First potholes and now this? Car insurance rates on the rise

CTV Montreal

As if the pot holes weren’t enough for Montreal drivers to worry about, car insurance rates are on their way up.

The rise comes after several years of the rates holding steady and the Insurance Bureau of Canada said part of the reason for the rise is that car repairs have gotten pricier.

They pointed to newer models of cars being heavily computerized, leading to more complex repairs in terms of skill and more expensive materials.

In 2007, the average premium for car insurance was $566, dipping to $525 in 2014 and slowly climbing to the present day.

How much an individual driver’s rate will go up depends on several factors, including driving record and type of car.

“For insurers, for the past couple of years the cost of selling claims and of operating costs have exceeded the premiums they were collecting, so an adjustment was inevitable,” said Insurance Bureau of Canada spokesperson Pierre Babinsky.

A spokesperson for CAA Quebec said the best way to avoid a sizeable hike in an insurance rate is be sure to shop around for the best deal.

Stolen autos sold to unsuspecting buyers in three western provinces: police

Calgary police have charged three people and are looking for a fourth person after a lengthy auto theft investigation that stretched into three provinces.

Police say stolen vehicles were obtained from low-level car thieves, sometimes in exchange for cash, drugs or other stolen vehicles.

The identification numbers were then changed and the vehicles sold to unsuspecting buyers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

An investigation launched in 2017 eventually led to the search of several locations between Calgary and Saskatoon and the seizure of property that included 39 stolen vehicles worth $1.9 million.

Tyler Roger Scott and Tami Lee Scott, both of Calgary, and Ikraam Elahi Chaudhary of Saskatoon face a number of charges, including committing an indictable offence for the benefit of, association of, or direction of a criminal organization.

Charges have also been laid against a third Calgarian, Sylvain Serge Lefevre, who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.

Police said vehicles left running with the keys inside, or those left in unsecure garages, were the thieves’ primary targets.

The renumbered stolen autos were matched with fraudulent bills of sale, registration and insurance documents to conceal the vehicle’s original identity.

The information was used to re-register and insure them before they were sold.

Police said they learned that the vehicles were used in several other crimes, including fraud, drug trafficking, trafficking in stolen property, break and enter and thefts.

Hundreds of fraudulent vehicle identification numbers, some registration documents, drugs and residential property in Calgary purchased through the proceeds of crime were among other items seized when search warrants were executed last May.

Police said their investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be laid.

Speed camera ahead: Google Maps adds photo radar warnings for drivers

By Colette Derworiz

THE CANADIAN PRESS

EDMONTON _ Drivers using Google Maps are getting a last-minute warning as they approach some photo radar camera locations.

The feature, which is currently being rolled out by Google, allows users to see speed limits, speed cameras and mobile speed cameras on the map before they leave.

It also gives a verbal warning an automated voice saying “speed camera ahead” when drivers are near a fixed camera location.

Police in Alberta say the feature is helpful to them.

“The biggest thing we love … is we place those (cameras) by collision statistics,” said Sgt. Joerg Gottschling of the Calgary Police Service traffic section. “If we do a new site, if we are going to install a new camera, the next site is always selected by the next highest crash site.

“Our intersection locations are all determined where we are trying to eliminate collisions.”

Gottschling said they’ve had up to a 50 per cent reduction in collisions in some areas where those cameras are stationed.

With Google Maps, he noted, all drivers approaching the fixed camera intersection get the warning.

“That camera is only facing one way,” said Gottschling. “Let’s say it’s only facing northbound, but you can approach southbound or eastbound … you are still going to get Google telling you caution.

“So you’re going to go slowly and cautiously through there which, lo and behold, is actually what we want.”

Sgt. Kerry Bates with the Edmonton Police traffic division agrees.

“If it slows people down and they know it’s there, that’s good,” he said. “It’s fine. It does the trick.”

Bates said there are about 70 fixed camera locations in the city and they will be adding others in the near future.

Google said in an email that there will also be an ability for android users to report mobile speed cameras and stationary cameras.

The technology company said there’s no plan to merge Google Maps with Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app that allows drivers to share real-time traffic and road information.

The Alberta government is making changes to prevent photo radar from being used as a  “cash cow” by municipalities.

As part of the changes, which are expected by June, radar will be banned at spots where the speed limit changes on highways. It also won’t be allowed on high-speed, multi-lane highways unless there is documented proof of safety concerns.

