Has water damaged your home?

Desjardins Group

Latest Desjardins survey reveals 1 in 4 Canadians have experienced water damage to their home but only half know what’s covered by their insurance policy

AURORA, ONDec. 6, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – With winter right around the corner, Canadians are already in the midst of snow and sub-zero cold. The freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your home, causing pipes to freeze and ice damming.

Water is the most common cause of damage and accounts for 50% of home insurance claims costs. And although home insurance policies cover accidental damage resulting from a burst water pipe, a leaking dishwasher or an overflowing bathtub, a recent Desjardins survey reveals that 50% of respondents do not know what types of water damage is covered. When asked if their home was ever damaged by water, 26% say yes but most (43%) said they don’t know how to prevent water damage to their home.

Increase in claims
With more frequent and severe weather incidents like heavy rain, lightning storms, hail, freezing-thawing cycles and flooding, there has been an increase in the number of water-related insurance claims across the country.

When asked if they feel weather severity has increased in frequency in the last 10 years, 75% of respondents believe that’s true, with 58% indicating they are worried about climate change impacting their personal safety or safety of their property.

Tech solutions can mitigate damage
“As one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, we understand the level of stress people can experience because of water damage. Lost or damaged valuables and family treasures cannot be replaced. This is why we focus on innovation to prevent and reduce the frequency and severity of claims and, above all else, to bring peace of mind to our clients,” says Alain Hade, Vice-President, Marketing and Member Client Experience at Desjardins Insurance.

Alert is an innovative prevention program offered to home insurance policyholders. It comes with a free water and freeze detector and, if the unexpected happens, like a burst pipe or leaking toilet, clients get an alert on their smartphone and can act fast to limit the damage.

Radar will send you an alert when there is a risk of severe weather, like a hail storm, heavy rain, high winds, a hurricane or tornado, within 500 metres of your specific addresses. Clients are alerted by push notification via SMS or email as a heads-up that can help them protect their property.

These programs give clients prevention and awareness tools to help limit the damage caused by water and freezing.

Links to additional resources:

About the Survey
The online survey, conducted in March 2018, polled 3,020 respondents of driving age across Canada.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

Intact Financial Corporation Announces $1 Million Donation to Support the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative

TORONTODec. 5, 2018 /CNW/ – Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) today announced it is committing $1 million to the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative to support the establishment of a regional centre of training and learning in Rwanda. The regional hub of practice, research and advocacy will serve as a meeting place for countries to exchange and learn how to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

The $1 million donation builds on Intact’s initial investment of $300,000 in the Dallaire Initiative, which began in 2015. These new funds will help the Dallaire Initiative establish a permanent presence in Africa.

According to the UN Secretary-General’s 2018 Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict – seven national armies and 56 armed groups operating in 14 countries recruit and use children as soldiers.

“The Dallaire Initiative is a pioneer in the work of preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers and a permanent presence in Rwanda will strengthen their effectiveness,” said Charles Brindamour, Chief Executive Officer of Intact Financial Corporation. “I spent time in Rwanda this spring with the Dallaire Initiative and saw first hand, the importance of their work. While the problem of using children in wars is far from resolved, the General’s team is moving the needle and making progress.”

“This level of support makes Intact the Dallaire Initiative’s first $1 million corporate donor,” said Dr. Shelly Whitman, the Dallaire Initiative’s Executive Director. “These funds will be critical in enhancing our training in East and Central Africa, where some of the gravest violations against children are taking place.” The donation will also go towards funding a fellowship for the Executive Director to continue advocating for children’s rights on the international peace and security agenda.

An event marking the first anniversary of the Vancouver Principles, is being hosted tonight by the Permanent Missions of Canada and Rwanda to the United Nations in collaboration with the Dallaire Initiative.

Hosted by Canadian Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard, special guests include LGen (ret’d) Roméo Dallaire, Executive Director of the Dallaire Initiative Dr. Shelly Whitman, global advocates for children and Dallaire Initiative Advisors Michel Chikwanine and Ishmael Beah as well as Intact Financial Corporation CEO Charles Brindamour.

At the event, the Dallaire Initiative will announce the establishment of a regional centre of training and learning in Rwanda, the first African country to endorse the Vancouver Principles. To date, 69 UN member countries have endorsed the Principles, a watershed initiative that was jointly launched by the Government of Canada and the Dallaire Initiative.

About Intact Financial Corporation

Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) is the largest provider of property and casualty (P&C) insurance in Canada and a leading provider of specialty insurance in North America, with close to $10 billion in total annual premiums. The Company has approximately 14,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than five million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada and the U.S. In Canada, Intact distributes insurance under the Intact Insurance brand through a wide network of brokers, including its wholly-owned subsidiary BrokerLink, and directly to consumers through belairdirect. In the U.S., OneBeacon Insurance Group, a wholly owned subsidiary, provides specialty insurance products through independent agencies, brokers, wholesalers and managing general agencies.

About the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative

The Dallaire Initiative, based at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, is recognized as the only organization in the world taking a prevention-oriented, security sector focused approach to the crime against humanity that is child soldiery. Founded by retired lieutenant-general and celebrated humanitarian Roméo Dallaire, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative is a leader committed to ending the use and recruitment of child soldiers worldwide, through ground-breaking research, advocacy, and security-sector training.

SOURCE Intact Financial Corporation

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Winnipeg based insurance company closed for day after overnight threat

WINNIPEG _ Thousands of Winnipeg employees of insurance giant Great-West Life Assurance Co. were told to stay home Wednesday because of a threat against the business.

Police said a building security team notified them of the threat just after midnight.

Const. Tammy Skrabek, a police spokeswoman, said officers carried out a search of company facilities and found nothing, but new information surfaced overnight.

“With that they (Great-West) chose to close down their buildings and have employees stay home until police could do a secondary search during the day,” she said.

The police canine unit was expected to be part of the latest search but Skrabek said investigators “don’t believe there is any immediate threat.”

There was no immediate word from Great-West Life on how the closure will affect its clients.

“Out of an abundance of caution for our employees and the community around us, we alerted the Winnipeg Police Service and have closed our buildings at 60, 80 and 100 Osborne Street, 444 St. Mary and 560 Broadway,” Great-West spokeswoman Liz Kulyk said in an email statement.

The Great-West Life Assurance Co. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco, a member of the Power Financial Corporation group of companies.

The company’s website says it has more than 13 million Canadian customers.

Great-West Lifeco operates in Canada, the United States and Europe through Great-West Life, London Life, Canada Life, Irish Life, Great-West Financial and Putnam Investments. (CJOB, The Canadian Press)

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Changing privacy laws will have significant implications for SME operations and risk

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Aviva Fraud Report 2018: Majority of Ontarians believe 25% of claims are fraudulent

Ontarians, who pay among the highest auto insurance rates in the country ($1,428 per driver), are aware of insurance fraud and supportive of initiatives to fight it, according to the second annual Aviva Fraud Report, released today.

The report contains new polling data on public awareness about insurance fraud in Ontario and shows that drivers are aware of the severe problem. In fact, over 50% of Ontarians believe that 25% of claims are fraudulent. It further shows that the driving public is supportive of actions to combat fraud.

In 2017, it was estimated that Canadians were paying $2 billion per year out of pocket for costs associated with different types of fraud perpetrated against the auto insurance system. Over the past year in Ontario alone, consumer awareness on insurance fraud has grown. For example:

  • 88% of Ontarians think that auto repair shops inflate the cost of vehicle repairs, compared to 77% in 2017.
  • 86% of Ontarians support government and law enforcement agencies investing more resources to investigate and prosecute fraudulent claims, compared to 78% in 2017.

“Dishonest claimants and service providers continue to cheat consumers. We are seeing a troubling and egregious form of fraud that includes the fraudulent sale and issuing of auto policies,” said Colm Holmes, President and CEO, Aviva Canada. “We need to do better for honest drivers. That’s why Aviva is fighting fraud. Honest drivers pay higher premiums because of criminal fraud. They know it. We know it. And the time has come to fight back.”

Key findings of the Aviva Fraud Report 2018

  • 86% of Ontarians feel that more needs to be done to combat fraud.
  • 82% feel the increase in their auto insurance premium is due to fraudulent vehicle repairs, to vehicle theft or to personal injury claims.
  • 73% agree that cracking down on fraud would reduce their current auto insurance premium.

Support of new actions to fight fraud
The results show clear support from Ontario drivers for new actions by government and the insurance industry that can help address situations where:

  • people exaggerate claims,
  • automotive, healthcare and legal suppliers resort to fraudulent practices, and
  • opportunists fraudulently sell policies online and distribute policies.

To effectively tackle auto insurance fraud

  • 74% support a new set of provincial insurance fraud offences.
  • 70% feel that insurance companies need to invest more resources to combat fraud. 60% support an online fraud intelligence database that consumers can access:
    • 72% would use it look up an auto body shop following a car collision
    • 58% would use it to look up a healthcare practitioner for treatment of injuries following a car collision

To help lower insurance rates

  • 59% believe that insurance companies should be mandated to invest in an insurance fraud management model and a clear set of penalties and fines for those convicted of fraud.

To protect consumers

  • 53% feel that government, insurance companies, other organizations fighting fraud, and police all need to take responsibility for warning consumers about insurance fraud schemes.
  • 77% feel that insurance companies that have uncovered fraud schemes should make the information available to the public in real time.

We urge consumers to be alert of any suspicious activity that may lead them to become a victim of fraud. For tips on what to look for, please visit avivacanada.com/fightfraudAviva Canada customers who suspect they may be a victim of fraud can contact our 24/7 fraud hotline 1-855-332-5255 or email us at fraud.canada@aviva.com.

Notes to editors

  • The Aviva Fraud Report 2018 is available digitally here.
  • The survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insight through online interviews with 1,500 Ontarians, 18 years of age and older, with a current auto insurance policy. The interviews were carried out from October 15 – 24, 2018. The results are considered accurate within plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. For a full copy of the survey results contact Aviva.
  • As part of our commitment to combat fraud, Aviva Canada:
    • Released the first annual Aviva Fraud Report in 2017 to increase consumer awareness about fraud.
    • Undertook an undercover investigation called “Project Bumper” to highlight the extent of fraud by auto body shops and tow truck operators in Ontario.
    • Issued an update to the undercover investigation codenamed “Project Duffy” into fraud carried out by healthcare professionals and a paralegal.
    • Continues to invest in identifying and investigating fraud to protect honest policyholders.

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.

Aviva Canada invests in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund, Canada’s longest running online community funding competition. Since its inception in 2009, the Aviva Community Fund has awarded $9.5 million to over 400 charities and community groups nationwide. Aviva Canada, bringing over 300 years of good thinking and insurance solutions to Canadians from coast-to-coast.

SOURCE Aviva Canada Inc.

Insurance company continues to bill widow after she cancels husband’s auto policy

Losing her husband of 41 years to cancer last year was difficult enough for Maria Khoury.

“It’s not easy for me,” Khoury told Global News, explaining the subsequent problems she faced with her auto insurance company.

After the death of Eiwas Khoury in June 2017, the Vaughan, Ont., woman and her son sold the family’s car, which was listed in her husband’s name. That was a straightforward and easy process, they said.

But cancelling the auto insurance policy on the car turned out to be nearly impossible.

“They kept taking the money for almost 16 months,” Khoury said, describing how Aviva Canada was still withdrawing monthly insurance payments even after being told the car was gone and Khoury’s husband was deceased. Khoury and her son send Aviva a copy of his death certificate, but the deductions persisted.

The payments added up to about $1,900 on a car Khoury didn’t own for services she didn’t receive on a policy she explicitly didn’t want.

With the help of a friend, Khoury and her son called on Aviva’s ombudsman to refund the money once the company eventually stopped the deductions. The ombudsman did not order a refund.

“They gave me a hard time,” she said.

Instead, Khoury said, the ombudsman’s office suggested she could retain a lawyer if she wanted to pursue a claim.

Khoury, who lives on a modest pension, said that was not an option for her and that the payment to Aviva was a hardship.

A friend called Global News seeking help.

Responding to emails, Aviva originally told Global News it could not discuss the case, citing privacy, even though Khoury had provided authorization to discuss the matter.

“On an ongoing basis, Aviva Canada works to raise awareness among our customers about their insurance choices. In difficult times like this, when a loved one dies, we make every effort to help their family understand what steps are required to take care of their affairs. The same is true in this case. Aviva is working side-by-side with her to sort this out as quickly as we can,” said Aviva spokesperson Fabrice de Dongo in an email.

Aviva is one of Canada’s largest general insurance companies.

Pressed about why the company persistently made deductions from Khoury’s bank account even after she cancelled, Aviva Canada responded by announcing it would give back the money.

“Aviva Canada is pleased to let you know that we have spoken with Mrs. Khoury to let her know that we will be processing a refund of the full amount of the premiums, plus any administrative charges she may have incurred, that have been paid since Mr. Khoury’s passing. That refund is being processed electronically today,” de Dongo wrote in a follow-up email.

The resolution took 24 hours. Khoury had fought unsuccessfully alone with Aviva for 16 months.

Khoury is grateful to be getting her money back and to have the battle behind her.

“Thank you very much. I appreciate it. If it was not for you, the money was gone.”

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