How Do We Define A Bad Driver?

Back Window Body Count GraphicHave you responded to our provincial government’s request for feedback on the setting of fair ICBC rates yet? The hope is to “introduce changes to the current system to make insurance rates more fair for British Columbians by making all drivers more accountable for their decisions and driving behaviour.” The implication here is that bad drivers don’t pay their fair share of insurance premiums.

That begs the not so simple question of just how do we define a bad driver?

Perhaps at the most basic level we have people who will never learn to be a good driver. For a multitude of reasons they will meet the basic level of obtaining a driver’s licence but never progress from there. According to one ICBC driver examiner that I know, passing the test means that you possess sufficient skill to drive without being a significant hazard to others.

The expectation is that you will improve from there.

So, what have you done to improve other than gain experience by driving on your own? Some of us take training required by our employers. Car enthusiast groups promote skill improvement among their members. The rest of us? Well, maybe we’re better than average drivers already and there is no need to improve.

I offered a free hour of driver improvement to DriveSmartBC visitors once and was not exactly inundated with people saying “Pick me!”

Again, for a variety of reasons, we may be a good driver but lose this ability, either abruptly or over time.

Maybe a good driver has a thorough understanding of the driving rules and always follows them. I’ll ask the question again, are you smarter than a learner driver? My experience in traffic enforcement has shown me that many drivers have incomplete knowledge on that subject yet possess a clean driving record.

Do you think that a good driver never drives while their ability is impaired? Drugs and alcohol immediately come to mind here, but fatigue, illness, disabilities and emotion are all factors that can impair our ability to drive well.

What about attitude? Looking at others, I see a lot of “I’m important, you are not. I’m in a hurry, get out of my way!” when I drive. There are also drivers who will readily admit to acts of civil disobedience when the traffic rules don’t suit them. Don’t like it? Don’t bother!

Do only bad drivers become involved in collisions? Hands up those of you among us who have never caused even the slightest damage let alone bumped into something that they should not have. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I lost the ability to do that while still in my teens.

Does being human automatically mean that you will always be a bad driver at some level? No matter how hard I try not to, eventually I make a driving error. Sometimes it is only luck or the skill of other drivers that prevents that error from becoming a collision.

It’s easy to point the finger at others and much more difficult to examine the same thing in ourselves. So, honestly, how do you define a bad driver?

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

In loyalty programs, Canadians happiest with small rewards over big dreams

When it comes to loyalty programs, Canadians seem happiest with providers of small rewards such as free movies and groceries rather than those who promise dream vacations, according to an independent national study released today.

According to the Argyle Public Relationships Index™, the annual study by Leger Research and Argyle Public Relationships, Canadians’ satisfaction, trust and overall relationships are strongest with the Scotiabank/Cineplex Scene program and the new PC Optimum program, rather than those focusing their rewards on travel. The survey has no affiliation with any company offering a loyalty program.

In general, Canadians have strong relationships with their preferred loyalty program:

  • 79 per cent are very or somewhat satisfied with the program they use the most;
  • 76 per cent trust their loyalty program;
  • 73 per cent believe the loyalty program takes care of people likely to use it;
  • 70 per cent believe the loyalty program is committed to meeting their expectations;
  • 60 per cent see the loyalty program as concerned about “people like me;” and
  • 41 per cent believe they can influence the decisions or direction of their main loyalty program.

“While Canadians are loyal to their loyalty programs, the ready reward of the free movie or groceries seems to be winning our hearts more than the elusive dream vacation,” says Argyle CEO Daniel Tisch, a leading international expert on public relationships and reputation management. “The recent controversies about the future of Air Miles points, and about Aeroplan’s future, may also be factors in the slight edge gained by those offering smaller, simpler rewards.”

Public relations research suggests there are six dimensions of relationships between brands and their publics: trust; satisfaction; perceived commitment to meet expectations; caring for customers (“exchange relationship”); concern for people like me (“communal relationship”); and people’s perception of their ability to influence the brand. The Argyle Public Relationships Index™ averages public ratings of how the brand they know best in each sector performs on the six dimensions.