Gottschling said there will still be photo radar on busy roads such as Deerfoot Trail and Stoney Trail in Calgary.

“We will be on those roadways because of the secondary justification of speed, collision and difficulty in traditional enforcement,” he said. “There’s no better way to enforce Deerfoot than with photos.

“We also have to take into account where can we safely position ourselves.”

Things That Go Bump in the Parking Lot – Part 2

Intersection CrashAsking for people to send me their thoughts at the end of last week’s article resulted in one of the largest responses I’ve ever received. Ultimately, the overwhelming choice of advice was to report the offending driver to ICBC and the police. Fewer people were willing to shrug their shoulders and carry on with life while two offered emotional support.

I was also advised on how dishonest people might seek to profit from the situation by either accusing me of being the driver at fault or relying on convincing me not to report and covering the loss by reporting their half of the incident as a hit and run. This was not something that I had considered myself.

Had this person been polite and apologetic at the outset, I would have probably shrugged my shoulders and carried on with life. A bit of scuffed paint on an older pickup really wasn’t a big deal. After all, it’s not like I haven’t backed into something in my driving history either.

However, given my experience in traffic law enforcement and the circumstances I found myself in, I was concerned that this woman may no longer be a safe driver. RoadSafetyBC says that we are currently outliving our ability to drive safely by about 10 years.

RoadSafetyBC does accept unsolicited driver fitness reports, but you must be able to identify the driver. They are unhelpful in any other circumstances and will only repeat that you must report to police instead.

After some thought, I gathered my dash cam footage along with the witness information and reported to ICBC, my own damage insurance company and the police.

You should report any collision to your insurance company, regardless of the amount of damage. Depending on the terms of your contract of insurance, you could be denied coverage at a later date if you fail to report promptly.

ICBC and my other insurance company resolved the claim quickly, finding the other driver liable for the collision. A quick trip to the recommended body shop found no hidden damage and I advised them to close the claim. No repairs would be required.

Contrary to my expectations, the police were willing to take my complaint that the other driver had refused to provide required information post collision. I was contacted by a constable who discussed the situation with me as a peer. He agreed to interview the other driver and request a driver re-exam from RoadSafetyBC if he felt that it was appropriate instead of issuing a violation ticket.

When I followed up on my complaint, he advised me that the request to RoadSafetyBC had been made.

Reporting can also help in the case of malicious and criminal intent. I received stories from people who had been convinced not to report and later on had the other driver either renege on a promise to pay or reported themselves as victims. Some of these people even paid their deductible and accepted some liability rather than argue.

Offending drivers have also been known to convince victims not to report and then made a fictitious hit and run complaint to get their vehicles repaired for the cost of the deductible.

I may not have felt entirely happy about it, but in retrospect, I think that making the reports was the wise thing to do.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

Click here to share your comments by e-mail.

CAA Insurance & Octo Telematics Named Best Technology Provider at ICTA 2019

Insurance telematics leader wins for work on CAA’s MyPace™

NEWTON, Mass. — Octo Telematics, a leading global provider of telematics and data analytics solutions for the auto insurance industry, with their partner CAA Insurance, was named the Best Technology Provider at the 2019 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference in Toronto on Tuesday, February 26. Winners were selected by a jury from among five impressive finalists. Both companies were recognized for CAA MyPace™, Canada’s first “pay-as-you-drive” insurance offering.

Octo provided a customized solution and flexible mix-and-match service selection for CAA to build a new customer experience for policyholders. The app allows motorists to track how much they are driving and to pay for auto insurance based on that mileage.

“We recognized the value that a partnership with an industry pioneer like Octo Telematics would bring to our solution and it’s nice that industry leaders have recognized their contribution to our success,” said Robin Joshua, vice president, CAA Insurance. “Octo’s storied history in insurance telematics made them an obvious choice as a technology provider for our disruptive, first-of-its-kind program in Canada. We’re proud that the program has been recognized as a leading example in the insurance industry.”

CAA’s MyPace allows motorists to have more control over their auto insurance. Through telematics and new billing technologies, MyPace allows motorists to track how much they drive and pay for auto insurance based on that mileage. CAA Insurance integrated several existing technology platforms and developed new properties to enable this first-to-market offering in a way that created no disruption to the motorist. Drivers simply insert a telematics device into their car, download an app, and then drive.

