1.9B in insured damage in Canada last year, says industry association

OTTAWA _ The Insurance Bureau of Canada says severe weather caused $1.9 billion in insured damage last year.

The national industry association says it’s the fourth-highest amount of losses on record, but no single event caused the high total for 2018.

It highlights smaller events across Canada, including $410 million in damages from a windstorm in Ontario and Quebec in early May, and $240 million from summer storms across the Prairies.

IBC spokesman Craig Stewart says in a statement that climate change is costing Canadian taxpayers, government and businesses billions of dollars annually.

The association says it’s advocating for more investment in new infrastructure protecting communities from floods and fires, improved building codes and other measures.

The dollar figure comes from data from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc.

BC Storms Cause $37 Million in Insured Damage

The cost of insured losses due to extreme weather in British Columbia (BC) and across the country continues to rise. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that the windstorms that battered the southern coast of BC on December 20 caused over $37 million in insured damage to homes, businesses and vehicles. This event has pushed the total insured damage from extreme weather in Canada to $1.9 billion for 2018.

As the financial cost of a changing climate rises, IBC is working closely with governments at all levels to advocate for increased investment to mitigate the future impacts of extreme weather and build resiliency to its damaging effects. This includes investment in new infrastructure to protect communities from floods and fires, improved building codes, better land-use planning and, increasingly, creating incentives to shift the development of homes and businesses away from areas of highest risk.

December’s storm damaged over 3,000 homes across southwestern BC and left over 750,000 BC Hydro customers without power. It downed large trees and hydro poles across Vancouver Island, the southern Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland. In White Rock, the winds caused boats to damage the pier. Due to strong winds and flooding, a state of emergency was declared for Tseshaht First Nation.

IBC reminds consumers to be insurance aware. Know what your policy covers before severe weather hits. Ask your insurance representative about what coverage is included or what you need to add on, such as overland flooding coverage. Consumers who have questions can also call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

Visit IBC’s website for information on how to prepare for a disaster and home flooding mitigation techniques.

Quote

“The financial costs of climate change are increasing rapidly. Last month’s storm events are the latest example of the need to improve our resilience to climate change and adapt to the new weather reality we face,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC.

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 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_West 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.

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

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

License to operate overtakes digital effectiveness as top risk in mining & metals sector

License to operate rocketed from seventh to first position in the EY Top 10 business risks facing mining and metals in 2019-2020 report, with over half of survey respondents listing it as the number one risk.

“The stakeholder landscape is changing and miners need to adapt,” says Iain Thompson, EY Canada Mining & Metals Advisory Leader. “Rising societal expectations, the impact of new technologies and the desire for greater collaboration are all pushing mining and metals companies to rethink their approach to license to operate. It’s time to move beyond social and environmental issues, and address license to operate more holistically with a purposeful commitment to community, government, employee and environmental needs beyond the mine.”

License to operate climbed the ranking from seventh position in 2018, moving digital effectiveness, maximizing portfolio returns and cybersecurity back a notch.

  • Digital effectiveness is still challenging the mining and metals sector. While miners have begun making headway in using digital tools to improve productivity, they need to apply these solutions across the entire value chain to create a digital mine that can truly transform and emerge as a dominant player in the market
  • Maximizing portfolio returns is becoming more of a balancing act. Higher commodity prices and rising cash flows are pushing miners to assess their capital allocation to ensure highest future returns. Beyond building or acquiring new mines, companies need to consider boosting investments in innovation and transformative technologies
  • Cybersecurity is a growing concern in an increasingly connected world – and the attack surface is only getting larger across physical assets, digital infrastructure and business processes. Cyber spending has increased, but now the focus should be on how cybersecurity will support and enable enterprise growth

“Many of the top risks remain the same going into 2019, but digital disruption is adding new challenges into the mix. Disruption, future of workforce and fraud all entered the ranking for the first time this year,” says Thompson. “To get ahead, miners will need to use capital and collaboration to their advantage as they transform and protect themselves from steady and upcoming business risks.”

Access the full Top 10 business risks facing mining and metals in 2019-2020 report at ey.com/miningrisks.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

For more information, please visit ey.com/ca. Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)

Yes, climate change is a crisis: surveys

The results are in.

