Navacord’s local touch expands by 18 offices in B.C. with Waypoint Insurance, the largest, independently owned brokerage on Vancouver Island

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The OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance appoints new Senior Deputy Ombudsman

The OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) announced today the appointment of Marjolaine Cantin to the newly created  role of Senior Deputy Ombudsman, effective immediately.

“This is great news for OLHI,” said Glenn O’Farrell, CEO and Ombudsman, OLHI. “With this appointment, OLHI moves forward with certainty as it strives to consistently improve the quality and caliber of its service to the life and health insurance marketplace.”

Marjolaine Cantin brings to this role highly regarded professional credentials and a very solid track record of management experience. Working with consumers, insurance companies and regulators at OLHI over the past few years, Marjolaine has demonstrated astute expertise, industrious diligence and premium ethical conduct.

In her new role, Marjolaine will report to Glenn O’Farrell, the recently appointed CEO and Ombudsman for OLHI. She will have overall responsibility and management of the OLHI complaints process consisting of assigning, managing and reviewing the work from the Complaints Analysts as well as reviewing the work of OLHI’s subject matter experts.

“I am grateful for this recognition which really honours me as a professional. OLHI is an organization that invests unwavering commitment to its mission to provide free, impartial, independent and prompt resolution of consumer complaints related to Life & Health insurance. I look forward to continuing to contribute to OLHI’s success with the support of our CEO and Ombudsman and the very talented and dedicated members of our team,” said Marjolaine Cantin, newly appointed Senior Deputy Ombudsman, OLHI.

A lawyer with nearly 25 years experience in the life and health insurance industry, Marjolaine brings a wealth of insurance law expertise along with a deep understanding of alternative dispute resolution. She has served in various industry positions including, Senior Litigation Consultant, compliance management roles and also acquired extensive experience in travel insurance.  Marjolaine studied law and graduated from Université Laval. In addition to being a member of the Quebec Bar she is also an accredited mediator with the Québec Bar and a certified Small Claims Mediator.

OLHI is a national, impartial and independent dispute resolution enterprise serving the life, health and employee benefits insurance marketplace. OLHI services are available free of charge to consumers across Canada.

Following its Annual General Meeting on September 19th, 2019, OLHI released its 2019 Annual Report, outlining a comprehensive overview of all the achievements, statistics and case studies from the past year. The reports can be downloaded at www.olhi.ca/news-publications/annual-report/ and www.oapcanada.ca/nouvelles-et-publications/comptes-rendus-annuels/.

About the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance
The OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) is Canada’s only independent complaint resolution service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance. Canadians trust us to review their insurance complaints about life, disability, employee health benefits, travel, and insurance investment products such as annuities and segregated funds. OLHI’s free bilingual services are available to any consumer whose insurance company is an OLHI member – and, currently, 99% of Canadian life and health insurers are. OLHI also offers general information online about life and health insurance. To ensure impartiality, OLHI’s operations are overseen by the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR). For more information, visit www.olhi.ca.

SOURCE OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance

Named Insured And Additional Insured: Same Policy, Different Coverage

In the recent decision, Sky Solar (Canada) Ltd. v. Economical Mutual Insurance Company, 2019 ONSC 4165, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice undertook a comprehensive overview of three fundamental concepts of insurance law, namely, the scope of coverage, forfeiture and the duty of good faith.

This decision is of interest to insurers, as it clarifies the coverage language contained in Additional Insured Endorsements in the context of commercial general liability insurance. Furthermore, it provides clear demarcation between reasonable and improper conduct by insurers when assessing coverage.

Facts

Sky Solar (Canada) Ltd. (Sky Solar) is a developer of solar energy projects. In April 2012, Sky Solar and Marnoch Electrical Services Inc. (Marnoch) entered into two contracts for the construction of solar energy projects in Brampton and Bolton, Ontario. Pursuant to these contracts, Marnoch agreed to provide specified insurance coverages to Sky Solar.

Firstbrook, Cassie & Anderson Limited (FCA), Marnoch’s insurance broker, issued certificates of insurance confirming that Economical Mutual Insurance Company (Economical) had issued a commercial general liability policy (Policy) in connection with the projects. The certificates of insurance issued to Marnoch named Sky Solar as an Additional Insured under the Policy. Marnoch provided these to Sky Solar concurrently.

The Policy included an Additional Insured Endorsement, which stated:

“[the insurance] applies to those stated as ‘Additional Insureds’, but only with respect to liability arising out of the operations of the Named Insured.”

A defective transformer caught fire at one of the solar project locations. Sky Solar investigated the fire and, in spite of its conclusions, continued to use the same transformer from the same manufacturer at both project locations.

In November and December 2012, Sky Solar sold the solar energy projects to Firelight Solar Limited Partnership (Firelight). However, months later, another transformer ignited. This second fire caused total shutdowns at both solar energy project locations. Firelight claimed remediation costs and loss of income against Sky Solar based on contractual warranties.

Sky Solar settled the warranty claims with Firelight. In exchange, Firelight reassigned the benefit of Marnoch’s contractual warranties to Sky Solar. In September 2013, Sky Solar commenced arbitration proceedings against Marnoch for all of its losses resulting from the fires. An arbitral award dismissed Sky Solar’s claim, and the Superior Court of Justice dismissed the appeal that followed.

Desperate to minimize its losses, Sky Solar commenced an action against Economical and FCA. For the purposes of this blog post, we draw particular attention to three issues involving Economical. First, whether Sky Solar’s liability to Firelight is liability arising out of the operations of Marnoch. Second, whether Sky Solar forfeited coverage by failing to comply with conditions set out in the Policy. And third, whether Economical breached a duty of good faith owed to Sky Solar.

Decision

Scope of coverage: The loss did not “arise out of the operations of” Marnoch

The Court stated that “there [was] insufficient proximity between the decision taken by Sky Solar to continue to use the transformer and the failure of the transformer […], on the one hand, and Marnoch’s operational actions to order and install the transformer, on the other hand” to conclude that Sky Solar’s liability to Firelight arose out of Marnoch’s operations.

Sky Solar argued that “arising out of the operations of the Named Insured” must be given a broad meaning. The Court accepted this assertion and further explained, with reference to case law, that the words “arising out of” have been interpreted to include such meanings as “originating from”, “growing out of”, “flowing from”, “incident to”, or “having connection with” (Waterloo (City) v. Economical Mutual Insurance Co, 2006 CarswellOnt 8451, at paras 30-31).

In addition, the Court noted the phrase “arising out of” in the Additional Insured Endorsement should be construed as requiring “an unbroken chain of causation” and a connection that is more than merely incidental or fortuitous (Vernon Vipers Hockey Club v. Canadian Recreation Excellence (Vernon) Corporation, 2012 BCCA 291, at paras 28-52).

This conclusion drew upon the following findings in the arbitral award:

  • Marnoch’s scope of work was limited to the installation of solar equipment;
  • Sky Solar designed the photovoltaic system, the wiring and the type of equipment to be installed;
  • Sky Solar turned to Marnoch for help in locating an appropriate replacement transformer after the first fire;
  • Sky Solar was left to decide exclusively whether or not to accept the replacement transformer;
  • Marnoch was not asked for its views on the suitability of the replacement transformer, nor did it have expertise or technical knowledge to assess the relative advantages of different transformers; and
  • Sky Solar confirmed its approval of the replacement transformer.

In the Court’s view, the decision respecting the transformers to be installed at the solar project location rested entirely on Sky Solar. In other words, Marnoch located an appropriate replacement transformer, but ultimately Sky Solar approved the replacement. This “broke” the chain of causation required by the Additional Insured Endorsement.

Forfeiture: Sky Solar forfeited coverage by failing to comply with the conditions of the Policy

While the Court concluded that the Additional Insured Endorsement did not cover Sky Solar, it agreed to comment on Economical’s forfeiture submissions. Put briefly, the Court held that Sky Solar did not comply with the conditions of the Policy.

Economical argued that regardless of whether Sky Solar had coverage under the Additional Insured Endorsement, Sky Solar did not comply with the Policy when it “admitted liability to Firelight, settled Firelight’s claim, and voluntarily paid Firelight amounts for remediation costs and loss of revenue without [Economical’s] consent”. Stated differently, Economical relied on the insured’s post-loss duties to communicate and cooperate with the insurer.

Sky Solar addressed this with four submissions. First, Sky Solar maintained that Economical could not rely on the conditions of the Policy because it was not set out in the certificates of insurance in Sky Solar’s possession. The Court rejected this interpretation of the law by stating that the certificate “is nothing more than evidence of coverage, but cannot and does not create a separate and different policy or impose new duties on the insurer”.