Among loyalty programs, the survey reveals average-to-strong relationships between most major programs and the public:

Loyalty program

Public Relationships Index™

(out of 100)

Scotiabank Scene

70

PC Optimum

69

Air Miles

67

RBC Avion

67

TD Rewards

66

Aeroplan

64

Relationships with brands drive business, recommendations

The survey also shows that just over two-thirds of Canadians (67 per cent) are interested in having relationships with the brands they buy and the service providers with which they do business, down from 73 per cent a year ago. Seventy-nine per cent are more likely to do business with a brand that builds a relationship with them, and 80 per cent are more likely to recommend the brand to their friends.

“In two years of working with Argyle on this research, it’s clear that the health of a company’s relationships with the public correlates strongly to the health of its brand,” says Lisa Covens, Leger’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs. “Whether it’s their products, their communications, or both, the loyalty programs offering these simple, everyday rewards are earning stronger relationships with the Canadian public.”

About the study

This loyalty study of the Argyle Public Relationships Index™ is based on a survey of 1,591 Canadians, completed between January 22-25, 2018, using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. The margin of error for the study was +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Leger’s online panel has approximately 400,000 members nationally and has a retention rate of 90%. Argyle expresses its appreciation to Dr. Alex Sevigny, Director of McMaster University’s Master of Communications Management (MCM) program, for his counsel in the development of the study.

About Argyle Public Relationships™ (www.argylepr.com)

Argyle helps major brands and respected organizations build and strengthen their relationships with the stakeholders who drive their reputations, brands and business success – across Canada and beyond. For more than 35 years, Argyle has been chosen by some of the world’s biggest brands, put big ideas onto the public agenda, and become one of Canada’s largest independent communications firms.

Argyle is a Canadian leader in industry awards for its work in consumer marketing, corporate communications, health communications, public affairs, digital communications, branding and design. In both 2015 and 2016, Argyle was named by PROFIT 500 as one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies.

Argyle TACT Public Affairs, a partnership between Argyle and TACT Intelligence-Conseil, is based in Ottawa and offers public affairs services across the country.

About Leger (www.leger360.com)

Leger is the largest Canadian-owned polling, research, and strategic marketing firm with 600 employees in MontrealQuebec CityTorontoEdmonton, and Calgary in Canada, and Philadelphia in the United States. Leger is part of the WIN network partners in more than 100 countries, making Leger not only the largest Canadian-owned company in its sector, but also an internationally recognized brand.

Leger provides its clients with unique expertise in market research and information technology, in addition to business consulting and strategies in the fields of customer satisfaction, positioning, brand management, communication efficiency, corporate reputation, social acceptability, crisis management and customer experience.

SOURCE Argyle Public Relationships

January winter storms, floods caused more than $54 million in insured damage

surance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that a significant winter storm event which affected parts of OntarioQuebecNew BrunswickPrince Edward IslandNova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, resulted in more than $54 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

From January 11-14, 2018, a low pressure system brought high temperatures and heavy rains to much of Eastern Canada. Melting snow, ice jams, and rainfall caused flooding in several parts of the region. Nearly $33 million in insured damage was reported in Quebec and over $12 million in Ontario. The remainder occurred in the four Atlantic Provinces.

“Climate change is causing severe weather events to happen more frequently and with greater intensity, especially storms involving floods. While the insured damage from these floods is significant, the total economic cost to homeowners and government is not yet known,” said Craig Stewart, Vice-President, Federal Affairs, IBC. “Because flooding can cause significant damage in a very short amount of time, it is critically important for consumers to know what their policies cover and whether they have overland flood protection. Consumers should check with their insurance representatives to see what options are available to them.”

For more information on how to protect property against floods and other disasters please visit IBC’s website.

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. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

About CatIQ
Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) delivers detailed analytical and meteorological information on Canadian natural and man-made catastrophes. Through its online subscription-based platform, CatIQ combines comprehensive insured loss indices and other related information to better serve the needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries, public sector and other stakeholders. To learn more, visit www.catiq.com.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

The 15 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Flying

The 15 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Flying

Excerpted article was written by

I said I would never do it again, but I did—I booked a late flight so I could put in a full day’s work before flying for a business meeting. Weather delays turned an hour-long flight from New York to Toronto into an eight-hour odyssey. My relaxing night became a few hours of pre-meeting sleep, and I was even delayed on the return.

