Meal delivery drivers often not insured if using personal car, broker warns

Most personal auto insurance policies don’t cover vehicles for food or package delivery

The xxcerpted article was written by Paula Duhatschek · CBC News 

Drivers making deliveries for some popular food delivery apps might be unaware their auto insurance may not cover them in the event of a collision, potentially leaving them on the hook for a big bill.

Gary Cormier, 49, of Kitchener, Ont. wants to avoid that situation. He’s been trying for weeks to find a car insurance policy that he can afford, and that will cover him while making deliveries.

Cormier signed up with both DoorDash and Uber Eats this spring and was quickly accepted as a driver after submitting proof of his car ownership, driver’s license and personal insurance.

But when he told his insurance broker about the plan, Cormier says he was told his existing policy with Intact wouldn’t cover him.

Cormier says he contacted three other brokers for good measure and was told the same thing.

“If I was just driving on personal insurance … my claim could be declined,” said Cormier, who says he stopped making deliveries after that point.

Cormier says his broker later gave him a quote for a commercial driving insurance policy, costing about $10,200 annually.

“It’s just not feasible,” said Cormier, whose personal driving insurance currently costs about $1,500 a year.

Most personal auto insurance policies don’t allow the use of personal vehicles for food or package delivery, according to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario.

That means drivers might not be covered if they use their vehicles for business purposes, the agency said.

‘You could lose everything’

Insurance broker Joseph Carnevale says many drivers are likely delivering food and other items without realizing their personal auto insurance policy doesn’t apply to their present circumstance.

Anyone making money by delivering something needs to tell their insurance broker about it, says Carnevale, and in most cases, a delivery driver would likely need to take out a commercial insurance policy to be covered.

“The problem we face is that someone who’s just trying to make a few dollars on the side then has to [pay] a substantial amount of money for a proper and legal commercial insurance auto policy,” said Carnevale, who is also president of the Insurance Brokers’ Association of Ontario.

“And so there’s a scenario out there right now that probably … the vast, vast majority of people don’t have the proper policies in place and that puts them at risk.”

Although every situation is different, Carnevale says a delivery driver who didn’t have commercial insurance and who submitted a claim after causing serious property damage would likely prompt an investigation and be denied coverage by their insurer.

That kind of accident could put them on the hook for between $5,000 and $100,000, he says. A worst-case scenario type of collision involving multiple deaths could cost millions, he adds.

“You could lose everything,” said Carnevale.

Company policies vary

CBC News asked DoorDash, Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats what kind of insurance their Ontario drivers need to carry.

DoorDash pointed to a statement on the company’s FAQ page saying it does provide excess auto insurance, but this policy only applies toward damage drivers might cause to third parties and only to accidents that happen when a driver is in possession of goods to be delivered.

A spokesperson for Skip the Dishes said in an email that couriers are independent contractors, and it is their responsibility to “obtain and maintain all necessary insurances, permits, and/or licenses required by applicable laws in the region they operate.”

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Cash-flow challenges and debt levels increase risk of insolvencies

By Jordan Press

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ The Bank of Canada says there are signs in the country’s financial markets that suggest concern about the ability of companies to weather the COVID-19 economic crisis.

The central bank has spent the last two months making a flurry of policy decisions that has seen it slash its target interest rate and embark on an unprecedented bond-buying program to ease the flow of credit.

The report suggests these measures have helped ease liquidity strains and provide easy access to short-term credit for companies and households.

But it is warning this morning that a cash-flow problem for businesses seeing sharp revenue declines during the crisis could soon develop into a solvency issue.

The Bank of Canada’s review of the country’s financial system says market prices point to a concern that defaults are likely to rise.

The report also raises concerns that household debt levels are likely to rise and become acute for households whose incomes don’t fully recover from the pandemic.

“We entered this global health crisis with a strong economy and resilient financial system. This will support the recovery,” bank governor Stephen Poloz is quoted as saying in the review.

“But we know that debt levels are going to rise, so the right combination of economic policies will be important too.”

Aside from what is now approaching $150 billion in direct federal aid, the central bank over the course of March alone slashed its target interest rate to 0.25 per cent from 1.75 per cent.

It has also snapped up federal bonds to effectively provide low-cost financing to Ottawa to cover a massive spike in spending.

The bank’s balance sheet has more than tripled to $392 billion since early March, as part of an expansion larger and faster than during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 when its balance sheet increased by 50 per cent.

But the longer the economic shock from COVID-19 lasts, the more it drives the risks of consumer insolvencies, the central bank says.

The number of vulnerable households that putting more than 40 per cent of their income to cover debt payments  “is likely to rise,” the bank says, and fall behind on loan payments even with deferrals to some 700,000 households so far.

The central bank’s review also suggests financial institutions may be much less capable of responding to and containing a cyber security incident while many employees work from home.

“There is evidence of increased phishing and malware attacks designed to take advantage of the growth in remote work and the public appetite for information related to COVID-19,” the report said.

“Cyber criminals are also using public interest in new government support programs to lure users to malicious websites.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2020.

5 Ways to Be a Better Virtual Listener!

5 Ways to Be a Better Virtual Listener!

Becoming an Active Listener

There are five key active listening techniques you can use to help you become a more effective listener:

1. Pay Attention

Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.

  • Look at the speaker directly.
  • Put aside distracting thoughts.
  • Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
  • Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. For example, side conversations.
  • “Listen” to the speaker’s body language.

2. Show That You’re Listening

Use your own body language and gestures to show that you are engaged.

  • Nod occasionally.
  • Smile and use other facial expressions.
  • Make sure that your posture is open and interested.
  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and “uh huh.”

3. Provide Feedback

Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect on what is being said and to ask questions.

