More Canadians are worrying about the economy and over half are cutting discretionary spending

 TORONTO, June 29, 2020 /CNW/ – COVID-19’s impact on the economy is causing many Canadians to worry about the future: 79 per cent of respondents in CIBC’s Financial Priorities Poll say they are concerned about continued recessionary times next year, compared to 55 per cent who said they feared an economic downturn in a December 2019 survey.

Economic worries may be a factor in why many Canadians are adjusting their financial habits.

Many respondents (63 per cent) say they have significantly cut down on discretionary spending and more than half (55 per cent) agree they need to get a better handle on their finances this year.

“It’s understandable that Canadians are worried about the economy and are feeling uncertain about the impact on their ambitions, but this is a time when good financial advice conversations are most valuable, including assessing your overall situation, looking at opportunities to improve cash flow, and adjusting your financial plan if necessary,” said Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Group Head, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC. “It’s a positive sign that many Canadians are taking a responsible approach to the situation by making changes to their spending and working to limit unnecessary debt. Good cash flow management now can help you through the current situation, and over the longer term free up funds to divert towards savings or other goals.”

The survey also found that 46 per cent of Canadians say the economic impact of the pandemic has adversely affected their finances and a similar number (47 per cent) feel it will take more than a year to get their personal finances back on track. Canadians are prioritizing building an emergency fund in 2020, citing this as a top goal for the remainder of the year, followed by steering clear of adding on debt. Of the 22 per cent of respondents who’ve had to borrow more in the past 12 months, the number one reason was for day-to-day items (38 per cent) followed by a loss of income (28 per cent).

“The impact of the pandemic will be felt by Canadians for some time. While we have a long way to go to get back to a normal economy, taking charge of your finances now with a savings and debt management plan is an important step towards putting your personal finances back on track,” added Ms. Dottori-Attanasio.

The survey also found:

  • Top financial goals for the remainder of 2020 are: generally saving as much as possible (37 per cent), and avoiding taking on more debt (36 per cent)
  • Close to three-fourths of Canadians (74 per cent) say the uncertainty of the current environment makes it difficult to plan ahead, and over half (54 per cent) are generally worried about their financial future
  • The number of people who say they’ve taken on more debt is lower (22 per cent) than in December 2019 (28 per cent). Among those who have taken on more debt, 38 per cent say they did so to cover day-to-day expenses or due to loss of income (28 per cent) and job loss (18 per cent, +9 per cent from December 2019)
  • Regionally, the poll found differences in how Canadians are tightening their wallets. Residents in the Prairies say they are cutting discretionary spending the most, led by 76 per cent of those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and 69 per cent of Albertans, compared to the national average of 63 per cent
  • At 58 per cent, taking on more debt to pay for day-to-day items was the highest in British Columbia, 20 per cent higher than the national average of 38 per cent

Disclaimer

From June 8th to June 9th 2020 an online survey of 1,517 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 10 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network, and locations across Canada, in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at www.cibc.com/en/about-cibc/media-centre.html.

SOURCE CIBC

www.cibc.com

Economical Insurance encourages policyholders to check their eligibility during demutualization

WATERLOO, ONJune 29, 2020 /CNW/ – Economical Insurance has set out to reach more than 630,000 eligible policyholders across Canada to ensure participation in the company’s demutualization process.

While the date of Economical’s planned demutualization has yet to be determined, the company is making progress on its plans to convert from a mutual company to a publicly-traded share company. Policyholders who are eligible to participate but have not registered online are likely unaware of their potential financial benefits.

With a focus on connecting with as many eligible policyholders as possible, Economical is boosting awareness for this unique opportunity through targeted social media advertisements, stories, and content throughout the summer.

The campaign will encourage past and present policyholders of Economical Insurance to visit joininourfuture.com to determine whether they are eligible, and if so, to activate an online account and register for future demutualization updates. For customers who held a policy for the 12-month period ending on November 3, 2015, eligibility may apply for one-time financial benefits in the form of cash or shares once Economical becomes a publicly-traded company, owned by shareholders.

By using a geographically targeted social media campaign, Economical aims to reach tens of thousands of their policyholders in an efficient way that allows for broad visibility with a minimal environmental impact.

“We want to encourage our customers who have had either a personal or commercial insurance policy in the given timeframe to check their eligibility to receive financial benefits as part of our planned demutualization,” said Rowan Saunders, President and CEO at Economical Insurance.

Economical is the first Canadian property and casualty insurance company to pursue demutualization under these regulations.

“At a time when many Canadians are under financial pressure, this campaign is timed to ensure as many eligible policyholders as possible are aware of their potential financial benefits,” said David Bradfield, Vice-President, Marketing and Communication at Economical Insurance. “Encouraging more policyholders to register will also facilitate the process associated with our future Special Meeting, where more than 630,000 Canadians will have an opportunity to vote to approve our demutualization.”

Am I eligible for financial benefits?

Current and former customers who held a policy for the 12-month period ending on November 3, 2015 may be eligible to receive such a financial benefit. Customers can confirm eligibility on joininourfuture.com. This simple confirmation process requires customers to input their policy number and postal code from 2015.

Once registered on joininourfuture.com, eligible policyholders will be able to participate in the demutualization process, including voting at the Special Meeting to approve demutualization through their account. A date for this upcoming meeting is yet to be set. Eligible policyholders who register will also be able to see a personalized estimate range of demutualization benefits.

Helping Canadian communities

Economical has previously announced that its demutualization will establish a new charitable foundation that will receive $100 million from the proceeds of a successful demutualization. The foundation’s mission will be to honour Economical policyholders and employees, past and present, by working to have the greatest impact in Canadian communities.

Timeline for receiving financial benefits

Eligible customers can expect to receive financial benefits at the time of Economical’s proposed initial public offering (IPO). Economical is continuously evaluating market conditions, company performance, and other relevant factors that may impact the timing and success of an IPO and, by extension, the remaining steps in the demutualization process.

For more information, visit joininourfuture.com. For assistance with specific questions and direct support with verifying eligibility for the financial benefit, call 1-866-302-6046.

About Economical Insurance

Economical Mutual Insurance Company (“Economical” or “Economical Insurance”, which includes its subsidiaries or affiliates where the context so requires) is a leading property and casualty insurer in Canada, with approximately $2.6 billion in annualized gross written premiums and over $5.8 billion in assets as at March 31, 2020. Economical is a Canadian-owned and operated company that services the insurance needs of more than one million customers.

SOURCE Economical Insurance

www.economicalinsurance.com

Great West subsidiary buying Personal Capital in deal worth at least US$825M

WINNIPEG _ A subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc. has signed a deal to buy U.S. investment manager Personal Capital in a deal worth at least US$825 million.

Under the agreement, Empower Retirement will pay US$825 million, plus up to an additional US$175 million subject to the achievement of target growth objectives.

Great-West says Personal Capital is a hybrid wealth manager that combines a digital experience with personalized advice delivered by people.

The company says the deal will combine Empower retirement plan services and financial tools with Personal Capital’s digitally oriented personal wealth management platform.

IGM Financial Inc., a sister company to Great-West, holds a stake in Personal Capital and says it expects US$176.6 million in proceeds from the deal, plus up to an additional $24.6 million in possible additional payments.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2020, subject to required regulatory approvals.

 

Desjardins to give $100M back to its Canadian auto insurance clients

MONTREAL, June 29, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Today, Desjardins’s property & casualty insurance subsidiaries announced they would be issuing $100 million in premium refunds to their Canadian auto insurance clients. The refunds are for eligible personal and commercial insurance clients, who will receive a refund between 25 per cent and 40 per cent of the premium they pay for one month, depending on their market realities. The refund will apply to policies for eligible personal and commercial vehicles.

All told, 2.1 million clients will automatically receive the refund through their usual payment method, so they don’t need to do anything.

More people are working from home than ever before. Combined with the extended lockdown, this means that travel has been limited and car accident risks have been reduced. Fewer accidents mean fewer claims to pay out, so Desjardins has decided to reflect this reality by issuing this refund to its clients.

“Even though we’re beginning to reopen our provinces and cities, the pandemic will continue to affect our members and clients. We’re proud to say that we’re still here for them in these unprecedented times. Right now, we’re able to give $100 million back to our auto insurance clients. This is just one of the many ways that Desjardins has helped its members and clients deal with COVID-19 since March 16,” said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group.

Today’s announcement follows an initial refund of close to $50 million to auto insurance clients, bringing the total close to $150 million.

About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $326.9 billion. It has been rated one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has some of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

https://www.desjardins.com/

IBC Congratulates Ontario Government On Announcement to Increase Oversight of Towing Industry

TORONTO, June 29, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, the Ontario government announced the creation of a new task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry. The task force will help develop a regulatory model to increase safety and enforcement, clarify protections for consumers and improve towing industry standards. It will also consider tougher penalties for offenders.

“IBC applauds the Ontario government for taking action against criminal activity and violence in the towing industry,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “Insurance fraud is a safety issue for consumers. Lives can be put at risk as a result of these criminal actions. Insurance fraud costs Canadians in higher insurance premiums, and strains our already burdened health care services, emergency services and court systems,” added Donaldson.

The task force will review a number of topics related to the towing industry, which could include provincial oversight of safety, consumer protection, improved industry standards, training and background checks.

As part of the review, the task force may consider opportunities for increased protections for consumers against the first-to-scene unethical business practices that lead to accident chasing, insurance savings through a crackdown on insurance fraud rings, and improved consumer choice for payments and repairs. The province is also reviewing ways to clear accidents faster from the roadside, which would minimize lane reductions and reduce congestion on Ontario highways.

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 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @IBC_Ontario or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

www.ibc.ca

COVID-19: Cross-border travellers angered they’re paying annual travel insurance

COVID-19: Cross-border travellers angered they’re paying annual travel insurance

The excerpted article was written by  

Some travellers are questioning why they are still paying for travel insurance when the Canada-U.S. border remains closed to all non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gail Bourne travels to the United States at least twice a year. The Vancouver resident says she bought an annual travel insurance policy with BCAA for $845.21 for coverage between Nov. 9, 2019 and Nov. 9, 2020. However, when the borders shut down this past March, her travel plans were put on hold.

“I just thought it was unfair that I’m paying for something I can’t do,” Bourne said.

Bourne has been a BCAA member for 51 years. She says she reached out to BCAA to cancel her insurance or at least extend her current policy but says she was initially denied.

“I felt slighted. I had been a faithful customer for all these years and they wouldn’t do anything for me,” she said.

Consumer Matters reached out to BCAA on Bourne’s behalf. BCAA told Global News under normal circumstances once a customer uses their annual policy to travel there is no refund, but also acknowledged these are not normal times and states it’s looking at these situations on a case-by-case basis.

Bourne says within days of Consumer Matters reaching out,  BCAA agreed to give her a partial refund of more than $400 with her policy still in effect until November 2020.

North Vancouver resident John Rowlands didn’t have the same success when it came to getting a refund for his wife’s travel insurance. She has  MEDOC travel insurance, an annual 17-day base travel plan with Johnson Insurance. Her premium is $913 with monthly deductions of $75.31 a month. The policy states it cannot be cancelled until the end of the policy year.

“What are we paying for? It’s supposed to be for travel insurance and yet it means nothing,” he said.

When contacted by Consumer Matters, Johnson Insurance stated:

“Our annual base plans have a fixed one-year term and are designed to cover multiple trips, allowing customers to take advantage of trip cancellation, trip interruption and medical coverage throughout the year. Clients with specific questions about their policy should contact us directly.”

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), which represents life and health insurance providers, says typically an annual travel plan covers an individual for any travel taken over 12 months. In most cases, a policyholder may cancel an annual plan as long as there has been no travel taken in that period.

However, once travel occurs, the plan can’t be cancelled because the plan works by spreading the insured’s risk over the term of the plan. Still, many insurers it says have offered to extend coverage on annual plans during the pandemic.

Once the border opens to non-essential travel, the CLHIA recommends the following for travel outside of Canada:

  • Check with insurer to see if your current workplace travel insurance, or the policy offered by the insurer includes treatment related to COVID-19 outside Canada
  • Know the entry requirements for the country (eg. 14-day quarantine, COVID-19 tests)
  • Ensure travel insurance coverage for entire duration of trip
  • Consider purchasing “cancel for any reason” trip cancellation insurance for maximum flexibility

Source: Global News

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