‘Not humanly possible’: Driving instructor allegedly hacked auto insurance computers

CBC News

Insurance investigators raided the home office last month of a Richmond, B.C., driving instructor suspected of hacking the province’s notoriously backlogged wait list for road tests.

According to court documents obtained by CBC News, the man was able to schedule road tests for his students in as little as two days — when the wait for everyone else is as long as three months.

A search warrant obtained for the instructor’s home says his computer’s internet address has been linked to hundreds of suspicious transactions involving the booking of coveted road tests slots for his clients.

“There are a number of transactions that are occurring within seconds or simultaneously to other related transactions,” the search warrant reads.

“This type of activity is not humanly possible and is believed to be being completed by a computer program or ‘BOT.'”

‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’

CBC is not naming the driving instructor because he hasn’t been charged with any offence. His lawyer said he wouldn’t comment at this time.

But according to the search warrant, investigators with the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) say they have grounds to believe the man committed fraud by depriving the insurer’s other customers of road test appointments.

The wait time for road tests has spiked since ICBC, the province’s auto insurance provider,  made its tests more challenging in 2016. The insurer has blamed the clogged system on drivers who repeatedly fail.

According to the court documents, the waiting time to book a road test in the Lower Mainland currently ranges between 50 and 90 days. The average wait is 70 days.

As well as the investigation into computer hacking, the search warrant also details a previous investigation that saw ICBC discipline several driving schools for bulk booking appointments.

A handful of schools were caught using licence numbers of old clients to book and hold spots that were later re-allocated to new clients.

The most prolific offender had their licence cancelled.

“I am rather surprised that this has raised its ugly head again,” said Kurtis Strelau, director of training for Young Drivers of Canada, the province’s oldest and largest driving school.

“I guess, where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

READ MORE HERE: 

Private sector must drive better options in B.C.’s auto-insurance market

The excerpted article was written and updated by Colin Brown | Vancouver Sun

B.C. motorists are held hostage when it comes to basic vehicle insurance. That’s unfortunate, since rates in our province are among the highest in Canada. For instance, we pay considerably more for comparable insurance than our neighbours in Alberta.

Compounding our affordability woes, ICBC hiked basic rates in April to stem mounting financial losses. (We all remember the colourful words of Attorney-General David Eby, who described the corporation as a “financial dumpster fire”.) As a driver myself, any increase hurts the wallet. Plus, new drivers will pay even more when ICBC rolls out a new risk model in September.

We all want a better price. This is, after all, an infamously expensive place to live. A survey recently conducted by local pollsters Research Co. confirms what I have long suspected: More than three-quarters of British Columbians (78 per cent) want more choice in the auto insurance market.

The good news is that British Columbians do have a choice when it comes to optional insurance: the private sector. Private insurers have the potential to offer more choice, more savings and a better overall insurance experience.

But as ICBC works to regain traction, some optional insurance companies are being inconsistent in their offerings. Rather than being part of the solution, some chose to go dormant — hiding out during this time of uncertainty. In fact, there was a period last summer when two of the biggest providers in our market were not writing new policies because market conditions weren’t favourable.

But we don’t just need competition, we need better competition. Unfortunately, some optional providers have little knowledge of our market — making it difficult to tailor products to our west coast lifestyle. And we know for a fact that drivers do want a better product: The majority polled indicate a desire for better optional vehicle coverage (71 per cent), and a better product overall (67 per cent).

That’s where a gap currently exists. To be attractive to consumers, the private sector should help motorists save money by offering discounts for progressive consumer choices like energy-efficient vehicles, or technologically advanced safety features like automatic braking systems and lane departure warnings. The private sector would also do well to fill the current gap in niche coverage that includes luxury, recreational, collector and fleet vehicles.

While ICBC conducts test after test to evaluate new technologies, the private sector has an opportunity to lead the charge by rewarding new drivers who choose to use smart-phone monitoring solutions, or by offering discounts for using voluntary distracted driving apps. (And they should avoid the temptation to simply punish less-than-perfect drivers with surcharges.) The crown corporation unfortunately lags behind in offering these forward-thinking innovations, which could save consumers money while making the roads safer for everyone. Surely, offering incentives to prevent accidents is preferable to merely adding punitive surcharges after the fact?

So, as we look forward to smoother roads ahead, let this be a challenge to the private sector: drivers deserve better choices for optional coverage. Ideally, some of those intelligent options will come from homegrown, B.C. companies that know our market.

I’ll leave you with a sneak peek at what’s on the horizon: Remember Canadian Direct Insurance? I was proud to be part of its executive leadership team, prior to its acquisition. That local leadership team plans to continue the mission to bring more choice, more savings and a better insurance experience to B.C. motorists under a new corporate banner.

As a fellow driver, I believe British Columbians deserve better. Stay tuned.

With more than 40 years of experience in B.C.’s insurance sector, Colin Brown helped establish the operational framework for ICBC, before serving as its chief underwriter in the 1990s. He then served as Canadian Direct Insurance’s chief operating officer until the company’s acquisition in 2015.

Source: Vancouver Sun

Ontario’s Worst and Best Cities based on driving records revealed, new 2019 study

A graphic of two cars colliding.We grade the cities across Ontario based on tickets and collisions of its hometown drivers.

Your driving record and history has a direct impact on the auto insurance premiums you pay. With tickets and collisions on your record, you can expect to pay more for your auto insurance than if you didn’t. It’s a reality that most drivers know and expect.

You might also expect, however, that residents in large urban areas, like Toronto, would report having more tickets on their driving record, on average, as well as collisions. It’s a big city after all with more vehicles on the road and drivers, and thus a greater chance for something to happen.

Yet, according to InsuranceHotline.com this may be a myth. Based on the details provided by shoppers who obtained Ontario auto insurance quotes, you have to look beyond Toronto’s borders to find the cities whose drivers admit to having the most tickets, collisions, or a combination of the two, on their driving record. These are infractions and collisions that could have occurred in the driver’s hometown or anywhere their travels have taken them.

We measured all three categories, and then assigned each city a grade based on its variance from the Ontario average.

In Orangeville, for example, drivers were 1.9 times as likely to have a ticket, accident, or both, on their record than the Ontario average. In North York, a driver is 22 percent less likely to have a ticket, crash or both on their record than the average, and Toronto drivers are 21 percent less likely to have a black mark on their driving record.

The Top 10 Worst Cities in Ontario for Driving

City/Town Grade
Orangeville D
Bradford D
Woodstock D
Sault Ste. Marie D
Brantford D
Orillia D
Thunder Bay C
St. Thomas C
Caledon C
Barrie C

The Top 10 Best Cities in Ontario for Driving

City/Town Grade
North York A
Toronto A
East York A
Etobicoke A
Mississauga A
Brampton A
Scarborough A
York A
Thornhill A
Oakville A

Breaking it Down

The Lowdown on Tickets

On average, 6.9 percent of drivers in the province admit to having at least one ticket on their driving record while getting quotes. However, drivers in some cities and towns exceed this average considerably.

City/Town % of Drivers with a Ticket (No collision)
Caledon 15.0%
Orangeville 13.2%
Bradford 12.2%
Peterborough 12.0%
St. Thomas 11.2%
Sudbury 11.0%
Thunder Bay 10.9%
Bolton 10.8%
Stoney Creek 10.6%

Accidentally Speaking

From a collision standpoint, overall 8.9 percent of Ontario drivers admit to having been involved in a collision in the last 10 years. Yet, there are areas in the province where the average is two full percentage points higher.

City/Town % of Drivers with a Collision (No tickets)
Woodstock 13.6%
Orleans 12.8%
Sault Ste. Marie 12.4%
Kanata 12.3%
Gloucester 12.2%
Whitby 11.5%
Pickering 11.5%
Brantford 11.3%
Orillia 11.2%
Burlington 10.9%

Double Trouble

Having both a ticket and collision on your driving record is detrimental to your auto insurance premiums and approximately 3.5 percent of Ontario drivers admit to having at least one of each in their relatively recent past. In 13 communities across the province, however, the average is 5.5 percent or higher.

City/Town % of Drivers with both a Ticket and Collision
Orangeville 9.4%
Bradford 8.4%
Sault Ste. Marie 8.4%
Woodstock 7.4%
Brantford 6.9%
Orillia 6.6%
Cambridge 6.3%
Thunder Bay 6.3%
St. Thomas 5.9%
Barrie 5.9%
Welland 5.8%
Oshawa 5.6%
Pickering 5.5%

What’s It All Mean to Your Ontario Car Insurance?

Your driving record matters. Your driving record is an influential factor in determining your Ontario auto insurance rate. Sure, there are others like where you live, your insurance history, and the type of car you drive; but your driving record and history is indicative of how you are when behind the wheel. Every at-fault (or partially at-fault) accident or traffic ticket conviction will likely increase the cost of your premiums.

What’s more, traffic ticket convictions affect your insurance rates for no less than three years and accidents stay on your record for at least six! With a less than perfect driving record, you can find yourself paying a lot of extra premium over the years.

Whatever your driving record, compare quotes each year to ensure you are getting the best car insurance rates going. Each insurance company calculates their rates differently and if your driving record changes, for any reason, the insurer who last offered you the best insurance rate, may no longer be your best choice.

Compare car insurance quotes at InsuranceHotline.com from 30+ providers in a single search. Start saving money today on the premiums you pay.

In 2016, about 1.5 million metric tonnes of industrial, auto and vehicle parts moved through the Port of Vancouver.

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Apollo Insurance Solutions Recruits Insurance Industry Veteran Victor Lange

Vancouver, BC, July 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Victor Lange has officially joined Apollo Insurance Solutions Ltd. (“Apollo”) as Chief Operating Officer, bringing with him over 20 years of industry experience to the nascent insurtech industry. Lange has worked with Canada’s largest insurance company, Intact Insurance, and as COO of one of western Canada’s largest privately held commercial insurance brokerages, Wilson M. Beck. The significant executive move further signals a shift in the focus of insurance experts, away from organizations who foster traditional lengthy insurance processes and toward forward-thinking organizations who are focused on providing fast, convenient digital solutions of the future.

“Victor is a powerhouse in the insurance industry, and his leadership and insight will be extremely valuable in keeping Apollo at the forefront of the digital insurance space race,” says Apollo Co-Founder and CEO, Jeff McCann. “This appointment is where global insurance experience meets a nimble insurtech startup. Victor’s track record of leading high performing teams will be critical not only to our continued growth, but to our team’s ability to dial in Apollo’s sophisticated operations and accelerate our impact on this new, digital frontier.”

Victor will be joining Apollo at its Vancouver head office where he will oversee all company operations and work in lockstep with Co-Founder and CEO, Jeff McCann, as the company continues to rapidly onboard insurance brokers and successfully roll out new insurance products from multiple insurance carriers onto the Apollo Exchange.

“I’m excited to step into this role to take Apollo’s progress to the next level,” says Lange. “I identify strongly with Apollo’s entrepreneurial spirit and believe in Apollo’s vision to revolutionize this industry. This is a challenge we intend to win.” In addition to Intact Insurance and Wilson M. Beck, Lange’s resume also includes over a decade of senior management experience with international firms such as Zurich, AXA, and JLT.

Apollo Insurance is Canada’s largest online insurance marketplace. Apollo empowers the broker channel with its proprietary Exchange platform that enables brokers to instantly quote, bind, and issue policy documents for hundreds of classes of small business. Brokers using the Apollo Exchange platform are able to respond to the changing expectations of buyers and young employees.

About Apollo Insurance Solutions

Headquartered in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood, Apollo Insurance Solutions is Canada’s largest online insurance marketplace. Co-founded by Jeff McCann, David Dyck, Justin Hamade, and Drew Green, Apollo was created to empower brokers to better serve small businesses by giving them 24/7 access to digital insurance.

Apollo Exchange offers Canada’s brokers access to multiple insurance providers, with over 500 classes of insurance. Unlike the traditionally lengthy insurance policy and application process – which can take up to six weeks – Apollo users can quote, pay, and have their policy documents issued online in just under five minutes, allowing them to focus on the important stuff: building trusted relationships and offering strategic, thoughtful counsel.

Following the completion of its Beta testing in April 2019, Apollo successfully closed its angel round of funding, raising $1 million CAD with the support of notable investors, including Drew Green, Matias Marquez, Kim Kaplan, and Caliber Ventures. Acting members of Apollo’s Board of Directors are leading industry and entrepreneurial figures Drew Green, Steve Albiani, Tim Gamble, and Jeff McCann. In June 2019, the company launched a first of its kind, digital, monthly subscription service. For more information, visit: http://story.apollocover.com

Online Distribution Of Insurance: A New Framework For Québec

Article by Catherine Jenner, Stuart Carruthers, Fabian Firas Bargout and Andrew S. Cunningham

On June 13, 2019, the main provisions of the new Québec Insurers Act and amendments to the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services (“Financial Products Act”) came into force. Among other things, these provisions set out the regulatory requirements for insurers and insurance intermediaries selling insurance online in Québec (online insurance has been sold in Québec for many years, but without formal regulation).1

The finalized Regulation respecting Alternative Distribution Methods (“Online Insurance Regulation”) sets out details of the new obligations on insurers and insurance intermediaries. The draft regulation (“Draft Regulation”) that was published in 2018 has undergone a number of changes in response to industry comments.

Insurers and insurance intermediaries have until June 2020 to comply with certain of their new obligations as set out below.

Framework for the Sale of Online Insurance

The Online Insurance Regulation regulates:

  • online offers of insurance by intermediaries and insurers registered as a firm under the Financial Products Act (intermediaries and such registered insurers, collectively, “Firms”) without the intermediary of a natural person; and
  • offers of insurance through a distributor.

The finalized regulation (taken together with the AMF’s commentary on it) excludes non-transactional websites, such as most websites that facilitate comparison shopping, unless, in consideration of a commission or any other remuneration, such websites redirect users to a Firm’s website to conclude an insurance policy. [s. 2; Financial Products Act, s. 71, para. 3] This exception was absent from the Draft Regulation.

Disclosures to the AMF

Initially, Firms must disclose certain information about their website and the products offered on it to Québec’s insurance regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers (“AMF”). [s. 4] Firms are also required to make annual disclosures with respect to the:

  • Amount of premium written;
  • Number of policies issued;
  • Number of financial plans prepared;
  • Number of claims settled; and
  • How often clients cancelled their policies within the 10-day period provided for by s. 64 of the Insurers Act. [s. 5]

Disclosures to clients

The final Online Insurance Regulation makes several changes to a Firm’s disclosure obligations, including:

  • Firms are required to ensure that the means to interact with one of its representatives (e.g., a chatbox) is visible at all times [s. 8, para. 1]; and
  • Firms are required to inform the client about his/her right of rescission or cancellation and the procedures for exercising it after the conclusion of the contract, not before. [s. 12, paras 1(3), 2]

Website

The Online Insurance Regulation also contains provisions relating to the design, operation and monitoring of Firms’ websites. The Regulation makes the following notable changes:

  • The scope of a Firm’s confidentiality and security obligations is broadened with respect to the storage of clients’ information as well as its collection, use, and delivery; [s. 13, para. 3]
  • Firms are required to interrupt offers of insurance of persons that are likely replacing other contracts where the replacement cannot proceed through the website in accordance with s. 22 of the Regulation respecting the pursuit of activities as a representative; and [s. 14, para. 2]
  • Firms are required to suspend proposals for insurance of persons where no representative can immediately interact with a client who has asked to interact with a representative and where there is a risk that the client, despite the information that the Firm sent to him or her, is unable to make an informed decision. [s. 14, para. 3]

Related advertising permitted

In a significant change from the Draft Regulation, the finalized Online Insurance Regulation does not prohibit advertising when the client is in the process of completing his application, unless it is “unrelated to the product or service”. While the AMF had previously argued for an outright prohibition, the government appears to have accepted industry submissions that related advertising could provide valuable information to a customer. [s. 18(1)]

Offers Through a Distributor

With respect to the distribution method of offering insurance, the Online Insurance Regulation modifies the obligations of both insurers and distributors.

Medical/lifestyle information

With respect to the collection by distributors of a client’s medical or lifestyle-related personal information, the finalized Online Insurance Regulation requires the distributor to deliver a notice of specific consent to the client, but only if the distributor wishes to use the information for purposes other than those for which it was collected. [s. 25] The Draft Regulation included a broader notice requirement.

Disclosure to the AMF

Insurers must disclose to the AMF information that is similar to what must be disclosed in the case of online insurance (see above):

  • Amount of premium written;
  • Number of insurance policies and certificates issued;
  • Number of claims and amount of indemnities paid;
  • Number of rescissions and cancellations; and
  • Remuneration paid to distributors and third parties. [s. 21]

If an insurer removes a distributor from its distributors’ list, it must inform the AMF of the reason. [s. 20, para. 3] One other change from the Draft Regulation is that insurers will be given 30 days to disclose any changes in their initial disclosure. [s. 20, para. 2]

Disclosure to clients

The Online Insurance Regulation requires insurers to require distributors to deliver a product summary at the time they offer the product to clients, together with a fact sheet in a form prescribed by the Online Insurance Regulation. The fact sheet is a document prepared by the AMF that lists relevant consumer rights, whereas the summary is a concise document that is prepared by the insurer to explain its product, both broadly and through such specific information as the product coverage, exclusions, and limitations. [ss. 22, 28–29, Sched. 2] A summary and a specimen of an insurance product policy should be available on the insurer’s website if the product is offered by distributors. [s. 32]

Monitoring

As part of insurers’ obligation to supervise and monitor their distributors’ offering of products, insurers are required to adopt and implement procedures to supervise and train distributors and their representatives [s. 33]. These procedures may be helpful because insurers are liable for any acts of distributors or their representatives in connection with underwriting an insurance policy or enrolling a participant [Insurers Act s. 65].

Prohibitions

Finally, the Online Insurance Regulation establishes several prohibitions relating to how insurers pay distributors, including a prohibition on profit-sharing and bonuses. [s. 35(2)]

Next Steps: Effective Date and Transitional Provisions

The Online Insurance Regulation came into force on June 13, 2019, with the exception of certain provisions that will not take effect until June 13, 2020. These include the requirements:

  • to make readily accessible on their websites a specimen of the policy for each offered product and any available endorsement, if applicable;
  • to adopt and implement a procedure regarding the design, use, and maintenance of their websites and regarding the management and mitigation of risks; and
  • to adopt and implement procedures to supervise and train distributors and their representatives.

In addition, until June 13, 2020, the insurer’s new obligation to deliver a summary and a fact sheet to distributors is deemed to be satisfied by delivering to clients a distribution guide that was provided to the AMF before June 13, 2019 in accordance with the requirement that existed prior to the coming into force of the new regime.

Footnotes

1. The amendments also set out rules for offering financial planning and claims adjustment services online which will not be summarized here.

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.

Source: Mondaq

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