After my business trip disaster, I checked in with the smartest travelers I know to get their flying tips. Here’s what they said.

Not booking your seat when you book your plane ticket. “Now, I always book my seats when I book my ticket. I forgot once and was seated in the back row—no incline, from the west to east coast for six very long hours. (During that trip, I also discovered people waiting in line for the bathroom don’t realize that their hovering invades personal space for those sitting on the aisle.” —Stacy Shoemaker Rauen, editor-in-chief, Hospitality Design Magazine

Dressing down for the flight. “Once, I traveled in torn jeans, flip-flops and a T-shirt to Aruba, where I had an important meeting with a client (who was not happy). My mission was to save the client. My luggage didn’t make it and my flight was delayed, so I had just enough time to go from the airport to the meeting in clothes that I would only wear for running errands. Needless to say, I didn’t save the account.” —Florence Quinn, founder, Quinn PR

Trusting your flight will have Wi-Fi. “I took a flight between two business hubs. I assumed the airline would offer Wi-Fi since the flight was not crossing an ocean. I didn’t bother to confirm and it turned out the flight did not have Internet. I was stuck on a five-hour flight with no Wi-Fi and my documents on the Cloud. Now I always check. If the flight won’t offer Internet connection, I download the files.” —Alex Zatarain, cofounder, Eight Sleep

Wearing uncomfortable shoes. “I’ve been doing more European travel and have discovered there can be a very long walk from the international terminal to the domestic terminal. I dealt with this recently at both the Frankfurt and Madrid airports. Racing for a flight in heels has been challenging, so I carry a pair of flip-flops to ensure I make my flights and protect my feet.” —Celia Rao Visconti, VP global marketing and e-commerce, Briggs & Riley

Forgetting to check your plans before you land. “I landed in Vegas after a long flight and was planning to go to my hotel to freshen up before meetings. I didn’t realize they were sending a car and the COO to pick me up. I desperately needed to clean up after a work dinner the night before and a 5 a.m. flight. Lesson learned: Know your plans before you land so you can be ready.” —Allie Hope, head of development and acquisitions, Virgin Hotels

Not bringing back-up cosmetics in your carry on. “I always pack a small freshen-up kit (baby wipes, toothbrush, deodorant, lipstick, mascara, powder) in my carry-on. A great tip if you are caught without anything when you land and need a pick-me-up? With a small purchase, most high-end beauty counters will freshen your face and make you feel presentation-ready in under 30 minutes.” —Alyssa Bushey, vice president, marketing, RockOrange

Not planning ahead to accommodate travel time from the airport. “When I’m traveling, I find it’s best to plan as much as possible ahead of time so once I land, I have stress-free travel to my appointment. I check the distance between the airport and my destination, taking into account my arrival time and the city’s traffic. I schedule a car to meet me at the airport and ensure I have a cushion of time.” —Troy Guard, chef/owner, TAG Restaurant Group

Forgetting to bring an extra tote. “I’m always collecting things on my travels, and when I’m packing up, sometimes I can’t shut my suitcase. Just in case, I keep one of those cheap shopping totes—a reusable 99 cent tote from Trader Joesstashed in the front pocket of my suitcase. That way, if I buy too many items and my luggage is overweight, I have a sturdy tote to cram it all into.” —Carey Reilly, lifestyle/travel expert and editor, Not So Skinny Mom

Booking an aisle seat. “While traveling on a company trip, I was given an aisle seat on a five-hour flight. I was next to a woman who I assumed was pregnant, because she got up at least 10 times for the bathroom. After inquiring, I found out she was not pregnant and had a bladder infection. The last two hours were uncomfortable. Now I make sure I book a window seat (and never assume someone is pregnant).” Jae Scott, motivational speaker and image consultant

Booking a window seat. “If I’m taking a long-haul flight, anything more than two hours really, I always book an aisle seat in advance. The window is so tempting for leaning against for an overnight flight, but if the person next to you is asleep, you are basically trapped there. I’m a frequent visitor to the bathroom—I hate not having easy access to it.” —Gretchen Thomas, wine and spirits director, Barteca Restaurant Group

