Canada: Latest acquisition, bringing the Landry & Mellow group into the Nicol family

December 6, 2019, OWEN SOUND, ON

Nicol Insurance Inc., with offices in Owen Sound, Wiarton, Port Elgin, Kincardine and Flesherton are pleased to announce that they have purchased Landry Mellow Insurance of Orangeville.

Tim Nicol, CEO Nicol Insurance Inc., said, “We’re very excited to bring the Landry & Mellow group into the Nicol family. Their history of building strong customer relationships and their commitment to the surrounding Orangeville communities made Landry & Mellow a natural fit for us. With this acquisition, Nicol Insurance moves closer to our vision of being an industry leader as both a community-minded and client-centric business.”

While steps to align the internal systems and operations will begin immediately, it will not affect current clients of Landry Mellow as it will continue to operate under the Landry Mellow name until it can be seamlessly merged into the Nicol Insurance brand.

Todd Landry of Landry Mellow said, “We are thrilled for what this means for our staff and clients.  With a strong focus on customer service, Nicol Insurance shares many of the same core values that have helped make Landry Mellow Insurance a successful small-town brokerage for the last 40 years. Nicol Insurance will also provide us with more products and expertise to help take the brokerage into the future.”

At this time, there are no plans to make any staffing changes as the merging of the two companies will result in very little overlap of responsibilities.

About Nicol Insurance Inc.

Since 1950, Nicol Insurance, a registered licensed insurance broker with the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario, has been helping clients identify their insurance needs and providing the best value in personal and commercial insurance. Today, with offices in Owen Sound, Wiarton, Port Elgin, Kincardine and Flesherton, Nicol Insurance is one of the largest insurance brokers in Grey and Bruce counties.

About Landry Mellow Insurance

Formed in the early ‘80s and incorporated in 1983. Landry Mellow Insurance has strong ties to the Orangeville community and surrounding areas with a solid reputation for having professional, knowledgeable insurance brokers and a reputation that has been earned with over 30 years of solid and reliable service.

Condo Insurance Premiums Are Spiking In Canada

The excerpted article was written by By Daniel Tencer | Huffington Post

TORONTO ― The cost of insuring a condo building is rising rapidly in Canada, and that could be bad news for owners’ resale values.

Faced with increased climate-related disasters and rising reconstruction costs, some insurers are backing out of the condo market, and that in turn is causing premiums for condo building insurance to spike.

Commercial insurance policies for condo buildings as a whole shouldn’t be confused with insurance policies for condo owners ― although those premiums are also on the rise.

British Columbia condo buildings are facing insurance premium hikes of between 50 per cent and 300 per cent, Condominium Homeowners Association executive director Tony Gioventu recently said.

On top of that, “deductibles are going from the conventional $10,000 or $25,000 to $100,000, $250,000 or $500,000,” Gioventu said in a Global News article.

One core reason is an increase in unexpected weather-related events that have caused insurance payouts to spike, explained Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“There are more and more severe weather events that are resulting in more insured losses, things from wildfires to flooding,” he told HuffPost Canada.

He noted that B.C. has experienced large wildfires, while the 2016 fire in Fort McMurray, Alta., was a “record-breaking event.” The Ottawa region has seen two floods and two tornadoes in the past two years.

Insurance payouts for severe weather jumped to between $1 billion and $2 billion in recent years, from around the $400-million range just five years ago, Karageorgos added.

The result is that some insurers are discontinuing condo coverage, meaning the remaining insurers can charge higher premiums ― which they are using to cover not only weather events but also increased repair costs.

A shortage of skilled labourers across the country is pushing up the cost of reconstruction projects. Materials costs are also rising, further raising the payouts insurers are on the hook for.

In one extreme example, a condo complex in Ottawa recently found its insurance premiums rising by 730 per cent because of wind and fire damage.

“Some people are suicidal,” condo board president Marie Weerasooriya-Epps told CBC News. “Some people are headed for nervous breakdowns.”

‘A downward spiral’

While not every case is as extreme, rising insurance costs can take a bite out of property values. In general, the rule is that condo values are the inverse of monthly fees ― the higher the fee, the lower the resale value.

And the worst-case scenario could indeed be bad. In a recent book, author Randy Lippert warned that condo corporations in Toronto and New York City are at risk of going bankrupt over rapidly rising costs. Lippert noted that condo fees have been rising faster than homebuyers’ incomes for years.

Because condo developers often promise unrealistically low condo fees when they launch projects, buyers often find themselves facing higher costs than they’d expected, and will sometimes allow buildings to fall into disrepair. That in turn increases costs in the long run, becoming a downward spiral for those buildings.

“I think there will be a number of condos where those fees will become unsustainable and people will want to get out, and there’s a point at which it (all) becomes unsustainable,” Lippert told HuffPost Canada earlier this year.

However, not all condo buildings are in poor financial shape, and buyers can still find reliable buildings to buy condos in, Lippert added.

 

Blue Cross Canassurance Forms a National Alliance With Blue Cross Life

NEWS PROVIDED BY

Blue Cross Canassurance

MONTREAL, Dec. 5, 2019 /CNW/ – The Canassurance Hospital Service Association (Blue Cross® Canassurance) and Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada will enter into a Canada-wide alliance as of January 2, 2020. Blue Cross Canassurance will become a shareholder of Blue Cross Life, in alignment with the other members of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans.

“Blue Cross Canassurance is very pleased to join Blue Cross Life together with the other Blue Cross member plans. This alliance will contribute to strengthening the collaboration between the various Blue Cross plans across Canada, thus reinforcing our ability to provide excellent products and services to our customers and business partners,” stated Sylvain Charbonneau, President and CEO of Blue Cross Canassurance.

The Blue Cross plans always favored working collaboratively to optimize their individual and shared strengths in order to offer customers solutions that support improved health and wellness. This important agreement will enable Blue Cross Canassurance to ensure that it meets the evolving needs of its customers.

“This alliance marks an important step in achieving our strategy of operating on a truly national level; it strengthens our business while improving our capacity to work with the Blue Cross plans throughout Canada,” stated Marie-Josée Martin, President and CEO of Blue Cross Life.

As this alliance is subject to approval by regulatory authorities, a submission has been filed with Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

About Blue Cross Canassurance

The Canassurance Hospital Service Association (Blue Cross Canassurance) contributed to introducing health and travel insurance to Quebec and Ontario. Founded over 75 years ago, the organization is built on solid foundation of excellence and continues to be the reference standard for individual insurance and assistance, thanks to services that continually adapt to the changing needs of its clients. It operates under the names Québec Blue Cross® and Ontario Blue Cross® and provides assistance through its subsidiary CanAssistance Inc.

About Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada

Blue Cross Life is a federally-licensed company with operations located in several provinces. The Company is owned by four shareholders, operating as Alberta Blue Cross, Saskatchewan Blue Cross, Manitoba Blue Cross, Medavie Blue Cross. It specializes in life and living benefits insurance to supplement the portfolio of health and dental products distributed by its shareholder Blue Cross plans.

The HomeKeepr software platform expands network members’ available services.

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Ontario is about to scrap out-of-country emergency health care coverage

Travelling to the U.S.? Here’s what you need to know

The Star Vancouver

When Toronto resident Jill Wykes had a health scare over a racing heartbeat in Florida a few years back, the $3,000 hospital bill for a two-hour visit and three tests added insult to illness.

Fortunately, the seasoned snowbird had a comprehensive travel health insurance policy that paid the full tab.

But the incident, which turned out to be nothing serious, served as a reminder that medical emergencies can happen any time, anywhere.

Buying enough travel insurance to cover all eventualities becomes even more important for Ontario residents when the province scraps its out-of-country coverage of emergency health care expenses on Jan.1.

Until Dec. 31, OHIP will continue to pay up to $400 per day for emergency in-patient services and up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient and doctor services. Starting next year though, that coverage stops.

A new program will provide kidney dialysis patients with $210 toward each treatment — actual prices in the U.S. range from $300 to $750 — but travellers will be on the hook for everything else.

The province says it’s cancelling the existing “inefficient” program because of the $2.8-million cost of administering $9 million in emergency medical coverage abroad each year. OHIP’s reimbursements also tended to offset only a fraction of the actual expenses.

Without private insurance, travellers can face “catastrophically large bills” for medical care, warns Ministry of Health spokesperson David Jensen, who “strongly encourages” people to purchase adequate coverage.

Health care south of the border, in particular, costs an arm and a leg. On average, fees in the U.S. are double those of other developed countries, according to the International Travel Insurance Group.

The insurance provider cites an array of costs, including: ambulance, $500 and up; ER visit, $150 to $3,000; hospital stay, $5,000 per day; MRI, $1,000 to $5,000; X-ray, $150 to $3,000; hip fracture, $13,000 to $40,000.

The monetary ouch factor can be especially painful for snowbirds, who are flocking to warm spots like Florida, Arizona and Texas in growing numbers as baby boomers reach retirement age.

But a significant number of vacationers of all ages are putting their financial health at risk.

According to a recent survey by InsuranceHotline.com, 34 per cent of Canadian respondents said they were unlikely to buy travel insurance, often in the mistaken belief their province would cover them. And 40 per cent had unrealistic expectations of health care costs, thinking, for example, that emergency medical evacuation would be under $2,000. In reality, the service can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Jill Wykes and her husband Pierre Lepage leave nothing to chance during winters in Sarasota, Fla., an annual trek since 2011 when she retired as a travel industry executive.

The couple, now in their 70s, purchase a multiple-trip plan with a 60-day top-up for their four-month sojourn, which includes driving there and back and flying home for two short visits. Her policy costs about $900 while his is $1,600, because he falls into an older age bracket. They’re each covered for up to $5 million.

Wykes, a blogger and editor of, snowbirdadvisor.ca, calls it “foolish” to travel anywhere without health insurance and advises against thinking “you would just drive or fly home if you were sick.” The financial fallout from an accident or sudden illness “can quickly rise into six figures” in the U.S., she adds.

Anne Marie Thomas of InsuranceHotline.com, which provides free quotes for all types of insurance, echoes Wykes’s advice.

“Now, more than ever, you need travel insurance because there will be zero coverage (as of Jan. 1),” she says.

There’s no one-size-fits-all policy and insurance can cover everything from trip cancellation or interruption to lost baggage and medical costs, Thomas explains, so it’s important to match your needs and situation. A sunseeker driving south, for instance, wouldn’t need trip cancellation.

Insurance offered in Elliot Lake for water-sewer problems

The excerpted article was written by Brent Sleightholm | Elliot Lake Today

For the second year running, the City of Elliot Lake has offered residents a way to be insured against water and sewer issues.

“The City of Elliot Lake has partnered with Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC) to offer protection to city homeowners with Service Line Warranties of Canada to offer protection to city homeowners for the water and sewer service lines that connect their homes to the city’s systems,” Elliot Lake CAO Daniel Gagnon, explained in an email.

“The coverage is voluntary and available at affordable monthly prices. Since 2015, SLWC has partnered with over 50 leading cities in Ontario to provide repair service plans that offer homeowners peace of mind and convenience,” said Gagnon.

“Many homeowners do not know that damage to the service lines on their property is their responsibility to repair. In the event of a service line repair emergency, the homeowner is responsible for scheduling the repair and covering the associated cost. The SLWC Service Line Warranty Program protects against repairs needed to pipes on homeowners’ property,” Gagnon added. “Repairs to these pipes are not often covered by basic homeowners insurance. If a customer’s service line is in need of repair, a simple call to the SLWC 24-hour hotline will dispatch a local, licensed contractor familiar with local code. There are no service fees or deductibles.”

“A recent mail-out was done by SLWC to homeowners in Elliot Lake and is completely voluntary. The city is not delivering the service but is simply facilitating the offer,” Gagnon concluded.

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