBC has recommended the establishment of a single insurance policy covering both driver negligence and a vehicle’s automated technology in order to better facilitate these type of liability claims.

A single insurance policy such as this would require the insurer to provide coverage for compensation to a person injured in a collision involving an automated vehicle, regardless of why the collision occurred.

Thereafter, that insurer would be able to take a further step, and recover some or all of that payment from the vehicle manufacturer, the technology provider or some other responsible party.

This second step could proceed through a streamlined dispute resolution process, and the IBC has also recommended establishing a legislated data sharing arrangement between automated vehicle manufacturers, vehicle owners and insurers to help with this process.

Automated vehicles are coming to Ontario, and with them comes great potential. The ideas outlined above, and insurers with forward thinking and innovated approaches to these types of coverages, could perhaps be the solution to some of the insurance problems that have plagued successive governments in Ontario for decades. This very well could be the future of Ontario automobile insurance.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ICBC’s top tips to help keep kids safe on summer break

With B.C. school children and teens starting their summer break from school this week, ICBC is asking drivers to be especially alert this season, particularly near playgrounds and around youth walking or riding their bikes.

Every year in B.C., five pedestrians aged five to 18 die and 250 are injured in crashes involving a vehicle. A young cyclist dies every year in B.C. and another 120 young cyclists are injured in crashes involving a vehicle.*

Tips for drivers:

  • Playground speed limits are year-round: With longer summer days, drivers should remember that the 30km/hr speed limit is from dawn to dusk, every day.

  • Summer school speed limits are in effect: For schools that hold summer classes, the school zone speed limit of 30 km/hr is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days. School zone signs will indicate if a school is holding summer sessions.

  • Wait at crosswalks: Parents and their young children may need more time when crossing the street. Don’t pass any car waiting at a crosswalk as they may be stopped for those crossing the street. Wait for pedestrians to get to the other side of the street before resuming your travel.

  • Slow down on residential streets: Expect the unexpected when children are at play, including the possibility of a teen running to catch an errant ball or a child running out from between parked cars. Slow down and be prepared to stop suddenly.

  • Be patient with younger cyclists: Leave plenty of room between your car and young cyclists, in particular. Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left.

  • Distracted walkers: Be aware of pedestrians around you, especially for teens who are wearing headphones or using their cell phones while walking, as they not be paying close attention to the road.

Tips for parents:

  • Review safety rules: Review road safety rules with your children and practice how to use crosswalks safely. Set limits to where they can walk alone and where they must be accompanied by an adult.

  • Accompany young children: Children under 10 should always be accompanied by an adult when crossing a street or walking close to the road.

  • Safe outdoor play areas: Establish safe play areas around your home for younger children, such as your backyard. Supervise your children or assign an older child to be in charge. Teach your child that the road is never a safe place to play, even if their toy rolls into the street or a driveway.

  • Demonstrate good walking habits: Practice good walking habits that keep you and your family safe. Teach your child to stand a few steps from the curb while waiting at a crosswalk. Instruct your child to always use a crosswalk, and that jaywalking is never OK.

  • Distracted walking: Remind your teen to be aware of their surroundings when walking. Looking at their cell phone or wearing headphones can prevent them from noticing oncoming cars and other hazards.

  • Cycling safety: Teach safe cycling behaviour to your children such as cycling in a straight line, performing hand signals and shoulder checking. Outfit their bike with a bell, lights and reflective materials. Children should wear bright, reflective clothing so they can be seen in the dark.
  • Head safety: Make wearing a helmet a rule for your child if they want to use their bike, skateboard or rollerblades.

Additional statistics:

Youth pedestrians:

  • Every year, 180 children are injured in crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, 33 children are injured in crashes in the Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, 25 children are injured in crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, 10 children are injured in crashes in the North Central region.

Youth cyclists:

  • Every year, 73 children are injured in crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, 22 children are injured in crashes each year on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, 18 children are injured in crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, six children are injured in crashes in the North Central region.

*Notes: ICBC crash and injury data used (2011 to 2015). Annual average province-wide. Youth defined as aged five to 18.

** ICBC crash and injury data used (2011to 2015). Annual average per region. Youth defined as aged five to 18.

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