Sudbury woman says she faces bankruptcy over U.S. medical bills after Las Vegas mugging

Dana Roberts, CTV News Northern Ontario

A 65-year-old Sudbury, Ont., woman has spent much of this year dealing with paperwork after being beaten and robbed during a trip to Las Vegas, leaving her with nearly $100,000 in U.S. medical bills.

Sandra Cartledge was all set to have a great trip in Las Vegas starting on Halloween 2018. However, the vacation went horribly wrong on the day she was set to return home.

“Through a series of unfortunate events, I was mugged, robbed of everything, all identity, all money, everything in Vegas, the day I was to leave,” said Cartledge.

Sandra Cartledge’s travel insurance is not covering all her medical bills leaving her owing approximately $100,000. (Supplied)

That incident not only left her without any money or her passport, it put her in the hospital.

Once she was released, she went to the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles, to get a temporary passport, so she could travel home. However, she was told she had to wait upwards of five days until it was ready.

Stressing for lodging, she decided to head to San Francisco for cheaper hotel prices.

Cartledge had another two visits to the hospital after more falls; one which she says left her in a coma for a few days.

“So, at the end of the week, I’m thinking ‘I don’t know at what point my insurance, which I’ll have to figure out when I get home, tops out at.’ All insurance tops at something,” said Cartledge.

She says her first hospital visit is being covered, but she’s on the hook for the following two. She says her insurance company told because the other visits fell outside of her original travel window, they will not be covered, leaving her portion at about CDN $100,000.

“The problem I’m facing today is looking at declaring bankruptcy or losing whatever equity I can get on a quick sale out of my home,” Carledge said.

After reaching out to the local MP and MPP’s offices, she was directed to local insolvency firms, which provided her with a few options. Cartledge says she’s been told she could outwait the collection agencies, in the hope that they go away, but as someone who says she pays her credit card on a daily basis, that stress is too much for her.

According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), the specifics of Cartledge’s case are rare, but negative experiences to the United States for travellers do happen.

“Travel insurance can save you from bankruptcy,” says Jayme Schuler, manager of Travel Services Call Centre for CAA North and East Ontario. “That would be an extreme case, but yes, especially when you are travelling down to the states because the medical bills that you can rack up very quickly to the cost of what an insurance policy would be.”

Allianz Global Assistance Canada, Cartledge’s travel insurance provider, gave this statement to CTV News:

“We continue to review this file with our customer to identify the expenses that can be covered within the period for which the travel coverage was purchased. We advise all travellers to review the terms and conditions of their policy and, in the event they require medical treatment, travellers should contact their insurance provider as soon as possible.”

While some may overlook the details of their specific policy, Schuler stresses it is important to know what you are covered for.

Big, possibly expensive, changes to ICBC coming in September

The excerpted article was written by Rob Munro | info news.ca

You’re going to want to look closely at your auto insurance before Sept. 1 — changes at ICBC could mean much higher rates or possibly lower.

The provincial auto insurer is bringing in what it calls a ‘new culture’ of rates but if you have young drivers or people with a checkered driving history it might be worth cancelling your insurance and re-upping before Sept. 1.

One tipster to iNFOnews.ca said her family saved more than $800 insuring an underage driver with a clean driving record by avoiding a renewal due after the Sept. 1 changes. They cancelled their insurance and got a new agreement under the current scheme.

ICBC couldn’t explain that exact situation but said changes are coming. It all depends not only on your driving record but also on the records of all other regular drivers of your car – meaning they drive it 12 days a year or more.

“One of the big cultural changes here is that we’re asking customers to list drivers so that, on many policies, there will be many drivers,” Tyler McGilvery, Business Process Advisor for ICBC explained to iNFOnews.ca. “When you list additional drivers, 75 per cent of the premium calculation is going to be based on the driving record of the principal driver. Then, out of the drivers that are listed, the other driver that’s considered the highest risk would represent the other 25 per cent of that calculation.”

If you have a new driver, someone who has caused accidents or received tickets who will regularly drive your car, you will likely pay significantly more for insurance this year.

One way to avoid that hit would be to renew your insurance before Sept. 1 under the current system.

If your policy expires after Sept. 1, you could cancel it and renew under the old system, but you would be gambling that the fees charged for doing that – including having to buy a new licence plate – would be more than eating the higher premium.

And there is no way to calculate what the saving will be if your insurance doesn’t expire until mid-October.

