Merry Christmas! ILScorp & ILSTV is taking a short holiday break

Merry Christmas! ILScorp & ILSTV is taking a short holiday break

Merry Christmas! ILScorp is taking a short break: We’ll be back Monday, Dec 30th, ready to take your calls, answer your questions and register you for online insurance programs. You can reach us from 8 a.m. – 5  p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

ILScorp’s holiday hours below (PST)

Monday, Dec 23:Closed

Tuesday, Dec 24: Closed 

Wednesday, Dec 25: Closed Christmas Day

Thursday, Dec 26: Closed Boxing Day

Friday, Dec 27: Closed 

Regular hours resume on Dec 30th

Wednesday, Jan 1: Closed New Years Day

You can also register for our insurance training programs online, anytime, at ILScorp.com

*Monday, Dec 30th ILStv will be up-dating insurance news. And for subscribers to the ILSTV insurance industry newsletter, your daily and weekly, dose of Canadian insurance news returns to your inbox on Jan 7, 2019.

From our family at ILScorp to yours have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

ICBC: a crash occurs every three minutes over the holidays

ICBC: a crash occurs every three minutes over the holidays

The holidays are here and many drivers will be traveling to visit family and friends to celebrate. With increased traffic and unpredictable road conditions, it’s important for everyone to be prepared and drive smart.

Over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s, 530 people are injured and two people are killed in 2,000 crashes every year in B.C.* That’s one crash every three minutes.

Here are ICBC’s tips to get home safe this holiday season:

  • Check your vehicle. Many B.C. highways require winter tires, labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation. Top up wiper fluid for clearer visibility and pack an emergency kit including blanket, food and water.

  • Slow down. Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions only. It takes more time and distance to come to a complete stop on wet, icy or snowy roads. Adjust your speed to the conditions and always maintain a safe travelling distance between vehicles.

  • Avoid distraction. Make important calls and program your GPS before you begin driving and let your family and friends know you’re not available while driving. If you’re on a longer drive, use highway rest stops to take a break and check your messages.

  • Take a break. Pull over as soon as you start to feel drowsy. Get out and walk around to get some fresh air. If that’s not enough, pull over to a safe area, turn off your car and take a nap.

  • Plan for a safe ride home. If your holiday festivities involve alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home: arrange a designated driver, call a taxi, take transit or use Operation Red Nose where available. There’s no excuse to drink and drive.

Christmas holiday statistics:*

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, one person is killed and 350 people are injured in 1,300 crashes in B.C. every year.

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, 260 people are injured in 810 crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, 69 people are injured in 340 crashes on Vancouver Island every year.

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, 45 people are injured in 180 crashes in the Southern Interior every year.

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, 15 people are injured in 87 crashes in the North Central region every year.

New Year’s statistics:*

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, one person is killed and 180 people are injured in 700 crashes in B.C.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 130 people are injured in 470 crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 17 people are injured in 78 crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 15 people are injured in 95 crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, nine people are injured in 48 crashes in the North Central region.

*Christmas is defined as 18:00 hours December 24 to midnight December 26. New Year’s is defined as 18:00 hours December 31st of the previous year to midnight January 1 of the New Year. ICBC data for injury and crashes based on five year average (2014 to 2018); police data for fatalities based on five year average (2013 to 2017).

C O R R E C T I O N from Source — Insurance Bureau of Canada

In the news release, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) Applauds Government on Auto Insurance Review, issued today by the Insurance Bureau of Canada over CNW, we are advised by the company that in the third paragraph, the first sentence, “insurers” should be “consumers”. The complete, corrected release follows:

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) Applauds Government on Auto Insurance Review

Consumers should remain the focus of the review and eventual reforms

EDMONTON , Dec. 18, 2019 /CNW/ – Today, the Alberta government announced the creation of an advisory committee that will review options to fix the auto insurance system. The advisory committee will report back to the government in the spring 2020.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (CNW Group/Insurance Bureau of Canada)
Insurance Bureau of Canada (CNW Group/Insurance Bureau of Canada)

“IBC and the insurance industry have heard loud and clear from consumers that Alberta’s auto insurance system isn’t working,” said Celyeste Power, Vice-President, Western, IBC. ” Alberta’s 3 million drivers have said they want more affordable premiums, more choice and care they can count on when they need it. We encourage all stakeholders that participate in the government’s review to focus on what consumers want and, frankly, deserve.”

IBC, on behalf of Alberta’s auto insurers will participate in the consultation process. In these discussions, IBC will focus on what they have heard from consumers, which show*:

  • 69% of Albertans agree that insurers should be more innovative, offer more products and do more electronically
  • 87% of Albertans agree that drivers should have more control over their rates based on how they drive
  • 86% of Albertans support improving care and treatment options for people to recover from motor vehicle collisions

The industry is hopeful that the government and stakeholders will come together quickly to find solutions to the issues facing the auto insurance system so that consumers can count on stable premiums in the short-term. IBC will also participate in the review, by providing a submission and offering assistance to the committee.

” Alberta’s auto insurance system used to be the envy of other provinces, working well for over a decade. Unfortunately, increases in payouts for minor injuries has led the average claim size to increase by nearly 10% per year. We want to work with stakeholders to help focus the system on what consumers want and are encouraged that the government is undertaking this important review,” added Power.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Aviva Canada shares most quirky and unusual claims from the last year

TORONTO, Dec. 18, 2019 /CNW/ – In the last year, Aviva Canada has handled thousands of property and auto claims – including a few quirky and unusual ones:

Chaotic kitchen kitties: Two home alone kittens accidentally turned on the kitchen faucet, causing the sink to overflow and flood the kitchen while our customer was at work. In the hours before the customer returned home, significant damage was caused to the floor tile and cupboards, but Aviva connected her with a contractor and her kitchen and her cats are now back to normal.

Just passing through: A customer’s truck was stolen from a local hotel. He asked a friend to pick him up and called us while in the car. While sharing the details with us to start the claim, he spotted his stolen truck passing them on the highway. Our customer stayed on the phone with us while his friend called 911. The police arrested the driver and we arranged to have the vehicle inspected. The customer ultimately got his truck back undamaged.

Rising out of the ashes:  A fire caused the loss of our customer’s entire collection of 36 antique collector cars. Aviva paid out his claim, which included the value of the 36 cars and he’s already started rebuilding his collection. But he also asked to keep all 36 of the burnt vehicles and told us he had plans to create a museum on his property.

Friendly neighbourhood dry waller: A drywall contractor showed up at a customer’s house to make necessary repairs to their basement, but when he got downstairs, all of the walls had already been dry walled. As it turns out, a house up the street was being rebuilt and their tradesperson went to the wrong home by accident. Our contractor got the day off and the additional repairs to the basement are still ongoing.

Sneaky serpentine stowaway: A customer rented a vehicle in Mexico and got into a minor accident while leaving a parking lot. He pulled over to check the damages and when he checked under the hood he was surprised to find a large snake wrapped around the engine. Although the snake didn’t cause any damage, we paid out the body damage and the customer went safely (sans snake) on his way.

Aviva Canada paid 99% of claims in 2018 and is the only insurance company in Canada to proactively share its claims payout rate on an annual basis. 99% of claims means that in 2018, Aviva Canada paid 256,367 customer claims worth more than $2.7 bn*. This is equivalent to one claim paid every two seconds or $5,137 going to customers every minute across our auto and home businesses.

About Aviva Canada

Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country, providing home, automobile, leisure & lifestyle and business insurance to 2.8 million customers. A subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, Aviva Canada has more than 4,000 employees focused on creating a bright and sustainable future for their customers and our communities.

For more information, visit aviva.ca or Aviva  Canada’s blogTwitterFacebook and LinkedIn pages.

____________

*Data calculated by dividing all paid and rejected claims by the total number of claims received between January 1 and December 31, 2018. The figure includes home and auto insurance claims.

SOURCE Aviva Canada Inc.

Related Links

www.avivacanada.com

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Canada: Clarity In Claims Against Adjusters In Their Personal Capacity

Article by Miller Thomson LLP

A recent decision of Justice Perell (Burns v. RBC Life Insurance Co., 2019 ONSC 6977) provides some welcome clarity on the issues of whether insurance adjusters owe a duty of good faith to an insured independent of any duty owed by the insurer and the personal liability of insurance adjusters. Although claims of this nature have diminished markedly in recent times, they remain a concern and a vexing issue for claims adjusters (and the insurers who employ them).

In Burns, the plaintiff sued RBC Life (“RBC”) and two of its employees (the “adjusters”), who administered the disability claim, for a declaration of entitlement under the policy, payment of long-term disability benefits, special damages of $100,000.00 and punitive damages of $1 million. The Statement of Claim pleaded RBC was vicariously liable for the acts or omissions of its employees. One adjuster advised Burns his benefits were terminated after five years of payment, the other denied his internal appeal of termination. The pleadings alleged all defendants (RBC and the adjusters) owed Burns a duty of utmost good faith. The collective conduct of the defendants was alleged to amount to bad faith, negligence and/or negligent misrepresentation.

The adjusters brought a motion to strike the claims against them under Rule 21. Justice Perell summarized the threshold for success of such a motion: On a pleadings motion, there is generally no evidence beyond the pleading and for the purpose of the motion, the court accepts the pleaded allegations of fact as proven, subject to some very limited exceptions. The moving party must show that it is plain, obvious and beyond doubt that the plaintiff cannot succeed with the claim. Matters of law that are not fully settled should not be disposed of on a motion to strike, and the court’s power to strike should be exercised only in the clearest of cases.

The allegations in Burns‘ Statement of Claim are set out in great detail in the decision. With two limited exceptions, the allegations against the adjusters are grouped with those against RBC, collectively as the “defendants”. There were some 38 allegations against the defendants collectively with additional allegations against RBC only. It cannot be said that the allegations were bald-faced or boilerplate pleadings as they contain a reasonable degree of particularity.

In addressing the law with regard to personal liability of employees, officers and directors of corporations, Justice Perell acknowledged that a corporation must act through human agency. The acts of those employed by a corporation or acting on behalf of an corporation are a manifestation of the acts of the corporation. A corporation acts, or omits to act, through its employees and its agents. That, however, is not sufficient to establish personal liability on these individuals. Rather, in order for employees to be liable in tort for conduct in the course of their employment, the Court of Appeal has found1 their actions must be in and of themselves tortious or they must exhibit a separate identity or interest from those of the employer. In other words, the actions have to be the actions of the employee personally, separate and apart from those of their employer. An employee who carries on discussions and makes decisions related to the business carried on by the corporation, acting within the scope of their authority as an agent for the corporation, is simply causing the corporation itself to act and form legal relationships. Those actions are not actions by individuals in their personal capacity and on their own behalf. As a rule of pleading, in order to properly plead a case of personal liability against an employee, the plaintiff must plead a specific cause of action against that individual in their personal capacity.

In order to survive a motion to strike, there must be sufficient particulars pleaded to disclose a basis for attaching liability to the adjusters in their personal capacity. The material facts giving rise to personal liability must be specifically pleaded because an employee is otherwise not personally liable for the acts of their employer unless their acts manifest a separate identity or interest from the employer and the actions of that employee are in and of themselves tortious conduct.

Justice Perell found there were no material facts pleaded which would support a claim against the employees personally and so struck those claims.

