Former ICBC executive Nick Geer, killed in Calif. crash, remembered as family man

Excerpted article was written by Jeff Bell / Times Colonist

Nick Geer, a former Insurance Corp. of B.C. chief executive, is being remembered as a dedicated family man after his death in a motor-vehicle accident.

Geer, 75, was killed Monday in the crash near Sacramento, California. His wife of 49 years, Penny, was hospitalized at the Enloe Medical Centre in Chico. She has since been moved to the intensive-care unit at Vancouver General Hospital.

The couple had been on their way to Loreto Bay, which family members said was their favourite place.

Friends and supporters have sent numerous messages of love and support via Facebook and CaringBridge.org. “We will continue to pray for your mother’s full recovery,” said one note. “And we will always cherish the many good times we had with your dad.”

The family has been “truly moved” by the caring response, daughter Sam said in a note on CaringBridge.org.

Sam and her siblings, Jilly and Noel, issued a statement about their father. They said that he believed “the easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”

“This was his philosophy,” they said. “He approached a problem not as a problem but as an opportunity.”

The children said he strove to create a legacy “through his work in the community and love for his country, family and friends.”

His community involvement earned him a Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.

The family will carry special memories, the children said.

“Dad will always be remembered as a kind grandpa, a loving father, a caring partner and a true friend to so many,” they said. “The world won’t be the same without him.

“Your memory will always guide us and be our north star, and we love you forever, dad.”

Geer was born in London, England, and made his way to Vancouver in 1967. He worked at a number of accounting firms around Vancouver, then served as vice-chairman of the Pattison Group from 1980 to 1999 before working at ICBC from 2001 to 2004.

He was chairman and a co-founder of Collingwood School, an independent grade school in West Vancouver, and more recently was chairman of the board for NAV Canada, which owns and runs the country’s civil air navigation system.

On the occasion of Collingwood’s 2011 annual general meeting, headmaster Rodger Wright noted it was the last one for “the legendary Nick Geer, who has stood carefully and continuously by the school since before we were a school.”

Among Geer’s efforts at ICBC was cost-cutting, which he outlined in 2003 to a group of B.C. Liberal backbenchers.

He told them he arrived at the corporation to find “a fleet of vehicles that would choke a horse.”

He said there were more than 900 company vehicles at one point, a number that was pared down to 87. Both pool vehicles and executive cars were affected.

The number of employees also dropped, and 270,000 square feet of corporation space was eliminated. For management, individual performance plans meant “if the company does well and the individual does well, their pay will go up,” Geer said.

When the Probus Club of North Shore Vancouver welcomed Geer as a guest speaker, it noted that he had changed ICBC’s bottom line from a $250-million loss in 2001 to a $389-million profit by 2004.

ICBC posts $935M in net losses in first nine months of fiscal year

VANCOUVER _ The financial crisis at British Columbia’s public auto insurer is deepening, as $1.3 billion in net losses are now projected by the end of the current fiscal year.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. said the “sizable and significant loss” is evidence of the growing financial pressures from a rapid increase in the number of collisions in the province, as well as the rising costs of those claims.

“The number of crashes occurring across B.C. is continuing to escalate year-after-year. As a result, the number of claims we are receiving is growing by thousands each year,” the corporation said in a news release on Sunday.

The cost of injury claims is closing in on $3 billion annually, ICBC said.

The number of large loss claims, with an average payout of $450,000, has also spiked by 80 per cent in the last 12 months.

The spike in the number of claims is also causing a slow-down in how quickly settlements are delivered.

“This has particularly been the case with represented claims, which are taking even longer to settle. The longer a claim takes to settle, the more expensive it becomes,” ICBC said.

ICBC said $935 million in net losses have already accumulated between April 1 and Dec. 31 last year, signalling that premiums are not covering payouts.

The insurance provider asked the provincial utilities commission to hike basic and optional rates last fall to combat its financial crisis.

Attorney General David Eby said in September that the rate hikes would mean the average driver can expect an annual increase of eight per cent or $130 per year on their insurance bill.

Eby has previously said the Crown corporation’s financial problems are the fault of the former Liberal government for failing to address issues years ago.

But Liberal caucus executive director Shane Mills said the previous government implemented strong measures to control costs, including a distracted driving campaign, raising premiums for some high-level vehicles and reducing executive pay.

“As well, a third-party review was conducted on how to tie any rate increases to inflation, and is in the hands of the new government,” Mills said in a statement.

Eby is expected to deliver his response to the latest losses Monday in Vancouver.

Finance Minister Carole James was not available for comment Sunday on how the loss will affect the upcoming provincial budget.

Competition would bring significant savings to British Columbia’s auto insurance market

Today, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) released a report entitled The Benefits of Competition in the Provision of Automobile Insurance in BC. The report was commissioned by IBC and prepared by MNP LLP.

“Under the ICBC monopoly, drivers in British Columbia are paying the highest auto insurance premiums in Canada,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice President, Pacific, IBC. “This report shows that opening BC auto insurance to competition and choice would bring significant savings to BC drivers and would improve the affordability of auto insurance in British Columbia

MNP explored how a competitive marketplace for auto insurance would lower premiums and costs for BC’s drivers.  The report found that Canada’s private insurers have developed product innovations and new ways to reduce claims costs that could lower premiums for drivers, if they were allowed to operate in BC. Bundling home and auto insurance alone could save drivers between $85 and $225 annually. Further potential savings to policy holders include:

  • Basic autoplan savings between $18 and $40 annually from improved claims handling
  • Optional product savings between $24 and $60 annually if Optional insurance were open to full competition
  • Safe drivers (who represent a majority of BC drivers) could see their premiums reduced up to 18% from an improved pricing structure that based premiums on factors highly correlated with risk, such as claims history and kilometers driven

“This report demonstrates that increased choice in auto insurance could lead to tangible benefits for the majority of British Columbia drivers,” said Susan Mowbray, Senior Economist, MNP LLP.  “Based on the experience in other jurisdictions, increasing competition in the auto insurance market would provide consumers with access to discounts and savings not currently available in British Columbia.”

“This report offers a glimpse into how competition can benefit BC consumers,” added Sutherland. “Given the significant challenges facing our auto insurance system, British Columbians deserve to be able to choose the auto insurance provider that best meets their needs. Canada’s private auto insurers are ready and eager to bring choice and savings to BC drivers.”

Additional Resources

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 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $52 billion.

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

New online resources now available to address risks associated with distracted driving

 Press Release:

Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) today launched a new web-based information hub at www.diad.tirf.ca/ehub. It was designed as a resource with tools to help governments and interested stakeholders develop effective strategies to reduce distracted driving. The hub contains the latest research, stats and data on distracted driving, laws and penalties in Canada, and a variety of educational tools and resources. This initiative is led by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), and its Drop It And Drive® program, in partnership with The Co-operators.

Despite increasing fines and penalties for distracted driving, nearly one in four fatal crashes in 2013 involved distraction. Concern continues to grow as an increasing number of jurisdictions across the country report that distraction is a leading factor in road fatalities. “All agencies are incredibly concerned about the safety of Canadians, their workforce, and their families and friends. Everyone has the same questions about the size of the problem, what is known, what data are available, and what strategies can reduce distracted driving,” said Robyn Robertson, TIRF president and CEO. “We designed the E-Hub so organizations can spend less time looking for answers and more time working on solutions.”

The CCDD is a coalition of concerned organizations that spans several sectors including education, enforcement, academia, government, health and industry, including insurance, automotive and trucking industries, and the not-for-profit sector. “As an insurer of over a million vehicles in Canada, we have a significant responsibility to educate Canadians about the risks posed by distracted driving. Consider that a driver traveling at 100km/hr travels the length of a hockey rink within just two seconds while distracted. It’s easy to see why distracted driving is a recipe for disaster,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “The work of the CCDD continues to provide actionable solutions that communities and workplaces can embrace to help resolve this growing issue, and make meaningful changes to protect drivers and pedestrians.”

In March 2017, the CCDD released a National Action Plan on Distracted Driving, and the new E-Hub was just one of the components. The E-Hub resource is housed on the newly designed Drop It And Drive® website at www.diad.tirf.ca. It contains a wealth of information that is relevant across sectors, disciplines and communities of practice. It includes summaries of more than 100 research studies and articles along with links to full studies and the organizations that produced them. Access is also provided to examples of educational resources and tools that are available, the latest data that have been published, and current laws and penalties across the country.