Assuming you’ll get food on the plane. “I like to eat something light before so I’m not hungry during the flight. There’s a decent amount of good restaurants in airports now so it’s never too difficult to find something.” —Laurent Tourondel, owner of multiple restaurants, including the newly renovated and opened restaurant at The Betsy Hotel in South Miami Beach

Not getting a jump on jet lag. “For business travel with big time-zone changes, I try to book a flight that arrives in the late afternoon or early evening the day prior to my first appointment, sleep in spurts on the flight and consume tons of green tea. Then I hit the ground running and get to bed early. This formula works for me every time: short naps in flight + green tea + a run + early to bed = minimal jet lag.” —Tammy Peters, founder, Media Mixology

Suffering through coach (especially if you’re pregnant). “I was traveling for work while pregnant and booked a standard economy seat on the plane. We were delayed on the runway and I became extremely uncomfortable sitting in, what was for me, a cramped space. After that, I’ve always made sure to book at least economy comfort, even if it meant spending more.” Gabrielle Blitz Rosen, chief digital officer, Beautiful Destinations

Not planning ahead if you want to bring wine home. “If you want to bring home bottles of wine, you have to pack them in your suitcase. Bring some padded bottle sleeves that are resealable. They pack flat and can easily slide in your suitcase when you are not using them, but will protect bottles from breaking. If one does get damaged, the resealable bag will absorb liquid.” —Gretchen Thomas, wine and spirits director, Barteca Restaurant Group

Thinking the gate agent will be of help. “Skip the gate agent—especially if you’re an airline club member. The executive club concierge will understand your travel needs and will make sure all is taken care of in the most efficient manner. I’ve waited 45-plus minutes with a gate agent for an issue that took the ECC less than five.” —Howard Wein, founder, Howard Wein Hospitality and the Diplomat Restaurant Group at the new Diplomat Beach Resort

Illegal home builders put buyers at risk!

Press Release:

Tarion Warranty Corporation is recognizing Fraud Prevention Month with a strong warning to consumers that an illegally built home in Ontario may come with devastating consequences, including a home that may be unsafe to inhabit or a builder who, once paid, abandons the project altogether.

“When it comes to the largest investment of a family’s life, namely a newly built home, it pays to know that your builder has the technical and financial wherewithal to complete the job and that you have the protection of a warranty if anything goes wrong,” said Howard Bogach, Tarion’s president and CEO. “If builders are not registered with Tarion, they are building illegally and won’t provide warranty protection that is legally required in Ontario.”

Bogach emphasized that every builder in Ontario must be registered with Tarion and must enroll all newly built homes in the warranty program. It’s the law. And almost all municipalities across Ontario are supporting it by sharing their building permit information with Tarion. An additional 15 municipalities have partnered up with Tarion to educate consumers who opt to take out permits in their own names as opposed to using a builder licensed by Tarion.

Illegal builds are more than just a bad idea. They can be expensive for homeowners and builders alike. Last year, for example, Ontario provincial courts set down 117 convictions related to illegal building, and illegal builders paid almost $400,000 in fines for proceeding without proper registration, warranties, or permits. In 2016, one builder even went to jail.

Bogach expects this price tag to increase in 2018 because the fines themselves have increased. Beginning in 2018, builders found in violation of the law will face fines up to $50,000 – up from $25,000 – as well as imprisonment for one year, less a day (twice the previous jail time). Corporations building new homes will face the heaviest penalties with maximum fines of $250,000, up from the previous $100,000. Even directors and officers of these delinquent companies are subject to penalties up to $50,000.

For the homeowner, risks are also high. Unregistered builders do not necessarily comply with Ontario Building Code specifications and the new owner can fall victim to poor craftsmanship, including such dangerous and costly elements as electricity and plumbing. There is also the risk that an illegal builder will take a buyer’s deposit and then abandon the build.

In keeping with its mandate of consumer protection, Tarion advises prospective buyers of new homes to recognize the following signs that a builder may be operating illegally. Builders:

  • Say they built the house for themselves but then decided to sell it.
  • Say they offer their own warranty and the homeowner doesn’t need Tarion’s warranty.
  • Say the Tarion warranty is too costly (sometimes quoting $10k when in fact the maximum cost is $1800 plus taxes.)
  • Offer the consumer a brief contract or, worse, no contract at all.