After many people were buzzing about a new Angus Reid poll that concluded most Canadians believe the country faces a crisis due to a lack of pipelines, we did a few informal surveys of our ownto ask the public some questions that we felt had been left out.

Twenty-four hours later, we have received about 800 votes and have some overwhelming results.

We must admit that our tongues were firmly planted in our cheeks as we proceeded, but we believe that these issues are no laughing matter. And while our own poll wasn’t scientific, we’d challenge Angus Reid to do the same survey with our questions (we used a similar wording to what they used but changed the topic) and see what happens.

Now one question we didn’t ask was about how all of the issues surrounding pipelines relate to Indigenous rights, protected under the Constitution. We made a deliberate choice not to include it as a poll question because we don’t think that human rights are the sort of issue that should be decided based on a popularity contest.

In fact, history has shown us that rights need to be enshrined in our laws to protect the minority.

In the meantime, here are our results.

Out of 223 votes, 86 per cent of the respondents said that the Alberta Energy Regulator’s internal estimate of $260 billion in financial liabilities for the oilpatch is a “crisis.”

Out of 182 responses, a whopping 96 per cent said that a recent scientific assessment by the United Nations IPCC ( Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that said the world had only 12 years left to prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change is a “crisis.”

Out of 193 responses, 89 per cent said that the Ontario government’s recent decisions to cancel green energy policies is a “crisis.”

And finally, out of 181 votes, 96 per cent said that the fact that large portions of Canada’s forests are at risk of dying off as climate change aggravates wildfires, droughts and infestations is a “crisis.”

Have we mentioned yet that the Insurance Bureau of Canada has just sent out some warnings about a new report that estimated severe weather caused $1.9 billion in insured damage in 2018?

“Climate change is costing Canadian taxpayers, governments and businesses billions of dollars each and every year,” said Craig Stewart, vice-president of federal affairs for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in a statement. “We must take the necessary steps to limit these losses in the future. The cost of inaction is too high.”

Are the billions of dollars in losses from climate-related catastrophes a “crisis or not?”

Well, as Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips wrote on Twitter, this is the “Insurance Bureau of Canada, everybody.”

Read more here:

 

Two-thirds of Canadians can’t afford time off for caregiving: RBC Insurance Poll

TORONTOJan. 15, 2019 /CNW/ – The emotional, mental and financial burden of being a caregiver can be challenging at best, and potentially catastrophic without the proper supports in place. According to a recent RBC Insurance survey among working Canadians, two in 10 had to take time off work to provide care for a loved one, and only one in three said they could comfortably afford the loss of income if they were to take three months off work to act as a caregiver, adding significant burden to an already difficult time.

“Finding out that your spouse or child has been diagnosed with a terminal illness is devastating and the last thing you want to worry about is your finances,” says Maria Winslow, Senior Director, Life & Health, RBC Insurance. “And while many Canadians have ways to protect their income in the event that they were to personally become sick, there has been no option for taking time off work to care for a loved one.”

To fill the gap and allow clients time off to support a terminally ill or injured child or spouse, RBC Insurance is the first in the industry to launch the Family Compassionate Care Rider (FCCR) as an option for select disability plans. The FCCR pays a monthly benefit and gives the insured the flexibility to take time off work entirely or work reduced hours. This is the latest step in RBC Insurance’s focus on providing valuable products and services to help their clients. By making caregiving more flexible and easier to access, RBC Insurance is providing Canadian families with more options to better balance their work and life responsibilities.

“The idea for this option actually came about after a colleague, who found out her child had cancer, needed to be home with her for an extended period to manage the care and treatment schedule,” explains Winslow. “We’ve seen people unable to work or even manage their daily activities as they struggle to cope with their loved ones’ diagnosis, and we wanted to develop a solution that helps alleviate some of that stress.”

