Ontario & Quebec Windstorm & Tornado: Advice and information from Insurance Bureau of Canada

In the aftermath of the windstorm and tornado in the OttawaGatineau area on September 21, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is reaching out with tips and advice for those who are affected.

“Our thoughts are with all those whose lives have been disrupted and whose homes have been destroyed by the windstorm or tornado,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC.

The City of Ottawa has set-up Emergency Support Centres at the following locations:

  • West Carleton High School at 3088 Dunrobin Road
  • Goulbourn Recreation Complex at 1500 Shea Road.

Starting Sunday, September 23, IBC will have representatives at the Goulbourn Recreation Centre to help answer questions.

What insurance covers
Most home and business insurance policies cover damage caused by a windstorm or tornado. If residents have to leave their homes because of a mandatory evacuation order issued by civil authorities, most home and tenants’ insurance policies will provide coverage for reasonable additional living expenses for a specified period of time. Your insurance representative is at the ready to clarify the details of your policies.

The claims process
If you have been affected by a windstorm or tornado, when safe to do so, take the following steps:

  • Assess and document the damage. Taking photos can be helpful.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items.
  • If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Keep damaged items unless they pose a health hazard.
  • Keep all of the receipts related to cleanup. If you’ve been displaced, keep the receipts for your additional living expenses.
  • Ask your insurance representative what additional living expenses you’re entitled to and for what period of time.

Next steps

  • Once you have reported a loss, you will be assigned a claims adjuster. It may take some time given the number of people affected by the windstorm or tornado, but you will be contacted.
  • The claims adjuster will investigate the circumstances of the loss, examine the documents you provide and explain the process. Take notes during the conversations and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Your insurance company will ask you to complete a Proof of Loss form to list the property and/or items that have been damaged or destroyed, with the corresponding value or cost of the damage or loss. You must sign and swear that the statements you make in the Proof of Loss are true. Ask your insurance representative or claims adjuster to clarify anything you are unsure about.

Resources
Anyone with questions should contact their insurance representative or for more information contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

Additional Resources
IBC.ca – severe weather
Preparing for severe weather

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 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_Ontario or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

NAFTA talks: Like Mexico, Canada may need ‘insurance’ against tariffs

Canada maintains that its efforts to evade American tariffs on steel and aluminum, and threatened tariffs on cars, are on a “separate track” from the ongoing NAFTA talks.

But that’s not how U.S. President Donald Trump sees it. His attempts to use tariffs as leverage in NAFTA negotiations have become such a ingrained habit by this point, he’s started using the word as a verb.

“If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be ‘Tariffed!'” he tweeted Monday.

China was in Trump’s sights at the start of the week — but by week’s end he also could be talking about Canada and his threat to impose “national security” tariffs of 20 to 25 per cent on its auto industry if it doesn’t soon join the new North American trade deal Americans sketched out with Mexico last month.

One of Trump’s loyal Congressional soldiers, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, warned Tuesday that Congress would “consider its options” if Canada doesn’t sign on.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland insists Canada won’t sign a bad deal.

“That’s not rhetoric,” she told reporters before she left again for Washington. Still, she said, Canadians have a “talent for compromise.”

I don’t think we’re going to get a NAFTA deal any time soon.– Monica de Bolle, senior fellow at Washington’s Peterson Institute for International Economics

Her negotiators face a tough call. Even if they strike deals and close the remaining chapters — by Thursday, Freeland’s Mexican counterpart suggested, if they’re going to have a text for Congress by the end of the month — a bigger question lurks.

Would a renegotiated NAFTA lift damaging steel and aluminum tariffs and shut down threats of future car tariffs? If it didn’t, why would Canada sign on?

Monica de Bolle, a senior fellow at Washington’s Peterson Institute for International Economics, said people have been too focused on specific sticking points — dairy concessions, dispute resolution chapters, intellectual property demands and more.

“The big picture is the threat of tariffs,” she said. “And not just the threat. The ones already in place.”

READ MORE HERE: 

CBC News

Waterloo researcher says, climate change will drive up insurance premiums

CBC News

University of Waterloo researchers say ignoring climate change could carry a high price tag for insurers and home owners in the future.

Jason Thistlethwaite and his colleague Mike Wood studied how 178 American insurance companies answered a survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

The survey asked how companies were changing their underwriting, investment and hiring practices in view of climate change.

“What we found, to our surprise, was that there was little evidence that insurance companies were changing their behaviour at all,” Thistlethwaite told CBC K-W.

Raising premiums

The danger, said Thistlethwaite, is that as severe weather becomes more and more common, insurers will have to recover their costs by raising premiums.

Eventually, he said it is possible that the cost of insurance will be unaffordable.

“The future we’re looking at right now, if the industry doesn’t start changing its behaviours, is one where insurance is not going to be available or affordable outside of those with resources,” Thistlethwaite said.

In a scenario like that, he said ordinary people will have to “self-insure,” by putting money aside so they can fix their own homes in the event of severe weather or a natural disaster.

He suggests the government may need to step in and better regulate insurance companies, so that insurance continues to be something the average homeowner can afford and depend on.

CBC News

All John Hancock life insurance policies to include fitness incentives

Thomson Reuters

John Hancock, one of the oldest and largest North American life insurers, will stop underwriting traditional life insurance and instead sell only interactive policies that include optional fitness tracking through tools including wearable devices and smartphones, the company said on Wednesday.

The move by the 156-year-old insurer, owned by Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp, marks a major shift for the company. It is now applying the model across all of its life coverage.

Interactive life insurance, pioneered by John Hancock’s partner the Vitality Group, is already well-established in South Africa and Britain and is becoming more widespread in the United States.

Policyholders score premium discounts for hitting exercise targets tracked on wearable devices such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch and get gift cards for retail stores and other perks by logging their workouts and healthy food purchases in an app.

In theory, everybody wins, as policyholders are given an incentive to adopt healthy habits, and insurance companies collect more premiums and pay less in claims if customers live longer.

Privacy concerns

Privacy and consumer advocates have raised questions about whether insurers may eventually use data to select the most profitable customers, while hiking rates for those who do not participate. The insurance industry has said that it is heavily regulated and must justify, in actuarial terms, its reasons for any rate increases or policy changes.

Customers do not have to log their activities to get coverage even though their policies are packaged with the Vitality program, but can receive discounts or other perks if they do. The insurer will begin converting existing life insurance policies to Vitality in 2019, it said.

It is too early for John Hancock to determine if it is paying fewer claims because of its Vitality program, said Brooks Tingle, head of John Hancock’s insurance unit. But data it has collected so far about customers’ activities suggest that it will, Tingle said, as Vitality policyholders worldwide live 13 to 21 years longer than the rest of the insured population.

John Hancock’s U.S. life insurance customers can choose from a basic Vitality program in which customers log their activity in an app or website and can receive gift cards for major retailers after reaching their milestones, or an expanded program that offers wearable devices and discounts of up to 15 per cent on premiums, among other benefits, the company said.

A spokesperson for Manulife said there is no update about a similar policy for Canadian insurance customers.

 

SSQ Insurance to go ahead with reimbursement of medical cannabis expenses

In light of clinical advances demonstrating the efficacy of cannabis in the treatment or relief of certain medical conditions, SSQ Insurance will be offering a new option as of January 1, 2019, to cover medical cannabis expenses.

“This coverage, in compliance with federal law on medical marijuana use, is for those for whom traditional prescription drugs have been deemed ineffective,” said Éric Trudel, Senior Vice-President, Strategies and Product Management at SSQ Insurance.

In an effort to control group insurance costs, eligibility for the expenses incurred for the purchase of medical cannabis will be subject to certain conditions determined by SSQ Insurance. Therefore, prior authorization from SSQ Insurance will be required given that medical cannabis will be covered only when used to treat or relieve one of the following medical conditions when standard pharmacological treatments have not worked:

  • Chronic neuropathic pain
  • Cancer related pain
  • Spasticity secondary to multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury
  • Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy

In addition, medical cannabis must be prescribed by an authorized physician or nurse and purchased solely from a licensed vendor duly authorized by Health Canada.

SSQ Insurance will monitor legislative changes and clinical advances in the field and make the necessary adjustments to the eligibility conditions listed above.

About SSQ Insurance
Founded in 1944, SSQ Insurance is a mutualist company that puts community at the heart of insurance. With assets under management of $12 billion, SSQ Insurance is one of the largest companies in the industry. Working for a community of over three million customers, SSQ Insurance employs over 2,000 people. Leader in group insurance, the company also sets itself apart through its expertise in individual life and health insurance, general insurance and the investment sector. For more information, please visit ssq.ca.

SOURCE SSQ Insurance

Insurance change bounces out recreational trampoline use at gymnastics clubs

CBC News

Fall programs are rolling out at gymnastics clubs across the city but kids and their parents will notice a difference this season because of an insurance issue.

Recreational trampoline use will no longer be an option, according to the Alberta Gymnastics Federation, which sent a memo to its member clubs in July.

Scott Hayes, president and CEO of the AGF, says the new policy is due to a change in the federation’s insurance coverage.

Underwriters recently informed the AGF that trampoline use was no longer going to be insured at the recreational and drop-in levels.

“We just basically had to revamp a lot of the programming just because birthday parties and drop-ins are such a huge component of their business,” he said.

“So they had to look at some internal restructuring and Alberta Gymnastics had to look at creating some alternate programming and ensuring that the safety coaching expectations and certification were revamped in order to match the changes.”

Jeremy Mosier of Pegasus Gymnastics says losing the recreational business hurts the bottom line.

“We just don’t offer classes. We offer drop-ins and we offer birthdays, which has been substantially hit. You know, a lot of people call and just want birthday parties on trampolines, and unfortunately we can no longer offer that anymore.”

Mosier’s gym and others still do drop-ins and parties but without trampolines.

The new regulations only apply to recreational trampoline use. Competitive athletes and those enrolled in tumbling classes are exempt. But insurance rates for competitive users have quadrupled to about $60 a year.

Source: CBC News

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