Kanetix.ca Helps Drivers Save on Car Insurance and Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

With Earth Day just around the corner, Kanetix.ca has pledged to help drivers reduce their carbon footprint during the month of April. Every time a car insurance shopper gets a quote and calls Kanetix.ca to secure their rate a donation will be made to Tree Canada, a not-for-profit charitable organization. The donation for each call will equal the money needed to plant and maintain a tree.

The donation program is open to Canadian motorists in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick; everywhere Kanetix.ca is able to help drivers save on their car insurance through their quote comparison service.

“We want to help offset the impact driving has on the environment, and we are thrilled to be raising funds for Tree Canada to achieve this end,” said Janine White, Vice-President of Marketplaces for Kanetix.ca. “Trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases released when we drive, and our goal is to give customers the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint all the while saving money on their auto insurance.”

#KanetixLovesTrees officially launches on March 30, 2017 and will continue throughout the entire month of April in celebration of Earth Day, which falls on April 22. For every customer who compares quotes and calls Kanetix.ca to secure their rate, Kanetix.ca will make a donation to Tree Canada, up to a maximum of $5,000 at the close of the campaign.

Planting trees is just one way we can green our commute. View the Kanetix.ca infographic that illustrates some of the other everyday ways we can drive change and minimize our impact on the environment.

About Tree Canada

Tree Canada is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to encourage Canadians to plant and care for trees in urban and rural environments. Tree Canada engages Canadian companies, government agencies and individuals to support the planting of trees, the greening of schoolyards, and other efforts to sensitize Canadians to the benefits of planting and maintaining trees. Since 1992, more than 80 million trees have been planted and over 580 schoolyards have been greened. Get involved or learn more about at treecanada.ca.

About Kanetix.ca

Launched in October 1999, Kanetix.ca was Canada’s first online insurance marketplace and today provides over a million quotes per year to consumers looking for insurance, as well as comparisons for mortgage rates and credit cards.

The Kanetix.ca comparison service is a one-stop shopping environment for consumers. Each day, thousands visit the Kanetix.ca website to comparison shop their various financial needs. Shoppers choose what they want to compare, obtain a quotation and complete an online application or, with the help of Kanetix.ca connect with the provider to purchase or apply for the product over the phone.

SOURCE Kanetix.ca

Self driving car crash comes amid debate about regulations

By Bob Christie And Josh Hoffner

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHOENIX _ A crash that caused an Uber self-driving SUV to flip onto its side in a Phoenix suburb serves as a stark reminder of the challenges surrounding autonomous vehicles in Arizona, a state that has gone all-in to entice the company by promising minimal government regulation.

Friday night’s crash was blamed on the driver of an oncoming SUV that turned left in front of the Uber vehicle carrying two test drivers and no passengers. There were no serious injuries and the driver of the other car was cited for a moving violation. But images of Uber’s Volvo SUV rolled onto its side reverberated heavily on social media.

Uber responded by briefly suspending its self-driving cars in its three testing locations Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh as it investigated the accident.

Uber’s self-driving car program is rolling out amid questions about how much government regulation it should endure on issues such as accidents, insurance and reporting instances in which the person behind the wheel in test cars needs to take control of the vehicle.

The San Francisco-based startup endured a shaky December rollout in California iincluding running red lights that culminated in a standoff between Uber and state regulators who wanted more transparency and reporting.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey seized the opportunity and used lax regulations to entice Uber, which decided to ship more than a dozen SUVs to metro Phoenix.

“California may not want you, but Arizona does,” said Ducey, who took the first ride as a passenger in Uber’s self-driving cars last month.

Uber spokeswoman Taylor Patterson said the company is operating more than a dozen of the 21 vehicles it has registered in Arizona. Some pick up passengers.

In Arizona, companies such as Uber only need to carry minimum liability insurance policies to operate self-driving cars. They are not required to track crashes like the one that occurred in Tempe on Friday or report any information to the state.

That means that self-driving test cars are essentially treated like all other cars on the road.

Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said in a March 3 interview that the cars are safe and there is sufficient oversight under existing automobile rules.

“There’s a driver in the car,” he said. “The state oversight is: There are not cars without drivers in them.”

John Simpson of the California-based advocacy group Consumer Watchdog said Ducey has abandoned his responsibility to protect the public by buying into the hype surrounding Uber.

“It’s a fundamental responsibility of a governor of a state to make sure that when companies are using the state’s public highways as their own private laboratories, that there is some obligation to protect public safety,” Simpson said. “There are no rules in Arizona.”

In March, Uber obtained permits for two of its Volvo SUVS to again hit the streets in San Francisco.

California’s rules for autonomous vehicles require a $5 million insurance policy, and the companies must reports accidents to the state within 10 days and release an annual tally documenting how many times test drivers had to take over.

Also, unlike in Arizona and Pennsylvania, passengers are not allowed to ride in autonomous vehicles in California.

Ducey doesn’t believe self-driving car testing needs extra regulations because drivers can take over if something goes wrong, but his office said Monday after the accident that “public safety remains our top priority and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Kevin Biesty, deputy director for policy for the Arizona Department of Transportation, said the state could set up a system to monitor local police accident reports involving self-driving cars but chose not to do so.

“At this point we don’t see an issue if the vehicles are being operated safely they’ll be responsible for whatever issues arise, just like any driver,” Biesty said.

Uber’s SUVs have been tooling around Phoenix and Tempe for more than three months, and police in both cities said they knew of no accidents before Friday.

Other companies testing self-driving cars in Arizona include Waymo, a Google spinoff company, and General Motors. Intel has a fleet of self-driving cars that are being tested, although they are not used in autonomous mode on city streets, company spokeswoman Danielle Mann said.

There’s no Arizona state data showing how many accidents the cars may have been involved in or caused.

Police in suburban Chandler said the Google cars have been in at least four wrecks over the past three years. None of the GM cars have been involved in accidents, said Kevin Kelly, the company’s spokesman for advanced technology projects.

Uber’s recent crash comes amid a series of public-relations woes at the company, including an upheaval of its executive ranks and allegations that it routinely ignores sexual harassment.

The New York Times also revealed the company’s use of the “Greyball” program that helped Uber identify law enforcement agents who may be trying to catch it operating illegally in some places. The company’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, subsequently promised Uber would no longer use the program.

 

Ever wonder why your car insurance fees are so high? We all pay the price for fraud

Lorraine Sommerfeld

What if I told you that between $116 and $236 per year of your insurance premium went to line some liar’s pocket?

It’s Fraud Prevention Month, and car insurance costs – especially in Ontario – continue to escalate. While the amount you pay is the usual calculus of where you live, the driving histories of those who drive your car, how difficult the car is to steal and how much it costs to repair, fraudulent claims remain a substantial portion of that bottom line you are charged each year.

Fraud rings are headline grabbers, as they should be. Sophisticated criminals often working quite literally from street level (those who stage crashes) on up through the ranks of tow truck operators, lawyers and medical providers cost us all.

But what about that time you had the front end collision and had the body shop take care of that older dent in your door while it was in the shop? What if your neck wasn’t really that sore anymore, but you had the chance to keep going to massage appointments for just a few weeks longer? When kids broke into all the cars in your neighbourhood and you suddenly “remembered” you’d left your camera in the car that night, instead of just a cupholder full of change? These opportunistic crimes also add a more substantial tally to insurance fraud than you might realize.

Dr. Yoel Inbar is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, specializing in social and personality psychology. He focuses on moral decision making. What makes us tick. What makes us steal.

“There are several things at play,” he explains. “There’s an assumption this is a victimless crime. That the loss will be against a huge company, instead of against the collective, the other customers. We know, of course, that these costs all translate into higher premiums for all of us.”

People who would not steal a pair of boots from a retail outlet may not feel morally compromised tossing in a few older dings and dents to a larger repair job that has been warranted.

“There is an element of justification, in some cases,” Inbar explains. “You’ve been paying into this insurance pot for so long and not getting anything from it. Some people almost see it as a savings account.”

He also notes we take our cues from what is happening around us, what we come to perceive as norms. “The idea can develop that everybody else is doing it, so I can, too.”

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) states nearly 10 per cent of Ontarians admit committing auto insurance fraud, and 20 per cent know someone who has. The bad news for those contemplating sharing your stories? Fifty-eight per cent have no problem throwing a friend or acquaintance under the reporting wheels. The Ontario figures show males are significantly more likely to participate in fraudulent behaviour, as are millennials. Baby boomers have a better grasp (83 per cent) of what constitutes fraud over millennials (56 per cent), which perhaps explains the gap – sort of. “I didn’t know any better” doesn’t pass the smell test for this one, though.

You might read headlines of organized crime rings shaking down the auto insurance industry and wonder why you should be bothered if your neighbour scores a little extra body work on his or her banged up Impala. You should care because, while those scamming rings get a lot of media attention, in actuality, they aren’t the nuts and bolts of the fraud infrastructure. According to the latest figures available from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), a KPMG report put out in 2013 using 2010 figures estimates total fraud in Canada at between $768 million and $1.56 billion. They break that figure out into three types of fraud: organized (those headlines), premeditated and opportunistic; they peg the organized crime fraud at between $175 million and $275 million.

Premeditated involves things like treatment programs that never take place; parts of the medical industry capitalizing on either a patient’s lack of knowledge about what they are signing or simply having patients sign blank treatment programs. Opportunistic fraud is that phantom camera in the break-in or the additional mechanical claims.

Even if the organized component of that estimate is low, that still leaves a wide margin of insurance fraud that is being paid out to elements that you and I, average consumers, have much control over. We are ripping off each other. Don’t sign blank treatment schedules from healthcare providers, and make sure you understand just what is being proposed. I’ve had this happen and didn’t even realize until months later. The (now gone) provider had claimed treatments I’d never even heard of, much less received. In a post-crash fog, I’d just been desperate for someone to get me back to work.

Professor Inbar notes that human nature is flexible, and that “possessing salient information can have a surprisingly large effect on the decisions we make.” Small tweaks can lead to big change. Insurance fraud is very much about who is watching. He notes studies have shown people react differently with something as basic as a pair of cartoon eyes attached to their monitor, or a mirror. By now we’ve all grown used to the idea that we are constantly being monitored and filmed; maybe reining in insurance fraud will be an upside to that intrusion.

Make a plan for what you will do in the event of a crash, like where you’d have your vehicle towed. Demand detailed medical and repair reports. Don’t sign blank authorizations. Ask for help if you’re unsure.

You can anonymously report suspected insurance fraud. In Ontario, contact FSCO (855-5TIP-NOW) or for all of Canada IBC (877-IBC-TIPS), or Crimestoppers.

Source: Driving.ca

Insurance hikes driving cabbies out of business, Jiffy driver says

Insurance hikes driving cabbies out of business, Jiffy driver says

CBC News

A Jiffy Cabs operator says continued insurance hikes are driving him and his colleagues out of business — and the Newfoundland and Labrador government is responsible.

“As of the first of March, with the 25.6 per cent increase, my insurance has now gone up over the last four years 234 per cent,” Doug McCarthy told The St. John’s Morning Show.

“It used to be with five cars you qualified for fleet insurance [and] now they’ve changed that to 10. A friend of mine has five vehicles. His insurance went from $22,000 to $45,000 — that’s just in one year.”

McCarthy said the Facility Association, an unincorporated non-profit made up of automobile insurers, has a monopoly on taxi insurance in the province and can set rates as high as it wants.

Historically, the Facility Association has been a last resort for licensed, high-risk drivers who have been turned away by insurance companies. Its rates are far more expensive than the mainstream market.

cording to McCarthy, the Public Utilities Board has received an application from Facility for another 29.7 per cent increase to take effect in October.

‘Let the province solve the problem’

“[The] provincial government created the problem. They’re the ones that back in the early 2000s said, ‘We’re going to put all taxi drivers in this category and Facility will be the company to insure them.’ So the problem was created by the province — let the province solve the problem,” he said.

‘If there’s no taxis at the airport, so much for your tourism.’– Doug McCarthy, Jiffy Cabs driver

“Right now, for a brand-spanking-new taxi operator in this city, you’re looking at in the neighbourhood of $10,000 to put your taxi on the road — just for car insurance.”

McCarthy considers cabs to be an essential service, both for those living in rural communities and for the city’s tourism industry.

“Look at all those people who came into this city to attend the Brier. How did they get here? Through the airport. If there’s no taxis at the airport, so much for your tourism,” he said.

McCarthy and other taxi owners and operators in the region will gather at a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Royal Canadian Legion on The Boulevard in St. John’s.

Garage owner gets chance to fight liability for teen hurt in stolen car crash

By Colin Perkel

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ A garage owner will get a chance to argue before the Supreme Court of Canada that he should not be held responsible for the terrible injuries a teen suffered when he and a friend stole a car from the lot and crashed it.

Canada’s top court agreed last week to hear the highly unusual case in which the injured teen successfully sued the garage for leaving the car unlocked and its keys in the ashtray.

Court records show the teens had been drinking and smoking marijuana when they trespassed on Chad Rankin’s property in Paisley, Ont., late on an evening in July 2006. One of the teens, then 16, decided to steal a Toyota Camry even though he had never driven before.

The duo headed to Walkerton but never made it. The passenger, who can only be identified as J.J., was left with catastrophic brain injuries in the ensuing crash. J.J., then 15, sued his friend and his friend’s mother as well as Rankin for negligence.

Superior Court Justice Johanne Morissette determined Rankin owed J.J. a duty of care because, among other things, people entrusted with motor vehicles “must assure themselves that the youth in their community are not able to take possession of such dangerous objects.”

The jury then found the injured teen and the defendants negligent, but laid the bulk of the blame 37 per cent on the garage owner. In doing so, jurors cited the fact that the car was unlocked, the key was in the vehicle, and that Rankin should have known there was a risk of theft. They also faulted him for the overall lack of security.

Last October, Ontario’s Court of Appeal refused to overturn the trial verdict, saying that Rankin did indeed owe J.J. a duty of care _ although not for the reasons Morissette had stated. It also found the jury’s findings reasonable.

“On the face of things, the notion that an innocent party could owe a duty of care to someone who steals from him seems extravagant, but matters are not so simple,” Appeal Court Justice Grant Huscroft wrote for the panel. “It is well established that the duty of care operates independently of the illegal or immoral conduct of an injured party.”

In this novel case, the Appeal Court found ample evidence supported the conclusion of “foreseeability” that a car might be stolen.

Trial witnesses, the court noted, testified that Rankin’s Garage routinely left cars unlocked with the keys inside, while other garages used lock-boxes or took other measures to secure the keys. Rankin himself testified that the witnesses had lied, saying he kept keys in a safe, and checked every night that vehicles were locked.

In addition, evidence was that the garage took no measures to keep people off the property when it was closed, there had been a previous auto theft from the lot, and joyriding in the area was common.

“The risk of theft was clear,” Huscroft wrote. “It was foreseeable that minors might take a car from Rankin’s Garage that was made easily available to them.”

Rankin, Huscroft found, had abrogated his responsibility for securing the cars against theft by minors like J.J. and while a different jury might have parcelled out the blame differently, its conclusions were not unreasonable. The court also ordered Rankin to pay J.J. $30,000 in legal costs.

It’s not clear when the Supreme Court will hear the case.

ICBC asks drivers to be well rested and alert for the start of Daylight Saving Time

ICBC asks drivers to be well rested and alert for the start of Daylight Saving Time

ICBC is calling on drivers to get some extra rest this weekend to prepare for the shift to Daylight Saving Time.

Losing an hour of sleep may have an impact on your alertness and reaction time when driving. That’s why ICBC is reminding drivers to be make an extra effort to adapt to the spring time change.

With more daylight during the late afternoon and early evening commutes, comes darker mornings. So it’s important for drivers to be aware of the changes in visibility and variable weather conditions as winter technically turns to spring.

Here are ICBC’s top five tips to help drivers adjust to the time change:

  • Plan to get to bed early on Saturday night and go to bed at your regular time on Sunday to be ready for the Monday commute.
  • Be aware of how your body adapts to the time change and how that may affect your ability to concentrate and avoid hazards.
  • The shift in time may mean that you’re now driving home in brighter conditions. Make sure you have a pair of sunglasses in the car.
  • After many weeks of early sunrises and winter weather, expect darker morning commutes. To help improve visibility, clean all of your vehicle’s headlights and check that they’re all working properly.
  • Be prepared and watch for more cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians on the road as the weather improves. Remember to share the road.

It’s always important, no matter what time of the year, to avoid distractions while driving. Leave your phone alone.

Media contact

Sam Corea
604-982-2480

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