Zurich Insurance buys QBE’s Latam business for $409 million

ZURICH (Reuters) – Zurich Insurance (ZURN.S) said it was buying QBE Insurance Group’s (QBE.AX) Latin American business for $409 million, becoming the leading insurer in Argentina and No.3 in Ecuador.

The acquired business had gross premiums of $790 million last year, with Argentina representing about half and the rest divided among Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, Zurich said in a statement on Sunday.

“This transaction positions us as the leading insurer in Argentina, a market that is demonstrating strong growth, a stable economy and a positive environment for insurance,” Claudia Dill, Zurich’s Chief Executive Officer for Latin America, said in the statement.

Zurich said it expected to achieve an overall return on investment comfortably in excess of 10 percent within the first full year post completion of the transaction. Completion is expected by the end of 2018 and funding is to come from internal resources, Zurich said.

In a separate statement, QBE said it expected a pre-tax profit from the sale of about $100 million.

Australia’s biggest insurer will retain its Puerto Rico operations to service claims from Hurricane Maria, it said.

ZURN.SVIRT-X LEVEL 1
-0.70(-0.22%)
ZURN.S
  • ZURN.S
  • QBE.AX
  • ANZ.AX

”The decision to exit Latin America is consistent with our focus on simplifying the group, reducing risk and improving the consistency of our results,” QBE Chief Executive Pat Regan said.

Europe’s fifth-biggest insurer last year bought Australia and New Zealand Banking Group’s (ANZ.AX) life insurance arm for $2.1 billion, a deal that propelled it to the top rank in the attractive Australian market.

 

Fort McMurray restaurant that started it all puts a cork in its B.C. wine boycott

Read more

Online insurance sales: a looming disaster

LONGUEUIL, QCFeb. 21, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – In conjunction with the detailed review of Bill 141, the Regroupement des cabinets de courtage d’assurance du Québec (RCCAQ) would like to emphasize the importance of protecting consumers’ financial well-being by requiring a certified representative to be involved in insurance purchases. The RCCAQ is seeking to avoid disastrous consequences for consumers, particularly when submitting claims to insurers.

Modernization and consumer protection should go hand in hand

The RCCAQ supports efforts to modernize the legislative framework governing the distribution of property and casualty (P&C) insurance products. It decries the fact, however, that this process stands to jeopardize consumers’ interests. “The government should ensure that consumers have access to a distribution model offering the highest possible levels of protection. For many people, a home, a car and a cottage are among their most valuable financial assets,” said RCCAQ chair Christopher Johnson.

Consumers would be left to their own devices

If adopted in its current form, Bill 141 would allow consumers to purchase home or auto insurance online without the involvement of a representative such as a broker. Subject to ongoing training requirements and governed by a strict code of ethics, certified professionals serve as a safety net during insurance transactions, ensuring that responsibility for purchases does not fall solely on consumers’ shoulders. Nevertheless, this fundamental principle is on the verge of being undermined.

“In 2016, a Leger survey1 showed that 76% of Quebecers regarded P&C insurance as complex,” noted Mr. Johnson. “Although they may make for dry reading, riders, exclusions and other insurance policy provisions constitute essential information that brokers are able to explain to their clients. Our role is to work on consumers’ behalf and defend their interests when claims are submitted to an insurer.”

Consumer bankruptcies, as well as painful and expensive court cases with insurers, are likely to occur. The ideal solution, however, is within reach: simply require a certified professional to be involved in the online sales process.

About the RCCAQ
The RCCAQ is a professional association that seeks to promote and defend the socio-economic interests of its member firms, including over 4,200 brokers at some 500 firms and branch offices across the province of Quebec.

___________________________________________
1
 Leger survey conducted on behalf of CHAD in January 2016 (500 Quebecers aged 18 or older were interviewed).

www.rccaq.com

SOURCE Regroupement des cabinets de courtage d’assurance du Québec

‘Alberta’s Top Employers’ for 2018 are announced

Leading in the new economy:

CALGARYFeb. 21, 2018 /CNW/ – After two years of tough economic adjustment, Alberta employers are once again creating a lot of new jobs.  While it might be too early to talk about a recovery, the province is expected to lead the country this year in economic growth.  Alberta employers are once again raising the bar when it comes to progressive working conditions and forward-thinking HR policies.  The best of these were recognized today, as winners of this year’s “Alberta’s Top Employers” competition were announced.

