There are cases where buying travel insurance might leave you bereft of coverage. Here are a few examples.

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Beazley Canada strengthens its cyber risk team

Specialist insurer Beazley has appointed Miki Ho as cyber risk underwriter. Based in the company’s Toronto office, Mr Ho’s focus will be on developing Beazley’s portfolio of cyber liability and technology risks for large enterprises in Canada.

Mr Ho joins Beazley from Allianz where he was a senior underwriter for cyber and professional liability risks, following previous underwriting and broking roles with a portfolio of clients in the financial institutions sector.

Paul Bantick, Beazley’s Technology, Media & Business focus group leader says: “We are excited by the opportunities we see to support Canadian businesses against the risks of cyber liability and data breach. With the cyber and technology risk landscapes changing rapidly and the number of data breaches unabated, the demand for cyber insurance products is growing strongly. With Miki having joined our team, we are well placed to take advance of this growing demand and the opportunities that exist in the Canadian market.”

Phil Baker, head of Beazley Canada, adds: “Beazley is a market-leading provider of cyber liability, technology errors & omissions, and miscellaneous professional liability coverage, with a global team structured to deliver local solutions. Miki will play a pivotal role in delivering those local solutions to brokers and clients in Canada.”

Note to editors:

Beazley plc is the parent company of specialist insurance businesses with operations in Europe, the US, Canada, Latin AmericaAsia and Australia. Beazley manages six Lloyd’s syndicates and, in 2016, underwrote gross premiums worldwide of $2,195.6 million. All Lloyd’s syndicates are rated A by A.M. Best.

Beazley’s underwriters in the United States focus on writing a range of specialist insurance products. In the admitted market, coverage is provided by Beazley Insurance Company, Inc., an A.M. Best A rated carrier licensed in all 50 states. In the surplus lines market, coverage is provided by the Beazley syndicates at Lloyd’s.

Beazley is a market leader in many of its chosen lines, which include professional indemnity, property, marine, reinsurance, accident and life, and political risks and contingency business.

For more information please go to: www.beazley.com

SOURCE Beazley

The Great ShakeOut, an international earthquake preparedness drill is coming

In exactly one month, the Great ShakeOut, an international earthquake preparedness drill, will take place. The many millions taking part in the Great ShakeOut will Drop, Cover and Hold On, three steps that could save lives the day the earth does shake.

Once again this year, the Association de sécurité civile du Québec (ASCQ) and Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) are promoting la Grande Secousse (Great ShakeOut) and are encouraging Quebecers to register and participate in large numbers in this drill, which will take just a minute of their time, but make all the difference in case of a quake.

The risks are very real

Why prepare yourself for a quake if you live in Quebec? Because each year, Eastern Canada averages about 450 quakes, and Quebec is no exception. It is therefore very important to develop good reflexes now so that you know what to do right away when a large quake hits.

IBC, which has made earthquake awareness one of its priorities, is inviting the public to register for the Great Quebec ShakeOut and practice the three steps recommended to protect oneself, at home, at work or at school.

“In 1988, a quake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale struck the Saguenay region, causing damage all the way to Montreal. Fortunately, there were no victims. But if such a quake were to hit today in a more densely populated region, the lack of preparedness could have dramatic consequences on people’s lives”, noted Pierre Babinsky, Director, Public Affairs at Insurance Bureau of Canada.

As event organizer, the Association de sécurité civile du Québec (ASCQ) would like the Great Quebec ShakeOut exercise to be recognized by all, just like annual evacuation drills.

“As well as informing the population about what to do if a quake hits, we also hope that the drill makes citizens more aware about public safety and encourages them to be prepared in case of a disaster. Are we ready to deal with an exceptional situation?”, said Mrs. Louise Bradette, President of ASCQ, and Director of Public Safety and Chief Resilience Officer at the city of Montreal.

This year, for the 5th edition of the event in Quebec, schools, individuals and organizations that register before October 19 could win one of the fabulous prizes in the draw to be held on October 23, 2017.

Click here to see the Grande Secousse promotional video (in French only).

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada, which groups the majority Canada’s P&C insurers, offers various services to consumers in order to inform and assist them when purchasing car or home insurance, or making a claim.

About Association de sécurité civile du Québec

The mission of Association de sécurité civile du Québec  is to serve its members by creating a network of contacts, provide training, highlight expertise and promote good public safety practices in Quebec. Supported by highly experienced members, the Association de sécurité civile du Québec plays a leadership role and is a pivotal forum for promoting public safety excellence in Quebec through enhanced resilience.

SOURCE Association de sécurité civile du Québec (ASCQ)

High Collision Location Signs – DriveSmartBC

I live near a section of Highway 19 that travels through a built up area. The highway changes from 4 lanes divided by a barrier with a posted speed of 90 km/h to 4 lanes that is not divided posted at 60 km/h. So few people slow to 60 that I often hear long time locals asking new residents if they have gotten a speeding ticket there yet.

Before the median barrier was installed, this 60 km/h zone was part of the highest collision zone policed by Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services.

Nanoose Bay Highway Cam

A couple of afternoons ago there was a two vehicle collision in that 60 zone that blocked northbound traffic. I posted details on Facebook in a local resident’s group as there was no path around the collision scene and traffic would be held up until emergency services dealt with the situation.

The post triggered a discussion that included frustrated comments on how difficult it was to get onto the highway from side roads and that drivers regularly failed to stop for the traffic light in the middle of the zone.

Since this is a high collision area, it was also suggested that the appropriate authority be contacted to have a sign to that effect posted with the hope that drivers would slow down.

Which would you rather do when turning left from a stop sign, cross two lanes of traffic to enter a third lane when everyone is travelling at 60 km/h or at 90 km/h?

Why is that such an easy choice when you are turning from a side road, but not when you are the through traffic?

I’ve seen some novel ways to cope such as turning into the oncoming left turn lane and then moving right into the through lane.

The traffic lights at the intersection are preceeded by advance warning signs. One would think that if the drivers were paying attention red light running would not occur.

Having said that, I wonder if the advanced warning lights are timed for drivers who are obeying the speed limit. If they are, the lights will not come on soon enough to provide sufficient warning for those that remained at 90 km/h (or more).

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) installed a dynamic speed display sign on the southbound side of the zone. It is unfortunate that the area is not covered by a traffic count station so that we can see if there has been an improvement or not.

There is some indication of high collision area signs for wildlife having an effect on driver’s speeds but I was not able to find data not related to wildlife. Do you suppose that drivers who don’t obey the 60 km/h speed signs will pay more attention to a high collision area sign? Perhaps.

About a decade ago I attended an open house hosted by the MOTI. They presented four plans for public comment on modifications to this stretch of highway so that drivers could travel through safely at 90 km/h instead of having to slow to 60 km/h. Aside from the installation of some median barriers, no other construction has taken place.

That decade has also seen the average annual daily traffic volume increase from 27,740 to 30,848 vehicles.

Of course, until the budget is found for changes, the simplest way to make this highway safer is for us all to share it unselfishly. If we slow to 60 km/h and stop properly for the red light chances are good that there will be fewer collisions like this one.

Equifax data breach a ‘digital disaster’ for Canadians

By David Shipley, CBC News

The fallout of the Equifax data breach is going to be felt by companies, individuals and government for years to come.

This digital disaster will cause millions of people significant stress as they are dragged into a near never-ending battle with identity thieves.

It will cost billions to contain, and attempt to clean-up, and the proceeds of the crime will throw even more fuel onto the roaring fire that is global cybercrime.

What is Equifax and what happened?

Equifax is one of the big four credit bureaus — they rank a person’s worthiness to receive credit — things like car loans, mortgages, credit cards or sometimes even services such as telephone, cable and, in the US, even health care.

Their database includes personally identifiable information — names, addresses and most crucially, data like social security numbers in the US or social insurance numbers in Canada.

‘Companies aren’t yet required to report data breaches or disclose any information about such breaches. We are severely lagging behind many countries in this regard … ‘— David Shipley

In May, an unknown group successfully breached Equifax’s online services by exploiting a vulnerability in their web servers.

A software fix, called a patch for the vulnerability, had been available in March but was not put in place. Equifax only reported the breach last week. As many as 143 million Americans and reportedly as many as 44 million people in the UK are affected.

As of this weekend, all we know about Canada is that some people are affected, but no idea exactly how many or how much personal information has been compromised.

Reportedly 10,000 Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) subscribers in Canada have been notified that their information was included in the breach.

Why don’t we know more?

To be honest, it’s the result of gaping holes in Canada’s privacy legislation.

Companies aren’t yet required to report data breaches or disclose any information about such breaches. We are severely lagging behind many countries in this regard including the U.S. but leagues behind leaders like Europe.

We’ve passed some laws in 2015 regarding breach reporting, but haven’t brought the required regulations to support the law into force yet.

‘Firms of the size of Equifax aren’t going to change their behaviour for $100,000 fines,’ says Shipley.

Canada’s federal privacy commission issued a statement on Tuesday urging Equifax to provide this information to Canadians, pointedly noting they were first notified of the breach through media reports and have been “seized” with this issue.

The Commissioner says Equifax is “cooperating” with their office.

The privacy commissioner also took the unusual step of recommending Canadians not use the U.S. website Equifax has set up as it is only designed for use with U.S. Social Security numbers.

The new regulations under Canada’s digital privacy act will help a bit — they have fines of up to $100,000 for failing to report a breach like this, but fixed fines such as that have little impact on massive corporations.

What Canada should be doing?

Canada should move to adopt new European regulations called the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR.

Fines under those rules can run up to $30 million Canadian or 4% of revenues, whichever is higher.

Those are numbers that are causing firms that do business in Europe to stand up, take notice, fix shoddy products and services and pay more attention to defending against attackers.

Firms the size of Equifax aren’t going to change their behaviour for $100,000 fines.

The bigger you are the easier you fall

Breaches such as what happened to Equifax happen every day for a combination of reasons ranging from people falling victim to scam e-mails, to delays in properly updating or patching software or servers, to not investing in appropriate security technologies or audits.

What many people don’t know or realize is that large firms have something called technical debt.

Technical debt begins to accrue when you build a new complex IT system — say a system for gathering and sharing people’s credit scores. Companies invest millions or even billions to build these systems and then launch them.

‘Sadly, there’s not much Canadians who now have to live with the mess created by the breach can do to prevent something awful from happening to their finances,’ says Shipley. ((iStock))

But over time, the technology ages.

If firms aren’t careful, the system they built can become vulnerable as more and more flaws are found in it over time.

If they don’t fix those bugs or flaws — which may cause further issues and can be time consuming, expensive or cause service outages — then as time goes on the probability of a data breach increases dramatically.

What can Canadians do?

Sadly, there’s not much Canadians who now have to live with the mess created by the breach can do to prevent something awful from happening to their finances.

Credit monitoring services help, but they can’t stop identity theft. They can only alert you that it’s happened or at best, in-progress.

Some of the better credit monitoring or identity theft services can go a bit further by assisting in recovering your identity and paying some of the legal costs, but at the end of the day a lot of stress and harm can be caused by a data breach.

‘The bigger, longer-term issue that the Equifax breach has cast a spotlight on is the obsolescence of the social insurance number … ‘— David Shipley

In the U.S., there is an option for a credit freeze, though it can cost you money and take many steps to get in place.

Americans can ask the four major credit bureaus including Equifax not to provide their information to anyone, which will stop anyone from trying to get a car loan or credit in their name if the financial institution or service provider requires a credit check.

But that option really doesn’t exist in Canada.

Some of the bureaus do allow you to flag your account requiring additional ID or someone to contact you to approve any new credit applications, which may be helpful, but not all have that option and it’s not something that’s easy to figure out.

Moving past the SIN

The bigger, longer-term issue that the Equifax breach has cast a spotlight on is the obsolescence of the social insurance number and the need for a new secure form of unique personal digital identifier for government and commercial services.

We have to stop using a nearly 50-year-old approach that just doesn’t work in a 21st-century digital environment that’s full of cyber threats.

Efforts such as New Brunswick’s experiments to create a new secure digital ID are a step in the right direction.

CDN snowbirds will face higher insurance costs even if unscathed by Irma

By 

Canadian snowbirds who were lucky enough to escape property damage from Hurricane Irma will still face higher costs as insurance providers jack up premiums and condo associations levy special assessments, say Florida insurance experts.

“We’re probably looking at an across-the-board 15 to 20 per cent increase in property insurance costs over the next year,” says Brad Hubbard, the Tampa owner of an insurance agency and an engineering consulting firm specializing in flood risk.

He said the higher premiums could come from greater insurance losses and reinsurance companies determining there is a statistical increase in the risk that future storms will be more frequent and severe.

Hurricane Irma is expected to be one of the most costly storms in history, with losses estimated at $20 billion to $65 billion (all figures in U.S. dollars), including up to $50 billion in the U.S., according to risk modelling software company AIR Worldwide.

Additional insurance costs will be borne by all insured Florida homeowners, including the estimated 500,000 Canadians who own Florida properties.

Condo owners could also face special assessments if their building sustains heavy damage that isn’t fully covered by insurance or its policy has a high deductible.

“Your condo can be fine but at the end of the year you could receive a bill that says $3,500,” added Martin Rivard, an insurance broker in Boynton Beach originally from Shawinigan, Que.

The situation could be especially acute in areas like the Florida Keys, where 25 per cent of homes were destroyed by heavy winds and storm surge.

Rivard said he’s always amazed by homeowners — especially Canadians who purchased second residences when they were extremely cheap during the housing collapse — who decline to take out a policy because of the increased cost.

“I’m hoping that Irma was a wake-up call,” he said in an interview.

The average price of homeowner’s insurance in high-risk wind areas of Florida is $2,055 or $1,500 if you buy through Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a state-run provider. Flood coverage premiums average $450, providing coverage of $250,000 on the structure and $100,000 for the contents, says the Insurance Information Institute.

Canadians are eligible to buy homeowner’s insurance from Citizens Property Insurance and flooding insurance from the federal National Flood Insurance Programs. Only 16 per cent of Americans purchase flood insurance and less than 10 per cent have no insurance at all.

Canadians were eager to buy insurance after Hurricane Andrew devastated southern Florida in 1992, but Rivard said the concern has waned because the state hasn’t experienced a big storm in about a decade.

Renee and Dino Picchioni are relieved their mobile home north of Tampa was spared because they didn’t carry any insurance.

“It’s too expensive to pay for insurance down there for four months out of the year,” Renee said from Windsor, Ont.

Since they don’t own the land where their mobile home is parked, the couple was prepared to walk away if the unit was destroyed.

Rivard expects many others will do the same if their insurance doesn’t cover repair costs.

Realtor Jass Tremblay of Marathon said most of the Canadian customers she knows in the Keys don’t have insurance. While people with a mortgage are required to have insurance that covers wind, they can roll the dice if they pay cash.

Tremblay, a Quebec City native, said she hopes those without coverage would have put money aside so they can face such a disaster.

“Some of them lost everything. They’re probably panicking,” Tremblay said from Deerfield Beach where she holed up during the storm.

Brent Leathwood, a realtor in Sarasota who is originally from Burlington, Ont., said about 80 per cent of his Canadian customers are fully insured even though tougher building codes after Hurricane Andrew have helped to minimize damage.

“Canadians tend to be, I would say, sober and pragmatic in their assessments of things and they’re a little less inclined to take big, crazy risks like some of the people in the States are.”

Florida’s insurance system has been strengthened since Hurricane Andrew as the number of people living in coastal areas surged 27 per cent between 2000 and 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We feel that we’re in the best position we can be in at this time,” said Michael Peltier, spokesman for Florida’s public insurance provider.

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