In addition to the fully bilingual fact sheets that were released by the CCDD in November, other elements of the Action Plan are also underway. A call to action for health practitioners was published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Physical Sports Therapy. Work groups involving insurance, enforcement, the trucking industry and health professionals are being established to increase awareness in these sectors and build partnerships to reduce distracted driving. The third annual meeting of the CCDD is scheduled for Spring 2018 and will focus on technologies and their role in reducing distracted driving.

CCDD fact sheets

National Action Plan & 15-point Action Plan

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation:
The mission of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. TIRF is an independent, charitable road safety research institute. Since its inception in 1964, TIRF has become internationally recognized for its accomplishments in identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively.

About The Co-operators: 
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $48 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies, it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit  www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

Antique vehicle definition now applied to model years 1987 and older

Antique vehicle definition now applied to model years 1987 and older

Change does not impact antique vehicles currently registered

On Jan. 1, 2018, the definition of an antique vehicle changed from “vehicles 30 years old or older” to “vehicles that are model year 1987 and older.”

This change means vehicles with a model year of 1988 and newer will not be eligible for Antique Use. The change does not impact any vehicles currently registered with Antique Use.

“This change is about addressing an imbalance,” said Penny McCune, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “The intent of the Antique Use class, when originally created, was to accommodate vintage vehicles that were used infrequently – for parades, special occasions or Sunday drives. But we’re seeing more and more antique-registered vehicles driven as regular-use vehicles; daily in many cases. Because they’re insured at such a low cost, this does not adequately provide for the injury and liability claim payouts in the event of a collision.”

While physical damage coverage for antique vehicles is limited to $800, full liability and injury benefits are provided. All antique vehicles pay the same insurance premium ($85 + PST annually), regardless of vehicle make or body style.

The number of vehicles registered as antique in Saskatchewan has increased by 55 per cent over the past five years and the total number of vehicles registered as antique involved in claims has grown by 31 per cent since 2011.

After SGI consulted with car clubs and antique vehicle enthusiasts, it was decided that the fairest option to address this imbalance was to cap the antique class at the 1987 model year, rather than increase rates for all antique vehicles.

If your vehicle is a true vintage vehicle that is only used on special occasions, there are other registration options available. For example, the vehicle could be registered short-term (i.e. during the summer months). Other options for vehicles that are being used occasionally are to purchase 24-hour or 8-day permits. Your motor licence issuer can help you with the best option for your situation.

Further information on antique vehicle registration is available at www.sgi.sk.ca.

Are you covered? Burnaby man hits insurance roadblocks after car share fender bender

Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston, CTV Vancouver

Collision damage is often covered when you use your credit card to rent a vehicle. But if you use it for car share services like Evo and Car2Go you could run into roadblocks trying to file a claim.

Eric Escobar thought he was covered when he had a fender bender driving his Evo car out of a parking garage.

The bill to repair the damages was $808, well below Evo’s $1000 deductible. And because Escobar used his Scotiabank Momentum Visa card to pay for the car share, he thought he wouldn’t have any issues.

The agreement on the Visa card clearly states, “rental vehicles which are part of a car sharing program are eligible for collision loss damage.”

So Escobar filed a claim to recover his deductible. He was denied, not just once, but again when he appealed the decision. The reason? He didn’t decline the collision damage waiver with Evo.

Normally when you rent a vehicle you’re given the option to decline their insurance by signing the collision damage waiver, but with car share you’re not given that opportunity.

“You go and use services like Evo thinking that you’re covered and then suddenly you realize they find a technical reason to not pay for the claim when a claim is filed,” Escobar said.

In B.C. you can’t opt out of collision coverage provided by car share companies. Because of that, Escobar’s credit card agreement had another clause that should have covered him. It states, in those cases, collision loss insurance will cover any deductible that may apply.

“I actually pointed that out in my appeal and they still denied it,” Escobar explained.

McLaughlin on Your Side reached out to Scotiabank who admitted someone made a mistake.

In a statement to CTV News Scotiabank said: “When you do not have the option available to decline the rental agency’s plan, our plans will cover theft, loss and damage up to the limit of the deductible. That has been our practice to date, and we’ll ensure to re-communicate that and clarify this point with the claims examiner.”

“That’s fantastic news thank you,” said Escobar, “And I hope this applies to other credit cards and people go back and look at their credit cards to make sure that they’re covered.”

CTV News also reached out to the insurance company that underwrites the coverage for Escobar’s Visa card. It told us it has corrected its internal review process to ensure this situation doesn’t happen again.

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