Home owners insurance: Are you Covered?

Ottawa Business Journal 

Generally, most home owners have purchased home owners insurance. But, many often don’t read the fine print and rely on their insurance brokers to ensure that they have the proper coverage.

The Supreme Court of Canada defined the duty of insurance brokers in 1977 in Fine’s Flowers Ltd. v General Accident Assurance Co. of Canada. According to the Court, an insurance broker must exercise a reasonable degree of skill and care to obtain policies in the terms requested by the customer, service those policies as circumstances might require, and advise the customer if they are unable to obtain the policies requested so that the customer may take such further steps to protect himself/herself. Specifically, where the customer adequately describes their insurance needs to the broker, then the onus is on the broker to review the insurance needs of the customer and provide the full coverage requested. In that instance, should an uninsured loss occur, the broker will be liable unless he/she has pointed out the gaps in coverage to the customer and advised the customer on how to protect against those gaps.

But, this does not mean that the broker has an obligation to review each and every exclusion clause with the homeowner. It’s imperative that the home owner determine their own insurance needs and review the exclusion clauses within their home owners’ insurance policy to ensure that they take the steps necessary to prevent that exclusion. For example, many home owners’ insurance policies exclude any loss or damage caused by freezing during the usual heating season within a heated portion of the home if the home owner (and their family) has been away from their home for more than 4 consecutive days. The home owner can, however, negate this exclusion if, for example, they arranged for a competent person to enter their home each day that they were away to ensure that the heating was being maintained. Alternatively, the exclusion can be negated if the heating and plumbing systems are connected to a monitoring alarm station providing 24-hour service or if the water supply is shut off and all the pipes and domestic water containers are drained.

Additionally, home owners’ insurance policies sometimes exclude any loss or damage that occurs after the home has, to the insured’s knowledge, been vacant for more than 30 consecutive days. The definition of “vacant” will vary depending on the applicable policy.

These type of exclusions are not only important for those that relocate south during the winter months, but those that travel for a few weeks’ vacation, or perhaps even for a long weekend.

The specific exclusions and ways to negate the exclusions vary based on the insurance policy and the insurer, so it is very important to read your specific policy and see what applies to you and your home. Your insurance broker need only point out the gaps in your home insurance if you specifically advise of the broker of your insurance needs. Saying that you want “full coverage” will not necessary suffice.

Victoria Boddy is an Associate with the law firm of Howard Yegendorf & Associates.  Victoria can be reached at 613-237-5000 ext. 240 or vboddy@yegendorf.com. For more information about Victoria, please visit www.yegendorf.com.

Disclaimer and Cautionary Note

The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice or establish a lawyer-client relationship with the authors or BrazeauSeller.LLP. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained from a qualified lawyer.

Eligible educators: you can now claim your school supplies!

Eligible educators: you can now claim your school supplies!

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is reminding teachers that they can now claim a refundable tax credit to offset the cost of supplies they purchase for their classrooms.

In a message posted to its website yesterday, the CRA noted that teachers may start claiming the new Eligible Educator School Supply Tax Credit this year. This 15% refundable tax credit is available on up to $1,000 of educational supplies purchased per year.

Who is eligible?

You can only claim this tax credit if you are a teacher or early childhood educator employed at an elementary or secondary school or a regulated child care facility:

  • You must have a teacher’s certificate that is valid in the province or territory where you are employed; or
  • You must have a certificate or diploma in early childhood education that is recognized in the province or territory where you are employed.

What kinds of teaching supplies are eligible?

For your supplies to be eligible for this credit, they must be:

  • purchased in the taxation year by an eligible educator;
  • used in a school or in a regulated child care facility for teaching or helping students learn;
  • not reimbursable and not subject to an allowance or other form of assistance (unless the reimbursement, allowance or assistance is included in the income of the teacher or educator and not deductible); and
  • not deducted or used in calculating a deduction from any person’s income for any taxation year.

Some examples of eligible supplies include:

  • construction paper;
  • flashcards;
  • items for science experiments;
  • art supplies;
  • various writing materials
  • games and puzzles;
  • books for the classroom; and
  • educational support software.

If you claim this tax credit, the CRA may ask you to provide a certification from your employer attesting to the eligible supplies expense. You should request the certification from your employer in a timely manner and keep it in your files, along with your receipts, in case the CRA requests.

Source; Canada Revenue Agency

 

No Negligence Where Customer Trips on Overlapping Mats

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dismissing a trip and fall lawsuit where a customer fell on over-lapping mats at a grocery store.

In the recent case (Biason v. Loblaws, Inc) the Plaintiff tripped and fell injuring herself while she walked on overlapping floor mats.  She argued that it was negligent for the store to have these mats overlap each other.  The Court noted that counsel could not point to other cases addressing such a fact pattern but ultimately found there was no negligence.  In dismissing the claim Madam Justice Baker provided the following reasons:

[29]         Mr. Patton testified that he was unaware of any previous incident involving a customer tripping over overlapped mats.  Although there was no direct evidence about the depth of the mats, from the description given, and the appearance of the mats on the recording, they were neither deep nor “plushy”.  The front end of the third mat that overlapped a portion of the rear end of the second mat was not wrinkled or buckled or folded back or lifting up in any unusual fashion.  Part of one mat was simply lying on top of part of another mat.

[30]         There is no evidence that there had been previous accidents due to overlapping mats – the evidence is to the contrary.  There is no evidence that the overlapping of mats was a recognized hazard in the industry.  Other customers had been walking over the mats without incident on the day that Ms. Biason tripped and fell…

[35]         I have read and considered all the other authorities provided by counsel.  Taking the authorities and all of the evidence into account, I have concluded that the plaintiff has failed to establish, on the balance of probabilities, that the placement of the mats in the defendant’s store constituted a failure on the part of the defendant to take reasonable care to ensure that the premises were reasonably safe.  The defendant placed the mats in the entryway to protect customers from a readily apparent and recognizable risk – the risk of slips and fall due to wet floors.  I am of the view that it was not reasonably foreseeable that a customer would fail to lift his or her feet sufficiently while walking to avoid tripping on the edge of one of the mats, even if those mats were slightly overlapping.

[36]         Having found no breach of the standard of care, and therefore no liability on the defendant’s part, Ms. Biason’s action must be dismissed.

Cayman Captive Insurance Industry Builds Its Presence in Canada

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Cayman Islands captive insurance industry continues to build its position within the Canadian market as they head to the 2016 Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) Canada Conference which is being held in Calgary 11–14 September 2016.

A team of experienced and respected members from the key Cayman-based insurance managers, law and audit firms and investment and banking institutions will be explaining the benefits of doing business in Cayman. With more than 600 delegates expected to attend RIMS this year, it is an ideal opportunity for Cayman to reinforce its status within the Captive Insurance arena.

The Insurance Managers Association of Cayman (IMAC) Chairperson Kieran O’Mahony commented, “Canada is a key market for Cayman Islands captives. With the 2011 tax information exchange agreement between the two countries, the strength of our legislative and regulatory infrastructure, and the extensive experience and expertise of our local service providers, Cayman offers Canadian companies a product that is well-tested and efficient. Our business cultures are similar and our laws are Common Law based, and with a number of Canadian captives already domiciled in Cayman we are excited to have this opportunity to continue the trend and to explore these synergies further.”

In keeping with tradition, the Cayman Islands will be hosting a Cayman Style Beach Party networking event the evening of Tuesday September 13th that conference delegates will not want to miss. For further details on the event, and to RSVP, please contact Neville Hicks at neville.hicks@fivecontinents.ky or William Forsythe at william.forsythe@caymancaptive.ky.

Insurance Managers Association of Cayman (IMAC) is a non-profit organisation run by the insurance managers of the Cayman Islands. In operation since 1981, IMAC’s aim is to act as both regulatory liaison with the Cayman Islands Government and to promote the Cayman Islands as a domicile of choice for captive insurance companies.

For more information on IMAC visit www.caymancaptive.ky.

Contacts

Insurance Managers Association of Cayman
William Forsythe, +1-345-949-4622
william.forsythe@caymancaptive.ky

Severe summer storms in the Southern Prairies cause over $66 million in insured damage

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that severe storms that swept through the Southern Prairies during the third week of July resulted in over $66 million in insured damage according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

From July 18 – 20, a low pressure system caused heavy rainfall, large hail, high winds, tornadoes, and extreme lightning across the southern regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. This system caused significant hail damage in Medicine Hat, AB and caused tornadoes in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This storm also saw winds of up to 107 km/h in the City of Winnipeg. Outlying areas west of Winnipeg reported winds upwards of 122 km/h.

“This summer has brought storm after storm to the Prairie provinces,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC. “As the traditional storm season begins to wind down, Canadians should take this opportunity to review their insurance policies, make sure they’re adequately covered, and implement a plan for when bad weather strikes.”

Most damage was reported to have occurred in Alberta. Damage to homes and autos in that province, largely due to hail, resulted in close to $52 million in claims. This storm follows a previous system that hit Alberta and Saskatchewan a week earlier which resulted in nearly $65 million in insured damage.

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 120,000 Canadians, pays $8.2 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

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

About CatIQ
Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) delivers detailed analytical and meteorological information on Canadian natural and man-made catastrophes. Through its online subscription-based platform, CatIQ combines comprehensive insured loss indices and other related information to better serve the needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries, public sector and other stakeholders. To learn more, visit www.catiq.com.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Manulife announces Linda Mantia as Chief Operating Officer

Manulife today announced that Linda Mantia will join Manulife as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective October 3, 2016.  Ms. Mantia will be a member of the Executive Committee and the global leadership team, and she will lead approximately 7,100 people around the world.

Manulife appoints Linda Mantia as Chief Operating Officer (CNW Group/Manulife Financial Corporation)

Manulife appoints Linda Mantia as Chief Operating Officer (Manulife Financial Corporation)

Ms. Mantia will provide leadership to many of Manulife’s essential group functions, ranging from strategy creation to execution, on a global basis, ensuring they deliver strong and consistent value, expertise and thought leadership to Manulife’s and John Hancock’sbusinesses around the world.  She will play a critical role in defining corporate strategy, policies, standards, and processes, and will also drive and oversee Manulife’s innovation portfolio.

“Linda is a collaborative, innovative and transformative leader, with deep roots in digital disruption and a passion for delivering exceptional customer experiences,” said Donald Guloien President and Chief Executive Officer at Manulife. “The proven track record of success she has built throughout her career is not only directly relevant to the COO role, but also aligns closely to our customer-centric strategy.”

Paul Rooney, who currently serves as COO, has made the decision to leave the company.  He has agreed to stay until the end of December and work with Ms. Mantia to ensure a smooth transition.  Mr. Rooney joined the company in 1986 as an actuarial student, and held a wide variety of increasingly senior positions which developed him into one of Manulife’s top leaders.  He was instrumental in a number of recent strategic transactions undertaken by Manulife, including the Standard Life and New York Life Retirement Plan Services acquisitions and the Standard Chartered and DBS partnerships.

Most recently, Ms. Mantia served as Executive Vice President of Digital, Payments and Cards at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC),Canada’s biggest lender.  She was responsible for RBC’s award-winning credit card business, as well as the bank’s mobile and online banking platforms.  Before joining RBC, Ms. Mantia worked at global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., and prior to that, she practiced corporate securities law at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP.  She holds a law degree from Queen’s Law School inCanada.

About Manulife
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group providing forward-thinking solutions to help people with their big financial decisions.  We operate as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere.  We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions.  At the end of 2015, we had approximately 34,000 employees, 63,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving 20 million customers.  At the end ofJune 2016, we had $934 billion (US$718 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made more than $25.4 billion in benefits, interest and other payments to our customers.  Our principal operations are in Asia, Canadaand the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years.  With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong.  Follow Manulife on Twitter @ManulifeNews or visit www.manulife.com or www.johnhancock.com.

SOURCE Manulife Financial Corporation

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