Second, Sky Solar denied that it failed to comply with the conditions because the Policy used the words “you” and “your” to refer to the “Named Insured”, being Marnoch, which had provided a notice of loss to Economical via FCA. The Court, again, rejected that interpretation. An Additional Insured is not relieved from its obligation to comply with the Policy. In any event, the notice requirement was only one of several conditions. Another hurdle remained; Sky Solar had settled a claim without Economical’s consent.

Third, Economical lost the right to rely on the conditions when it advised Sky Solar of its denial to defend and indemnify under the Additional Insured Endorsement. The Court flatly countered this submission because Sky Solar paid a settlement amount to Firelight before asking Economical to defend the claim. The insurer may lose certain rights under a policy when it refuses “to defend an insured in circumstances where the policy stipulates that a defence is required.” However, that was not the case here.

Fourth, Sky Solar argued that it was entitled to relief from forfeiture because the evidence demonstrated that Economical would deny coverage regardless of compliance with the conditions of the Policy. Furthermore, Sky Solar argued that it mitigated its damages by settling with Firelight, and thus Economical was in no way prejudiced. Unsatisfied with the evidence adduced by Sky Solar regarding the absence of prejudice, the Court ultimately reasoned that there was “non-compliance,” as opposed to “imperfect compliance” with the Policy; therefore, if there had been coverage under the Policy, Sky Solar would have forfeited such coverage.

Duty of good faith: Economical did not act in bad faith

Although Economical initially denied that Sky Solar was an Additional Insured, Economical quickly acknowledged Sky Solar’s status as an Additional Insured less than two weeks later. The Court found that this conduct did not amount to bad faith.

Additionally, the Court noted that denying coverage without appointing an adjuster or conducting an investigation into the second fire did not breach the duty of good faith owed to the insured. Economical had denied coverage on an objectively reasonable basis, specifically, on the basis that Sky Solar had approved the transformers—not Marnoch.

Lastly, Sky Solar maintained that Economical improperly attributed different coverage to Marnoch and itself despite their identical status as insureds under the Policy. While this may make sense theoretically, the Court disagreed because coverage would have been tailored to each customer’s individual risk exposure. The Additional Insured Endorsement had clear language to that effect.

Takeaway

This decision highlights the importance of reviewing insurance policies prior to their issuance when the obligation to obtain insurance for a construction project falls squarely on another party. Indeed, an organization should consider whether an Additional Insured Endorsement is satisfactory in light of its risk exposure. If not, the construction contract should explicitly require that the organization be a Named Insured instead of an Additional Insured.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world’s first polycentric global law firm. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways. Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business challenge. Now the world’s largest law firm, Dentons’ global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national and global needs of private and public clients of any size in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries. www.dentons.com

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. Specific Questions relating to this article should be addressed directly to the author.

Source: Mondaq

Most Canadians don’t know key details about their properties & that makes getting home insurance quotes inaccurate & annoying

A recent home insurance survey conducted by LowestRates.ca found that the majority of Canadians don’t know key details about their homes, meaning when it comes time to get home insurance, their initial quote might not match the final price.  This also means comparing prices to get the best rate is often time consuming and a pain.

The survey found that 59.24% of respondents do not know the replacement cost of their home — essentially, what it would cost to replace the structure they inhabit. Many homeowners mistake this as the price they paid for their home when they bought it or what they could sell their home for now.

The survey also found that 30% of Canadians don’t know what year their property was built, 43% don’t know what the square footage of their property is when including the basement and one in four don’t know how close the nearest fire station is to their home.

Knowing this information is crucial to getting an accurate home insurance quote.

“These results are pretty surprising,” says LowestRates.ca’s Co-Founder and CEO Justin Thouin. “Having the right information is crucial to getting an accurate home insurance quote, but more importantly, incorrect information can invalidate your home insurance.”

Respondents fared better in other areas of the survey: 81.11% of homeowners are aware of the kind of primary and secondary heating their homes use. But in all areas, there was a significant percentage of Canadians who weren’t aware of basic details of their homes.

LowestRates.ca has simplified the home insurance quoting process by introducing a brand new comparison tool that automatically pulls all this information for homeowners. The new quoter is now live in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and will go live in the rest of Canada in the coming months. Canadians can use the quoter to quickly and easily compare prices from leading brokers and insurance companies to find the best price.

“This will eliminate errors when it’s time to get home insurance,” says Thouin. “We’re thrilled to launch this brand new, innovative quoter, which will allow Canadians to quickly and easily compare home insurance quotes online so everyone can save money and get the right policy for their unique needs.”

The LowestRates.ca survey results show that the majority of homeowners, 75.44%, currently have home insurance, while just over half (50.36%) of homeowners have gotten a quote for home insurance during the past year. The survey asked how much time Canadians think it takes to get a home insurance quote — 40.76% of respondents reported they thought it takes ten minutes, while 20.43% believed it takes twenty minutes. The remaining responses are split down the middle: 19.40% of respondents reported that they thought it takes less than five minutes to get a home insurance quote, while 19.40% indicated that they thought it would take more than thirty minutes.

With the new LowestRates.ca home insurance quoter, however, it’s possible to get more than 15 quotes in just three minutes.

“We want to make sure that homeowners have the coverage they need to protect their homes, and to be aware of the costs associated with unexpected events,” said Thouin.

The LowestRates.ca home insurance survey was conducted from July to August 2019 and sampled 969 respondents across Canada.

About LowestRates.ca
LowestRates.ca is an online rate comparison site for insurance, mortgages, loans and credit card rates in Canada. The free, independent service connects directly with financial institutions and providers from all over North America to offer Canadians a comprehensive list of rates. LowestRates.ca’s mission is to help Canadians become more financially literate, with the goal of saving them $1-billion in interest and fees.

SOURCE LowestRates.ca

Manulife’s insurance app rewards healthy lifestyles, but also raises ‘health surveillance’ concerns

Making 10 per cent of Canadians less sedentary by 2020 would increase the national GDP by $1.6 billion, according to a study

BY Nicholas Sokic | Financial Post 

Elevators at Manulife Canada’s Toronto headquarters are now adorned with signage that reads, “the stairs go the same way.” It’s part of Manulife’s efforts to change sedentary lifestyles, as it rolls out its life insurance app to its employees and the rest of the country in partnership with Discovery Health, the South Africa-based subsidiary of the financial services group Discovery Ltd.

The Vitality app tracks your health based on several personalized physical and mental personalized assessments. Users can reach bronze, silver, gold or platinum ranking based on their own fitness goals, and win discounts and gift certificates for hotels.com, Amazon, Cineplex and Tim Horton’s, among others.

Manulife launched Vitality in the U.S. four years ago under its John Hancock Financial division, and on an individual basis in Canada in 2017. The group benefits version was launched for Manulife employees in July, which reported 50 per cent participation in its first month.

The Toronto-based insurer has now opened the group benefits program to other companies during a staggered rollout, and already counts Walmart Canada and Scotiabank as customers.

The Vitality app is used in more than 20 countries with 10 million participants. Manulife signed a global pledge with other life insurance companies to make 100 million people more active by 2025.

“About a year ago we decided to launch it in the benefits business so that’s been about developing the platform for the employer market and testing it,” said Donna Carbell, the head of group benefits at Manulife Canada.

Participation in the program is entirely optional and there are no consequences for choosing not to participate, the company notes.

“Customers can select the method, type and amount of information they share,” according to Manulife. “The information is used to encourage customer engagement with the program and reward customers for participating in healthy activities.”

Despite privacy and other concerns, getting people to move around is an uncontroversial goal. During a presentation, Manulife’s chief executive officer Mike Doughty stated that four chronic conditions — respiratory, cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes — are responsible for 60 per cent of all deaths worldwide and 85 per cent of Manulife’s group benefits claims.

The highly personalized nature of the assessments in the app result in a radically different fitness experience for each user, even accounting for pregnancy, Carbell said.

“I may be a very sedentary person who has a chronic condition and it will create a different program for me so I will achieve a gold status with a very different exercise and fitness regime than a marathon runner will,” said Carbell.

Manulife cited a study from the Conference Board of Canada saying that making 10 per cent of Canadians less sedentary by 2020 would increase the national GDP by $1.6 billion and reduce national healthcare costs by $2.6 billion.

RAND Europe, an independent research institute, conducted a study last November surveying 400,000 people in South Africa, the U.S. and the U.K. and found that people using the Vitality app in conjunction with Apple Watch saw an equivalent of 4.8 extra days — an increase of 34 per cent — of physical activity on average each month.

Still, there are some obvious apprehensions in handing over the minutiae of your health information to a third-party.

