US – Crash claims up 2.7 per cent in first states to legalize pot

By P. Solomon Banda

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DENVER _ An insurance study links increased car crash claims to legalized recreational marijuana.

The Highway Loss Data Institute, a leading insurance research group, released the results Thursday saying the study found collision claims in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon went up 2.7 per cent in the years since legal pot sales began when compared with surrounding states.

Marijuana advocates question the study’s comparison of states with such varied populations.

Researchers accounted for factors such as the number of vehicles on the road in the study and control states, age and gender of drivers, weather and even whether the driver making a claim was employed. Neighbouring states with similar fluctuations in claims were used for comparison.

Insurance industry groups have been keeping a close watch on claims when auto accidents across the country began to go up in 2013 after more than a decade of steady decline.

SGI considers penalizing drivers who leave their keys in vehicle that is stolen

SASKATOON _ Saskatchewan Government Insurance is considering insurance consequences for drivers who leave their keys or key fobs in a vehicle which ends up being stolen.

Under current SGI insurance rules, the stolen truck would be covered for insurance purposes under accidental loss or damage.

Earl Cameron, SGI’s executive vice president of the Auto Fund, says even though many people leave their keys inside their car by accident, it has still created a debate on whether or not to change insurance.

He says they need to be cautious about penalizing someone who just leaves their keys in their vehicle for a second, only to have it stolen.

But he says it’s important to get the message across the consumers that they must never leave their keys in their vehicle.

Cameron says any change would need legislative approval before it became law.

However, he notes several provinces have fines for drivers who leave keys or key fobs in their cars.

Saskatoon police estimate between 60 and 65 per cent of stolen vehicles had the key or key fob inside.

Police chief Clive Weighill says there have been four deaths over the past two years when vehicles with keys inside were stolen.

Continued efforts to control costs result in request for a modest rate increase: Manitoba Public Insurance

Manitoba Public Insurance announced it has requested a 2.7 per cent overall rate increase for the 2018/19 insurance year in its general rate application filed with the Public Utilities Board today. If approved, the average passenger vehicle owner will pay about $29 more in premiums per year, or less than $3 per month.

“The overall premium revenue requirement for the Basic insurance program in 2018/19 results from an ongoing focus on fiscal prudence and cost containment, which results in a direct financial benefit for Manitoba rate payers,” Dan Guimond, president and chief executive officer of Manitoba Public Insurance said today. “Without these efforts, the indicated rate requirement would have been significantly higher at 7.7 per cent,” said Guimond.

“We recognize that our customers expect us to deliver comprehensive auto insurance coverage and service at rates that are predictable, stable and among the lowest in all of Canada. We believe this application continues to deliver on that mandate.”

This year’s rate application also addresses concerns over significant undercapitalization of the Basic Autopac insurance program by seeking to establish an adequately sized rate-stabilization reserve that can be used to absorb variations in revenues, claims costs and ongoing volatility in the financial markets, which affects investment income and future claims liabilities.

Also under the proposal, the interest rate forecast for rate setting purposes would be updated as at the end of November 2017 with final approved rates established through a compliance filing to the general rate application in December 2017 to take effect for policies effective on March 1, 2018 or later. Doing so will provide a better basis for interest rate forecasting for the 2018 insurance year.

“Our goal is to continue working collaboratively with the Public Utilities Board to reach consensus on these important issues, which will ultimately help to ensure the Basic insurance program operates on a self-sustaining basis for the benefit of all Manitobans,” added Guimond.

If approved, a total of 637,440 vehicles (excluding trailers and off-road vehicles) will receive a premium increase with 54.2 per cent of these vehicles increasing by less than $50 per year. Approximately 35.5 per cent of all vehicle owners will see no change or a decrease in premium over 2017/18 rates.

The average premium for the private passenger vehicle class will be $1,086.

While individual rates will continue to vary based on the type of vehicle being insured, vehicle use, rating territory, and driving history, the following overall rate increases have been requested by major vehicle class.

Major Use Applied for Rate Changes
Private passenger 2.7%
Commercial 1.3%
Public 1.1%
Motorcycles 2.7%
Trailers 11.4%
Off-road Vehicles -16.7%
Overall (applied for) 2.7%

The proposed rates will be effective March 1, 2018 but because renewal dates are staggered, some vehicle owners won’t pay the new rates until February 28, 2019.

Motorcycle Rates Increasing

The Corporation has requested a 2.7 per cent overall average increase to motorcycle rates. If approved, rates for 16.8 per cent of the motorcycle class will decrease or remain the same, while the rates for 83.2 per cent will increase. Of those increasing, 77.1 per cent will be increased by less than $50.

“If approved, the rates over the last five years for motorcycles will have decreased overall by 14.2 per cent,” said Guimond. “The Corporation works very closely with the Coalition of Manitoba Motorcycle Groups on topics relating to both safety and rates, and this collaboration continues to make a positive difference for all motorcyclists in our province.”

Driver Safety Rating Program

Changes are also proposed to driver licence premiums under the Driver Safety Rating program that will better align the premiums paid by high-risk drivers to the actual risk these drivers present to the insurance fund.

The intent is to create stronger financial incentives for dangerous drivers to adjust their driving behaviour, which in turn will improve road safety and benefit all road users. These changes are expected to increase driver premium revenue by $17.5 million.

If approved, the proposed driver premium increases will only impact drivers on the demerit side of the DSR scale and no demerit driver will face an increase in their 2018/19 driver premium compared to what they paid in 2017/18, if they qualify to move up on the scale because of an incident-free year of driving.