Justice Perell helpfully distinguished Sataur v. Starbucks Coffee Canada Inc.,2 in which the Court of Appeal (in reversing the motion judge’s decision to dismiss against two individually named employees) confirmed there is no general rule that an employee acting in the course of their employment cannot be sued personally for breaching a duty of care owed to a customer. In other words, an employer’s vicarious liability does not shield employees from their own tortious conduct. Justice Perell found the adjusters were not relying on vicarious liability as a shield, rather they were relying on Court of Appeal authority which permitted the claims against them to be struck unless their acts manifested a separate identity or interest from the employer and their actions were of themselves tortious. The pleadings as against the adjusters, one in denying the disability claim and the other in dismissing an internal appeal, could attract vicarious liability on RBC, but those actions would not expose the adjusters to personal liability. According to Justice Perell, the allegations in the Statement of Claim simply did not manifest a separate identity or interest of the adjusters and the allegations were not of tortious acts of the adjusters in their personal capacity.

In perhaps the most helpful portion of the decision, Justice Perell addressed the proposition that individual adjusters owe a duty of good faith to the insured and can be found liable for such a breach. This proposition emanated from the contentious decision of Justice Cavarzan in Spiers v. Zurich.3 Justice Perell noted Spiers was rejected in Burke v. Buss,4 a decision of Justice Jennings who specifically found Justice Cavarzan provided no authority for finding an independent duty of good faith on adjusters. Justice Jennings agreed that an employee can be found liable in tort but opined the breach of duty of good faith arose from a contract between the insurer and the insured and was not one for which an employee of the insurer could be sued. To this, Justice Perell added Spiers did not reference the “strong line of authority” from the Court of Appeal which delineates how and when an employee can be individually liable for their tortious conduct when engaged in the activities of the employer. Justice Perell noted he was not bound by Spiers and further stated, in his opinion, Spiers was wrongly decided on the issue of liability of employees. This strong wording will no doubt bring comfort and hopefully closure to the issue despite the absence of appellate rulings. Notably, Justice Jennings had expressed hope the issue would be considered by the Divisional Court.

In sum, the decision in Burns is helpful in providing clarity on the issue of personal liability of employed adjusters, finding Spiers to be wrongly decided. The decision will hopefully put an end to claims against insurance adjusters in their personal capacity (which generally add nothing but time and cost and detract from the real issues). There still may be the odd exceptional case where pleadings will allege sufficient material facts to generate liability of an adjuster in their personal capacity, sufficient to show an adjuster was manifesting an identity separate to the insurer, but those should be extremely rare.

Furthermore, in the context of accident benefits disputes, the Court of Appeal’s decision in Stegenga v. Economical5 held claims against the insurer, including for bad faith/punitive damages, were subsumed in section 280 of the Insurance Act, which confers exclusive jurisdiction on the LAT to resolve disputes in respect of an insured person’s entitlement to statutory accident benefits or in respect of the amount of those benefits. Disputes concerning the amount of benefits, the timeliness of payment of benefits, and the conduct and process of the insurer in providing benefits (the handling or administration of the claim) are disputes in respect of a person’s entitlement to benefits or the amount of benefits which have now been taken away from the courts. As such, claims for bad faith are claims which flow from the denial of benefits and are thus within the exclusive jurisdiction of the LAT, effectively barring further court actions for bad faith.

Although not dealt with by the Court of Appeal in Stegenga, any claims alleged against individual adjusters would also be subsumed in the dispute resolution sections and subject to the LAT, where the parties are the insured person and the insurer.

The combination of Burns and Stegenga significantly narrow the scope of individual adjuster liability and any perceived benefit in pursuing these type of claims.

Footnote

1 Lobo v. Carleton University, 2012 ONCA 498; Tran v. University of Western Ontario, 2014 ONSC 617.

2 Sataur (Litigation Guardian of) v. Starbucks Coffee Canada Inc., 2017 ONCA 1017.

3 Spiers v. Zurich (1999), 24 O.R. (3d) 726 (Gen. Div.), leave to appeal to Div. Ct. denied [1999], O.J. No. 4912 (Div. Ct.).

4 Burke v. Buss, 2002 CarswellOnt 4381 (ONSC).

5 Stegenga v. Economical, 2019 ONCA 615.

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

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