Private sector must drive better options in B.C.’s auto-insurance market

The excerpted article was written and updated by Colin Brown | Vancouver Sun

B.C. motorists are held hostage when it comes to basic vehicle insurance. That’s unfortunate, since rates in our province are among the highest in Canada. For instance, we pay considerably more for comparable insurance than our neighbours in Alberta.

Compounding our affordability woes, ICBC hiked basic rates in April to stem mounting financial losses. (We all remember the colourful words of Attorney-General David Eby, who described the corporation as a “financial dumpster fire”.) As a driver myself, any increase hurts the wallet. Plus, new drivers will pay even more when ICBC rolls out a new risk model in September.

We all want a better price. This is, after all, an infamously expensive place to live. A survey recently conducted by local pollsters Research Co. confirms what I have long suspected: More than three-quarters of British Columbians (78 per cent) want more choice in the auto insurance market.

The good news is that British Columbians do have a choice when it comes to optional insurance: the private sector. Private insurers have the potential to offer more choice, more savings and a better overall insurance experience.

But as ICBC works to regain traction, some optional insurance companies are being inconsistent in their offerings. Rather than being part of the solution, some chose to go dormant — hiding out during this time of uncertainty. In fact, there was a period last summer when two of the biggest providers in our market were not writing new policies because market conditions weren’t favourable.

But we don’t just need competition, we need better competition. Unfortunately, some optional providers have little knowledge of our market — making it difficult to tailor products to our west coast lifestyle. And we know for a fact that drivers do want a better product: The majority polled indicate a desire for better optional vehicle coverage (71 per cent), and a better product overall (67 per cent).

That’s where a gap currently exists. To be attractive to consumers, the private sector should help motorists save money by offering discounts for progressive consumer choices like energy-efficient vehicles, or technologically advanced safety features like automatic braking systems and lane departure warnings. The private sector would also do well to fill the current gap in niche coverage that includes luxury, recreational, collector and fleet vehicles.

While ICBC conducts test after test to evaluate new technologies, the private sector has an opportunity to lead the charge by rewarding new drivers who choose to use smart-phone monitoring solutions, or by offering discounts for using voluntary distracted driving apps. (And they should avoid the temptation to simply punish less-than-perfect drivers with surcharges.) The crown corporation unfortunately lags behind in offering these forward-thinking innovations, which could save consumers money while making the roads safer for everyone. Surely, offering incentives to prevent accidents is preferable to merely adding punitive surcharges after the fact?

So, as we look forward to smoother roads ahead, let this be a challenge to the private sector: drivers deserve better choices for optional coverage. Ideally, some of those intelligent options will come from homegrown, B.C. companies that know our market.

I’ll leave you with a sneak peek at what’s on the horizon: Remember Canadian Direct Insurance? I was proud to be part of its executive leadership team, prior to its acquisition. That local leadership team plans to continue the mission to bring more choice, more savings and a better insurance experience to B.C. motorists under a new corporate banner.

As a fellow driver, I believe British Columbians deserve better. Stay tuned.

With more than 40 years of experience in B.C.’s insurance sector, Colin Brown helped establish the operational framework for ICBC, before serving as its chief underwriter in the 1990s. He then served as Canadian Direct Insurance’s chief operating officer until the company’s acquisition in 2015.

Source: Vancouver Sun

Ontario’s Worst and Best Cities based on driving records revealed, new 2019 study

A graphic of two cars colliding.We grade the cities across Ontario based on tickets and collisions of its hometown drivers.

Your driving record and history has a direct impact on the auto insurance premiums you pay. With tickets and collisions on your record, you can expect to pay more for your auto insurance than if you didn’t. It’s a reality that most drivers know and expect.

You might also expect, however, that residents in large urban areas, like Toronto, would report having more tickets on their driving record, on average, as well as collisions. It’s a big city after all with more vehicles on the road and drivers, and thus a greater chance for something to happen.

Yet, according to InsuranceHotline.com this may be a myth. Based on the details provided by shoppers who obtained Ontario auto insurance quotes, you have to look beyond Toronto’s borders to find the cities whose drivers admit to having the most tickets, collisions, or a combination of the two, on their driving record. These are infractions and collisions that could have occurred in the driver’s hometown or anywhere their travels have taken them.

We measured all three categories, and then assigned each city a grade based on its variance from the Ontario average.

In Orangeville, for example, drivers were 1.9 times as likely to have a ticket, accident, or both, on their record than the Ontario average. In North York, a driver is 22 percent less likely to have a ticket, crash or both on their record than the average, and Toronto drivers are 21 percent less likely to have a black mark on their driving record.

The Top 10 Worst Cities in Ontario for Driving

City/Town Grade
Orangeville D
Bradford D
Woodstock D
Sault Ste. Marie D
Brantford D
Orillia D
Thunder Bay C
St. Thomas C
Caledon C
Barrie C

The Top 10 Best Cities in Ontario for Driving

City/Town Grade
North York A
Toronto A
East York A
Etobicoke A
Mississauga A
Brampton A
Scarborough A
York A
Thornhill A
Oakville A

Breaking it Down

The Lowdown on Tickets

On average, 6.9 percent of drivers in the province admit to having at least one ticket on their driving record while getting quotes. However, drivers in some cities and towns exceed this average considerably.

City/Town % of Drivers with a Ticket (No collision)
Caledon 15.0%
Orangeville 13.2%
Bradford 12.2%
Peterborough 12.0%
St. Thomas 11.2%
Sudbury 11.0%
Thunder Bay 10.9%
Bolton 10.8%
Stoney Creek 10.6%

Accidentally Speaking

From a collision standpoint, overall 8.9 percent of Ontario drivers admit to having been involved in a collision in the last 10 years. Yet, there are areas in the province where the average is two full percentage points higher.

City/Town % of Drivers with a Collision (No tickets)
Woodstock 13.6%
Orleans 12.8%
Sault Ste. Marie 12.4%
Kanata 12.3%
Gloucester 12.2%
Whitby 11.5%
Pickering 11.5%
Brantford 11.3%
Orillia 11.2%
Burlington 10.9%

Double Trouble

Having both a ticket and collision on your driving record is detrimental to your auto insurance premiums and approximately 3.5 percent of Ontario drivers admit to having at least one of each in their relatively recent past. In 13 communities across the province, however, the average is 5.5 percent or higher.

City/Town % of Drivers with both a Ticket and Collision
Orangeville 9.4%
Bradford 8.4%
Sault Ste. Marie 8.4%
Woodstock 7.4%
Brantford 6.9%
Orillia 6.6%
Cambridge 6.3%
Thunder Bay 6.3%
St. Thomas 5.9%
Barrie 5.9%
Welland 5.8%
Oshawa 5.6%
Pickering 5.5%

What’s It All Mean to Your Ontario Car Insurance?

Your driving record matters. Your driving record is an influential factor in determining your Ontario auto insurance rate. Sure, there are others like where you live, your insurance history, and the type of car you drive; but your driving record and history is indicative of how you are when behind the wheel. Every at-fault (or partially at-fault) accident or traffic ticket conviction will likely increase the cost of your premiums.

What’s more, traffic ticket convictions affect your insurance rates for no less than three years and accidents stay on your record for at least six! With a less than perfect driving record, you can find yourself paying a lot of extra premium over the years.

Whatever your driving record, compare quotes each year to ensure you are getting the best car insurance rates going. Each insurance company calculates their rates differently and if your driving record changes, for any reason, the insurer who last offered you the best insurance rate, may no longer be your best choice.

Compare car insurance quotes at InsuranceHotline.com from 30+ providers in a single search. Start saving money today on the premiums you pay.

In 2016, about 1.5 million metric tonnes of industrial, auto and vehicle parts moved through the Port of Vancouver.

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Are you unsure of what your insurance covers in Brampton? If you are, you’re not alone!

According to a national survey conducted by Belairdirect, nearly a quarter of Canadians have not read their home (23%) or car (25%) insurance policies.

Despite this, the main worries that keep them up at night about insurance are what their policies cover and how much they cost.

Three-in-ten Canadians told Belairdirect that understanding their insurance is like a daily commute; tedious, but necessary.

Another 16% feel it’s like watching a boring movie, you want to turn it off, but you want to know how it ends.

“Canadians are becoming savvier when it comes to an understanding of their insurance policies, but we know that they still have questions. Insurance is complex, and we are committed to simplifying that experience to help educate consumers,” said Anne Fortin, the Senior Vice President, of Direct Distribution and Chief Marketing Officer. “Having proper coverage is key to protecting the things that you care about, and our goal is to ensure Canadians understand what they need for home and auto insurance.”

The survey also revealed some other interesting facts, such as:

  • 31% of Canadians with home insurance never take inventory of their property.
  • Nearly one-in-ten Canadians wonder if they are covered by animal damage – either by rodents to their home (8%) or large animals, like a moose, to their car (10%).
  • Four-in-ten Canadians with home insurance believe their policies automatically protect all of their valuables, while only 36% think they’re covered for a sewer back-up.
  • 39% of Canadians think they are covered for their golf bag if it’s in their car when stolen,  and 38% think they are covered if a drone crashes into their car windshield.

Most home or tenant insurance policies cover the most important items people care about. The only exceptions may be for specific items, such as jewellery, bicycles, collections, boats, or money, which vary by policy.

Personal belongings are worth more than you may think. It is recommended to create a complete inventory of your possessions and share it with your insurance provider. The agent can help tell you if you own the coverage that fits your needs, including adding special protections as necessary.

Nearly all Canadians with car insurance (98%) know at least one thing that affects their insurance premiums. The most common include:

  • Driving records (87%)
  • History of claims (85%)
  • Driving experience (77%)
  • How often you drive
  • Location and the risk of theft

Only 47% of Canadians with car insurance believe if someone borrows their car, they are covered by their insurance.

In reality, when you lend your car, you share your insurance as well.

Lots of people with a home or car insurance plan understand its importance, but many (52% and 48% respectively) find it challenging to understand their policy.

The best advice for anyone who doesn’t understand their policy is to speak to their insurance providers.

They may also visit a client centre online to review their policies.

Do you know what your insurance policies cover in Brampton?

Determining Insurer Liability: A Borrowed Car

In the recent decision, Tokio Marine & Nichido Insurance Company v. Security National Insurance Company, 2019 ABQB 622, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (the “Court“) heard an appeal of a Master’s of an application for an order declaring that another insurer had a duty to defend a motorist involved in an accident. This is an important decision for insurers as it provides an examination of a unique factual scenario where there was overlapping insurance coverage.

The Facts

On June 4, 2016, Ms. Sran drove a vehicle owned by Mr. Gill (the “Gill Vehicle“), to an Acura dealership in Calgary, Alberta (the “Dealership“), for servicing. Ms. Sran was not a named insured under Mr. Gill’s insurance policy, and was not his spouse, however, she did have permission to take the Gill Vehicle, and had been informed by Mr. Gill that the Dealership would provide her with a courtesy car. After signing an agreement with the Dealership (the “Agreement“), Ms. Sran was given a courtesy car (the “Courtesy Car“), and left the Dealership.

While Ms. Sran was operating the Courtesy Car she collided with a skateboarder (the “Skateboarder“).

The Gill Vehicle was insured by Security National Insurance Company (“SNIC“), and the Courtesy Car was insured by Tokio Marine & Nichido Insurance Company Limited (“Tokio Marine“). Tokio Marine sought an order declaring that SNIC was required to defend Ms. Sran in the action commenced by the Skateboarder. Tokio Marine’s application was denied by a Master, who found that SNIC did not have to defend the claim. In this case, Tokio Marine was seeking to have the Master’s decision overturned, on the basis that Mr. Gill gave his consent for Ms. Sran to drive the Gill Vehicle, and that consent transferred to the Car.

Additionally, a term of the Agreement stated that Ms. Sran, as the signatory, would be liable for any damage to the Courtesy Car, and that Ms. .Sran’s insurance would be the primary carrier in the event of any loss.

The Decision of the Court

Justice Fraser agreed with the previous decision from the Master, and held that SNIC did not have to defend the action brought by the Skateboarder, and that Tokio Marine would be responsible for defending the action. Justice Fraser stated that while there was an understanding between Mr. Gill and Ms. Sran that the Gill Vehicle would be left at the Dealership for servicing, and that Ms. Sran would have a courtesy vehicle, that understanding could not be extended to the other parties involved.

Moreover, Ms. Sran agreed to a number of conditions when she signed the Agreement prior to using the Car, and there was nothing to demonstrate that Mr. Gill ever agreed to any of the terms, or that he even knew about them. Mr. Gill was not the owner of the Courtesy Car, and as a third party with no interest in the Courtesy Car, the Court simply was not able to find that he had the ability to give consent to anyone to drive it, despite the fact that he likely expected that a Courtesy Car would be provided.

In its submissions to the Court, Tokio Marine also argued that pursuant to the Miscellaneous Insurance Provisions Regulation, Alta Reg 120/2001, the Courtesy Car should be considered a rental vehicle, which would result in a priority flip for the insurers in regards to primary responsibility for defending any claims. The Court also found this argument lacking, as the Dealership clearly did not fall under the definition or a lessor or renter, as defined in the Traffic Safety Act, RSA 2000, c T-6.

The Take-Away

This decision provides clarity for interpreting insurance policies in a unique factual scenario that all stakeholders involved in priority dispute should be familiar with. Specifically, this decision serves as a reminder that situations that feature overlapping insurance policies can be reconciled by a plain language reading of their terms.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world’s first polycentric global law firm. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways. Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business challenge. Now the world’s largest law firm, Dentons’ global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national and global needs of private and public clients of any size in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries. www.dentons.com

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. Specific Questions relating to this article should be addressed directly to the author.

Source: Mondaq News

Canada’s auto industry fears blowback over government’s tough emissions stance

The excerpredted article was written By Rob Bostelaar | Automotive Canada

OTTAWA — Canada’s alliance with California in a battle over greenhouse-gas emissions could erase hard-won trade protections, deter investment and drive up prices for car buyers, auto industry officials warn.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in June that Canada will align with California in a plan to maintain stringent fuel-economy standards even if U.S. federal regulators dial back the limits scheduled for model-year 2021-2025 vehicles.

The agreement contains no commitments beyond a pledge to work together on regulations to cut greenhouse-gas production and promote clean vehicles.

“In our view it’s premature to be saying this is the road we’re going to go down without understanding all the consequences and costs of going down that road,” said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada.

“It would have been our preference that Canada work with the U.S. and California to come up with a single, integrated system of standards.”

Automakers now build to a single set of standards adopted by the United States and California in 2012. A U.S.-California split could force them to produce separate vehicles for two markets, or build vehicles to the higher standard.

The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA), representing the Detroit Three, said any dual-market system could undermine the still-to-be ratified treaty that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Why did we just spend the last two years renegotiating an agreement that underpins North America as a trade bloc, that preserves the three country approach, preserves our integrated industry and supply chains, and is designed to remove technical barriers to trade and to align regulations ultimately because of the efficiencies?” said CVMA president Mark Nantais.

Canada has long matched the United States on safety and emissions regulations. But McKenna’s announcement signals that Canada won’t follow U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations to freeze tailpipe standards at 2020 levels through 2026 instead of requiring yearly improvements to reach a fleet average of 54.5 mpg in government testing, or about 36 mpg in on-road driving.

Carmakers had lobbied for lower yearly increases to the 54.5 mpg target — though not a freeze — arguing that the Obama-era federal regulations they signed on to in 2012 didn’t anticipate softening fuel prices and rising consumer demand for larger vehicles.

It also inserts Canada into a political confrontation typical of the President Trump era. California is leading a coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia in a federal court suit to overturn the EPA plan, while the Trump administration is seeking to revoke the right of California — long a driver of U.S. emissions policy — and other states to set their own limits.

IS TOUGHER BETTER? 

McKenna said aligning with California’s mileage targets and zero-emission vehicle program could spur investment in clean transportation in Canada. The two jurisdictions represented four million of the 19 million new light vehicles sold in Canada and the United States in 2018.

“We can build the vehicles of the future here at home, create good jobs, and remain competitive, all the while reducing pollution and helping Canadians save hundreds of dollars a year at the pump,” McKenna said in a statement.

Industry groups say a more likely result would be reduced product offerings and higher prices as consumers compete for fewer available vehicles.

“Any movement away from a harmonized approach will hinder choice and increase costs for Canadian consumers,” warned the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA), representing 3,200 franchised new -car and truck dealerships across the country.

CADA didn’t estimate how much prices could rise, but spokesman Huw Williams suggested some shoppers could end up keeping their old cars instead of moving to cleaner, less thirsty vehicles.

“That’s a consumer cost as well, and an economic cost,” Williams said.

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, said that Canadian assembly plants now are chiefly devoted to crossovers and larger vehicles. McKenna’s contention that the MOU would encourage automakers to change the type of vehicles they build in Canada is unrealistic, he said.

“You would put companies into a difficult position of not selling locally what they make locally, increasing their cost per unit and decreasing the competitiveness of local manufacturing,” he said. “And you would de facto put a cloud over the Canadian automotive value proposition.”

Still, Volpe believes the federal Liberals took a “prudent step” with the non-binding agreement, which conveys opposition to lower limits on emissions but doesn’t lock Canada in. He said government officials, who are conducting their own midterm review of the fuel-economy standards, heeded industry advice in devising Canada’s strategy.

FEAR OF TWO STANDARDS 

If automakers sought relief from the Obama-era reductions — which could still remain as the effective standard if enough states side with California — they’re more concerned at the prospect of building to two markets even as they invest hundreds of millions in electric vehicles and other alternatives to meet longer-term emissions goals.

Adams and Nantais said their groups have joined their U.S. counterparts in pressing for a single standard acceptable to California, Canada and U.S. federal regulators.

“We want a reasonable standard or regulation that’s achievable, recognizes the dynamic in the marketplace, recognizes fuel costs, recognizes technology costs,” said Nantais.

Any resolution, however, could be far off.

“I think the drama on this is far from over, and that’s both political and litigious,” said Volpe. “It is still very early days.”

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