“Today’s connected insurance revolution, at its core, is about making insurance better through the IoT. Congratulations to CAA on pushing the envelope and embracing IoT to provide enhanced offerings to its policyholders,” said Geoff Werner, Americas’ Country Manager at Octo Telematics. “We are proud to be a part of this innovative offering and delighted that we could help expand CAA’s value proposition by quickly integrating and deploying a program that fit their needs. Thank you to Insurance-Canada.ca and the ICTA jury for the recognition of our role in this initiative.”

About Octo Telematics
Octo is the number 1 global provider of telematics and data analytics solutions for the auto insurance industry. Founded in 2002, Octo is one of the pioneers of the insurance telematics industry. Today, Octo is the largest and most experienced insurance telematics company in the world, transforming auto insurance through behavioral, contextual and driving analytics for more than 100 insurance partners.

Octo has more than 5.6 million connected users and the largest global database of telematics data, with over 228 billion miles of driving data collected and 456,000 crashes and insurance events analyzed (as of December 30, 2018). Octo applies proprietary algorithms to this market-leading database to deliver powerful new insights into driver risk, informing solutions that benefit both auto insurance companies and policyholders.

The company is headquartered in Rome, with offices in Boston, London, Stuttgart, Madrid, Mexico, and Sao Paulo. http://www.octotelematics.com

About CAA Insurance
CAA Insurance Company is a national property and casualty insurance company, providing home and auto insurance products distributed through CAA Clubs and select brokerages. Established in 1974, the company has roots in protecting motorists as part of the CAA Club Group of Companies, which includes two automobile clubs — CAA South Central Ontario and CAA Manitoba, helping over 2.2 million members stay mobile, safe and protected.

ICBC, police and government continue to find new ways to tackle distracted driving

ICBC, police and government continue to find new ways to tackle distracted driving

With more than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads involving driver distraction, ICBC, police and government continue to look for solutions to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 77 lives each year.*

Crashes reached a record high in 2017, with many of these caused by distracted or inattentive driving. Distracted driving involves any non-driving activity that reduces a driver’s ability to focus on the road or control their vehicle, and is the leading contributing factor in police-reported injury crashes in B.C.

As part of the commitment to make roads safer, ICBC is inviting eligible drivers to participate in a telematics pilot project starting this summer. The goal is to determine whether using this technology can improve road safety and driving behaviour for inexperienced drivers in B.C.

Eligibility is based on driving experience and will be open to all drivers entering the novice stage of the Graduated Licensing Program and for drivers who have held a full drivers license for less than five years. The project was originally announced in November, and further details, including the telematics vendor, will be released later this spring.

The B.C. government, police and ICBC conduct two distracted driving education and enhanced enforcement campaigns every year. The campaigns also include advertising and social media support.

This month, drivers will be hearing one united message – take a break from your phone when you’re behind the wheel. Enhanced police enforcement of distracted driving will take place across B.C., including a province-wide blitz on Friday, and community volunteers are conducting Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phone alone when driving.

Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions while driving and encouraging others to do the same. Activate Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or what’s similarly available on other devices. Free ‘not while driving’ decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.

You can view tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com, and register your interest in participating in the pilot project at icbc.com/driverpilot.

Quotes:

David Eby, Attorney General

“Distracted driving endangers the lives of British Columbians with devastating effects for families and communities. It also puts significant pressure on insurance rates. That’s why we introduced tougher penalities for distracted drivers last year. Improving road safety is key to creating a sustainable auto insurance system with more affordable rates for everyone.”

Police Chief Neil Dubord, Chair B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Since 2010, police have issued more than 370,000 tickets for electronic device use, which tells us that distracted and inattentive driving continues to be an ongoing issue on B.C. roads. Police will be out in full force this month ensuring you to put your phone away when you’re behind the wheel.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President Public Affairs

“This telematics pilot project will enable us to better understand the role that technology can play in reducing distraction and preventing crashes for inexperienced drivers. But safer roads start with every driver making a conscious decision to focus on the road and leave their phones alone. You’re five times more likely to crash if you’re using your phone while driving. Let’s all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C.”

Regional statistics*:

  • Every year, on average, 27 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, on average, 10 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, on average, 28 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, on average, 13 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.


Editor’s note:
 Photo/video opportunities of police blitz in Surrey, White Rock and North Vancouver on March 1st. Please contact ICBC for details.

*Police data from 2013 to 2017. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.

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