Big insurance-price jumps for out-of-province drivers

The excerpredted article was written by Andrew Duffy | Times Colonist

Some part-time B.C. residents are in for sticker shock when they go to renew their vehicle insurance, thanks to new regulations brought into force in September.

Under the new rules, aimed at helping Insurance Corp. of B.C. to improve its finances, part-time B.C. residents who hold a driver’s licence from another jurisdiction will no longer qualify for driver-experience discounts.

Some part-time B.C. residents are in for sticker shock when they go to renew their vehicle insurance, thanks to new regulations brought into force in September.

Under the new rules, aimed at helping Insurance Corp. of B.C. to improve its finances, part-time B.C. residents who hold a driver’s licence from another jurisdiction will no longer qualify for driver-experience discounts.

MacLeod, who splits his time between his home in Hamilton, Ont., and the Salt Spring home he bought in 2007, said the provincial government is taking a run at those not considered B.C. residents.

“This is simply another whack at the people who did not take the hint with the speculation tax that the Horgan government does not want anyone in B.C. who is not a full-time resident,” he said. “I was absolutely horrified by this [increase], and even the $1,008 I paid last year was an increase of about 20 per cent.”

MacLeod dodged the speculation tax when, after criticism that the tax unfairly hit B.C. residents, Finance Minister Carole James announced it would be changed to exclude areas such as the Gulf Islands and Parksville-Qualicum.

But he couldn’t dodge the insurance changes. At 72, MacLeod, who has been driving since 1963, was told he would no longer be eligible to claim an experienced driver discount and would face a hike.

He paid his insurance bill, but increased his deductible to $2,500, from $500, which dropped his bill to $2,312.

“But now I am assuming $2,000 in liability I didn’t have last year,” he said, adding he is now paying more for insurance for a used Subaru than he does for his Corvette convertible back in Ontario, despite a clean driving record and no tickets.

Despite repeated requests, no one from ICBC or the Attorney General’s Ministry was made available to comment.

The changes stem from ICBC’s switch from a vehicle-based insurance model to a driver-based one. Without holding a B.C. driver’s licence, non-residents used to be able to benefit from discounts based on how long they had insured their vehicles in B.C., but ICBC is now using a driver-based model that relies on driving experience in B.C.

In hopes of having ICBC review the situation, MacLeod signed a disclosure agreement waiving his privacy rights, which allowed ICBC to comment on his policy rate.

But it’s unclear why an experienced driver from another jurisdiction in Canada wouldn’t be able to provide a provincial record or abstract to be able to claim an experience discount, or how many drivers could be affected by the change.

Drivers such as MacLeod have been advised, instead, to purchase a storage policy for when the vehicle isn’t in use and purchase short-term policies for when it is.

MacLeod said he and his wife spend about three months a year in B.C., and intend to continue to do so. “The smart thing is to sell the place and go and buy a place in Muskoka I guess, but I don’t want to do that.

“We like it here. We have friends here and are part of a community.”

Victim of negligent Toronto lawyer wins partial compensation after years of court battles

A man who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because of a negligent Toronto lawyer has finally received partial compensation, years after winning a court judgment that has proven unenforceable.

The $150,000 payout to Nalliah Balachandran late last month came after The Canadian Press reported in December on a glaring gap in the insurance system designed to protect victims of unscrupulous or incompetent Ontario lawyers.

“This money will help,” Mr. Balachandran said. “At least I can pay off some debts.”

Mr. Balachandran, 64, now of Calgary, had been unable to collect on $188,646 in damages an Ontario Superior Court justice awarded him in 2012 against lawyer Michael (Mike) J. Webster, who was disbarred after an avalanche of complaints.

Other cases The Canadian Press reviewed turned up several people who had lost out on compensation for car-crash injuries or ended up in jail because lawyers failed to do their jobs. None was able to collect on court-ordered damages, even though all members of Ontario’s legal profession must carry liability coverage through the insurance company known as LawPro.

Despite judicial criticism of the situation, LawPro denies coverage when lawyers fail to report a client’s claim against them or refuse to help defend the action. The result is usually disbarment – and clients left without access to compensation.

Several lawyers trying to help hapless clients expressed dismay that LawPro, owned by the 50,000-member Law Society of Ontario and with assets of close to $735-million, would take that position.

“It’s very unfair and unfortunate – and to my mind shocking,” one lawyer, Ava Hillier, said last year. “People need to know that they’ve got nothing if their lawyer just decides not to pick up the phone.”

What lawyers involved in such cases said they had never heard of is a policy the law society adopted in 1997. It provides victims of lawyers access to an internal compensation fund when LawPro declines coverage. The fund can reimburse victims up to $500,000.

Days after an interview with its treasurer last November, the law society updated its website to explicitly refer to the obscure policy. Five claims, including Mr. Balachandran’s, have since been made against the fund, one quarter of all claims in 1997. Two have been settled.

A spokeswoman said that over the past 20 years, the fund has paid out a total of $552,565 for 14 claims involving 13 lawyers – a fraction of the $100-million LawPro lays out for claims annually.

“Our focus as the regulator is on protecting the public, and, as per our policy, the Law Society’s compensation fund will consider claims where LawPro coverage is denied in special circumstances – where a lawyer fails to report a claim to the professional liability insurer or fails to co-operate with the insurer,” Susan Tonkin said.

Mr. Balachandran, who works for Alberta Health Services, received his cheque for the maximum amount in effect at the time of his initial claim. A timely payout, he said, would have spared him and his wife years of stress and tens of thousands of dollars in interest on mounting debts he still can’t pay off.

He also faulted the society for its previous failure to make the compensation fund widely known, potentially saving him from a fruitless battle to collect the almost $200,000 Mr. Webster now owes him and which the law society will try to recover.

As important, he said, is the law society’s move to transparency about the 1997 policy.

“It’s going to help not just me but the whole community,” Mr. Balachandran said.

LawPro, which has been subject to several lawsuits over its refusal to cover such cases, has called such situations rare. It has defended the mandatory insurance program as being in the best interests of the public and Ontario lawyers.

Manitoba Public Insurance survey finds drivers shout, make rude gestures or commit ‘extreme actions’

Read more

Hub International Acquires Ontario-based PDF Financial Group Inc.

Chicago, October 8, 2019Hub International Limited (Hub), a leading global insurance brokerage, announced today that it has acquired PDF Financial Group Inc. (PDF). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, PDF is an independent brokerage offering consulting and outsourcing services for employee benefit programs, human resources, and related financial advice. Peter Demangos, Founder and President of PDF, will join Hub International Ontario Limited (Hub Ontario).

The move continues to reinforce Hub’s ongoing Canadian employee benefits growth and services strategy to expand its best-in-class employee benefits and retirement solution, addressing the challenges clients are facing, including in benefits communication, health and wellness, and retirement.

About Hub’s M&A Activities
Hub International Limited is committed to growing organically and through acquisitions to expand its geographic footprint and strengthen industry and product expertise. For more information on the Hub M&A experience, visit WeAreHub.com.

About Hub International
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Hub International Limited is a leading full-service global insurance broker providing property and casualty, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services. With more than 11,000 employees in offices located throughout North America, Hub’s vast network of specialists provides peace of mind on what matters most by protecting clients through unrelenting advocacy and tailored insurance solutions. For more information, please visit www.hubinternational.com.

Hurricane Dorian Caused Over $100 Million in Insured Damage

October 4, 2019 (HALIFAX) – Hurricane Dorian hit Atlantic Canada on September 7 causing over $105 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ). Seventy per cent of this amount is for damage to personal property, 25% is for damage to commercial property and the remaining amount is for damage to automobiles.

Province Insured damage*
New Brunswick $22.5 million
Newfoundland & Labrador $2.5 million
Nova Scotia $62.2 million
Prince Edward Island $17.5 million
Quebec $300,000
Grand Total: $105 million

*Initial estimates 

Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc from the Bahamas to Atlantic Canada in early September. The weather system travelled through Atlantic Canada from September 7 to 8, 2019,and the cleanup lasted much longer. Halifax, Moncton and much of Prince Edward Island suffered a large portion of the damage, though damage reports were widespread across Atlantic Canada.

On September 7, Dorian became a post-tropical storm but maintained hurricane strength when it made landfall to the southwest of Halifax, with estimated sustained winds of 155 km/h. On the morning of September 8, the system hit the northeastern Gulf of St. Lawrence with strong southeasterly winds in Newfoundland. In the evening, the system tracked to the northeast across Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula, with wind gusts ranging from 90 to 157 km/h.

Due to rainwater-saturated ground and trees being in full leaf, many large trees were uprooted across Atlantic Canada, and the region experienced numerous power outages. Heavy rainfall also caused road washouts and flooding of homes and businesses. The Magdalen Islands were severely affected as homes, cottages, and boats were damaged, and trees were uprooted; in several cases, and some cottages were blown off their foundations.

“Hurricane Dorian is another example of how devastating Mother Nature can be” said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “Severe, unpredictable weather like this is becoming more frequent, resulting in higher costs to homeowners, insurers and governments. Last year, insured damage from severe weather across Canada exceeded $2 billion, the fourth-highest amount of annual losses on record. That alarming trend has continued in 2019, with over $1 billion in insured losses recorded already this year.”

As the financial cost of the changing climate has been increasing, IBC has been working closely with all levels of government to increase investments to mitigate the future impacts of extreme weather and build resilience to its damaging effects. IBC is advocating for improved building codes, better land-use planning, incentives to shift the development of homes and businesses away from areas at highest risk of flooding, and investment in new infrastructure to protect communities from floods and fires.

The financial costs of severe weather are widespread adversely impacting insurers, policyholders and taxpayers, This is why all stakeholders need to come together to reduce the financial strain caused by floods and other severe weather events. For every dollar paid out in insurance claims for damaged homes, vehicles and businesses, Canadian governments and their taxpayers pay much more to recover the public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

The amount of insured damage is an estimate provided by CatIQ (www.catiq.com) under licence to 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 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask-IBC.

Average cost of insurance for private passenger vehicles would decrease 0.9%

Read more

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest