Meal delivery drivers often not insured if using personal car, broker warns

Most personal auto insurance policies don’t cover vehicles for food or package delivery

The xxcerpted article was written by Paula Duhatschek · CBC News 

Drivers making deliveries for some popular food delivery apps might be unaware their auto insurance may not cover them in the event of a collision, potentially leaving them on the hook for a big bill.

Gary Cormier, 49, of Kitchener, Ont. wants to avoid that situation. He’s been trying for weeks to find a car insurance policy that he can afford, and that will cover him while making deliveries.

Cormier signed up with both DoorDash and Uber Eats this spring and was quickly accepted as a driver after submitting proof of his car ownership, driver’s license and personal insurance.

But when he told his insurance broker about the plan, Cormier says he was told his existing policy with Intact wouldn’t cover him.

Cormier says he contacted three other brokers for good measure and was told the same thing.

“If I was just driving on personal insurance … my claim could be declined,” said Cormier, who says he stopped making deliveries after that point.

Cormier says his broker later gave him a quote for a commercial driving insurance policy, costing about $10,200 annually.

“It’s just not feasible,” said Cormier, whose personal driving insurance currently costs about $1,500 a year.

Most personal auto insurance policies don’t allow the use of personal vehicles for food or package delivery, according to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario.

That means drivers might not be covered if they use their vehicles for business purposes, the agency said.

‘You could lose everything’

Insurance broker Joseph Carnevale says many drivers are likely delivering food and other items without realizing their personal auto insurance policy doesn’t apply to their present circumstance.

Anyone making money by delivering something needs to tell their insurance broker about it, says Carnevale, and in most cases, a delivery driver would likely need to take out a commercial insurance policy to be covered.

“The problem we face is that someone who’s just trying to make a few dollars on the side then has to [pay] a substantial amount of money for a proper and legal commercial insurance auto policy,” said Carnevale, who is also president of the Insurance Brokers’ Association of Ontario.

“And so there’s a scenario out there right now that probably … the vast, vast majority of people don’t have the proper policies in place and that puts them at risk.”

Although every situation is different, Carnevale says a delivery driver who didn’t have commercial insurance and who submitted a claim after causing serious property damage would likely prompt an investigation and be denied coverage by their insurer.

That kind of accident could put them on the hook for between $5,000 and $100,000, he says. A worst-case scenario type of collision involving multiple deaths could cost millions, he adds.

“You could lose everything,” said Carnevale.

Company policies vary

CBC News asked DoorDash, Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats what kind of insurance their Ontario drivers need to carry.

DoorDash pointed to a statement on the company’s FAQ page saying it does provide excess auto insurance, but this policy only applies toward damage drivers might cause to third parties and only to accidents that happen when a driver is in possession of goods to be delivered.

A spokesperson for Skip the Dishes said in an email that couriers are independent contractors, and it is their responsibility to “obtain and maintain all necessary insurances, permits, and/or licenses required by applicable laws in the region they operate.”

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DYK – In Canada, men pay more than women for car insurance across all age groups

DYK – In Canada, men pay more than women for car insurance across all age groups

TORONTOMay 20, 2020 /CNW/ – Auto insurance premiums are determined using a variety of factors, including a person’s driving record, years of driving experience, insurance history, vehicle make and model, type of usage, type of coverage, deductible, and so on. But one of the many factors that also has an impact on what people pay for auto insurance is gender.

It’s generally understood that men pay more than women for car insurance, particularly when they’re young and signing onto their first policy. What isn’t clear is how men fare over time. “To understand the correlation between age, gender and auto insurance premiums, we used our car insurance quoter to collect test data for male and female drivers aged 17-60, from three major Canadian cities,” said Justin Thouin, Co-Founder and CEO of financial rate comparison site LowestRates.ca. Today, the company released a report to illustrate how gender affects auto insurance in TorontoMontreal and Calgary. While the data looks at three cities, these trends are similar across all of Canada.

The report shows:

In Downtown Toronto:

  • Between the ages of 17-19, men pay 27% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 20-24, men pay 11% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 25-30, men pay 3% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 31-40, men pay 5% more annually for car insurance than women
  • From the age of 40 onwards, men and women pay equally for car insurance

In Downtown Montreal:

  • Between the ages of 17-19, men pay 16% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 20-24, men pay 14% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 25-30, men pay 19% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 31-40, men pay 14% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 40-50, men pay 11% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 50-60, men pay 11% more annually for car insurance than women

In Downtown Calgary:

  • Between the ages of 17-19, men pay 12% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 20-24, men pay 2% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 25-30, men pay 2% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 31-40, men pay 3% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 40-50, men pay 5% more annually for car insurance than women
  • Between the ages of 50-60, men pay 4% more annually for car insurance than women

Thouin said there are several reasons why men are charged more than women for auto insurance in Canada. “Statistics show that men are far more prone to road accidents, and they are also over three times more likely to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol than women. We’ve also seen that men are also more likely than women to commit traffic infractions, such as dangerous driving.”

Thouin emphasized that while gender and age do play a role in determining car insurance premiums, these factors don’t supersede other important parameters like a clean driving record, having no insurance gap or claims history. ” Irrespective of gender, anyone who drives safely, follows traffic rules, and has no insurance gap for a significant amount of time can reduce their insurance premiums.”

About LowestRates.ca

LowestRates.ca is an online rate comparison site for insurance, mortgages, loans and credit card rates in Canada. The free, independent service connects consumers directly with financial institutions and providers from all over North America to offer Canadians a comprehensive list of rates. LowestRates.ca’s mission is to help Canadians become more financially literate, with the near-term goal of saving them $1 billion in interest and fees.

SOURCE LowestRates.ca

 

Ontario Removes Prohibition On Auto Insurance Premium Rebates

In a move prompted by the COVID-19 crisis, the Ontario government modified the “Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices” regulation under the Insurance Act of Ontario in order to reduce barriers to rebating or reduction of automobile insurance premiums by automobile insurers or brokers of automobile insurance policies.

The prohibition against rebating has typically been a consumer protection measure to prevent insurers or brokers from offering an inducement to insureds to purchase policies, with an understanding that the insureds would get some additional benefit, beyond the insurance policy itself. Apart from protecting consumers from being misled, this prohibition also provides consumer protection against discrimination. Similar prohibitions exist in other provinces and territories of Canada.

The regulatory prohibition in section 2 of O. Reg. 77/00, the Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices regulation is against, among other things:

  1. making, or attempting to make, directly or indirectly, an agreement with an insured or applicant for insurance, as to the premium to be paid for an insurance policy that is different than the premium stated in the policy;
  2. paying, allowing, or giving, directly or indirectly, or offering or agreeing to give, a rebate of all or part of the premium stated in the policy to an insured or applicant for insurance; and
  3. paying, allowing, or giving, directly or indirectly, or offering or agreeing to give, consideration or other value intended to be in the nature of a rebate of premium to an insured or applicant for insurance.

However, as a result of the spread of COVID-19 and the declaration of an emergency in the province of Ontario under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, automobiles are being used much less frequently, which means that, taken together, the risk assumed by automobile insurers is less than existed at the time of application or underwriting of the applicable policies. Accordingly, some automobile insurers had expressed a willingness to refund to insureds portions of annual premiums, or to reduce monthly charges of insurance premiums, based on reduced vehicle usage during the declared emergency. The regulatory prohibition on rebating had caused some uncertainty for insurers or brokers looking to provide this relief.

As a result of the change, a rebate or reduction of automobile insurance premium is not considered to be an unfair or deceptive act or practice if:

  1. an emergency is declared under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act;
  2. the rebate is issued in response to that declared emergency; and
  3. the automobile insurer files an undertaking with the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA). FSRA has provided a sample form of undertaking as a starting point for insurers, which effectively commits the insurer to offering premium rebates in a manner consistent with applicable law and FSRA’s regulatory guidance.