Financial considerations for caregivers
The emotional and financial toll on a terminally ill individual and their caregivers is immense, and expenses for end-of-life care add up quickly. Consider the following:

  • Living arrangements: Will you need to move, or make renovations to accommodate your loved one’s illness or injury? Is your home close to amenities, transportation and relatives (or others) who can help with care?
  • Financial planning. Will you need to take time off work, or even quit your job? Will home care aid be required? Consider speaking with a financial advisor who can help you manage your money both during the illness and beyond.
  • Benefits. Check with your employer to understand what your benefits cover, including flextime and any EAP assistance such as support for grief management and referral services for family caregivers.
  • Support. Depending on the illness or situation, connect with associations related to the medical condition. They can provide assistance in the form of specialist information and resources, and even support groups that can help you manage the emotional and mental toll.

About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance® offers a wide range of life, health, home, auto, travel, wealth and reinsurance advice and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada, one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC Insurance is among the largest Canadian bank-owned insurance organizations, with approximately 2,500 employees who serve more than four million clients globally. For more information, please visit rbcinsurance.com.

SOURCE RBC Insurance

Trial lawyers say ICBC treating those injured in crashes unfairly due to settlement changes

By  | Global News

ICBC has recently changed the way it handles injury settlements and B.C. trial lawyers are worried it will hurt victims and increase costs for rate payers.

According to the B.C. Trial Lawyers, the public insurer has started revoking previous settlement offers in the last week and is now considering payments based on new criteria.

Lawyers have been told ICBC is now going to judge settlements based on a “meat chart,” with no discretion for the adjuster.

“They will apply one, two or three criteria and put a case in a certain level,” B.C. Trial Lawyers president Ron Nairne said.

“And now ICBC is coming in at this late stage and changing the rules of the game. People will say if the rules are not fair, they are going to have to proceed to trial.”

ICBC says the changes are necessary because of the quickly escalating costs of injury claims and the associated legal expenses. The public insurer says the rising costs of claims is by far the single biggest pressure on ICBC’s finances, having gone up by 43 per cent in just five years, with a projected total of $3.67 billion in 2018.

“In particular, these costs are being driven by litigated injury claims,” ICBC spokesperson Adam Grossman said. “Since March 2017, the dollar value of settlements demanded by plaintiff lawyers for litigated files has increased by 30 per cent, while the average cost of closed litigated injury claims has risen by 20 per cent from $101,920 in 2017 to $121,826 in our current fiscal year.”

“We have constantly been looking for ways to address rising injury claims costs and the pressure they put on insurance rates.

“It’s clear we need to continue to find fair and reasonable ways to get the cost of the average injury claim down to more of a historical, inflationary trend, rather than the sharp increases we’ve seen over the past year.”

But lawyers say this last-minute change is not fair and could have a negative impact on clients. In some cases, lawyers say the new settlement offers are much lower than is acceptable. If the client decides to go to trial, it could delay the expected payout.

Trials themselves are also expensive. In most cases, the overall payout is higher in a trial because of the legal fees.

“This is going to have a huge impact on claimants,” Nairne said.

“People come to ICBC expecting to be treated fairly, that they are not going to be getting a windfall, but will be fairly treated.”

ICBC says it has had success closing more injury files and is seeing fewer cases go to trial each year. But one the concerns from the insurer is that it is seeing fewer offers being accepted and settlement costs are being driven even higher.

“We are doing what any responsible insurer would do when claims costs skyrocket beyond historical trend lines,” Grossman said.

“Our only other option is to increase our insurance rates by levels British Columbians cannot afford, which is not a viable solution.”

The changes are part of an ongoing battle between ICBC and lawyers. The lawyers are concerned that the changes being made at the public insurer are not in the best interest of their clients. The public insurer is concerned that lawyers are increasing their costs, including an increase in commissioning reports, that is adding to the loses at the insurer.

ICBC lost $1.3 billion last year and is forecast to lose more than $800 million this year. The insurer has announced major changes coming on April 1, 2019 that will create a cap of $5,500 on payouts for pain and suffering for minor injuries.

The insurer explains that one of the reasons for the need to change are the mounting legal costs. ICBC says plaintiff disbursement costs have increased by 21 per cent this fiscal year over last. But Nairne is quick to defend the work that he is doing and rejects the suggestion lawyers are artificially inflating what they are looking for in injury settlements.

“The only thing I can do is look at the facts of the case and make a proposal based on those facts,” Nairne said.

“It is all driven on what is fair, based on what the courts have decided previously.”

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