ICBC sends out renewal notices 44 days before a policy expires. Until that happens, the new rates are not accessible by insurance agents so you can’t compare rates in advance. Your only option would be to cancel and renew your existig policy and hope it will save you money over the new rates.

There are a number of changes in the “culture” of how rates are calculated.

Not only will all regular drivers have to be listed, but there is no easy way to calculate how much a new driver will cost you each year.

Currently, vehicle insurance goes down five per cent for each year of driving to a maximum of 43 per cent.

Now, McGilvery said, the rates will take 40 years to go down that low but there is no set scale so no easy way to determine how much less a young driver will cost each year.

While the focus will be on insuring the driver, not the vehicle, there are also discounts for vehicles that are driven less than 5,000 km per year and/or have special braking systems.

Also new for this year is the fact that the premium is not going to be listed on the renewal form that’s mailed out. That can’t be calculated until the list of drivers is submitted. In future years, the premium will be included on the renewal form based on the previous year’s list.

People can be added or subtracted from that list at any time and at no cost.

So far, 55 per cent of those renewing early and paying the new rates have saved an average of $200 over last year’s rates, despite a 6.3 per cent increase going into effect in April, McGilvery said.

Another 15 per cent have increases of less than 6.3 per cent while the rest (30 per cent) have seen increases averaging $200 per year.

The idea is for bad drivers to pay more for the crashes they cause, McGilvery said.

Source: info news.ca

Westland Insurance Group acquires First West Insurance Services

Press Release

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA  – August 22, 2019 — Westland Insurance Group Ltd. is pleased to announce the acquisition of First West Insurance Services, a subsidiary of First West Credit Union, effective Sept. 30, 2019. BMO Capital Markets acted as financial advisor to Westland and KPMG Corporate Finance acted as financial advisor to First West.

“First West Insurance Services is a landmark acquisition for Westland,” says Jason Wubs, CEO of Westland Insurance Group Ltd. “They are a pillar in the communities they serve and have built a client-centric culture that is perfectly aligned with Westland’s core values.”

First West Insurance Services provides personal, auto and business insurance in British Columbia under three regional divisions: Envision Insurance in the Lower Mainland, Valley First Insurance in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys and Island Savings Insurance on Vancouver Island and the Gulf islands.

“We were thrilled to find a partner like Westland Insurance,” says Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union. “We believe Westland is perfectly poised to realize the incredible potential of our insurance teams and provide the best possible service for our insurance customers in B.C.”

Westland Insurance will add 300 employees and 36 offices from First West Insurance Services in British Columbia, expanding its reach to 110 locations in 56 communities across the province. Post-acquisition, Westland will have nearly 1,500 employees and more than 130 offices in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“We are excited to introduce the First West Insurance Services team to the Westland family and further strengthen our community presence in British Columbia, as well as add to our broader capabilities as an organization,” says Wubs.

About Westland Insurance Group

Westland Insurance Group is a client-focused and community-based Property & Casualty insurance brokerage established in 1980 in Ladner, B.C. The company is one of Canada’s largest independent P&C insurance distributors with over 90 offices throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Westland is considered a leader in home, business, farm and auto insurance.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia’s third largest credit union with nearly $10 billion in assets, nearly 250,000 members and approximately 1,750 employees. It operates 50 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First and Island Savings divisions.

www.westlandinsurance.ca 

 

Ontario: Overview Of The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund

Article by Gabriel Lessard

A person injured in a motor vehicle collision in Ontario can submit a claim for accident benefits, Ontario’s system of no-fault insurance, and, if the collision is someone else’s fault, can sue the other driver for negligence (a tort claim). In both circumstances, the injured victim will primarily be dealing with insurance companies who are obligated to respond to the claims on behalf of their policyholders.

Sometimes it can be confusing to know whose insurance company is responsible for responding to an injured person’s accident benefits claim or tort claim. In Ontario, all licensed vehicles require insurance, so the majority of car accident victims will have some source of insurance either from their own insurance company or the other driver’s.

Typically, an injured victim will turn to their own car insurance policy for accident benefits (if they have one) and pursue the at-fault driver’s insurance for their tort claim. However, many potential factors can impact which insurance company will respond.

Certain circumstances arise where there is no insurance company to respond to a claim. A common example is a pedestrian or cyclist who is involved in a hit and run or struck by an uninsured vehicle.

In a situation where there is no insurance company to respond to an accident benefits claim or a tort claim, injured parties can turn to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF). The MVACF was set up by the Ontario Government, as a safety net for victims in need of treatment and compensations for their injuries. The MVACF is considered the payor of last resort, which means that the individual must have exhausted all other potential sources of insurance before the MVACF will consider responding to their claims.

When must the MVACF respond in an Accident Benefits Claim

Section 268 (2) of Ontario’sInsurance Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. I.8) outlines the priority list of insurance companies who must respond to an accident benefits claim before the MVAC. A summary of the priority list for accident benefits claims is:

  1. The insurance company that insures the victim;
  2. The insurance company of the vehicle that the victim was in or was struck by;
  3. Any other vehicle involved in the incident; or
  4. The MVACF

With respect to number 1, it does not matter if the victim was not in their own vehicle when the accident occurred. Furthermore, number 1 may be the priority insurer if the victim is married to, lives with, or is financially dependent on someone with car insurance, even if the victim does not have their own policy.

As the MVACF is last on the list, the victim must exhaust all other options before they can expect the MVACF to respond to their claim for accident benefits.

When must the MVACF respond in a Tort Claim?

If the at-fault party does not have liability insurance, then an injured victim may be able to turn to their own car insurance policy for compensation prior to pursuing MVACF. This is because most car insurance policies have uninsured and underinsured coverage which protect their own insureds (the victim) in circumstances where the at-fault driver’s policy limits are too low to provide the victim with adequate compensation, the at-fault driver does not have valid insurance or the identity of the at-fault driver is unknown.

The MVACF will respond to a tort claim on behalf of the at-fault party if there are no other insurance companies required to respond to the victim’s claim which includes their own insurance company. The maximum amount that the MVACF can pay out in a tort claim is $200,000.

Residency Requirement

Section 25 of theMotor Vehicle Accident Claims Act(R.S.O. 1990, c. M.41) outlines the requirement that an individual must be a resident of Ontario to benefit from the Fund. The act states:

The Minister shall not pay out of the Fund any amount in favour of a person who ordinarily resides in a jurisdiction outside Ontario unless that jurisdiction provides persons who ordinarily reside in Ontario with recourse of a substantially similar character to that provided by this Act.”

This requirement is particularly relevant to tourists travelling in Ontario who have not purchased any car insurance. The exception is that the MVACF may still respond if the jurisdiction where the individual resides (such as another province, state, or country), has a similar system to the MVACF.

Conclusion

Knowing which insurance company is responsible for responding to your claim can be confusing. If you were uninsured or hit by an unidentified driver, you may be able to pursue a claim through the MVACF. It is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible to help you understand your rights.

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

In collaboration with the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force (KRPF) today launched …

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Saskatoon files insurance claim after $1.04M lost to fraudster

Excerpreted article was written By Laura Woodward, CTV News

The City of Saskatoon has filed a claim to its insurer in an effort to retrieve the $1.04 million it lost in a fraud scheme, a city spokesperson says.

Police investigators and banking institutions are also working with the city to try and recover the cash.

“The fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated all the time,” said Alyson Edwards, a Saskatoon police spokesperson.

Edwards was unable to go into detail about the investigation in finding the city fraudsters, but said officers are working with other victims of scams to draw parallels.

“You want to look at whatever evidence we have, compare it to whatever other cities have experienced and see if there are any similarities.”

The Saskatoon scam is one of the largest municipal scams in Canada,

Recovery ‘not impossible’

At least one IT expert has hope the cash will be recouped.

Jon Coller, the University of Saskatchewan’s chief information security officer, told CTV News it’s not impossible to recover the cash – as long as the money is still in a bank.

“Provided people act fast enough and the money hasn’t moved too far, it is definitely possible to recover,” Coller said.

In August 2017, Edmonton-based MacEwan University lost $11.8 million in an email scam. Officials transferred the funds into an account believed to be a university vender. In April 2018, the university announced it had recovered $10.92 million.

However, city manager Jeff Jorgenson told reporters Thursday that recouping the money would be a challenge.

“There is no guarantee that any of the funds can be recovered or will be recovered.

“What I can say is we’re doing everything we can do recover as much funding as we possibly can.”

Mayor Charlie Clark said he believes there is a chance the funds will be recovered, but for now he hopes the incident can serve as a cautionary example.

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