ICBC calls on parents to help high school grads celebrate safely​

Source: ICBC

For high school seniors, graduation and one last summer of carefree fun remain before they move on to the next chapter of their lives. ICBC is urging all grads to celebrate safely and asking parents to make sure their teens plan ahead to get home safely from all of their celebrations and parties throughout summer.

On average, seven youth aged 16 to 19 are killed in crashes from June to August in B.C. every year.*

Tips for parents:

  1. Know the plan every time. Make a habit of talking to your teen about their plans for getting to and from every celebration and party they attend this summer. Many grads treat themselves to a limousine but may not think to schedule it to also drive them home. If they could end up at multiple parties in a night, make sure they plan safe rides for that too.

  2. Back-up plans. Review a few scenarios with your teen in case their safe ride home falls through, so they’re prepared with other options. Discuss alternatives – whether it’s transit, a taxi or calling a family member for a ride. Ask your teen to program local taxi companies’ phone numbers into their phone, look up transit information in advance and set aside money for transit or a taxi just in case.

  3. Call for help. If you haven’t already, consider letting your teen know they can call you at any time if they ever need a ride. If they do call you for assistance, be supportive and consider saving your questions for the next day or at least until you’re home. If you aren’t able to pick your teen up yourself, you can always call a taxi to get them home safely.

  4. Designated drivers. If your teen is going to be the designated driver, emphasize that a designated driver does not drink at all. Use real-life scenarios to encourage an open discussion about not allowing passengers or peer pressure to influence their decision-making skills while driving.

  5. Take a stand. If your teen will be getting a ride with a friend, remind them to ask the driver if they’ve had anything to drink before getting into the vehicle if they aren’t certain. Even if you’re confident that your child is going to make the right choices, talk to them about looking out for their friends, especially those they know are easily influenced by others. Your teen’s choices can have a significant influence on their friends and make it easier for them to take a stand too.

Additional statistics:

  • Speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving are the top contributing factors for young drivers in fatal crashes.**
  • In the Lower Mainland, 12 youth aged 16 to 19 have been killed in crashes from June to August in the last five years (2011 to 2015).*
  • On Vancouver Island, two youth aged 16 to 19 have been killed in crashes from June to August in the last five years (2011 to 2015).*
  • In the Southern Interior, 10 youth aged 16 to 19 have been killed in crashes from June to August in the last five years (2011 to 2015).*
  • In the North Central region, eight youth aged 16 to 19 have been killed in crashes from June to August in the last five years (2011 to 2015).*

Every year, ICBC road safety speakers tour the province sharing their personal, heartbreaking stories to thousands of students to motivate them to think twice before taking risks while driving.

You can find more road safety tips on icbc.com.

Notes:

*Fatality data based on police data from 2011 to 2015.

**Youth defined as age 16 to 21.

My leased car was in an accident. Do I have to keep making payments?

My leased car was in an accident. Do I have to keep making payments?

Within a month of taking possession of my car on lease, it was in an accident. I informed the insurer and the car company within hours – but I am shocked to see that Canadian Dealer Lease Services is still deducting payments from my account. When contacted, it informed me that the lease is active and it will keep deducting payments. Is this correct practice? I don’t have a car now. – Samuel

After a crash, payments don’t stop just because your car can’t go.

If your car is in the repair shop, you have to keep paying your financing or lease payments until it’s fixed and you can drive it again.

In other words, it’s not your bank’s or finance company’s problem – you’re the one dealing with the insurance company. If your policy allows it, you might get a rental car.

“In the case of vehicle damage, the consumer who has taken out the policy would submit a claim to fix the vehicle,” said Pete Karageorgos, Ontario director of consumer and industry relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), in an e-mail. “There may be coverage for renting a vehicle while the owner’s vehicle is being repaired – the owner’s insurance policy would extend to cover the rental vehicle.”

Total responsibility?

And if the crash totals your car? You’ll keep making normal lease payments until the claim is settled.

“Lease payments will continue from the date of loss until Canadian Dealer Lease Services receives the agreed settlement cheque from the insurance company,” said Andre Safah, manager, client services with Canadian Dealers Lease Services, in an e-mail. “At that point, all lease payments that were paid after the date of loss will be refunded to the lessee less any deductible amount under the policy and no further payments will be deducted.”

After the settlement, the leasing company might consider it case closed.

“We will accept the proceeds of insurance, provided there is no denial of coverage in whole or in part and the lessee is not in default in paying any amount due to us,” Safah said.

But you could end up owing money after the settlement, depending on your lease or loan agreement.

“Usually, your insurance company will pay your lease financing company the market value of the vehicle directly,” Lynne Santerre, spokeswoman with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, said in an e-mail. “If the insurance payout is less than the amount you owe on your car lease, then you are responsible for paying that difference.”

For example, if your insurance company decides the replacement value of your car is $10,000 but you still owe $16,000 on your loan or lease, you’d have to cover the $6,000 shortfall, Santerre said.

“GAP (Guaranteed Auto Protection) insurance will usually cover this difference and pay the remaining balance you still owe on your lease,” Santerre said. “Many finance companies require GAP insurance as part of the lease, while others offer it as an option.”

Lease of your worries?

When leasing or financing a vehicle, read through the agreement so you can understand what you’re responsible for, Karageorgos said.

“If leased or financed, the name of the leasing or financing company would be included on the application for insurance and on the policy as having an interest in the vehicle,” he said.

“Your obligations could include everything from mileage to condition of the vehicle at the end of the lease period, and possibly specifications as to how repairs to the vehicle are completed following a crash.”

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