“It’s hard not to be impressed by the resilience of the Alberta economy – and the employers that call this province home,” says Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project at Mediacorp Canada Inc., which manages the competition.  “When you look at the range of industries represented by this year’s winners, you can see the outlines of the new economy in Alberta.”

“In addition to providing their staff with training and skills development, many of this year’s winning organizations are placing more emphasis on health and wellness,” says Kristina Leung, Senior Editor at the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. “Having a healthy workforce is a strong driver of productivity, which is important for organizations looking for ways to fuel long-term growth.”

Some notable initiatives that the editors highlighted this year:

  • Lafarge Canada of Calgary identifies future leaders through an 18-month leadership development program, which is offered to high-potential employees, that includes a series of in-person course modules together with assignments and projects.
  • Edmonton-based ATB Financial prioritizes the health of its employees through a variety of initiatives including a Wellness Leadership Committee, a network of wellness champions and various wellness challenges that address topics such as sleep health, nutrition, physical health and mental health.
  • Getty Images of Calgary supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments, to 100% of salary for up to 15 weeks, as well as parental leave top-up for fathers and adoptive parents.
  • Calgary-based WestJet Airlines provides a range of opportunities for employees to volunteer with charitable initiatives each year – through their ‘WestJet Cares for Kids’ program, the airline has donated over 65,000 flights to children in need.
  • To encourage employees to stay healthy, the City of Edmonton provides a $1,100 health spending account as part of its health benefits plan, allowing employees to top-up coverage to meet their individual needs.

First published in 2006, Alberta‘s Top Employers is a special designation that recognizes Alberta employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. Employers throughout Alberta were evaluated by the editors at Canada’s Top 100 Employers using the same criteria as the national competition: (1) Physical Workplace; (2) Work Atmosphere & Social; (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits; (4) Vacation & Time Off; (5) Employee Communications; (6) Performance Management; (7) Training & Skills Development; and (8) Community Involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offer the most progressive and forward-thinking programs. The annual competition is open to any employer with its head office in Alberta; employers of any size may apply, whether private or public sector.

Founded in 1992, Mediacorp Canada Inc. is the nation’s largest publisher of employment periodicals. Since 1999, the Toronto-based publisher has managed the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, which includes 18 regional and special-interest editorial competitions that reach over 15 million Canadians annually through a variety of magazine and newspaper partners. Mediacorp also operates Eluta.ca, the largest Canadian job search engine, which includes editorial reviews from the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project and is now used by almost 7 million users in Canada each year. Together with Willis Towers Watson, Mediacorp also hosts the Top Employer SummitCanada’s largest conference for senior-level HR professionals.

The full list of Alberta’s Top Employers for 2018 is attached. The winners were announced in a special magazinepublished in the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal this morning. Detailed reasons for selection, explaining why each of the winners was selected, with hundreds of additional stories and photos, were also released this morning and are accessible via the competition homepage.

Alberta’s Top Employers
2018 Winners

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation / AFSC, Lacombe
Alberta Blue CrossEdmonton
Alberta Central, Calgary
Alberta Health Services / AHS, Edmonton
Alberta Investment Management Corporation / AIMCo., Edmonton
Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan / ASEBP, Edmonton
Alberta Securities Commission / ASC, Calgary
Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund Board / ATRF, Edmonton
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Boyle
AltaGas Ltd., Calgary
ATB Financial, Edmonton
Beaver Municipal Solutions, Ryley
Bennett Jones LLP, Calgary
Bethany Care Society, Calgary
BioWare ULC, Edmonton
Bow Valley College, Calgary
Calgary Airport Authority, The, Calgary
Calgary Co-operative Association Limited, Calgary
Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 1, Calgary
Capital Power Corporation, Edmonton
CapitalCare Group Inc., Edmonton
Champion Petfoods LP, Edmonton
Chandos Construction Ltd., Edmonton
Collins Barrow Calgary LLP, Calgary
Connect First Credit Union, Calgary
Covenant Health, Edmonton
DIALOG, Calgary
Duncan Craig LLP, Edmonton
DynaLIFE Dx, Edmonton
Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No.7, Edmonton
Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton
Edmonton Regional Airport Authority, Edmonton
Edmonton, City of, Edmonton
Enbridge Inc., Calgary
EPCOR Utilities Inc., Edmonton
Fillmore Construction Management Inc., Edmonton
Fountain Tire Ltd., Edmonton
Getty Images, Inc., Calgary
Graham Group, Calgary
Graycon I.T., Calgary
Hallmark Tubulars Ltd., Calgary
Health Quality Council of Alberta, The, Calgary
Inter Pipeline Ltd., Calgary
Kenway Mack Slusarchuk Stewart LLP, Calgary
Keyera Corp., Calgary
Lac La Biche County, Lac La Biche
Lafarge Canada Inc., Calgary
Lakeland CollegeVermilion
Legal Education Society of Alberta, The, Edmonton
NAIT / Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Edmonton
National Energy Board, Calgary
Olympia Financial Group Inc., Calgary
PCL Construction, Edmonton
Pembina Pipeline Corporation, Calgary
Rogers Insurance Ltd., Calgary
Rohit Group of Companies, Edmonton
SAIT, Calgary
Shaw Communications Inc., Calgary
Shell Canada Limited, Calgary
Silvacom Ltd., Edmonton
Stuart Olson Inc., Calgary
SysGen Solutions Group Ltd., Calgary
Travel Alberta, Calgary
UFA Co-operative Limited, Calgary
United Way of Calgary and Area, Calgary
Univar Canada Ltd., Calgary
University of CalgaryCalgary
Valard Geomatics Ltd., Edmonton
WestJet Airlines Ltd., Calgary
Workers’ Compensation Board – Alberta, Edmonton

SOURCE Mediacorp Canada Inc.

So you have a drone: Does your insurance cover damage?

So you have a drone: Does your insurance cover damage?

Excerpted article was written by | By Elizabeth Dinan

PORTSMOUTH — State insurance regulators advise property owners who fly drones, or have family members who fly drones, to review their insurance policies to ensure they’re covered for liability, while some insurers are limiting or eliminating drone-related coverage.

“It is not unusual for the insurance market to develop forms to address new and emerging risks,” said Danielle Barrick, director of communications for the New Hampshire Insurance Department. “Drone liability would qualify as an emerging risk. To that extent, it is a new trend.”

Barrick said a standard homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for drone damage. What is new, she said, is that some insurers are adding an “exclusionary endorsement,” sometimes called a rider, that removes or limits coverage otherwise provided by the policy.

“Thus, if a drone user wishes to be protected or to have greater protection, the drone user should either have their current insurer issue a policy without an exclusionary endorsement related to drones, or find an insurer that will issue such a policy,” she said. “As the homeowners insurance market is a competitive one, the drone user should be able to obtain multiple quotes for the desired level of coverage.”

Professional drone photographer David Murray of New Castle said he has a specific insurance policy for his drone operation and thinks all drone operators should be responsible for any damage or injury they cause.

“Just like automobile operators,” he said.

But, Murray added he also thinks insurance companies shouldn’t back away from claims for damage caused by drones.

“I think kids playing in the back yard with a ball and bat can do similar damage,” he said, noting there aren’t insurance exclusions for those accidents. “Why one and not the other?”

Murray said there are insurance options that cover single drone flights and blanket policies to cover periods of time, like an auto insurance policy.
“Drones are new so people want to fixate on them and be afraid of them,” he said. “In terms of the danger they pose, you can do more damage with a car. And you certainly can do more damage with a gun. I think it’s appropriate to step back and reasonably look at it.”

According to the state Insurance Department, “the competitive homeowners insurance market allows residents to choose a policy that will provide coverage for drones.” Barrick said people with drones should ensure they have the coverage they want while the market also allows people without drones “to seek a policy that excludes liability coverage for drone use, which might result in a lower premium.”

“This is how a competitive market is designed to operate,” she said.

The Insurance Department does not collect data detailing how often an insurer includes “a particular endorsement,” like drone limits or exclusions, adding “exclusionary drone endorsements are a fairly new type of coverage form.”

Murray said drone hobbyists tend to fly small, lightweight drones and would “have to work pretty hard to cause some damage.”

“Most are made of toy-grade plastic and weigh less than two pounds,” he said. “Most have less mass than a seagull.”

He said some drone controls have more intelligence for piloting than others, meaning some require more work to control than others. He said it also takes many hours of practice to master drone flying.
“I think some people have a good experience when they start flying and get overconfident,” he added. Some insurance policies are also now citing exclusions of coverage for damage caused by drones that interfere with aircraft. Murray said that’s ”

Some insurance policies are also now citing exclusions of coverage for damage caused by drones that interfere with aircraft. Murray said that’s “a major source of potential concern” that could cause loss of life, but is highly unlikely to occur. He said anyone who flies a drone should know it’s prohibited within five miles of an airport or tower and that the law is printed on drone packaging.

He said that’s why the FAA requires all drones weighing more than a half pound to be registered and marked with identifying numbers.

“The department’s advice for drone owners and all insureds is to work with their insurer and/or insurance agent to ensure that they have the appropriate level of liability coverage and to not be reluctant to shop their insurance to find the insurer and policy that best fits their needs,” Barrick said.

Source: SeaCoastOnline

Top 10 Issues For Employers, Issue #7: Obligations When Terminating Without Cause

Top 10 Issues For Employers, Issue #7: Obligations When Terminating Without Cause

Article by Labour & Employment Group
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

This is the seventh instalment in our Top 10 Issues for Employers series. This issue addresses termination entitlements upon a “without cause” dismissal.

OVERVIEW

Understanding an employee’s entitlements upon a without cause dismissal is an essential step towards avoiding unnecessary wrongful dismissal claims. Canadian law imposes obligations on employers to provide their employees with certain entitlements in the event of a without cause dismissal. Since there is a very high bar for establishing “just cause” — which generally permits an employer to provide no notice or other entitlements upon dismissal — the vast majority of terminations in Canada will be without cause.

REASONABLE NOTICE OF TERMINATION

In the absence of an enforceable termination clause in a written employment contract, an employee’s termination entitlements will be governed by Canadian common law (with the exception of Quebec, discussed below). One obligation imposed upon employers by the common law is to provide employees with reasonable notice of termination of employment, or pay in lieu of reasonable notice, in the absence of just cause for dismissal.

There is no fixed formula for determining reasonable notice in any given case. There are, however, several factors that courts consider when determining reasonable notice, including the availability of similar employment as well as the employee’s age, length of service, position and level of compensation. In essence, the courts aim to identify, on a case-by-case basis, the length of notice that the employee will need to find alternate work of a similar nature. By way of example, reasonable notice generally ranges from a few weeks up to 24 months depending on the above factors, but there are exceptions.

The concept of reasonable notice signifies actual or written notice. In principle, the employee is expected to continue his or her active employment during the applicable notice period. As an active employee, the individual would usually be entitled to all elements of his or her compensation package during the notice period. However, employers typically provide an employee with pay in lieu of notice or a “package” upon termination of employment rather than actual or working notice. Thus, in the pay in lieu of notice scenario, to mirror what they would have received had they been provided with actual notice, employees are generally entitled to payment reflecting all elements of their compensation package, including, for example, salary, benefits and pro-rated bonus or other incentive compensation (subject to the terms of any applicable policies or plans).

Written employment agreements may modify and/or limit an employer’s common law obligations. In general terms, where there is a proper and enforceable employment contract that specifies what the employee will receive upon termination of employment, then it will be the employment contract — and not the common law — that the employer will rely on in determining an employee’s entitlements upon termination. However, any contract that a court finds as providing less than the employee’s minimum statutory entitlements will be viewed as unenforceable and an employee in such a scenario will be entitled to reasonable notice of termination.

QUEBEC CONSIDERATIONS

Common law principles are not applicable in Quebec. Rather, employers’ obligations are established by the Civil Code of Québec, which provides that an employee can claim reasonable notice (or compensation in lieu of notice) of the termination of his or her employment, such that an employee’s entitlements upon a without cause dismissal in Quebec are substantially similar to those of employees in the common law provinces and territories.

That being said, Canadian employers should be aware of the fact that there are unique legislative and other requirements relating to employment in Quebec that are not present in the common law provinces and territories.

STATUTORY MINIMUM STANDARDS

Employment standards legislation in all Canadian jurisdictions sets out minimum notice (or pay in lieu of notice) obligations for employers when they dismiss an employee without cause. It should be emphasized that the statutory minimums prescribed by employment standards legislation with respect to notice and severance are just that — minimum standards. They represent the lowest possible amounts that an employee is entitled to receive on dismissal without cause. An employer cannot contract out of the statutory minimum entitlements.

Generally, an employee’s entitlement to statutory minimum notice of dismissal increases with his or her length of service. For example, in Ontario, employees are generally entitled under statute to one week’s notice (or pay in lieu of notice) for each completed year of employment, to a maximum of eight weeks. Although employees’ entitlement to notice of termination of employment varies slightly from province to province, employment standards legislation across the Canadian jurisdictions currently provide for a maximum statutory notice requirement of eight weeks or less.

Further, many employment standards statutes include enhanced notice requirements for employers that effect a mass termination of employment, which is defined in most provinces and territories as the dismissal of 50 or more employees in a span of four weeks or less (although in several provinces the threshold is as low as 10 employees).

In Ontario and the federal jurisdiction, employment standards legislation also requires employers to provide employees with statutory severance payments (in addition to statutory notice or pay in lieu of notice) in certain circumstances. In Ontario, employees who have five or more years of service at the time of their dismissal are entitled to statutory severance pay, if their employer has a payroll of C$2.5-million or more, or if the dismissal is part of a discontinuance of a business involving the termination of 50 or more employees in a period of six months or less. Severance pay is equal to one week’s pay for each completed year of employment and a proportionate amount of one week’s pay for a partial year of employment, to a maximum of 26 weeks’ pay. In the federal jurisdiction, an employee is entitled to statutory severance pay if he or she has completed 12 consecutive months of employment with an employer before being dismissed. Statutory severance pay in the federal jurisdiction is calculated as the greater of two days’ wages for each year of employment completed by the employee and five days’ wages.

BONUS AND OTHER INCENTIVE AWARDS

Even after the appropriate length of notice has been determined, there are often still disputes over whether compensation for lost bonus or other incentive awards should be included. As mentioned above, when employees are provided with pay in lieu of notice, they are normally entitled to all elements of compensation that they would have received had they remained employed during the notice period, which may include bonus and other incentive awards. However, the terms of any underlying bonus or incentive plans or policies are relevant to the determination of whether compensation for such awards should be included as part of an employee’s termination entitlements. For this reason, employers should ensure they have well-drafted plan documents.

CONCLUSION

Determining an employee’s entitlements upon a without cause dismissal may not always be straightforward. It requires considering whether common law reasonable notice applies or whether a contractual provision (including those which may limit an employee to the statutory minimums) governs an employee’s termination entitlements. If common law reasonable notice applies, the notice period must take into account various factors, including the availability of similar employment as well as the employee’s age, length of service, position and level of compensation. On the other hand, a contractual termination provision must be checked to ensure it is enforceable and that it complies with applicable statutory minimum standards. Finally, it must be determined which elements of compensation will be owed during the notice period, including bonus or other incentive awards.

Investing in well-drafted employment contracts and plan documents at the outset, and ensuring they are regularly reviewed and updated, is a good way to avoid potential pitfalls and bring additional certainty and consistency to the termination process.

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.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest