Cyber Attacks Becoming More Common Says Insurance Specialist

Written by Zack Drake | Discover Moose Jaw

Technology is advancing at a faster rate every single day, and with the advancements in technology comes a greater risk of being the victim of a cyber attack.

Cyber attacks can render your personal computer or an entire business completely out of operation.

Greg Marcyniuk is with Heritage Insurance and gave some scary statistics on cyber attacks.

“You have a higher chance of having a cyber attack, which is a 1 in 4 chance now and it keeps increasing than receiving a customer complaint. There is a cyber-attack every 36 seconds or 4000 a day in North America.”

Marcyniuk detailed what could happen if your business was attacked through a local example.

“Your business is basically shut down. Your accounts receivable is out, no access to your clients, we’re talking serious situations. This is an actual situation, fortunately, the person was able to retrieve their data by getting an intrinsic computer specialist to come in., He had to pay a fair amount of money which I cannot disclose and he was down for two days. He’s was a lucky person.”

Marcyniuk added that with proper insurance a person can protect themselves from even the worst kinds of attacks.

Canadian diagnosed with brain tumour in Thailand has travel insurance declined

The excerpted article was written by Sean Davidson CTV News Toronto

TORONTO — A Canadian man diagnosed with a massive brain tumour while travelling in Thailand is fighting to get home after his travel insurance was declined because he told doctors he had a headache while suffering from the flu over a month ago.

Kitchener resident Alex Witmer and his wife Jennifer Witmer, who had been living in Moncton for the last five years, quit their jobs earlier this year and went on a six-week trip to Thailand before planning to relocate to Toronto.

The couple was about a month into their trip when the 30-year-old began suffering from a severe migraine.

“He got a migraine that didn’t go away,” Jennifer Witmer told CTV News Toronto from a hospital in the southern Thailand island of Koh Samui on Monday. “It just got bad.”

Jennifer Witmer said they went to the hospital and were expecting to be given pain medication for the migraine. But after doctors completed scans they were told he had “massive tumour deep inside his brain” that was cancerous.

“My husband was extremely healthy, he was an international athlete. He has never had any issues.”

Alex Witmer was immediately given medication to reduce the pressure inside his brain that was causing the severe headache, but was told he needs to have brain surgery, chemotherapy and radiation as soon as possible.

The couple was then told the medication to reduce the pressure inside Alex’s head will only work for a few days and it would only be safe for him to fly home during that time.

“We have travel insurance, so we opened a claim and there was no issue we just got the go ahead yesterday. They were sending an air ambulance,” she said.

“A few hours later they called back and said they received his medical records and it showed he checked into an emergency room in Moncton a month ago and had symptoms of the flu. He reported a mild headache and because he said that they cancelled our claim based off having a pre-existing condition.”

“I don’t even remember him reporting a headache. I thought he just said he was vomiting, it didn’t even register to me. When the insurance company told me about the emergency room visit I said ‘Oh, well that was for the flu’ but they said ‘he reported a headache.'”

“They offered to still send an air ambulance service and quoted me $265,000 but that’s obviously not an option.”

“We are right now waiting for them to call and give the final word on our claim but they have been telling me it doesn’t look good.”

“The longer we wait, the higher the risk becomes.”

The couple is now searching for other safe options to get Alex home, including flying on a commercial flight accompanied by a medical team. If they can’t find a better option before the pressure in his head returns, he’ll be forced to have the surgery in Bangkok.

“It’s just cruel. Our neurosurgeon here said his flu symptoms are not pre-existing conditions. It’s insane they are flagging this.”

“Right now we are trying to find private companies that can transfer him home for less money,” she said . “We have amazing friends and family that are doing everything they can to get us home.”

She said her husband is awake but has been mostly sleeping because of the medication he is taking.

CTV News Toronto has reached out to the insurance company, Allianz, and is awaiting their response.

On their website, Allianz defines a pre-existing condition as “an injury, illness or medical condition that caused someone to seek treatment, presented symptoms, or required medication.”

“This may have taken place anytime within 120 days prior to and including the plan’s purchase date.”

“Note that you don’t even need an official medical diagnosis from a physician for something to be considered a pre-existing condition.”

A GoFundMe page has been organized to help raise funds for Alex Witmer’s care and has received more than $50,000 in one day.

 

How to avoid a massive holiday health care bill when OHIP out-of-country coverage ends

The excerpted article was written by Solarina Ho CTV News

TORONTO — If you are an Ontario resident planning to travel outside of Canada over the holidays and will be out of the country after Jan. 1, make sure you have adequate travel health insurance coverage or risk dealing with a crippling medical bill should a medical emergency arise.

The Ontario government’s decision earlier this year to scrap its “inefficient” out-of-country health insurance coverage takes effect January 1, 2020. This means Ontarians who end up requiring major inpatient emergency care, for example, can no longer claim the $400-a-day maximum that OHIP currently provides and the $50-a-day maximum allowed for emergency outpatient services, such as an MRI or a CAT scan.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the decision in May following a public consultation, pointing to the inefficiency of the province spending $2.8 million administering $9 million claims each year.

The existing OHIP coverage is quite minimal given the cost of medical care abroad, said Robin Ingle, chief executive of travel insurance firm MSH Ingle International, especially in countries such as the United States, the most popular destination for Canadians.

“Today they cover about five per cent of your global health bill,” Ingle told CTV’s Your Morning, noting that the province used to cover some 80 per cent of a traveller’s out-of-country medical bill. The province was forced to change its coverage in 1991 due to the cost of the U.S. healthcare system.

A hospital stay in the U.S. could cost $5,000 a night, said Ingle. An MRI typically costs US$1,000 to US$5,000, an X-ray can range from US$150 to US$3,000.

Some locations might require a cash payment up front or refuse treatment altogether without proof you can pay or have adequate coverage.

“There was a recent example of a Canadian who was in Thailand, fell off a ladder, was stuck in the hospital because the family didn’t have travel insurance,” Ingle said Monday.

“The bill starts ramping up, and if you need an air evacuation, it’s not just the hospital bed cost. An air evacuation back to Canada from Thailand would be about US$150,000; from the Southern U.S., it would be about US$20,000.”

Ingle argued the new set-up will actually be better in the long run and expects other provinces will follow Ontario’s lead.

“As an insurer, for example, it’s a major hassle for us to actually get compensation back from the provincial government. So you might get a little bit of a rate increase now, but you will have it go down over time, because the processes will be simpler for the travel insurer,” he said.

Patients living with kidney failure will continue to have the same partial coverage for out-of-country dialysis care under a new program.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

You can ask about travel insurance through your credit card company, your employer’s insurance provider, a broker, or a travel agent, for example. Shop and compare insurance plans, and make sure you understand any requirements, conditions, and exclusions. Ask questions, such as:

• What does it cover? Does it include hospitalization while abroad?

• Ask specifically for the kind of products that you will need.

• What is the deductible, if any?

• How comprehensive is the plan? Are there coverage limitations or exclusions for certain destinations?

• Is the coverage renewable while you are out of the country?

• Who pays the bills upfront?

Regardless of your destination, the federal government recommends that your insurance covers the following:

• Medical evacuation to Canada or the nearest place with appropriate care, as well as the cost of a medical escort.

• Your pre-existing condition and have it in writing. Find out how your insurer defines “pre-existing condition” and what the limitations and restrictions are, and make sure the agreement covers a compassion clause and change of health clause.

• Preparation of your remains and repatriation to Canada in case of death.

CAA Saskatchewan passes along safety tips for the holidays

CAA Saskatchewan passes along safety tips for the holidays

News Release:

Whether you’re staying home or going away for the holiday season, CAA Saskatchewan wants residents to remember some safety tips.

Home for the Holidays Safety Tips: 

  • Ensure artificial Christmas trees are “fire resistant” and that live trees are always fresh and moist. Set up live and artificial trees away from fireplaces, heaters, and other heat sources.
  • Inspect holiday lights for broken, frayed or loose connections and throw out damaged sets. Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house. Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into ground fault circuit interrupters.
  • Keep decorations away from lights, candles, heaters, fireplaces, etc. Place candles in non-combustible containers and never leave burning candles unattended.
  • As you buy your gifts, it’s a safe idea to keep packaging of high-priced items out of sight. Don’t give burglars a shopping list of what they might find in your home. Keep watch for any suspicious behaviour in your neighbourhood and report any questionable observations to the proper authorities.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children. Do not leave cooking or baking unattended.
  • Have the chimney and furnace professionally cleaned and inspected. Ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working.

Away from Home for the Holidays Safety Tips:

  • Suspend newspaper delivery. Arrange for someone to pick up your mail or contact the service to store it until your return.
  • Show discretion on social media, never letting folks know you are away from home.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are locked. For sliding doors, use specially designed bars or locks to prevent the door from being lifted out of its track.
  • Use timers for lights and possibly the TV or radio.
  • Turn off your water supply or have someone enter the home and check on things daily to ensure the pipes are not frozen. (This is a requirement of most insurance policies during the winter months).
  • Ask a neighbour to shovel snow around your driveway and sidewalks. Encourage neighbours to use your driveway so it looks like someone is coming and going on a regular basis.
  • Leave blinds or curtains in normal position – don’t close them completely.
  • Consider installing security bars on basement windows especially those shielded from view or in the back of the house.
  • Close and lock the garage door. Keep your vehicle locked, especially if it has an electric garage door opener.  If you notice signs of forced entry when you return home, do not go inside. Call the police from a neighbour’s home.
  • Make sure your home insurance is up to date and that it will provide coverage for your belongings. Advise your insurance broker of any changes required for major purchases or renovations.

Jetting away for the Holidays Safety Tips:

  • Check your booked flights frequently. Flight cancellations and delays are likely during peak periods. Also check your flight status prior to driving to the airport.
  • Know your airline’s cancellation policy. Some airlines may be waiving fees and issuing changes due to possible rebooking policies.
  • Monitor weather conditions – both for the departure and destination cities.
  • Don’t forget your travel insurance.
  • Make sure your passport is up to date and is valid for time required by the country or countries visited.  Make photocopies of your passport, credit cards, etc. and leave a copy at home with family or friends and keep a photocopy with you along with the originals stored in a separate location.
  • Pack any medications in their original containers and store in your carry-on bags.
  • Weigh your packed luggage to avoid additional airline charges.
  • Booked with CAA Travel? Stay connected with your local CAA Travel consultant for assistance.
  • Know your Air Passenger Rights. Learn more at caask.ca/airtravellers

Road Trip Holiday Safety Tips:

  • Check weather and road conditions before you travel. Allow extra time to reach your destination safely. Be prepared to reduce your speed and drive with caution.
  • Remember, slow to 60 km/h on Saskatchewan highways for working tow truck operators and emergency responders.
  • Check your vehicle’s battery. Extreme weather weakens the battery and may require charging.
  • Make sure the block heater cord is not frayed. Always plug in at minus 15 degrees Celsius.
  • Remove ice and snow from your vehicle for clear visibility.
  • Pack a roadside kit including extra outdoor clothing, footwear, a mobile phone with charger (for emergency use only or for CAA Roadside Assistance), non-perishable food, drinking water, a shovel, window ice scraper and brush, plus booster cables. Roadside assistance kits are available at all CAA Stores or online.
  • Keep a full tank or at minimum a half tank of fuel. This helps reduce moisture in the gas tank plus it adds weight to your vehicle.
  • Check the tire pressure regularly. The right pressure is important for traction and fuel efficiency. CAA recommends a good set of winter tires as the rubber compound in winter tires allows for better traction and control.

Lax regulations mean automakers can ‘bury’ reports of vehicle fires, says advocate

The excerpted article was written by Yvonne Colbert · CBC News

When Alan Bassett picked up his new 2018 GMC Sierra from a dealership in Alberta on July 19, 2018, he had no idea it would be a flaming heap of metal less than 30 minutes later.

“I heard a pop and my wife, who was driving ahead of me, pulled off [the road] and shouted, “Get Out! You’re on fire!” Bassett said. He then pulled over and “watched it burn to the ground.”

Bassett, who lives in Turner Valley, Alta., said the fire first appeared under the hood on the driver’s side and engulfed the vehicle within three minutes.

“I couldn’t believe that something I had paid fifty-some thousand dollars for 30 minutes ago was going up in smoke,” he said.

Bassett filed an insurance claim and a week after the fire, GMC told his insurance company to cancel the claim. The automaker made a deal to replace the truck and took it to investigate, but Bassett doesn’t know what that investigation revealed.

Transport Canada is the federal government department responsible for vehicle safety. Manufacturers are not obligated to report incidents involving vehicles they manufacture. However, they are required to inform the department and the vehicle owner “when they become aware of a defect that may affect the safe operation of a motor vehicle.”

George Iny with the Automobile Protection Association (APA), a national consumer advocacy organization, is worried some automakers make consumer complaints “disappear” by not logging them. He said this keeps the manufacturer blind to patterns that would reveal safety risks they’re required to address.

“We can do much better than the situation APA sees today, in which some automakers bury safety-related complaints by not recording them properly and not reporting them to Transport Canada, and misinform other consumers who experience the same problem,” said Iny.

Iny pointed to Mercedes-Benz, the Smart car’s manufacturer, who told several owners of burnt Smart vehicles that their experience was unique. Iny said the fires were not reported to Transport Canada by Mercedes-Benz, but the APA and CBC News had reports of six vehicles damaged or destroyed by fire.

In October, CBC reported on a New Brunswick man whose 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 caught fire when he was driving it and exploded in flames within minutes of him jumping out.

On Aug. 22, mechanic Jonathan Gillingham was driving his 2015 GMC Yukon XL in downtown Fort McMurray, Alta., when he smelled something and pulled over.

“As soon as I came to a stop, I could see the smoke billowing out of the hood,” he said. “As soon as I opened the door and looked under the vehicle, I saw light coming from the engine bay, so I knew there was a fire.”

Gillingham said three other drivers rushed to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers, but it did “absolutely nothing, which as a mechanic tells me it’s fuel-related in some fashion.”

On Aug. 22, 2019, Jonathan Gillingham was driving his 2015 GMC Yukon XL in Fort McMurray, Alta., when he smelled something and pulled over and got out. The truck was engulfed in flames within three minutes, he told CBC News. 0:13

He said flames shot out of the back window and within three minutes, the truck was engulfed. In 10 minutes, there was nothing left but the vehicle’s frame.

Gillingham said the truck is his wife’s vehicle that she uses to transport their three kids. He doesn’t know if she would have pulled over after smelling something.

“Would it have been a minute later, two minutes later? And if so, how much time would she have had to get my children unstrapped and out of the backseat before there were flames coming out the back window?” he said.

After the fire, Gillingham said he called GMC for six to seven weeks, leaving multiple messages each week. He finally got a response on Oct. 7 from an official telling him the cause of the fire couldn’t be determined. The matter was settled through insurance and Gillingham is frustrated the company didn’t provide additional compensation.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE: 

 

Brown & Brown, Inc. Enters into Agreement to Acquire Special Risk Insurance Managers, Ltd.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — J. Scott Penny, Chief Acquisitions Officer of Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE:BRO), and Mark Woodall and Tom Willie, the principals of Special Risk Insurance Managers, Ltd. (“Special Risk”), today announced that Brown & Brown Programs (CA), Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Special Risk.  The transaction is expected to close effective January 1, 2020, subject to certain closing conditions.

Founded in 1991, Special Risk has grown to a preeminent player in the MGA industry in Canada, recognized as MGA of the Year in 2018.  The acquisition of Special Risk is a strategic step forward for Brown & Brown in establishing a presence in the Canadian insurance brokerage market.  Special Risk will operate as a part of Brown & Brown National Programs, which, under the leadership of Chris Walker, consists of over sixty specialty niche programs and collectively represents over $3 billion in written premium.  Special Risk will become a distinct operating division in the National Programs Division alongside specialist operations such as Arrowhead General Insurance Agency and Bellingham Underwriters.  Mark Woodall will continue to lead the Special Risk team and will be part of the leadership team of the National Programs Division, reporting to Chris Walker.  Tom Willie will continue to the lead the underwriting team of Special Risk.

Chris Walker, President of Brown & Brown National Programs stated, “We are delighted to bring Mark, Tom and their exceptional team of professionals to our operation. We are excited about the opportunities in Canada and believe with Special Risk we now have the talent, reputation and platform to succeed.”

Mark Woodall stated, “I see this partnership as an exceptional marketing advantage going forward for Special Risk.  Brown & Brown will bring us new major insurer opportunities, enhanced Lloyd’s relationships and new and innovative products to offer our retail broker network.  We are very excited about our future within Brown & Brown National Programs.”

Brown & Brown, Inc. is a leading insurance brokerage firm, providing risk management solutions to individuals and businesses. With Brown & Brown’s 80 years of proven success and thousands of teammates, we offer knowledge you can trust and strive to deliver superior customer service.  For more information, please visit bbinsurance.com.

This press release may contain certain statements relating to future results which are forward-looking statements, including those associated with this acquisition. These statements are not historical facts, but instead represent only Brown & Brown’s current belief regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of Brown & Brown’s control. It is possible that Brown & Brown’s actual results and financial condition may differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results and financial condition indicated in these forward-looking statements. Further information concerning Brown & Brown and its business, including factors that potentially could materially affect Brown & Brown’s financial results and condition, as well as its other achievements, is contained in Brown & Brown’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such factors include those factors relevant to Brown & Brown’s consummation and integration of the announced acquisition, including any matters analyzed in the due diligence process, and material adverse changes in the business and financial condition of the seller, the buyer, or both, and their respective customers. All forward-looking statements made herein are made only as of the date of this release, and Brown & Brown does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or correct any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that subsequently occur or of which Brown & Brown hereafter becomes aware.

R. Andrew Watts
Chief Financial Officer
(386) 239-5770

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest