Insurance sticker shock for condo owners

Ross McLaughlin, CTV Vancouver

Condo owners are bracing themselves as strata councils try to renew insurance coverage.

“It’s going to be a shocker,” said Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C.

Some strata buildings are facing increases from 50 per cent more to three times as much as last year.

“We came across a development last week where the policy has increased from $300,000 to $1.2 million,” said Gioventu.

Property management companies are warning strata councils to be prepared, with one report of a building with an insurance premium increase of nearly 700 per cent.

Deductibles are also expected to increase anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 and beyond.

“The deductible will certainly be a devastating blow to the financial reserves of these communities or to the cost of individuals,” said Gioventu.

Impact on condo owners

Higher premiums will affect owners’ monthly strata fees – and homeowners could see a 20 per cent increase, or more.

Individual condo owners may also have to carry the full load of an insurance claim. Consider an instance where a condo owner gets distracted while filling the bathtub and it overflows, damaging several units below.

“It’s very possible individual owners are going to find themselves liable for these high deductibles if they’ve been responsible or the cause of these claims,” he said.

That could happen if the total damage is $140,000 for example on a policy with a $150,000 deductible. The strata may decide not to file a claim leaving the owner responsible for the damage on the hook.

And in the event that a strata does file a claim and there’s a high deductible, it will be spread among all condo owners. Gioventu urges many condo owners to buy homeowners insurance, which often covers strata deductibles. However, it’s difficult to find any insurance companies that offer homeowner’s insurance to cover strata deductibles above $50,000 for individual owners. So if any of your share of the strata deductible goes above the limit covered by your homeowner’s policy, you’d have to pay it out of pocket.

Who’s affected?

Not all condo buildings across the province will be affected in the same way. Some may see little or no increase. The hardest hit will be large expensive buildings, those that have had several claims in recent years and those strata councils that haven’t kept up with maintenance and repair, resulting in a higher risk of claims.

Why is it happening now?

“Some insurers are really re-evaluating their underwriting criteria and their risk appetite,” said Rob de Pruis, director of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

He’s says there are about 65 commercial insurers in B.C. and not all of them offer insurance to strata corporations.

Gioventu says B.C. has fewer companies offering strata insurance than in other provinces, reducing competition.

Also catastrophic events like B.C. wildfires and flooding hasn’t helped – but it’s not just events happening here that have an impact.

Climate change is considered a factor in several extreme weather events, like wildfires and flooding in California, hurricanes on the East Coast, and the major flooding Alberta experienced in the last decade.

The global impact of catastrophic coverage affects insurance rates in Canada too. Some Canadian companies buy that coverage from global insurers. It’s called re-insurance.

“And because of that, that may also factor in to the premiums for different corporations and commercial entities across Canada,” added de Pruis.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, years ago insurers would pay out about $500 million annually in Canada. In 2018 they paid out about $2 billion and that risk is being passed around.

“This really disperses the liability away from the corporation and down to the individual owners,” said Gioventu.

Source: CTV Vancouver News

LifeLabs releases open letter to customers following cyber-attack

TORONTO, Dec. 17, 2019 /CNW/ – LifeLabs is releasing the below open letter to its customers in Canada, following a recent cyber security-attack.

To our customers:

Through proactive surveillance, LifeLabs recently identified a cyber-attack that involved unauthorized access to our computer systems with customer information that could include name, address, email, login, passwords, date of birth, health card number and lab test results.

Personally, I want to say I am sorry that this happened. As we manage through this issue, my team and I remain focused on the best interests of our customers. You entrust us with important health information, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

We have taken several measures to protect our customer information, including:

  • Immediately engaging with world-class cyber security experts to isolate and secure the affected systems and determine the scope of the attack;
  • Further strengthening our systems to deter future incidents;
  • Retrieving the data by making a payment. We did this in collaboration with experts familiar with cyber-attacks and negotiations with cyber criminals;
  • Engaging with law enforcement, who are currently investigating the matter; and
  • Offering cyber security protection services to our customers, such as identity theft and fraud protection insurance.

I want to emphasize that at this time, our cyber security firms have advised that the risk to our customers in connection with this cyber-attack is low and that they have not seen any public disclosure of customer data as part of their investigations, including monitoring of the dark web and other online locations.

We have fixed the system issues related to the criminal activity and worked around the clock to put in place additional safeguards to protect your information. In the interest of transparency and as required by privacy regulations, we are making this announcement to notify all customers. There is information relating to approximately 15 million customers on the computer systems that were potentially accessed in this breach. The vast majority of these customers are in B.C. and Ontario, with relatively few customers in other locations. In the case of lab test results, our investigations to date of these systems indicate that there are 85,000 impacted customers from 2016 or earlier located in Ontario; we will be working to notify these customers directly. Our investigation to date indicates any instance of health card information was from 2016 or earlier.

While you are entitled to file a complaint with the privacy commissioners, we have already notified them of this attack and they are investigating the matter. We have also notified our government partners.

While we’ve been taking steps over the last several years to strengthen our cyber defenses, this has served as a reminder that we need to stay ahead of cybercrime which has become a pervasive issue around the world in all sectors.