  • Reflect on what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is… ,” and “Sounds like you are saying… ,” are great ways to reflect back.
  • Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say… .” “Is this what you mean?”
  • Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically.

Tip:

If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so. And ask for more information: “I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is XXX. Is that what you meant?”

4. Defer Judgment

Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.

  • Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
  • Don’t interrupt with counter arguments.

5. Respond Appropriately

Active listening is designed to encourage respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting her down.

  • Be candid, open and honest in your response.
  • Assert your opinions respectfully.
  • Treat the other person in a way that you think she would want to be treated.

 

Source: Mindtools.com

Car insurance discounts available during the pandemic

Car insurance discounts available during the pandemic

The excerpted article was written by BY  

Vehicle insurance 

AllState Canada: AllState has created a one-time, “Stay at Home Payment” for customers with an active automobile policy as of April 8, 2020. Customers who qualify will receive a payment that’s approximately 25 per cent of their monthly premium.

The Canadian Auto Association: The CAA is offering a 10 per cent rate decrease for those who are new or returning policyholders and the discount will apply over a 12-month policy term.

Desjardins insurance: Refunds are available for those who have seen their driving habits reduced significantly due to COVID-19. Distance travelled will be calculated over a three month period to determine the amount of the refund. Customers need to apply by May 31 to qualify.

Economical Insurance: Economical is also offering refunds if there’s proof you’ve been driving less. You could be eligible for a 15 per cent reduction based on how many kilometres you’ve driven until June 30. Coverage suspension is also an option for customers who aren’t driving at all.

Aviva: Through their #StayatHome discount, Aviva is offering reductions of up to 15 per cent if you are driving less. To qualify for the savings, customers need to contact their broker or agent.

Wawanesca: The insurance broker is cancelling non-sufficient funds fees until May 25 and is offering options to reduce coverage if you are driving less so savings can apply.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

From car insurance to TV streaming: All the discounts available during the pandemic

READ MORE HERE: 

Drivers in Atlantic Canada could save $44M total as insurers offer pandemic discounts

Companies are making good on industry promise to give drivers a break, but customers may have to ask

The excerpted article was written by Paul Withers · CBC News 

Some insurance companies are making good on an industry promise to give Nova Scotia drivers a break because of COVID-19, but customers may have to ask.

With more people staying home and off the roads because of the pandemic, provincial regulators this month have been approving applications from insurers for temporary rate cuts.

Seven companies have been approved recently for the rate cuts.

This week, Intact — and affiliated companies Novex and Trafalgar — received permission to lower a previously approved maximum increase from 10 to five per cent.

They are also offering a temporary 15 per cent discount “should a client reach out to Intact to reduce their vehicle usage, either by lowering their annual kilometres or by reducing or removing their commute to work.”

In the past week, four other insurance companies have also been approved for similar rate relief. The measures expire later this year but can be renewed.

Check with your insurer for discounts

“The relief measures that every insurance company is going to do is going to look a bit different,” said Amanda Dean, Atlantic vice-president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The organization represents 53 companies offering vehicle insurance in Nova Scotia.

She said some companies are in better financial shape than others to offer discounts. Some are making discounts automatic.

“We’re recommending that drivers call their insurance representative, a broker or your agent to talk about what your insurance company is doing at this time and what relief measures you might be eligible for,” said Dean.

Drivers in Atlantic Canada could save $44 million

Earlier this month, the IBC estimated drivers in Atlantic Canada could save a total of $44 million over a 90-day period because of relief measures.

Allstate Canada announced April 8 that it was introducing a “Stay at Home Payment” program of more than $30 million to help its personal auto insurance customers across Canada.

In a news release, the company said cheques would be mailed out in May for Allstate, Pembridge and Pafco customers who had an auto policy as of April 8. The one-time payment would work out to about 25 per cent of the monthly premium.

Source: CBC News

COVID-19: Here’s four things you should avoid doing while working from home

COVID-19: Here’s four things you should avoid doing while working from home

Excerpt By  | Global News

1) Don’t sweat the small stuff

Making light of things like technical difficulties, dogs barking or kids screaming can help to minimize the stress of having to work in less than ideal conditions, Hambley advised.

She suggests being transparent with people at the beginning of calls or video chats to let them know what your surroundings are like, which she says can help to alleviate undue anxiety.

“We all have things going on at home,” Hambley explained. “Some us have a spouse or a partner, some of us have children, pets – and it’s better to be up front about that and to share with others that our work conditions may not be perfect — and to make light of them.”

2) Don’t act like you’re working from home

Are you reading this while wearing pajamas or sweatpants? If so, you’re probably not alone. However, Hambley suggests trying the best you can to recreate the office environment — even down to the clothes that you wear.

“It helps to get in the right mindset if you dress the part,” Hambley said. “Don’t just wear PJs all day.”

She suggests this can help get people in the mindset of doing work and can also make it easier for them to transition back to “home” life at the end of the day.

She also recommends against taking video calls from bed or conference calls from the washroom.

3) Don’t go silent

Keeping the lines of communication open with colleagues can help to maintain productivity, so Hambley advises making an effort to check in with people and provide regular updates.

“If I’m going on a break I want people to know that maybe I won’t be available for maybe the next hour,” she said. “Keeping each other in the loop with what’s going on really helps.

“It’s better to have more communication right now than less,” she added.

4) Don’t work with bad posture

While it may seem nice to work on your laptop from the comfort of your bed, Hambley warns this can often bring with it some aches and pains.

“It’s easy to just get on the couch and bring your laptop there, or sit at the awkward dining room table … But it can really damage our bodies,” she warned.

Instead, Hambley suggests doing your best to set up an ergonomic workstation.

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