State Farm Canada becoming Desjardins Insurance

In January 2015, Desjardins Group the leading cooperative financial group in Canada with over $276 billion in assets completed the purchase of State Farm Canadian property and casualty and life insurance operations, as well as its mutual fund, loan and living benefits companies. As part of its ongoing integration plan, Desjardins announced today that the former State Farm Canadian business will gradually be rebranded Desjardins Insurance. The brand transition will officially begin on May 1, 2018, and will be completed by December 31, 2019.

“This is an exciting step in the evolution of Desjardins. We have a well-known and very strong brand, this will contribute to strengthening it across Canada,” said Guy Cormier, President and CEO, Desjardins Group. “Our vision is rooted in a cooperative mission which highlights community involvement and customer-focused values. Desjardins Insurance encompasses these shared values and commitments.”

State Farm clients in Canada will be served by their current agents who will transition to the Desjardins Insurance brand under the new Desjardins agent network.

“We are committed to the exclusive agent network, which provides clients and consumers the added value of personal service and advice from a trusted insurance professional in their community,” said Denis Dubois, President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins General Insurance Group. “Our clients will continue to benefit from the established relationships they’re used to, with full access to the insurance and financial products that fit their unique needs and goals.”

The goals for Desjardins Insurance will be to ensure the competitive pricing of its products and services, maintain the highest levels of customer service, strengthen its competitive position and enhance its digital capabilities. This is to best serve the evolving needs of its clients while remaining committed to further growth and development across Canada.

About Desjardins
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $276,3 billion. It has been rated one of the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company, underwriters of automobile and property insurance or Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company, underwriters of life insurance products.

SOURCE Mouvement Desjardins

Legal expenses insurance assists with access to justice

Written By Michael McKiernan | Law Times

The legal profession should renew its focus on legal expenses insurance as the product slowly but steadily gains traction in Canada, says the former head of the Canadian Bar Association’s access to justice committee.

John Sims headed the committee in late 2013 when the CBA announced its aim to have 75 per cent of middle-income Canadians covered by legal insurance by 2030. The ambitious target was unveiled in the committee’s “Reaching Equal Justice Report: An Invitation to Envision and Act,” which noted the popularity of the product in jurisdictions outside of North America.

Legal expense insurance policyholders, which include businesses and individuals, receive coverage for some or all of the costs associated with certain legal situations. The report said that around 40 per cent of Europeans had some sort of coverage, including virtually all households in Sweden, where carriage was made mandatory in 1997 to offset the impact of falling legal aid funding.

“In principle, it makes a lot of sense. It’s not a panacea, but it can bring access to justice to a certain group that wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet their legal needs,” says Ottawa-based Sims, a former deputy minister of justice and deputy attorney general of Canada.

“I think it may be time for us to come back and have a fresh look,” he adds, noting that the concept has yet to hit the mainstream in this country.

At the time of the CBA report, estimates put the total Canadian market for legal expenses insurance at around $11 million to $12 million in annual premiums, with the bulk of that amount paid in Quebec, where the Barreau du Quebec had previously spent $2 million in its drive to promote the idea to consumers.

“That was a massive and very expensive campaign by the Barreau, but even after that, the take-up was still only around 10 per cent of Quebecers,” Sims says.

Kevin Le Messurier-Girling, president of legal expenses insurance company Sterlon Underwriting Managers, says the Quebec bar set the gold standard in terms of promotion of the industry.

“There’s plenty more the legal profession can do. Outside Quebec, law societies have done some things to raise awareness, but they’ve never advanced in the same way, which I think was a huge mistake,” he says.

“I always thought lawyers should be doing more, because the end result is a client who walks through their door with money to spend on a legitimate case.”

Despite that, Le Messurier-Girling says the industry is finally primed to burst into public consciousness.

“In the last year, we have seen explosive growth. Insurance brokers and [managing general agents] are really embracing and understanding it, so it’s increasingly on everyone’s radar,” he says.

Kent Pitkin, vice-president at insurance wholesalers April Canada, says the market has grown significantly since 2013 to more than $20 million in annual premiums but that it is still not reaching its potential.

He says a lot of his job involves educating potential customers about the idea, since much of the public remains initially skeptical about this type of insurance.

“They think they won’t need it,” Pitkin says. “But once they understand what they’re getting for their money, it’s a no-brainer.”

One group that doesn’t need a hard sell on the benefits of the product, according to Pitkin, are those who have had a legal problem in the past.

“Their eyes are opened to its potential, because they know how much a lawyer costs per hour and what you can spend on a court case. So it becomes quite apparent to them what a good deal they are getting for an extra few hundred dollars of premium,” he says.

“Our society is becoming more litigious, and I think that’s going to help more people grasp the value of legal expenses insurance.”

Julie Macfarlane, a professor at the University of Windsor’s faculty of law who runs the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, agrees that legal expenses insurance would be a good option for the increasing number of Canadians who earn too much to qualify for legal aid but still can’t afford counsel.

“People in the legal profession understand very well that legal problems can come at you from nowhere, but if you’re outside the system, you think it’s not going to happen to you,” she says.

In addition, she says, the poor reputation of lawyers among laypeople doesn’t help matters.

“There’s a really widespread mistrust of lawyers. Almost everyone has heard a story about someone who went to a lawyer with a problem, thinking it would cost them $1,000 to solve, and they come out of it with a $30,000 bill,” she says. “When I run this past people, they always ask why they would want to buy a policy that will give lawyers more money. In their view, it would be like buying hurricane insurance if you thought all the builders in your neighbourhood were corrupt, which is unfortunate, because it has lots of potential.”

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians Deserve Better Auto Insurance

 It has been 14 years since a review of the auto insurance system was held in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is long overdue. Other provinces have found a balance for claims payouts, sustainable premium amounts and the ability to help accident victims better quickly. It’s about time Newfoundland and Labrador joined them.

We need to fix the current system. It now costs drivers in this province more in premiums than their counterparts pay elsewhere in Atlantic Canada. In fact, on average, premiums are 40% higher here. Drivers in this province are unhappy with their high premiums, their limited choice and the presence of uninsured drivers on the road.

The provincial government is listening. By undertaking a review of the auto system, the government will consider how to encourage more insurers to compete in the marketplace and offer more choice and lower prices to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

NL’s Public Utility Board (PUB) is also listening. They will be seeking public input. If you have an opinion on what is wrong with the auto insurance system, or if you have ideas on how to fix it, we would like to hear from you:

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Organization Profile

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Launches Network Security & Privacy Liability Insurance in Canada

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) today unveiled the Professional FirstTM Network Security & Privacy Liability Policy in Canada, a solution that combines cyber liability and breach response coverage with risk management resources for commercial enterprises and financial institutions.

“We are excited to round out our Executive and Professional Lines offerings with this flexible cyber solution, backed by BHSI’s commitment to service and unparalleled financial strength.”

“Our new policy simplifies the complex endeavor of managing cyber exposures for both our business partners and our customers,” said Michael Densham, SVP, Executive & Professional Lines, BHSI Canada. “We are excited to round out our Executive and Professional Lines offerings with this flexible cyber solution, backed by BHSI’s commitment to service and unparalleled financial strength.”

The Professional First Network Security & Privacy Liability Policy is designed to deliver multi-faceted coverage and crisis management services for large commercial enterprises and a wide range of financial institutions, including credit unions, banks, asset managers, and insurance companies.

Policy highlights include:

  • Coverage for both first and third party exposures resulting from data security and privacy breaches, including regulatory investigations, fines and penalties.
  • Breach expense and extortion threat coverage, addressing the direct expenses an Insured incurs to effectively respond to a breach or extortion threat.
  • Media liability coverage, which responds to traditional media exposures (e.g. through a company’s website) arising from electronic content.
  • Business interruption coverage to pay lost income and related expenses incurred as a result of the Insured’s partial or full business interruption due to a network security failure.
  • Online access to eRiskHub® tools and resources to help policyholders understand cyber exposures, establish a breach response plan, and prepare to mitigate the impact of a breach on their organization. eRiskHub is provided via NetDiligence, a leading cyber security and e-risk assessment firm.

BHSI policyholders also have access to legal experts to help them manage their obligations following a breach, forensic IT services to identify and contain a breach, and public relations and credit monitoring firms to manage the reputational damage that can accompany an incident.

For more information, contact Geoffrey Kendrick at for commercial risks and Andrew Knight at for financial institutions risks.

BHSI’s new Network Security & Privacy Liability Policy is the latest addition to its Professional First suite of professional liability products, which are designed to provide clear, current and customizable coverage for financial and commercial firms.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance ( provides commercial property, casualty, healthcare professional liability, executive and professional lines, surety, travel, programs, medical stop loss, and homeowners insurance. In Canada it underwrites on the paper of National Liability & Fire Insurance Company, a part of Berkshire Hathaway’s National Indemnity group of insurance companies, which hold financial strength ratings of A++ from AM Best and AA+ from Standard & Poor’s. Based in Boston, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has offices in Atlanta, Asheville, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Irvine, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Ramon, Seattle, Stevens Point, Auckland, Brisbane, Düsseldorf, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Macau, Melbourne, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto. For more information, contact

How to Prevent and Thaw Frozen Pipes

Excerpted article was written by

Frozen pipes are a serious threat that can affect any Canadian home during the winter. Not only can the issue leave you without water, a frozen pipe could lead to an even bigger inconvenience – burst pipes. A burst pipe usually involves a messy clean-up, and potentially expensive property damage.

As you may remember from grade seven chemistry, while most substances contract when they freeze, water is unique because it expands. This expansion will put a great deal of pressure on whatever is holding it, including your water pipes. If this pressure lasts long enough, it can cause pipes to break – no matter how strong the pipes may be.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, including ones found in unheated areas of your home (like attics, crawl spaces and the garage), and those that run against exterior walls with little or no insulation.

Here are few tips to help protect your home from potential damage of frozen pipes.

Before a deep freeze

  • When summer garden watering is over, be sure to close inside valves supplying your outdoor hose with water, drain the line, and then disconnect the hose from the spigot.
  • Insulate all accessible pipes – especially those more susceptible to freezing. If you’re not sure how to do this or what type of insulation to use, ask at your local hardware store or call a licensed plumber.
  • Have all pipe seals checked. Be sure to repair and fill all cracks and holes you find on your home’s outside walls (note: caulk typically needs to be applied in temperatures of at least 4 degrees Celsius). Use only a sealant or caulk approved for exterior use.
  • Consider installing a water leak sensor in areas where you might expect problems. The sensor will send you an alert when water leakage is detected to allow you to act quickly on any developing problems.

When temperatures drop

  • Listen to daily weather reports, and be on alert for winter advisories and freezing temperatures. Any temperature under 0 degrees Celsius could lead to frozen pipes.
  • During severe cold, keep exterior doors to unheated spaces, like garages, closed so the cold has a harder time getting in.
  • If kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room sink pipes are located near exterior walls, leave cabinet doors open so warm air can circulate around them. Also consider using a fan to help circulate warmer air around them.
  • If you’re really concerned freezing may occur, turn taps on to a very slow drip during extreme cold snaps to help prevent water from freezing and to relieve pressure if some water does freeze. Ensure that someone is home or that a water leak sensor is installed if you choose to do this as faucets should not be left open and unattended.

Burst water pipe
How to test for frozen pipes (and how to thaw them)

  • Check your pipes by turning on the faucet (both hot and cold). If only a trickle of water comes out, or none at all, you may have a frozen pipe. The source of the freeze is most likely near an exterior wall or where the main water supply enters your home.
  • Heat up the pipe (beginning at the faucet and working toward the frozen section) using a blow dryer, or by wrapping the pipe with towels soaked in hot water. Never use an open flame torch to heat a pipe up.
  • Keep the faucet open as you treat the pipe. Water will begin to flow more steadily as ice melts. The running water will also help to speed the melting process.
  • Check all other faucets in your home. If one pipe has frozen, others may have frozen as well.

If you are unsure which pipe might be frozen, or just aren’t comfortable thawing it yourself, call a licensed plumber to come out immediately.

Going on a winter vacation?

  • If you’ll be going away for more than a couple days during colder months, consider turning off the water main and drain the water from your plumbing system (check out this video to learn how).
  • Keep your thermostat set at a temperature above 15 degrees Celsius in the home.
  • Have a responsible adult check on your home each day while you’re away to help mitigate any damage should a burst pipe occur. Be sure to check your homeowner’s policy to confirm how often your home should be checked while you are away.

Your home insurance coverage for damages due to freezing and burst pipes may be void if you are away for an extended period and did not take necessary precautions to prevent these issues, so make sure you talk to your insurance agent or broker about the best options for you and your home before you go away.

Economical welcomes Paul MacDonald as Executive Vice-President of Personal Insurance

 Economical Insurance today announced another significant addition to its executive team. Paul MacDonald will be joining the company in the new role of Executive Vice-President (EVP) of Personal Insurance effective early January 2018.

“We are pleased to welcome Paul to the executive team as we deepen our capabilities to deliver the most relevant products and experience to our customers and brokers,” said Rowan Saunders, President and CEO of Economical. “Paul brings extensive industry expertise in leading underwriting and claims functions, product and distribution strategy, and business transformation and integration — all critical elements as we drive toward our vision to become one of Canada’s top property and casualty insurers.”

“Paul will have P&L accountability for broker-distributed personal insurance and support a renewed focus in personal lines across our distribution channels. He will work in close partnership with Tom Reikman, Chief Distribution Officer, and Fabian Richenberger, EVP, Commercial Insurance. This is an exciting time as we continue our progress towards a new business platform and policy administration system for personal insurance, and an enhanced senior executive team,” added Saunders.

Prior to joining Economical, Mr. MacDonald was Senior Vice-President and Chief Claims Officer at RSA Canada. Before RSA, he was Vice-President, Canadian Operations for SGI CANADA, directing the company’s underwriting, broker services, business development, and regional claims operations. His experience also includes insurance consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers and senior leadership positions with Aon Risk Services.

Mr. MacDonald has an MBA from Northwestern University/York University and undergraduate degrees in law (Dalhousie University) and arts (Queen’s University).

About Economical Insurance
Founded in 1871, Economical is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with more than $2.2 billion in annualized premium volume and more than $5.6 billion in assets as at September 30, 2017. Based in Waterloo, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Sonnet, Petsecure, Economical Financial, and Family Insurance Solutions.

SOURCE Economical Insurance

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