“There’s always concerns about privacy,” said Carbell. “Any info an employee keys into the system, which might be my waist circumference or body mass index, all of that is housed with Vitality. We don’t even have access to that.”

Instead, the monthly report that employers receive would only contain demographic data such as how many employees are actively using the app.

“They could, theoretically, sell the information to third-parties without any consent on the part of the subject. But (totally voluntary) means nothing,” says Ann Cavoukian, the executive director of the Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence at Ryerson University. “Most people probably haven’t even looked at who the information is shared with, what that consent means.”

Toronto-based John Wunderlich of the self-named privacy and security firm also thinks the situation is not so cut and dry.

“I think it’s hard for me to see what the value offering is for both employer and insurance provider if it isn’t employee health surveillance.”

While employee consent is required, “the pendulum is swinging” on how rigorous that consent may be, Wunderlich says. For those that don’t want to participate, the impact could be anything from increased stress or pressure to perform in an unnatural fashion.

This hypothetical situation is not beyond the pale either. Last year, a statewide West Virginia teacher’s strike was partially brought on due to the Go365, a heartrate- and step-tracking app. A US$500 hike in a teacher’s annual insurance deductible was the punishment for failing to reach a certain amount of points. The program was later abandoned.

However, Manulife counters that it’s “committed to respecting and protecting” customers’ personal information.

“We have organizational, physical and technical safeguards in place to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data entrusted to us,” the company said.

Mera Signs Cannabis Supply Agreement with German Distributor

Mera Cannabis Corp. (“Mera” or the “Company“), has entered into a binding and non-exclusive supply agreement (the “Supply Agreement“) with HM HerbaMedica GMBH (“HerbaMedica“), situated in Berlin, Germany, pursuant to which HerbaMedica has agreed to purchase up to 600 kg of dried cannabis per year from Mera for a term of two years, subject to certain increase rights.

As part of Mera’s international development strategy, its flagship facility in St. Thomas, Ontario has been designed to adhere to EU-GMP standards. As a result, Mera expects the majority of its outputs from its domestic facilities to be sold to growing international medical markets. With a population of over 83 million and wide-spread statutory health insurance, Germany is poised to be a European powerhouse for medical cannabis.

“With partners like HerbaMedica, Mera has the opportunity to capitalize on its experience and insights acquired through domestic operations and utilize that knowledge in the EU. This agreement marks a significant milestone for both parties and will help bridge the gap between supply and demand in Germany,” says Zubin Jasavala, Chief Executive Officer of Mera.

“We are excited to be one of the few businesses working with Canadian producers to bring Canadian medical cannabis products into Germany. Mera not only provides access to high quality product, but a long-term strategy for growth in the medical market in Germany and across Europe,” David Höhne, Chief Executive Officer of HerbaMedica.

The obligations of the parties pursuant to the Supply Agreement are conditional upon, among other things, each of the parties obtaining all necessary licenses and authorizations, including import/export permits and EU-GMP certification.

About Mera Cannabis Corp.

Mera is focused on producing consumer-driven, high-value cannabis products at its EU-GMP built cultivation and processing facility in St Thomas, Ontario. It has two additional facilities currently under Health Canada licensing review in St. Thomas (processing) and Kingsville, Ontario (up to 1.2M sq. ft. of greenhouse cultivation), where the Company’s efforts are focused on medical cannabis product innovation. Additionally, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mera operates CannaWay Clinic, a national network of clinics specializing in cannabis treatment programs. Mera has also signed a letter of intent with the Maltese economic development agency, Malta Enterprise, to initiate the development of a medical cannabis production facility in Malta as a primary entry point into European medical cannabis markets. For more information about Mera, please visit meracannabis.com.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation which are based upon the Company’s current internal expectations, estimates, projections, assumptions and beliefs and views of future events. Forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “expect”, “likely”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “intend”, “anticipate”, “potential”, “proposed”, “estimate” and other similar words, including negative and grammatical variations thereof, or statements that certain events or conditions “may”, “would” or “will” happen, or by discussions of strategy. Forward-looking information include estimates, plans, expectations, opinions, forecasts, projections, targets, guidance or other statements that are not statements of fact.

Any forward-looking information speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and, except as required by law, the Company does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for the Company to predict all such factors. Such factors (including, an inability of the parties to obtain the necessary authorizations and licenses or to otherwise meet the conditions precedent contained in the Supply Agreement) could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking information.

SOURCE Mera Cannabis Corp.

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