Rebates of all or part of an automobile insurance premium are not considered an unfair or deceptive act or practice from the date of declaration of an emergency (in the case of COVID-19, March 17, 2020) to the date that is one year after the date that the declared emergency is terminated.

Ontario is the first Canadian jurisdiction to loosen restrictions on rebating during a declared emergency. We expect some other jurisdictions to similarly permit premium rebate or reduction programs. As we noted previously, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions – the leading financial and solvency regulator of insurers in Canada – has made it easier for insurers to grant deferrals for payment of insurance premiums.

In addition to this regulatory change, Ontario’s FSRA, as the market conduct and consumer protection regulator in Ontario, issued a regulatory guidance with the following highlights:

  1. In order for premium rebating as described above (whether a refund, rebate, or reduction of insurance premium) not to constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice, it must be:
    1. consumer-focused (providing financial relief where premium charged was based on risk factors that are no longer “just and reasonable” and have materially reduced during a specified period of time related to the applicable emergency);
    2. transparent and disclosed through clear and public communication by the insurer;
    3. equitable, by being consistent and not discriminatory among insureds, for example the benefit to consumers varies only based on premium paid;
    4. fair, by not being a prohibited anti-competitive practice such as tied selling, or an inducement to purchase or renew an insurance policy; and
    5. time-limited, by being undertaken during or immediately following an emergency declared under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, with a goal of providing financial relief to consumers in respect of that emergency.

Where the above criteria are satisfied, FSRA has expressed support for premium repayment programs, given the mismatch between premium levels and associated risk, and the nature of these programs as directed at relieving financial hardship among consumers, rather than permitting insurers to obtain an unfair competitive advantage or unreasonably preferring certain consumers over others.

FSRA has recommended that insurers engage with FSRA early in the design of a premium rebate program to confirm that the intended program is appropriate. In particular, FSRA has requested from insurers the following premium rebate program information prior to implementation:

  1. how rebates will be calculated;
  2. how rebates will be provided to customers;
  3. at a high level, how customers will be impacted by the rebate program;
  4. how the rebates will comply with FSRA’s principles; and
  5. the intended form of undertaking to FSRA’s Chief Executive Officer that commits an insurer to developing a rebating program and implementing this program in accordance with the above-noted principles.

FSRA will sign and return to insurers undertakings as evidence for the insurer that the undertaking has been approved, with a new undertaking filed for each premium rebate program established by an insurer. FSRA has noted that insurers who fail to administer their rebating programs in accordance with FSRA guidance and their undertakings will lose the benefit of the waiver of the prohibition against rebating.

  1. FSRA expects insurers to maintain records of rebates provided to their customers for use in future supervisory activity and reporting.
  2. Automobile insurance is a heavily-regulated industry, with mandatory rate filings. FSRA provided an approach to principles, processes and practices that it will follow when considering applications from insurers to reduce insurance rates in order to provide rate reductions or other relief to consumers.

Principles of the emergency rate review include:

  1. rate increases will not be considered at this time; only rate reductions will be considered, including new or increased discounts, lower (or eliminated) surcharges, lower (or eliminated) fees, and lower (or eliminated) charges on instalment payments;
  2. the proposed changes may not result in a premium rate increase to a customer on renewal, assuming a static book; and
  3. rate reductions may be implemented on a “use and file” basis, by which they may take effect prior to being reviewed by FSRA, let alone approved, provided that FSRA will work with applicable insurers to resolve issues that FSRA identifies and, if the issues are not resolvable, then FSRA may require the insurer to cease use of the revised rate filings.
  1. FSRA provided automobile insurers with a summary of some actions that insurers may take without FSRA review or approval, including:
  1. re-rating policies based on changes in risk profile;
  2. if appropriate and relevant, modifying or temporarily suspending the effective dates of filings to defer the implementation of rate increases;
  3. being flexible in exercising contractual and statutory rights, such as those relating to:
    1. payment plans and premium payment deferral;
    2. underwriting rules and allowing exceptions for customers experiencing a period of financial difficulty, such as deferring decisions to non-renew customers who might otherwise be lawfully non-renewed; and
    3. cancelling policies or suspending coverage;
  4. allocating more resources to insurer call centres and underwriting;
  5. extending certain coverages where appropriate (e.g. to non-owned vehicles, or to loss of use); and
  6. waiving certain standard policy exclusions (e.g. use of personal vehicles to deliver food and other products).

