How technology is reshaping the insurance industry

Canada has a rich history of innovation, but in the next few decades, powerful technological forces will transform the global economy. Large multinational companies have jumped out to a headstart in the race to succeed, and Canada runs the risk of falling behind. At stake is nothing less than our prosperity and economic well-being. The Financial Post set out to explore what is needed for businesses to flourish and grow. You can find all of our coverage here.


In its simplest form, insurance spreads the risk of loss suffered by one person amongst many. But in today’s modern economy, constantly evolving with the tides of innovation, insurance has never been so complex. Technological drivers of change present the industry with some of its greatest opportunities and risks in decades; however, if not managed carefully, technology could be as catastrophic as it is revolutionary to the industry.

Historically, the growth and establishment of insurance originated in the days of the shipping industry when a vessel and its cargo could be damaged or lost due to storm, loading and unloading, fire, or even pirate attacks.

Today, the rapid and significant changes in technological innovation of products present the insurance industry with its greatest risk – and opportunity – since pirates took to the seas. The most significant agents driving this change in the insurance industry are: the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous vehicles.

The IoT is the connector between companies, products and consumers. It can also be the engine behind the creation of a multitude of connected devices and technology that will directly present both risks and opportunities for insurers and consumers alike.

Perhaps the most significant IoT-related development is the category of wearable technology. Wearables have expanded beyond their initial explosion into eHealth and are now equipped with the technology required to communicate with one another – and with insurers. Insurers can use this technology to adjust rates and premiums to more accurately reflect usage, as opposed to simply applying statistical averages that may not represent the specific individual.

This technology has advanced to the point where consumers are beginning to endorse insurer use of wearable data, as has been seen in the auto insurance industry using telematic devices that can be connected to your vehicle to transmit user data to insurers. This technology is being embraced by consumers as an opportunity to reduce premiums for good driver behaviours. Something that should only improve with the introduction of autonomous vehicles.

More than 90 per cent of car accidents are caused by human error. The advent of autonomous vehicles is predicted to eliminate human drivers and therefore human error. This likely won’t result in a 90 per cent reduction in car accidents, at least initially, but even a conservative estimate of cutting accident rates in half means massive savings in claims paid.

Technological innovations on the road today such as advanced braking and lane keep are already reducing collisions and accordingly premiums associated with vehicles equipped with those technologies. Some savings will be offset by the anticipated higher cost of repairing these complex and expensive vehicles, but if claims paid are reduced, premiums should follow suit.

Given that 42 per cent of property and casualty premiums are derived from car insurance, significant questions arise around how the industry is going to survive such reductions in its present structure.

As part of the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) paper, Auto Insurance for Automated Vehicles: Preparing for a Future of Mobility, the IBC sets out a “single policy” insurance framework where one policy would respond to any claim made against the “driver,” even if the vehicle is being operated in autonomous mode. In this way, insurers move from insuring not only the negligence of the driver but also any negligence with respect to the autonomous features that may have been involved. Whether the various provinces and territories will adopt this approach remains to be seen, but the insurance industry has correctly perceived a risk and is attempting to mitigate that through new opportunities.

Of course, as technology advances, so do the accompanying risks. For example, many vehicles have a keyless feature wherein simply approaching your locked vehicle allows you to open the door and drive away without using the key. Car thieves have responded with a device that detects the signal being emitted from the key fob and can boost that signal so that it reaches the locked vehicle in the driveway. The thief can then steal the car while the keys are still “safely” locked inside the home.

Consumer behaviour changes gradually and this gap between initial adoption and understanding creates an opening for criminally-minded technology experts to manipulate.

Like the sea-faring pirates of old, the new security risks will both create opportunities for insurers and raise concerns for consumers and insurers alike. To succeed in the decades ahead, insurance companies of the future need to embrace innovation and adapt rapidly. Consumers will remain the central drivers of these changes as expectations for more personalization and convenience will remain high. But in a fast evolving industry which is as vital to consumers and business as it is the economy, caution and control must be applied. Regulators will need to listen to both insurers and consumers alike to futureproof the industry and develop frameworks that protect both the sector and society.

Special to Financial Post

Robert L. Love is a partner in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) and national leader of the auto industry group. He is one of the contributors for BLG’s latest report, Innovative Industries Reshaping the Canadian Economy.

Source: Canada.com

To See, or Not To See – Tinted Windows

One of my preferred enforcement practices was to use an unmarked car and drive in the right hand lane at or just under the speed limit. This gave me plenty of time to look at and into whatever passed by on my left. Vehicle defects, failing to wear a seatbelt, distracted driving and other things of interest to a traffic cop were often easily discovered.

I recall doing this once on a cold and rainy afternoon. A car passed by me with both the front side windows rolled down completely and both front seat occupants staring resolutely ahead. Why do you think they were willing to get wet as they pretended not to see me?

As you have probably guessed by now, it was illegally tinted front side windows.

Vehicle owners who do this are surprisingly resistant to following the law.

7.05 (8) No person shall drive or operate on a highway a motor vehicle which has affixed to or placed on the windshield or a window any material that reduces the light transmitted through the windshield or window unless the material is affixed to or placed on

(a) the windshield but not more than 75 mm below the top of the windshield,

(b) a side window that is behind the driver, or

(c) the rear window if the motor vehicle is equipped with outside rear view mirrors on the left and right side of the motor vehicle.

(9) If a motor vehicle contains manufactured glass, tinting contained within the glass must meet the minimum light transmittancy requirements under the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

In my experience, virtually all Notice & Order #3’s were ignored. Ditto the offer to cancel a traffic ticket if the tint was removed and the vehicle presented for inspection. Sometimes it took multiple tickets and Notice & Order #2’s to correct the issue.

I know of one business that actually told their customers that if they were stopped by the police they could come back, have the tint removed, present the vehicle for inspection and then have the tint put back on. Once. Free of charge.

222   A person must not sell, offer for sale, expose or display for sale or deliver over to a purchaser for use a motor vehicle, trailer or equipment for them that is not in accordance with this Act and the regulations.

You could even find vehicles with illegal tint being displayed for sale at businesses.

8.01   No person who is engaged in the business of selling motor vehicles shall keep for sale, or sell or offer for sale, any new or used motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is equipped as required by these regulations.

Some drivers tried to convince me, even producing a doctor’s note, that they had health or vision issues that required the tint. I could understand this for people who suffered from cutaneous porphyria, but only RoadSafetyBC can grant an exemption from these rules and they will not do so.

Why bother enforcing these rules? The information that we need to drive is predominantly visual:

  • Tint prevents other road users from making eye contact with the driver
  • Impairment of the driver’s ability to identify and react to a low contrast target, particularly among older drivers
  • Tint remains in place at night and during times of impaired visibility

So, to see or not to see. Why would you limit your ability to drive safely on purpose?

Aon announces strategic partnership with Jaguar Land Rover Canada

Aon, the leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, is pleased to announce brand-specific insurance coverage, in a strategic partnership with Jaguar Land Rover Canada ULC. Customers of the world’s leading premier and luxury vehicles will now have privileged access to insurance policies fueled by Aon Reed Stenhouse.

“The partnership offers a way to personalize the buying process even further,” says Caroline Mills-White, Senior Vice President and National Director of Aon Personal Lines, Affinity. “We’re integrating the insurance component into the brand experience, and we’re able to do so with a partner who believes in providing the highest level of standards, just like us.”

Jaguar Insurance and Land Rover Insurance by Aon officially launches across Canada on February 4, 2019.

Exclusive Brand-Specific Insurance Coverage for Canadians

Together with Jaguar Land Rover Canada ULC, Aon is introducing customizable insurance solutions tailored to drivers’ vehicle(s). Boasting a variety of benefits, opportunities for premium discounts, and unparalelled service, the coverage is offered to all driver types, including vehicles for daily commuters, collector editions, and antique models.

Canadians now have the perks of an official coverage option that guarantees drivers with genuine parts to keep their vehicles true to form, where in some cases, insurers won’t provide this type of insurance due to the associated repair costs. At the brand’s approved facilities, trained technicians will complete all repairs that come from claims.

Streamlining Insurance with Retailers

The partnership is founded with purpose, to create a frictionless customer experience. “We’re introducing insurance right into the vehicle buying process at retail locations – and, it doesn’t end here,” Ms. Mills-White explains. “Aon will continue to innovate and bring new ways of delivering brand-centric insurance coverage options online and through mobile. We want the process to be as seamless and easy as possible.”

Jaguar Land Rover customers now have access to a network of experienced and trusted brokers to help take away the stress of vehicle protection.

Bringing a Successful Model to Canada

With remarkable success leading the strategy in Canada, Rob Whisson, Director Customer Service Canada, shares his vision for global expansion. Bringing the concept to this market means that “We’ve taken a hard look at our business in an effort to improve our performance and transform our technology offering. We’re providing more choice.” Mr. Whisson adds, “Our plan to lay foundations for long-term growth also starts with finding a Canadian partner who is aligned with our vision.”

The partnership with Aon, comes with the agreement to become an extension of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands as white label solutions.

