Frequency of severe storms encourages 91% to buy comprehensive auto coverage

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Don’t Get Burned: How to Organize an Emergency Wildfire Kit

Excerpted article: HuffPost British Columbia

Every summer heavily forested areas leave animals and humans alike susceptible to wildfires. By July of this year, British Columbia saw over 189 active fires burning — a number that Professional Organizers in Canada says is too high to not be prepared.

“Every family should organize an emergency kit and an emergency plan that they implement with their children — especially those living in heavily forested areas,” says Marie Potter, Marketing Director for Professional Organizers in Canada. “It takes less than a day, but can mean a lifetime.”

Potter also says that these kinds of kits can be used in the event of other natural disasters. “We don’t just see wildfires in Canada. We have extreme snowstorms, power outages and sometimes tornadoes. These kinds of kits are about being prepared and having that comfort,” says Potter.

To help Canadians stay safe all year round, we are sharing our top tips for organizing and implementing emergency kits.

Develop an emergency kit that can last 72 hours
In your kit, have necessary items such as:

  • Prescriptions, special medication and glasses
  • Copies of your essential documents: passports, birth certificates, SIN number, license and health cards
  • A change of clothes
  • Water and food
  • An LED flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cell phone, battery-operated cell phone charger and lithium batteries
  • Mess kit
  • Moist toilettes, toilet paper, garbage bags and ties for personal sanitation
  • First aid kit
  • Cash

When you make your kit, don’t forget about your pets! Always have an extra leash or pet bag, and pack extra water and food.

Have an evacuation strategy
In the event of a wildfire, you will want to have at least two routes that you and your family can use to safely get away from your home. You should also practice these routes with your children, but not in a way that can scare them. Make these routes a part of your family walks or regular bike trails.

It is also recommended to make a list of friends or family that you can contact or stay with if your home is not safe. Be sure to have their contact numbers in a notebook in your emergency kit, and let them know that they are a part of your evacuation plan.

If you don’t have family or friends that you can stay with, make a note of where the nearest emergency shelter is.

Organize necessary items so that they’re easy to find
Keep your emergency kit in an area of your home that you won’t forget. This area should also be easily accessible — near a door, near your bedside table, or even in your car. Once you find that spot, make sure that everyone in your family knows where it is.

Have the right policies and documents in place
Make sure you have insurance that can assist you if you lose any of your belongings. Know what your deductible is, and always keep a copy of your insurance coverage.

Wildfires and natural disasters are difficult to cope with, but being prepared is half the battle. To find an organizer who can help you make an emergency kit and plan, visit www.organizersincanada.com

John Hancock Retirement Plan Services Receives 6 Marketing Awards

BOSTON, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — John Hancock Retirement Plan Services (JHRPS) has received six awards from The Insurance and Financial Communicators Association (IFCA) for marketing and communications creativity, design and writing. The annual awards competition, now 84 years old, offers communicators internationally the opportunity to submit their best work in over 60 categories. The judging is done by peers and each entrant receives feedback and comments from the judges.

“We are honored to have received this recognition from IFCA,” said Andrew Ross, senior vice president, Marketing and Product Development, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services. “Our efforts focus on putting the participant first, and we are thrilled to see a variety of marketing and communication tools recognized.”

JHRPS was honored with three “Best in Show” awards for:

  • JH Signature Fairness ads – a multi-faceted trade advertising campaign that illustrates how retirement plan costs are allocated among participants
  • 401(k) Atlas – an online education center for financial representatives to develop and share knowledge on a variety of retirement plan topics
  • It Pays to Be Green Challenge – an internal incentive campaign designed to help build awareness for green-friendly online and phone enrollment options

One “Award for Excellence” for:

  • JH 401(k) Ideas website – a personalized website that automatically distributes actionable sales ideas and industry insights to financial representatives

JHRPS also received an “Honorable Mention” for:

  • JH Signature Enrollment Experience – a robust suite of personalized online tools, websites and marketing collateral, designed to make the enrollment experience convenient and easily accessible to all plan employees
  • JH Education Experience – a variety of tools and materials to help educate plan employees on the importance of saving for retirement

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife
John Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife, a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Operating as Manulife in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, our group of companies offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Assets under management and administration by Manulife and its subsidiaries were C$883 billion (US$708 billion) as at June 30, 2015. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers and administers a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at johnhancock.com.

John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York and John Hancock Retirement Plan Services LLC are collectively referred to as “John Hancock”.

John Hancock Retirement Plan Services, LLC offers plan administrative services and service programs through which a sponsor or administrator of a plan may invest in various investment options on behalf of plan participants. These investment options have not been individually selected by John Hancock Retirement Plan Services, LLC. John Hancock Trust Company, LLC provides trust and custodial services to such plans.

Group annuity contracts and recordkeeping agreements are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), (not licensed in New York) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York.  Product features and availability may differ by state.

Both John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York do business under certain instances using the John Hancock Retirement Plan Services name.

 

 

 

“That is a good way to put it  – a relief rally,” said Craig Jerusalim, a portfolio manager at CIBC Asset Management.

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Western Canada’s drought is taking a toll

Source: www.edmontonjournal.com

Record-breaking temperatures and extremely low rainfalls across Western Canada are causing chaos for farmers and firefighters this summer as they grapple with the worst drought in more than a decade.

The widespread hot and dry conditions in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan have led to a jump in wildfires, tight water restrictions, and pressure on farmers as many crops remain stunted and the cost of hay skyrockets.

And while some rain sprinkled over the largely bone-dry Prairies this week, it may be too little too late for the western provinces to fully recover before the summer ends.

Plans to help the dry provinces cope with the drought have already been initiated. On Thursday, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the federal government would grant tax deferrals to livestock producers in regions affected by drought.

On the same day, with smoke billowing from a hillside behind him, Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to take a hard look at new ways to fight devastating wildfires like the one raging near West Kelowna, B.C.

In Alberta, several counties have declared states of agricultural emergency. In Saskatchewan, crop insurance rules are being loosened to help the anxious farmers. In British Columbia, water restrictions have been imposed while “drought shaming” grows on social media.

And it’s prompting many people to ask just what’s going on.

“Is it climate change? I don’t know. It may just be a fluke, it may just be something coincidental, it’s hard to say,” says David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

He says although many people have associated the lack of rain in the region with El Niño — a climate event that happens when warm water in the Pacific Ocean interacts with the atmosphere — it may actually be connected to a mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean that originated in the Gulf of Alaska and moved down the coast to British Columbia. It’s been dubbed the “Pacific blob.”

“(It) could have contributed to weather blocking, which prevents normal processing of precipitation events, over the western provinces,” Phillips says, adding it also could have brought wetter weather in the east.

“What we’re seeing now is conditions go from one extreme to the other,” Phillips says. “Some parts of the Prairies last year were the wettest on record. This year, we’ve seen the opposite.”

He calls it “weather whiplash.”

“That seems to be a common thing that we’re seeing around the world, where normal doesn’t exist anymore.”

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE:

Failure to Serve a Statement of Claim May Be Fatal

By Jennifer Biernaskie, Partner, and Andrea MacLean, Summer Student

A recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision reiterated the importance of timely service of a statement of claim.

In McGowan v Lang (“McGowan“) the Court found that a plaintiff must formally serve a statement of claim upon the defendant(s) – even in instances where the defendant’s insurer had been provided with a copy of the statement of claim. Failure to do so may be fatal to the action.

The Alberta Rules of Court require that a statement of claim be served on a defendant within one year of its being filed, unless the Court grants an extension.

In McGowan, the plaintiff missed the one-year deadline for service. The statement of claim – relating to a motor vehicle accident – was filed and a copy forwarded to the insurance adjuster who was handling the claim. However, it was not formally served on the defendant until several months after the service deadline.

At no point did the insurance adjuster indicate to the plaintiff that:

  1. service was accepted on behalf of the defendant;
  2. liability was not contested; or
  3. the time limit was waived.

Thus, there could be no extension of service granted under Rule 3.27(1)(a).

However, prior to the service deadline, there had been ongoing negotiations between the adjuster and the plaintiff’s counsel. The adjuster had notified the plaintiff’s counsel that he would file a statement of defence if he did not receive medical documents. The plaintiff argued that this conduct created “special or extraordinary circumstances” which should give rise to an extension of the time for service under Rule 3.27(1)(c).

The Court of Appeal found that the actions of the adjuster did not create special or extraordinary circumstances. Further, plaintiff counsel’s reliance on the adjuster’s statement was found not to be the reason for the failure of service; it was simply a matter that the plaintiff’s lawyer had neglected.

The Court found that an extension of time for service of a statement of claim under Rule 3.27 should not occur where the failure to serve is caused by the plaintiff lawyer’s inadvertence, even in situations where there is no demonstrated prejudice to the defendants.

The takeaway is that according to the Court, a lawyer acting for a plaintiff should file the statement of claim in a timely fashion and thereafter serve it upon the defendant(s) pursuant to the timelines in the Rules of Court, regardless of any ongoing negotiations with a defendant’s insurer.

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