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75% of drivers distracted at the wheel – IBC

MONTREAL, May 29, 2019 /CNW/ – IBC is releasing the results of a survey on distracted driving in order to encourage drivers to adopt good driving habits.

The numbers say it all: 75% of drivers said they were distracted at the wheel in the past six months*. And yet, 90% of drivers were aware that accidents caused by distracted driving can drive up auto insurance premiums.

What does distracted driving mean? 
Distracted driving takes many forms: phoning, text messaging, eating, drinking, putting on make-up, even listening to music. Any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is considered a distraction.

Drivers are distracted and these are not isolated behaviours. In fact, the drivers surveyed said they had on several occasions in the past six months:

  • Eaten or drunk: 55%
  • Phoned: 39%
  • Texted: 11%

The age 35-44 sub-group was over-represented among drivers who said they were distracted, with 87% having said they had been distracted in the past six months, compared to 75% for all respondents.

“We were very surprised to learn that 90% of drivers are well aware that how you drive can result in higher auto insurance premiums. And yet, we were surprised to note this did not discourage risky behaviour and distracted driving”, said Anne Morin, Supervisor, Public Affairs, at IBC.

Limit accidents through risk awareness
The campaign objective is to make drivers aware of the distractions around them and the need to minimize the risks. Note that responsible behaviour can only be positive for the driver’s driving record.

“We decided to tackle the subject taking a moving approach and a touch of humour. We hope the campaign will have an impact on drivers as well as passengers, who have their role to play, since distracted driving affects everyone”, noted Anne Morin.

* Based on a SOM inc. survey carried out for Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) in 2019. 

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada, which groups the majority of 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. For all other information, please visit www.infoassurance.ca.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: Pauline Triplet, Communications Advisor, Tel.: 514 288-1537, ext. 2277

Related Links

http://www.ibc.ca/

The Cultivation Of Cannabis Can Lead To The Forfeiture Of The Right To An Indemnity Under A Home Insurance Policy

Article by Charles A. Foucreault

Despite the legalization of cannabis by the federal government on October 17, 2018, not all cannabis-related activities have become legal. In an insurance context, illegal acts can lead to the cancellation of a policy or to the forfeiture of the right to an insurance indemnity, as seen in the decision rendered by the Superior Court of Quebec on April 15, 2019, in Vo v. Compagnie d’assurances Desjardins (Desjardins, Groupe d’assurances générales).1

In this case, the Superior Court rejected the insured’s claim, who were seeking an indemnity under a home insurance policy following a fire in their building. The tribunal held that the insurer satisfied the burden of proving the general exclusion clause against illegal or criminal activities applied. Indeed, because of their possession of cannabis plants, an illegal activity, the plaintiffs could not benefit from the indemnity payable under the insurance policy

The facts

The plaintiffs were the owners of a quadruplex that was insured under a home insurance policy. In 2013, a high intensity discharge lamp used in the plaintiffs’ at-home cannabis operation started a fire in the building.

The insurer refused to cover the loss because the policy excluded any loss resulting from illegal or criminal activities, which included (and still includes) cultivating and manufacturing cannabis. The plaintiffs sued the insurer for the amount of the loss under the policy.

The Superior Court decision

The burden rested with the insurer to establish that the plaintiffs were engaging in illegal or criminal activities and, accordingly, the exclusion clause applied. However, the insurer did not need to prove in this case that illegal activities caused the damage because the plaintiffs admitted that their cannabis cultivation in apartment #4 caused the fire.3 The plaintiffs lived in apartment #3 of the building, whereas apartments #1, #2, and #4 were vacant, uninhabitable, and used exclusively for cultivating cannabis.

According to the plaintiffs, apartments #1, #2, and #4 were occupied by three different tenants. However, the evidence demonstrated that there were no personal belongings in those apartments and the apartments were uninhabitable.4 Additionally, the evidence showed that the existence of the alleged tenants was highly doubtful, since none of the tenants who had allegedly lived in the apartments could be traced.5 Moreover, the plaintiffs were paying the costly electricity bills of the three other apartments and at the very least, knew that there were cannabis plants in the building.

The court found that the insurer satisfied the burden of proving that the exclusion clause pertaining to illegal and criminal activities applied in this case.6 In addition to the evidence put forward by the insurer, the judge also considered the serious gaps in the plaintiffs’ evidence and their unconvincing testimonies.7 As a result, the plaintiffs’ claim was rejected by the court.

Conclusion

The legalization of cannabis has certainly had an impact on some exclusion clauses pertaining to illegal or criminal activities, particularly in matters of insurance of persons. Nevertheless, some cannabis-related activities remain illegal, such as the possession of cannabis plants in Quebec.8 Therefore, policyholders who engage in prohibited activities may forfeit their right to an insurance indemnity.

Footnotes

1. Vo v. Compagnie d’assurances Desjardins (Desjardins, Groupe d’assurances générales), 2019 QCCS 1382 [Vo v. Desjardins].

2. Ibid at para 24; 2803 CCQ; See also Levesque c. Compagnie d’Assurance Desjardins, 2013 QCCS 1552, at paras 59—60.

3. Vo v. Desjardins, supra note 1 at para 10.

4. Ibid at paras 23—24.

5. Ibid at para 41.

6. Ibid at para 62.

7. Ibid at paras 57 and 61.

8. An Act to constitute the Société québécoise du cannabis, to enact the Cannabis Regulation Act and to amend various highway safety related provisions, LQ 2018, c 19, adopted on June 12th, 2018, art. 5.


About Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. We provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have 3800 lawyers and other legal staff based in more than 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Recognized for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

For more information about Norton Rose Fulbright, see nortonrosefulbright.com/legal-notices.

Law around the world
nortonrosefulbright.com

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

CAA Club Group’s acquisition of Echelon Insurance has been completed

MISSISSAUGA, ON and RICHMOND HILL, ON, May 31, 2019 /CNW/ – Echelon Financial Holdings Inc. (“EFH” or the “Company“) (TSX: EFH) and CAA Club Group (“CAA“) are pleased to announce today that they have completed the previously announced sale of Echelon Insurance, the Company’s main operating subsidiary that is incorporated under the Insurance Companies Act, and the unregulated warranty business held directly by EFH to CAA (the “SaleTransaction“).

The net proceeds to EFH (after adjustments and expenses) was approximately C$166 million, which includes C$12 million that will be held in escrow for the next 30 days while EFH and CAA review and confirm the calculation of regulatory MCT at closing (which EFH has committed will be at least 220%). In the event that the MCT Ratio is less than 220%, monies held in the escrow account will be used to bring the MCT ratio to 220%.

Additional details are available in the Information Circular published by EFH on December 21, 2018.

Advisors

National Bank Financial Inc. acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Echelon Financial Holdings in connection with the strategic review process conducted by EFH’s Special Committee and the Sale Transaction. National Bank Financial Inc. and Blair Franklin Capital Partners provided opinions to EFH’s board of directors and EFH’s Special Committee, respectively, that the consideration pursuant to the Sale Transaction is fair, from a financial point of view, to EFH. Graham Gow and McCarthy Tétrault LLP acted as legal advisor to EFH. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP acted as insurance regulatory counsel to EFH. Stikeman Elliott LLP acted as legal advisor to CAA Club Group.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information involves numerous assumptions, risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. All information, other than statements of historical fact, is forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Known and unknown factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information.

About Echelon Financial Holdings Inc.

Founded in 1998, Echelon Financial Holdings Inc. operates in the property and casualty insurance industry in Canada, providing personal and commercial lines insurance exclusively through the broker channel. The Company distributes insurance products through Echelon Insurance and The Insurance Company of Prince Edward Island. It trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol EFH. For more information, please visit echeloninsurance.ca.

About CAA Club Group

For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. The CAA Club Group of Companies is comprised of two automobile clubs, CAA South Central Ontario and CAA Manitoba, providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance service and Member savings for over 2.2 million members. It also includes the CAA Insurance Company, a national property and casualty insurance company, and the Orion Travel Insurance company.

SOURCE Echelon Financial Holdings Inc.

If you drive distracted, you could miss out on life

If you drive distracted, you could miss out on life

SGI launches campaign with a clear message: “Distracted driving kills”

Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk was preoccupied with her cellphone when she drove into the path of a train; the resulting collision was catastrophic and left the Weyburn teenager in critical condition.

Kailynn’s tragic story is a part of SGI’s latest distracted driving awareness campaign that launches this weekend, coinciding with the June Traffic Safety Spotlight on distracted driving.

“When we got to the hospital and the doctor told me Kailynn needed surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain, I was lost. This is supposed to happen in movies, not in real life,” said Kailynn’s mom, Sandra LaRose.

Kailynn’s injuries would prove fatal – five days later her family made the difficult decision to take her off life support. Kailynn had just turned 17 years old.

SGI’s poignant campaign has a clear message: distracted driving kills – don’t miss out on life. The campaign features a 60-second video that shows a young woman dreaming of her life ahead and milestone moments. Those dreams are followed by the nightmare of a head-on collision caused by a distracted driver. Kailynn’s photo and a brief narration by LaRose conclude the video.

“I hope this province-wide campaign will help make the consequences of distracted driving more real to people,” said Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave. “I am grateful to Sandra for sharing her voice and her daughter’s tragic story, and hopeful it will encourage people to avoid all distractions while they drive, including their phones. There should never be another story like Kailynn’s.”

The ad will run online, in cinemas and on television. The campaign will also feature newspaper, radio and billboard advertising. Beginning in July, there will be shorter online videos focusing on common distracted driving behaviours, along with matching radio spots that will run all year. Visit www.sgi.sk.ca/distracted-driving-kills to see the campaign.

For Sandra LaRose, the tragic, preventable death of her daughter has spurred her to speak out about the issue of distracted driving.

“Hopefully people will realize that phone call is not important, that notification is not important, that music is not important; it will wait,” said LaRose. “Life will still go on if you don’t take that call. It’s literally a split second – that’s all it takes. You have control over that object – put your phone away.”

Driver distraction or inattention is the leading cause of collisions and injury on Saskatchewan roads, and one of the leading factors in fatal collisions. In 2017, 26 people died and 953 were injured in distracted driving collisions in Saskatchewan.

 

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