For more details, visit www.insurance.jaguar.ca or www.insurance.landrover.ca

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. With more than 50,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in more than 120 countries, offering innovative risk and people solutions. For further information, visit http://aon.mediaroom.com.

Follow Aon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aon_plc 
Sign up for News Alerts: http://aon.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=58

SOURCE Aon Risk Solutions

BC Drivers Eager for More Choice in Auto Insurance

Insurance Bureau of Canada 

In light of the recent challenges in British Columbia’s (BC’s) Crown auto insurance system, the province’s drivers have a clear message: They want more choice.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) recently commissioned Maple Leaf Strategies to survey the attitudes of British Columbians toward their auto insurance and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s (ICBC’s) monopoly. In the survey, 82% of respondents indicated that they want more choice in auto insurance and favour competition over any other solution. Here are some other key findings.

  • The desire for increased choice and competition crosses all political lines: 86% of BC Liberal voters, 80% of BC Green voters and 73% of BC NDP voters voiced support for more choice and competition.
  • 76% support the government’s efforts to limit payouts for minor injuries.
  • There is little support for eliminating the ability to sue for pain and suffering (to move to a no-fault auto insurance system). Only 10% of respondents strongly supported this solution.

According to data from ICBC and the General Insurance Statistical Agency (a statistical agency created and overseen by provincial insurance regulators), BC drivers pay the highest auto insurance prices in Canada, with annual premiums averaging $1,680. Current reforms are not expected to reduce prices; in fact, ICBC has announced a 6.3% rate increase effective April 1, 2019.

“It’s clear that British Columbians want change, and they want choice in auto insurance,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC. “Opening BC’s auto insurance marketplace to competition would save drivers up to $325annually. Competition provides a powerful incentive for any company to deliver the best service at the best price.”

Maple Leaf Strategies surveyed 800 British Columbians across the province from January 16 to 20, 2019. The survey is considered accurate within +/- 3.5%. For the full survey results, click here.

This survey was done exclusively for IBC and theorca.ca.

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 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @IBC_West 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.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Slip-and-slide car accidents: When to tell your insurance and how to negotiate

By  | Global News

It’s slip-and-slide season in Canada. Much of the country is covered in ice and snow and facing negative double-digit temperatures — it’s the kind of weather in which even snow plows occasionally find themselves drifting.

Here’s what Canadian motorists should keep in mind.

Does your insurance need to know about a fender-bender?

Most Canadians know to contact their insurance after a serious collision. In fact, in those circumstances, you also have a duty to report what happened to the police or a collision centre.

In general, you should dial 911 immediately if anyone was hurt or killed, when a driver involved is uninsured, unlicensed or appears intoxicated, and in hit-and-run cases. Often, you also have to file a police report when the crash caused significant property damage.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Alberta, the police should be involved if the overall damage looks to be more than $2,000. In New Brunswick, the threshold is $1,000.

Wherever you live, if a police report is warranted, you also need to call up your insurance company.

But many of the collisions that happen around this time of year are just fender-benders. Often, the damage is less than the amount of your insurance deductible.

Does your insurance really need to know about things like minor dents and scratches?

“If the damage is less than the deductible, you won’t get an insurance payout so there is no point in reporting it to your insurance company,” said Anne Marie Thomas of InsuranceHotline.com, an insurance comparisons site.

That, though, is as long as both you and the other driver agree that there is no need to contact the insurance company.

“If the other driver was not at fault and is going to go through insurance, then it’s best for you to let your insurance company know,” Thomas added, speaking to Global News via email.

There is also an important difference between simply notifying your insurance of an accident and making a claim for reimbursement of damages, said John Shmuel at Lowestrates.ca, a financial products comparison site.

Filing a claim will affect your premium but an accident report might not, depending on your insurance policy and whether it includes features like accident forgiveness, he added.

And while reporting a fender-bender could lead to higher premiums, keeping mum also comes with risks.

Sometimes, what looks like “a little bit of damage can result in big bills,” Shmuel said. Or you might discover that the person travelling with you at the time of the collision develops neck pain a few days later, he added.

Your vehicle is a write-off — now what?

Of course, icy roads and poor visibility can lead to far worse than a fender-bender. And it doesn’t take much, these days, for insurance companies to declare your vehicle a write-off.

If that happens, know that you don’t have to accept the first figure the insurance adjuster comes up with.

“You’re completely within your right to dispute that,” if the number seems too low, Shmuel said.

Your insurance will send you an offer that details how they came up with the number.

“Go through the report with a fine-tooth comb,” Shmuel said.

The insurance adjuster will justify her estimate with research that may include consulting used-car dealers and partner companies for vehicles of the same make, model, year and overall condition. You should do your own, parallel research, Shmuel said.

