I just got a speeding ticket for going 20 km/h over the limit, even though other people on the highway were going a lot faster. Will it affect my insurance rates?
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Car sharing service Turo says launch into B.C. market is ‘imminent’

VANCOUVER _ Fans of car-sharing services in British Columbia are about to get another option within weeks of the closure of two other car-share businesses in the province.

Turo, which describes itself as the world’s largest peer-to-peer car sharing platform, says it is preparing for “imminent expansion” into B.C.

A statement from the company says it has secured coverage from the Insurance Corporation of B.C. in advance of its launch but doesn’t say when its platform will be available.

Turo’s announcement follows cancellation of Boston-based Zipcar in Vancouver and Victoria on May 1 and closure of Share Now, formerly Car2Go, across North America earlier this year.

Turo has been operating in several other provinces since 2016 and says it has 850,000 members and 35,000 cars in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Users can book cars owned by Turo members, which the company says will “put Canada’s 23 million vehicles to better use.”

The company says participating car owners earn an average of $620 a month in regions where the program is already operating.

When Zipcar announced its departure, the company said the “complexities” of operating in B.C., including local insurance regulations, were behind its decision.

Cedric Mathieu, vice president and head of Turo’s Canadian operations says it’s time B.C. enjoyed the benefits of peer-to-peer car-sharing that have been available in four other provinces for four years.

“With the recent exit of car-sharing platforms from B.C. we’re happy to step in and answer the demand with a car-sharing model that makes more economical and environmental sense and that does not inflict additional pressure on cities’ parking infrastructures,” Mathieu says in the statement.

In addition to what Turo says is a comprehensive insurance package reached with the provincial insurer and included in every reservation, the company says it carries out extensive screenings of would-be renters and offers round-the-clock roadside assistance.

It has also implemented new policies linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at ensuring the safety of renters and owners through enhanced cleaning and disinfection.

Turo says information about its launch and details for those interested in becoming car hosts will be posted on the Turo app or at turo.com.

This story by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020

SGI: Speeding and work zones – Here’s what you need to know

SGI: Speeding and work zones – Here’s what you need to know

Did you know that driving 100km/h past an emergency vehicle with lights flashing results in a $570 ticket and 3 demerits?

Many drivers go over the speed limit or drive too fast for conditions. Driving at an unsafe speed can greatly increase the severity of a crash; the faster your vehicle is moving, the less time you have to react to a potential hazard and for other drivers to react to you.

Higher speeds also increase the risk of a serious injury or death. For example:

  • The chance of being killed in a collision at 80 km/h is 2 times higher than if you were travelling at 64 km/h.
  • When a vehicle crashes at a speed above 80 km/h, the chance of death is more than 50%.
  • In most cases, a pedestrian hit by a vehicle travelling at 40 km/h or less survive, but will die if hit by a vehicle travelling at 60 km/h or more.

Reaction time and stopping

Speeding reduces the amount of time you have to react and your control over the vehicle increasing both the risk and severity of a crash.

The average reaction time — the time it takes to determine that a crash may occur, decide what to do and then do it — is 1.5 seconds. You need to give yourself enough time for a quick response and decisive action.

By reducing your speed, you give yourself more ways to find an alternative course of action and more time to react to avoid a potential collision. Even driving 10 km/h slower can make the difference between a close call and a fatal collision.

Stopping distance

Speeding also significantly increases the stopping distance of a vehicle. As your speed doubles, your stopping distance increases 4 times. If your speed triples, your stopping distance increases 9 times.

Posted speed limit and road conditions

The posted speed limit is the recommended speed for ideal weather conditions.

Reduce your speed if the road is:

  • wet
  • snowy
  • icy
  • covered by fog
  • hard to see because of blowing snow

Work zones

Highway work zones

Work zones are usually clearly marked, with orange signs to show you’re entering a highway construction area and black and white signs showing the reduced speed limit. To keep everyone safe, be patient and follow the direction of the signs in the work zone. For more information about work zones, visit the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure. If you have questions about the setup of a particular work zone, call 306-244-5535.

Municipal roads and urban work zones

Work zone signs on municipal roads and in urban areas may differ from highway work zones. You’re still required to slow to 60 km/h or the speed that’s posted when you enter the work area and follow the directions of all signs in the zone.

You also must slow to 60 km/h when:

  • approaching a law enforcement vehicle or emergency vehicle when stopped at the side of the road with its lights flashing
  • passing Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure machinery or equipment when stopped at the side of the road with its lights flashing
  • passing a tow or service truck with its amber and/or blue beacon flashing while it’s assisting a vehicle

Fines and charges

For details on speeding fines and charges, visit the Speeding penalties page.

Source: www.sgi.sk.ca

Manitoba Public Insurance to Issue Rebate Cheques to Policyholders

Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is returning up to $110 million to provide financial relief to its policyholders, Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton announced.

“Many Manitobans have been financially impacted by this crisis,” said Wharton. “MPI is proactively providing relief when it is needed most by issuing rebates to its customers as an alternative to future reduced premiums.”

Rebates will be based on what policyholders paid last year and expected to be around 11 per cent, or between $140 to $160, per average policyholder, the minister noted, adding policyholders can expect a rebate cheque at the end of May to early June.

This surplus is the result of fewer claims during this COVID period, coupled with strong year-end financial results. As a public insurance model, MPI operates on a break-even basis and is required to maintain its reserves at a level set by legislation. Today’s rebate is possible because MPI’s reserves are exceptionally strong, allowing excess capital to be returned to ratepayers while ensuring its reserves are fully funded.

“This money is expected to provide financial assistance to Manitobans during this unprecedented crisis,” said Ben Graham, president and CEO, MPI. “We have made significant improvements in our operations to deliver value to Manitobans resulting in stronger financial results.

“With a healthy reserve fund, MPI is in a strong financial situation to move forward with these rebate cheques to support our customers. This rebate to our customers will not adversely impact the corporation’s financial outcomes moving forward. It feels right to give back to our customers when they need it the most.”

Details of the rebates will be made in the coming weeks and further details will be available at mpi.mb.ca.

In addition to rebating excess capital from the last financial year, MPI notes that as of mid-April, collision claims are down 48 per cent compared to the same month a year ago. MPI estimates that public health orders directing the public to stay at home and for non-essential businesses to cease direct interaction with the public have resulted in approximately $29 million in fewer basic claims being incurred between March 15 and April 15, 2020.

Under existing legislation, MPI is able to return approximately $50 million to its ratepayers and will require the approval of the Public Utilities Board (PUB) for the additional $60 million. MPI will apply to the PUB in the coming days in respect of the incremental $60 million in order to be able to return these amounts to Manitoba ratepayers. If PUB approval is obtained in the next few weeks, the entire $110 million will be returned as part of the rebate cheques mailed to Manitobans.

Based on current projections, MPI is confident that due to the extension of public health orders and the provincial state of emergency extending until May 18, related savings to the corporation will continue into the foreseeable future.

To help Manitobans impacted by COVID-19, we’ll be mailing policyholders’ rebate cheques in May.

IBC Collaboration with York Regional Police Leads to Charges

TORONTOMay 26, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, investigators with the York Regional Police Organized Crime and Intelligence Services laid charges related to organized-crime for violent  property damage, fraud and drug trafficking, as part of an ongoing joint-forces investigation into the tow truck industry, known as Project Platinum.  Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is proud to assist and support this ongoing investigation.

“IBC applauds the efforts of all partners involved in this joint-forces investigation, Project Platinum, that resulted in criminal charges being laid,” said Bryan Gast, National Director, Investigative Services, IBC. “Insurance fraud is a safety issue for consumers.  Lives can be put at risk as a result of these criminal actions. Insurance fraud costs Canadians in added insurance premiums, and strains our already burdened health care, emergency services and court systems.”

This ongoing investigation has identified several organized crime groups working within the towing industry who have used violence and property damage to gain control and territory within the industry. A number of towing companies have been involved in defrauding insurance companies, using vehicles involved in collisions and staged collisions. These towing companies partnered with auto repair shops, physiotherapy clinics, as well as car and truck rental companies, to carry out this fraud.

Insurance companies, through the auto insurance industry’s dedicated Investigation Coordination and Support Service (consisting of nine Insurer Lead Investigators, each from an IBC member company), worked to mitigate the costs of this fraud, including additional costs to the consumer, and actively pursued legal action against various towing companies.

For more information on the investigation, visit York Regional Police.

IBC and its members work tirelessly to mitigate the risk and cost of insurance fraud. Insurance companies pursue legal action against towing companies that are committing fraud.

IBC wants to help consumers avoid falling victim to insurance fraud. The more people report fraud, the more fraudsters we can bring to justice.

Know Your Tow

If you’ve been in a collision:

  1. Call your insurance representative as soon as possible to report the collision. They can provide helpful, on-the-spot advice on towing options, as well as recommendations of repair and car rental companies.
  2. You have the right to decide who can tow your vehicle and to what location (unless otherwise directed by police).
  3. A permission-to-tow form must be signed, and the towing company must provide an itemized invoice before receiving payment and towing your vehicle.
  4. You are entitled to a receipt for towing services rendered, and you have the option to pay with a debit or credit card.
  5. Decline offers to store your vehicle in a compound yard unless directed by your insurance representative to do so.

Never sign a blank contract or take referrals from towing companies.

For more information, visit Know Your Tow.

If You Suspect Insurance Fraud

In addition to contacting your insurer, you may also:

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays over $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @IBC_Ontario or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

www.ibc.ca

Guns, drugs, cash seized in organized crime probe of Toronto area tow truck industry

By Liam Casey

THE CANADIAN PRESS

VAUGHAN, Ont. _ Four alleged organized criminal organizations that operated as rival tow truck companies involved in a violent battle for territory in the Toronto area have been dismantled, police said Tuesday.

York regional police said the alleged crimes involved real collisions with jacked-up fees to drivers, staged collisions and extensive insurance fraud.

The turf war on two lucrative highways has led to murders, attempted murders, assaults, arsons and property damage, said Supt. Mike Slack of the force’s organized crime and intelligence services.

“Organized crime begins with an opportunity to make money and a level of greed that leads to criminality and violence,” Slack said in a video statement.

“The towing industry and its lack of regulations have bred exactly that environment.”

York police worked with their Toronto counterparts, Ontario Provincial Police and the Canada Revenue Agency on the investigation, dubbed Project Platinum, that began in February.

After raids and the execution of numerous search warrants, police arrested 20 people who collectively face dozens of counts, including criminal organization related charges, drug-trafficking charges and firearm offences among others.

During the raids, police seized 40 guns, including handguns, shotguns, rifles and a machine gun. Police also seized five kilograms of the deadly opioid fentanyl, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 1.25 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 1.5 kilograms of cannabis.

Police also seized more than $500,000 cash.

The investigative team also worked with the force’s homicide squad that laid murder charges in March against two men with ties to the towing industry for the death of a man who worked in the same industry.

Slack said the alleged criminal organizations are relatively new and have earned millions of dollars in illicit income.

“And when these profits were not enough, they staged collisions using drivers they recruited they deliberately caused collisions in roadways and parking lots across the GTA,” Slack said.

Police allege Paramount Towing along with other towing companies have been defrauding insurance companies with vehicles involved in collisions and staged collisions.

Slack said the companies would grossly inflate towing bills, move cars from lot to lot to increase storage fees, inflate repair bills and involve physiotherapists, much of it in an effort to defraud insurance companies.

Body shops and car rental companies were in on the schemes, Slack said, and would receive  “profitable cuts for themselves.”

Insurance companies grew wise to the alleged frauds, Slack said, which then hired Carr Law, a firm in Vaughan, Ont., to investigate.

“It too became the target of violence, threats and extortion,” Slack said.

Last fall an employee was threatened by an armed man and shortly thereafter someone fired bullets into the firm’s office, police said.

Slack said investigators also found a cache of computer records that will aid in the prosecution of those charged.

He alleges Paramount Towing, which is owned and operated by Alexander Vinogradsky, controlled a vast territory that included Highways 401, 404 and 400.

Slack said police have made recommendations to the province to implement regulations in the towing industry, including contract towing.

“York regional police has yearly contracts that we sign that we identify trucks we can use at our collisions,” he said. “We do think that has a great effect and something we recommend in all jurisdictions.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2020.

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