It is likely that FSRA will ask insurers to report on actions taken during or as a result of the COVID crisis, along with the impact on customers of these actions.

The McCarthy Tetrault LLP Insurance Law team is available to assist insurers and brokers who have questions about proposed rebating programs, including draft undertakings, or other regulatory or transactional matters.

Source: Mondaq

Pandemic reduces ICBC’s claim costs, but crashes investments, says Eby

VICTORIA _ The COVID-19 pandemic has sideswiped British Columbia’s public vehicle insurer, but the attorney general says it’s too soon to assess the potential damage.

David Eby, who is also the minister responsible for the Insurance Corporation of B.C., says claim costs are down about $160 million because there have been fewer accidents as drivers stay home.

But he says plunging prices on global stock markets have hit the corporation’s investment portfolio.

Eby says a clear picture of the pandemic’s affect on ICBC won’t be known until the end of the fiscal year in March.

At that time, he says ICBC will be in a better position to decide whether drivers will get a one-time rebate or if the money should be contributed to the corporation’s depleted surplus.

ICBC president Nicolas Jimenez says the corporation remains on track in implementing changes announced earlier this year that could save drivers about $400 a year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2020.

Measuring Vehicle Speed with Radar

 

RadarDespite the fact that it is older technology, radar is still frequently used by police to measure vehicle speeds today. When used properly, it is an accurate method of determining how fast a vehicle is traveling. The courts also accept qualified radar evidence of speed during a trial as commonplace.

When I was trained to use radar to measure traffic speed it was a one day long course. We were taught the basic theory of operation including an explanation of the Doppler Effect which is the basis for the device. A written test followed to insure we understood what had been taught. Finally, we all went to the side of the road where we were given a chance to make some measurements under the watchful eye of an experienced officer.

I typically started my traffic enforcement shift by testing my radar and recording the results of the test in my notebook. These tests vary a little depending on the manufacturer and type of radar in use, but it usually consists of a power on self test or an internal test initiated by pushing a button, a phase where all indicators and display segments were lit simultaneously to show they were functioning and a tuning fork test.

Tuning forks substituted for the moving vehicle. The fork was struck to make it vibrate and then held in front of the radar antenna. This would produce a specific reading on the radar display.

If and only if all of these tests were passed was the radar considered ready for use. If there was a failure the unit was taken out of service and sent for repair.

During some 28 years of operating traffic radar I can only recall one instance when the radar failed to operate correctly and it was immediately apparent to me.

A typical investigation involving radar to measure vehicle speed begins not with the instrument, but with the officer’s eyes. A visual observation of the target is made and a speed estimation developed. Some officers become quite accurate in making this estimation after years of practice with the instrument.

Following the estimate, a measurement of the vehicle speed is made with the radar. The officer compares the estimate with the measurement to insure that the two reasonably coincide. If they do, the offending driver is stopped and ticketed. If they don’t, further observation and measurement is required.

Should the visual estimate and radar measurement never reasonably compare, a ticket based on the radar evidence cannot be written.

A radar beam is similar to a flashlight beam. It begins relatively narrow but widens as you move away from the antenna. Ideally, only the target vehicle should be in the radar beam at the time of the speed measurement, but this is not always possible. In this case, careful observation and measurement may still result in an accurate measurement and confidence in which vehicle is producing the speed reading.

Radar measurements also suffer from what is known as cosine error. If the vehicle being measured is moving directly toward the antenna, a true speed will be detected. If the vehicle is moving at an angle to the beam, a lower than true speed will be read depending on the cosine of the angle.

The benefit goes to the driver with stationary radar operations.

The cosine error is critical with moving radar as it affects the patrol vehicle speed reading which is used to calculate the violator’s speed from the closing rate of speed. The officer must compare the patrol vehicle speed to the speedometer when making a measurement. If the two are not the same, a higher than true speed will be displayed.

If all of this adds up, the speed investigation is complete and the officer can decide on what, if any, action to take.

The final step in my daily patrol after parking in the detachment lot was to test the radar again and record the results in my notebook.

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 for 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

Guide To Automobile Accident Benefit Forms

Statutory Accident Benefits (“accident benefits”) are available to those who are injured as a result of the “use or operation of a motor vehicle”. This includes passengers, drivers, cyclists, or those who are injured by motor vehicles as pedestrians. Accident benefits are available regardless of fault and are therefore often referred to as “no-fault” benefits.

Below is an overview of the most common Auto Insurance Claims Forms (“OCF Forms”) that automobile insurance companies require an injured person to complete in order to consider and adjust a claim for accident benefits. Copies of these forms are available to the public and can be obtained online.

While these forms must be completed accurately, they are often difficult to understand. Many are to be completed by the injured person, however, others are to be completed by healthcare providers or employers.

OCF-1 Application for Accident Benefits

Completion of the OCF-1 form begins the process for claiming accident benefits. It is mandatory and should be completed by anyone who is injured as a result of the use or operation of a motor vehicle. Whether someone has been injured as a result of the use or operation of a motor vehicle is not always clear. If you are unsure, it is best to seek advice from a personal injury lawyer.

OCF-2 Employer’s Confirmation Form

The OCF-2 form must be completed in order to claim income replacement benefits. A portion of the form must be completed by the employer(s) of the injured person for the 4 or 52 weeks prior to the accident. Where the applicant is self-employed, he or she may complete this form in its entirety.

OCF-3 Disability Certificate

The OCF-3 form must be completed by a healthcare provider. A list of the providers who may complete the OCF-3 can be found on the form itself. There is space in the OCF-3 form for the chosen health care provider to identify the applicant’s accident related injuries, limitations, and a prognosis for recovery, among other things. Insurers may request that this form be completed multiple times over the course of an accident benefits claim.

OCF-5 Permission to Disclose Health Information

The OCF-5 form allows the automobile insurance company complete access to all medical records from any health care provider or hospital. A personal injury lawyer can advise as to whether an applicant should sign the OCF-5. Often, a lawyer will ask the insurance adjuster which medical records are required and then request and provide to the insurer what is relevant. Typically, an insurer may only go back one year prior to the accident date.

OCF-6 Expenses Claim Form

The OCF-6 form is used to submit expenses incurred as a result of an accident, such as prescriptions, ambulance charges, attendant care costs, and parking receipts for accident related treatment. It is critical that applicants save receipts and invoices for such expenses to provide to the automobile insurer along with the OCF-6 form.

OCF-10 Election of Income Replacement Non-Earner or Caregiver Benefits

The OCF-10 allows an applicant to advise the insurer which of income replacement, non-earner, or caregiver benefits he or she intends to claim. While an injured person may qualify for more than one of the three benefits, an election must be made. A personal injury lawyer can help with the appropriate selection.

OCF-18 Treatment and Assessment Plan

The OCF-18 form should be completed by a healthcare provider or facility to request approval for treatment for accident-related injuries. If an applicant is participating in treatment and wishes for it to be covered by the automobile insurer, then he or she should have an OCF-18 form completed for consideration and approval.

OCF-19 Application for Determination of Catastrophic Impairment

The OCF-19 form is to be completed by a healthcare provider if an injured person wishes to apply for a catastrophic impairment designation, which allows for access to increased automobile insurance benefits. The automobile insurance company must officially designate an injured person as catastrophically impaired in order to recover these enhanced benefits.

Seeking legal advice

The forms that will need to be completed and the timing within which they should be completed varies, depending on the situation. It is critical that they are completed properly and accurately. These forms become part of an injured person’s accident benefits claim, and the adjuster and defense lawyers will have access to all or most of this file.

Originally published 15 APR 2020

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