Canadian Black Book is the place to start, he added. The website provides a Total Loss Report with an independent estimate of your vehicle’s cash value based on the company’s database of comparable vehicles.

In addition to that, though, you should also search sites like Auto Trader and Kijiji, Shmuel said. Don’t just look at asking prices, though, which can be unreasonable. When you find an ad for a comparable vehicle, reach out to the seller to see if they are willing to provide you with proof of the final sale price.

You should also submit any receipts for repairs or upgrades done to your vehicle. If you’re just replaced the transmission, for example, your insurance should take that expense into account.

“If you can prove that the market value of your car is more than the insurance company is offering, then you can negotiate. Oftentimes this happens when the vehicle has low mileage and/or you can prove that it was in great shape,” Thomas said.

Source: Global News

OPINION COLUMN: Careful what you wish for when it comes to private insurance

OPINION COLUMN – By Dermod Travis | The Daily Courier 

Imagine a land where drivers pay 55 per cent more for auto insurance than other drivers in Canada, a land where an insurance company may not cover you because of the city you live in, a land where your automobile insurance premiums isn’t based on your driving record but your postal code.

It’s a land that allows British Columbians a peek into the future, if private auto insurance should come to pass in the province.

That land is Ontario.

A 2017 review for the Ontario government done by insurance expert David Marshall — Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System in Ontario — found that Ontario drivers paid 55 per cent more than the Canadian average for car insurance and the province had “one of Canada’s least effective auto insurance systems.”

In November, a former employee of Allstate Insurance Canada filed a lawsuit against her former employer for wrongful dismissal, after she pushed back against the company’s “discriminatory” effort to stop selling auto insurance to drivers who live in Brampton, Ont.

Brampton residents pay on average “$1,000 a year more in auto insurance premiums each year than a driver in north Toronto,” according to NDP MPP Gurratan Singh, one of two members of Ontario’s legislature who tabled private members bills last October to end what they called auto insurance postal code “discrimination.”

This month Ontario premier Doug Ford announced plans to review that province’s “auto insurance system in order to lower rates for drivers.” Good luck with that.

The problems plaguing Ontario’s system may sound familiar to B.C. drivers.

Marshall’s review pegged the cost of insurance fraud at $1.3 billion annually, he found “$1.4 billion annually — a third of all insurance premium benefits — goes to duelling lawyers and medical experts in court, instead of to treatment for crash victims” and complaints from auto insurers that “plaintiffs’ lawyers drive up costs by charging outrageously high contingency fees, which redirect money intended for the treatment of victims into the pockets of their lawyers.”

Venturing into the land of comparing auto insurance premiums by province is fraught with peril, as I have learned with my own grey hair count. It’s also a subject where everyone takes leave of their senses.

So perhaps it’s better to consider premiums in the context of the two auto insurance systems in Canada: public and private.

Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C. all have public auto insurance with varying degrees of optional private insurance.

Three of the public insurers are profitable, B.C. is not.

According to an analysis by the Saskatchewan government — based on a composite index modelled after the index developed by the Consumers’ Association of Canada —Vancouver had the highest premiums of the four at $1,966 in 2018, followed by Montreal ($1,884), Regina ($1,199) and Winnipeg ($1,192).

Saskatchewan pegs premiums in Toronto at $4,669. The Insurance Bureau of Canada draws issue with that number, but all observers seem in agreement: among provinces with private insurance, Ontario has the highest premiums.

Last October, LowestRates.ca released updated annual increases which showed rates in Ontario jumped by 10.7 per cent (over 2017) and Alberta by 6.7 per cent. The Insurance Corporation of B.C. recently applied for an interim 6.3 per cent rate increase.

One Toronto driver illustrated that province’s rate hike well: “Never had an accident in my life and my insurance increased last year from $219 to $280 per month” or $3,360 annually.

Opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson has said in a number of media interviews that it’s time “for a complete root-and-branch overhaul (of auto insurance): Let’s figure out how it’s done in the rest of the world, take the best practices and make it better for B.C.”

It’s going to be tough to square the circle between stakeholders, rising auto repair costs and Autoplan franchisees, as B.C. Attorney General David Eby is already learning.

There is one fundamental question that needs a clear answer from those advocating for a private model, though: if Ontario drivers are among the best in Canada and B.C. drivers not so, how will private auto insurance result in lower premiums for B.C. drivers than those in Ontario?

Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but there really isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the private auto insurance rainbow. Private or public, this is going to hurt.

Dermod Travis is the executive director of IntegrityBC. www.integritybc.ca

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