About Tarion Warranty Corporation

For more than 40 years, Tarion has been enhancing confidence in the new home buying experience. Tarion is a private, not-for-profit corporation that administers the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, and backstops the warranty coverage. We set the standards for builder licensing and after-sales service and step in when your builder cannot or will not fulfill the warranty obligations. Since 1976, Ontario’s new home warranty program has registered close to two million homes and paid put hundreds of thousands of dollars in warranty claims. Our mandate is to serve the public interest, and is what guides us every day.

SOURCE Tarion Warranty Corporation

www.tarion.com

 

When your parents die broke

By Liz Weston

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Blogger John Schmoll’s father left a financial mess when he died: a house that was worth far less than the mortgage, credit card bills in excess of $20,000 and debt collector s who insisted the son was legally obligated to pay what his father owed.

Fortunately, Schmoll knew better.

“I’ve been working in financial services for two decades,” says Schmoll, an Omaha, Nebraska, resident who was a stockbroker before starting his site, Frugal Rules. “I knew that I wasn’t responsible.”

Baby boomers are expected to transfer trillions to their heirs in coming years. But many people will inherit little more than a pile of bills.

Nearly half of seniors die owning less than $10,000 in financial assets, according to a 2012 study for the National Bureau of Economic Research. Meanwhile, debt among older Americans is soaring. It used to be relatively unusual to have a mortgage or credit card debt in retirement. Now, 23 per cent of those older than 75 have mortgages, a four-fold increase since 1989, and 26 per cent have credit card debt, a 159 per cent increase, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest data from the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances .

If your parents are among those likely to die in debt, here’s what you need to know.

*YOU (PROBABLY) AREN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR DEBTS When people die, their debts don’t disappear. Those debts are now owed by their estates. Some estates don’t have enough assets (property, investments and cash) to pay all of the bills, so some of those bills just don’t get paid. Spouses may have the responsibility for certain debts, depending on state law, but survivors who aren’t spouses usually don’t have to pay what’s owed unless they co-signed for the debt or applied for credit together with the person who died.

What’s more, assets that pass directly to heirs often don’t have to be used to pay the estate’s debts. These assets can include “pay on death” bank accounts, life insurance policies, retirement plans and other accounts that name beneficiaries, as long as the beneficiary isn’t the estate.

“You take it and go home,” says Jennifer Sawday, an estate planning attorney in Long Beach, California.

*YOU NEED A LAWYER Some parents hope to avoid creditors or the costs of probate, which is the court process that typically follows a death, by adding a child’s name to a house deed or transferring the property entirely. Either of those moves can cause legal and tax consequences and should be discussed with a lawyer first. After a parent dies, the executor must follow state law in determining how limited funds are distributed and can be held personally responsible for mistakes. That makes consulting a lawyer a smart idea _ and the estate typically would pay the costs. (The costs of administering an estate are considered high-priority debts that are paid before other bills, such as credit cards.)

At his attorney’s advice, Schmoll sent letters to his dad’s creditors explaining the estate was insolvent, then formally closed the estate according to the probate laws of Montana, where his dad had lived.

A lawyer also can advise you how to proceed if a parent isn’t just insolvent, but also doesn’t have any assets at all. In that situation, there may not be a reason to open up a probate case and deal with collectors, Sawday says.

“Sometimes, I advise clients just to lay the person to rest and do nothing,” Sawday says. “Let a creditor handle it.”

*YOU NEED TO TAKE METICULOUS NOTES The financial lives of people in debt are often chaotic _ and sorting it all out can take time. As executor of his dad’s estate, Schmoll dealt with over a dozen collection agencies, utilities and lenders, often talking to multiple people about a single account. He kept a document where he tracked details such as the names of people he talked to, dates and times of the conversations, what was said and required follow-up actions as well as reference numbers for various accounts.

*YOU SHOULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT DEBT COLLECTORS TELL YOU Some collectors told Schmoll he had a moral obligation to pay his father’s debts, since the borrowed money might have been spent on the family. Schmoll knew they were trying to exploit his desire to do the right thing, and advises others in similar situations not to let debt collectors play on their emotions.

“Just don’t make a snap decision, because it’s very easy to say, ‘You know what? I need to think about it. Let me call you back,”’ Schmoll says.

_______

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet.

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