Any customer who is concerned about this incident can receive one free year of protection that includes dark web monitoring and identity theft insurance. For more information and to learn more on how to sign up for cyber security protection services, please visit https://customernotice.lifelabs.com.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Brown

President and CEO
LifeLabs

Changes Coming to Out-of-Country Medical Coverage in 2020

Ontarians encouraged to take a closer look at their travel insurance

THORNHILL, ON, Dec. 16, 2019 /CNW/ – As the busy holiday travel season approaches, Orion Travel Insurance, a CAA-owned company, is urging Ontario travellers to take a closer look at their travel and medical insurance coverage. As of January 1st, OHIP will no longer cover any portion of out of country medical expenses.

“We know that 25 per cent of Ontarians travel without insurance and that’s the reason for concern. Medical emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere,” says Kellee Irwin, vice president, Orion Travel Insurance Company. “It’s critical that people are aware of the upcoming changes to OHIP. Knowing that they have coverage that meets their needs, whether it’s for a long international trip or a quick cross border trip, will give them peace of mind.”

Currently, OHIP offers a maximum of $400 a day for emergency in-patient services outside of Canada and an additional $50 a day for emergency outpatient services as well as doctor’s services, but this will end on December 31st.

Going forward, the provincial government will continue to cover $210 per treatment for kidney dialysis patients abroad, which can cost up to $750 a day in the United States. Any other medical coverage outside of the country will need to be paid by the traveller.

“Depending on the situation, medical bills and any associated emergency travel can be very costly for travellers, and can often cost more than the trip itself,” says Elliott Silverstein, director, government relations, CAA Insurance. “Even if you think you are covered under your credit card or your private insurance, now is the time to take a closer look at the fine print. Travelling protected means understanding what you are covered for.”

Questions to ask before you buy travel insurance

  • What are the eligibility and exclusions?
  • What is the pre-existing and stability clause?
  • What are the benefit limits?
  • How many days am I covered?
  • Is there a deductible?
  • Do they offer upfront payment if a claim occurs?

Orion Travel Insurance is urging travellers to be aware of their up-to-date medical history and to be honest about any pre-existing conditions.

“Many people are under the false impression that they won’t have insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions,” says Silverstein. “Medical conditions won’t disqualify you, they will just help to ensure you have the right coverage, so be clear and honest when shopping around for insurance.”

To learn more about the basics of travel insurance coverage go to:  https://www.oriontravelinsurance.ca/en/the-carry-on-blog/travel-insurance-education-series.aspx

About Orion Travel Insurance Company

Orion Travel Insurance, a CAA company, protects over 500 000 Canadians a year. Orion was incorporated in 2013 and underwrites in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Orion is known for its exceptional claims service and strives to protect travellers and their loved ones wherever their travels may take them.

SOURCE Orion Travel Insurance

More Than Half of Tech Leaders in Canada Plan to Expand Teams in 2020

More Than Half of Tech Leaders in Canada Plan to Expand Teams in 2020

Toronto, ON — Technology recruitment in Canada will grow in the first half of the new year, but hiring challenges persist, suggests a new survey from staffing firm Robert Half Technology. According to the latest State of Tech Hiring research from Robert Half, 54 per cent of IT decision makers anticipate expanding their team in the next six months. Almost all (95 per cent) tech leaders surveyed are confident in their company’s prospects for growth in the first half of 2020.

Respondents cited the following technical skills as immediately needed for their organizations:

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Cloud (computing, security, architecture)
  3. Business intelligence and reporting services
  4. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation (Oracle/PeopleSoft, SAP)
  5. DevOps

Nearly all IT managers polled (96 per cent) said they plan to bring on interim professionals. Of those, 60 per cent say hiring consultants is part of their overall hiring strategy and 55 per cent will look to temporary staff if a role becomes vacant and isn’t filled quickly.

View an infographic of national hiring plans.

Below, technology leaders ranked their strategic and staffing priorities for the first half of 2020:

Strategic

Staffing

  1. Maintaining security and safeguarding company information
  1. Training and upskilling current talent
  1. Automating processes to increase productivity and reduce costs
  1. Attracting new talent
  1. Digital transformation projects/initiatives
  1. Retention of my existing team

“Top tech candidates are receiving multiple job offers simultaneously, which means IT leaders need to make quick hiring decisions or risk losing skilled talent to competitors ― an adaptive and efficient process is key,” said Deborah Bottineau, district president of Robert Half Technology. “To avoid prolonged vacancies, managers should consider bringing on project-based tech professionals who can help keep productivity up in the interim and prevent heavier workloads from overwhelming the rest of the team.”

“With the rising need for professionals with cybersecurity, cloud and business intelligence skills, tech leaders need to make sure they’re providing an attractive overall package to skilled applicants,” added Bottineau. “In addition to offering competitive compensation and benefits, fostering a strong organizational culture that promotes professional development goes a long way for companies looking to boost recruitment and retention of in-demand IT workers.”

About the Research 
The online survey was developed by Robert Half Technology and conducted by a leading independent research firm. The biannual report is based on responses from more than 270 IT decision makers in Canada. Respondents were screened to have hiring authority for the information systems or information technology department of a company.

About Robert Half Technology
With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at roberthalf.ca/technology. Visitors can also request a copy of the Robert Half Technology 2020 Salary Guide.

Want daily and weekly breaking insurance news, company news, financial reports, road safety, recipes, and more?

Sign up for our free daily or weekly newsletter at www.ilstv.com under subscribe to our newsletter.

CapriCMW has made a substantial equity investment in Rogers Insurance

Andrew Kemp and Lee Rogers are pleased to announce that CapriCMW has made a substantial equity investment in Rogers Insurance, and is now one of their largest shareholders.

CapriCMW and Rogers Insurance have been working closely together for over 15 years within the Canadian Broker Network (CBN) and this is the next stage of the CBN’s new business plan to achieve scale and additional capabilities by aligning the two companies even more.

Rogers and CapriCMW have many of the qualities we most value in common including:

  • Wide employee share ownership
  • Recognition as top employers
  • Business models that attract and retain talent for the long term
  • Creating customer value through independent employee ownership
  • Achieving significant returns for employee shareholders through organic growth and acquisitions

The partnership brings the two organizations even closer together as they collaborate to achieve scale and deeper relationships with insurers in alignment with the CBN mission – becoming the dominant platform in Canada to precipitate the success of independent brokerages.

“We are very excited to be formalizing this strategic relationship with Rogers Insurance,” said Andrew. “As CBN members, we have been collaborating for years, sharing best practices, resources and expertise to deliver innovative products, services and solutions to our clients across Canada. We believe this alliance is a natural fit, as both companies share a commitment to independence and employee ownership, as well as similar cultures that put our people first. We look forward to working together for many more years.”

“For the 70 employee-shareholders of Rogers Insurance as well as our other employees, our insurer partners and all of our clients, this partnership strengthens our firm in many ways,” said Lee. “We are very proud to be associated with CapriCMW.”

About CapriCMW

CapriCMW is a uniquely independent, locally and employee-owned company with strong roots in BC, created through the merger of CMW and Capri Insurance. With decades of experience and specialized expertise, CapriCMW advisors provide custom insurance and risk management solutions to personal and business clients across BC and Canada. With over 400 professionals in 14 offices, CapriCMW offers a wide range of professional expertise spanning a multitude of industries, products and services.

About Rogers Insurance

Rogers Insurance Ltd. is based in Calgary, AB with nine offices across the country and over 400 employees. One of the largest independent brokerages in Canada, Rogers provides commercial, home and auto, life and benefits, and high net worth insurance services. Rogers is employee-owned and proud to be the most award-winning brokerage in Canada. Rogers is also a member of the Canadian Broker Network (CBN) and Intersure, giving it affiliated offices across Canada, the US, and Mexico.

For inquiries, please contact:

Andrew D. Kemp
President
CapriCMW

akemp@capricmw.ca
604-484-0204

Lee Rogers
President
Rogers Insurance

lrogers@rogersinsurance.ca
403-296-2471

 

38% of Canadian Professionals Will Shop Online From Work This Holiday Season

38% of Canadian Professionals Will Shop Online From Work This Holiday Season

Toronto, ON — Online shopping has afforded consumers the luxury of shopping around the clock, but how many professionals take advantage by shopping on the clock during the holidays? Nearly two in five Canadian employees (38 per cent) will be “workshopping” — shopping online from the office or when using corporate devices — according to a new survey from staffing firm Robert Half Technology. Of those respondents, 21 per cent admitted that looking for cyber deals hinders their on-the-job productivity.

Even though 76 per cent of technology leaders said their firm allows for it, more than half (55 per cent) prefer employees avoid shopping online during business hours or while using a company device. Security risks (62 per cent) and loss of productivity (30 per cent) are the top “workshopping” concerns among tech managers. 

“Between planning for the holidays, fitting in social obligations and wrapping up major projects, year-end can be a stressful time for workers,” said Deborah Bottineau, district director for Robert Half Technology. “Online shopping during the workday can be a helpful way to manage to-do lists and alleviate some of the pressures of the season.”

“Tech leaders should anticipate an increase in online shopping this time of year and make a proactive effort to refresh and communicate IT security policies with their teams,” added Bottineau. “Ensuring employees limit their browsing time and understand safe online practices can mitigate potential risks to the organization and help staff stay productive both at and outside of work.”

Additional findings:

  • Workers ages 18 to 34 (47 per cent) are the most likely to “workshop,” compared to 38 per cent of workers ages 35 to 54 and 17 per cent of workers 55 and older.
  • Forty-four per cent of all “workshoppers” say they’ll spend under 30 minutes per week shopping from work during the holiday season, while 38 per cent will spend up to an hour per week “workshopping.”
  • Thirty-nine per cent say they like to “workshop” just about any day; 22 per cent say Cyber Monday is their favourite day to “workshop,” followed by Amazon Prime Day (16 per cent).

About the Research
The online surveys were developed by Robert Half Technology and conducted by independent research firms. They include responses from more than 500 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments and more than 270 IT decision makers in Canada.

About Robert Half Technology
With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at roberthalf.ca/technology

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