Wide range of supplemental insurance options for those without employer benefits

The period of time between graduating from school to landing a full-time job with benefits can stretch on for months or years for young Canadians, meaning they lack extended health and dental benefits since they’re too old to be covered by their parents’ plans.

And with the growing use of contract employees who don’t receive benefits, that means young Canadians must fend for themselves and buy their own supplemental health and dental insurance.

Provincial health insurance doesn’t cover everything. Whether it’s a prescription for penicillin, a crown that needs to be replaced or an ambulance ride to the hospital, if you don’t have insurance, you’ll end up paying out of pocket.

Loretta Kulchycki, vice-president of group marketing at Great-West Life, suggests consumers start their hunt for health and dental benefits by deciding how much coverage they’re going to need and researching their options online.

“If you are young, you will tend to be healthier, and in that case would probably have lower premiums than somebody who, say, is planning for a retiree product,” she said.

Insurance companies generally offer a choice of the level of coverage, from bare bones plans that provide basic prescription drug coverage and dental checkups to comprehensive options with higher limits and a broader range of coverage.

How much you want to spend will depend on your budget and what you expect your needs to be since costs can quickly escalate depending on how much coverage you’re looking to buy.

“It is really about taking a look at: ‘What do I think I’ll actually use?’ as a starting point,” Kulchycki said.

How often do you think you’ll go to the dentist? Do you wear glasses? Do you think you’ll need the services of a physiotherapist? Those are all questions you should ask yourself when considering coverage.

Laurel Pedersen, assistant vice-president of health insurance product development at Sun Life, says if you have a pre-existing health condition, you have some choices.

A “guaranteed issue” plan may be more expensive, but will cover a pre-existing condition, while a fully underwritten plan may be cheaper, but exclude costs connected with your outstanding health issues.

Pedersen says an adviser can walk you through your options, and will understand what the different plans will cost, how they work and what might be in your best interest.

“They’re exactly there to walk them through their broader budget considerations,” she said.

Sue Reibel, senior vice-president of consumer solutions at Manulife, says if you’re coming off your parents’ group plan or another insurance plan, time is of the essence. You generally have about 60 days when you can roll yourself into an individual plan without going through underwriting.

“You’ve got an opportunity to get a preferential purchase,” she said. “If you pass that time frame, then you’re buying (while) taking all of your individual circumstances into account and it may affect your price.”

Reibel noted that when insurance shoppers consider what they need, it’s important to understand what other coverage they already have and what they need so they don’t end up paying for non-essential items or lacking insurance for something they could have anticipated.

“It is understanding where your personal gaps are,” she said. “It takes some time to really think about your personal situation and reflect. It is not a big investment of time, we’re talking about half an hour of thinking that can save you a lot of money.”

canada-press

 

SGI says it might make training for ATV user mandatory; group says more needed

REGINA _ Saskatchewan Government Insurance is looking at mandatory training for all-terrain vehicle drivers, but some are calling for stricter regulations to reduce ATV-related injuries and deaths.

The latest statistics from SGI show more than three dozen ATV-related collisions were reported in the province in 2013.

Now, the Crown corporation is mulling the possibility of making ATV training mandatory.

But John Meed of the Saskatchewan All Terrain Vehicle Association says mandatory training won’t be enough.

By Meed’s count, eight people have died in ATV accidents this year alone in Saskatchewan.

In one case, the driver was too young to legally drive an ATV. Alcohol was a factor in half of the deaths and, in all cases, someone was not wearing a helmet.

“Be it through training; be it through not drinking and riding; not speeding; not stunting every last one of those fatalities could have been prevented,” Meed said.

He said Saskatchewan should require ATVs to be registered and licensed, like snowmobiles.

However, SGI said it has no plans to move toward licensing ATVs, and that plans to make training mandatory are still far from finalized.

“What we want to do now is look to see what other jurisdictions are doing,” said SGI spokesperson Kelley Brinkworth.

“If they have a requirement for mandatory training, has that actually been effective at reducing injuries and fatalities?”

canada-press

Economic impact research shows the co-op sector contributes over $50B to the Canadian economy

OTTAWA, Sept. 16, 2015 /CNW/ – Recent research on the economic impact of the co-operative sector in Canada show that its activity contributes over $50 Billion dollars to the Canadian economy and supports over 600,000 jobs.

Researchers George Karaphillis, Fiona Duguid and Alicia Lake from the Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network (MCDRN) conducted economic impact analyses on the co-operative sector for the years 2009 and 2010. The results showed that co-operatives, credit unions, and co-operative insurance enterprises had a direct economic impact (GDP) of $22 Billion in 2010 – and, through indirect and induced spin-offs, this impact multiplies to over $54 Billion. This represented 3.4% of the total economic activity inCanada in 2010.

Further, nearly 270,000 full-time jobs were created in the sector and through spin-off effects, this activity supported over 614,000 jobs in many sectors throughout the country. Co-operatives between 2009 and 2010 also created jobs at nearly five times the rate of the broader economy.

The study was conducted based on the latest data available from Industry Canada’s annual co-operative survey, data on financial co-operatives via Statistics Canada, and the annual reports of the six main co‑operative insurance companies. A summary of the study is available on the project’s website and the papers are expected to be published in academic journals in the winter of 2015.

Denyse Guy, Executive Director of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC), who is also the co-chair of the MCDRN, pointed out that the data was from a very important period where economic instability had a major effect on confidence and growth. “This is the first time that co-operative economic impacts have been calculated the same way as other sectors. The ability to compare this data during that time period is important.” stated Ms. Guy. “We are confident that with the right policy supports and strategies going forward, co-operative enterprises will continue to create jobs, prosperity and good social outcomes in Canadian communities.”

CMC is currently lobbying for Federal Government participation in a National Co-op Development Strategy that would substantially increase the economic impacts reported in the study. The co-operative sector is also investing in a capital fund that will make appropriate financing accessible to co-ops, a key solution to capitalizing new co-ops and expanding established ones.

About MCDRN: The Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network is a five-year Community -University Research Alliance (CURA), supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of CanadaThe MCDRN research alliance ends in 2015.

About CMC: Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada is the national, bilingual association for co-operatives and mutuals in Canada. CMC’s members come from many sectors of the economy, including finance, insurance, agri-food and supply, wholesale and retail, housing, health sector, forestry resources, education, funeral services, public utilities and community development. CMC provides leadership to support, promote, and develop the co-operative economy in Canada.

 

SOURCE Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada

 

New MPI car seat policy puts kids at risk, says Winnipeg mom

CBC News

A Winnipeg mother says Manitoba Public Insurance’s new policy around car seats is putting children’s safety at risk.

The auto insurer will no longer replace all car seats involved in collisions. The quiet policy change that came in May 1 means coverage is now determined on a case-by-case basis.

“I feel like that’s inappropriate. These are children’s lives on the lines here,” Whitney Joubert told CBC News.

Joubert learned the new policy the hard way when she went to replace the car seats that were in a vehicle rammed in a hit-and-run.

Her children were not in the chairs at the time, but MPI told her to replace the seats and she would be reimbursed, she said.

“I was told by MPI to go ahead and drop off the old seats as well as the receipts for the new ones,” she said.

But before Joubert could do that, she received a message that there had been a mistake. The policy that covered the replacement of child seats in any collision ended May 1, 2015, prior to her claim.

The new policy only insures child seats involved in “moderate” to “severe” collisions.

“I was very upset,” said Joubert. “I started researching it … and the Transport Canada website clearly states that any car seat involved in any crash should be replaced whether children are in them or not, because they do not guarantee safety.

“I feel like they’re gambling with children’s lives. Not every family can afford to go out and purchase new seats.”

MPI defends new policy

MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley said the policy was changed primarily to bring it in line with other agencies and provinces, including Saskatchewan.

“Child safety is a major priority of ours. This isn’t just strictly a dollars and cents decision,” he said.

“As we began to dig into [it] a little bit deeper, we realized there were other safety organizations and insurers that had this policy in place … looking at the circumstances of the crash …”

Prior to the policy change, MPI replaced as many as 5,000 car seats every year, not all of which needed to be replaced, Smiley said.

“Many of those child car seats, and I had personally looked at them, and they were involved in a collision of five to 10 km/h — very very minor damage to a vehicle — but we were replacing those seats,” he said.

Under the new policy, adjusters will look at various aspects of the crash to determine whether the seat needs replacing, Smiley said.

If anyone has questions about the integrity of a child seat, it can be taken to one of seven Winnipeg fire halls or a certified car seat technician for inspection.

Joubert said she’s still not confident car seats involved in any collisions are safe.

“We’re talking about very young children and parents who are at the mercy of the insurance company.”

*

Corrections

  • Car seats should be taken to one of seven Winnipeg fire halls or a certified car seat technician for inspection, not to St. John’s Ambulance as originally reported. MPI initially supplied incorrect information.

First of its kind resource centre in Canada designed to educate and help prevent the estimated 45,000 collisions that occur with wildlife every year.

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Canada: Duty To Defend And Concurrent Causes Of Damages

Article by Ephraim Fung | insurancelawblog.ahbl.ca

In Precision Plating Ltd. v. Axa Pacific Insurance Company, 2015 BCCA 277, the British Columbia Court of Appeal interpreted a pollution exclusion clause in a Commercial General Liability (“CGL”) insurance policy. The Court of Appeal held that the insurer had no duty to defend the insured for claims alleging property loss arising from the escape of toxic chemicals.

The insured leased a space within a multi-tenanted commercial strata building and stored vats filled with toxic chemicals in the course of its electroplating business. In 2011, a fire broke out on the insured’s premises, causing the sprinkler system to activate. The water caused the toxic chemicals to overflow and seep into neighbouring units. Four separate Supreme Court actions were commenced by tenants within the strata complex (the “Third Party” actions).

The insured applied for a declaration that the insurer had a duty to defend these claims. At issue was the interpretation of the pollution exclusion clause in the CGL policy:

4. This insurance does not apply to:

(b)(i) Bodily Injury, Personal Injury or Property Damage caused by, contributed to by or arising out of the actual, alleged or threatened discharge, emission, dispersal, seepage, leakage, migration, release or escape at any time of Pollutants.

Applying the principles in Zurich Insurance Co. v. 686234 Ontario Ltd., (2002) 62 OR (3d) 447 (ON CA), the trial judge determined that a literal interpretation of the pollution exclusion clause lead to a result that was inconsistent with the insured’s reasonable expectations of coverage and the main purpose of the insurance coverage: to indemnify against liability for property loss caused by fire damage. The insurer therefore had a duty to defend the insured against the Third Party actions.

This decision was appealed and reversed by the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Writing for the unanimous court, The Honourable Madam Justice Garson reviewed the principles respecting pollution exclusion clauses in CGL policies:

(a) An insurer has a duty to defend its insured where the facts alleged in pleadings, if proven to be true, would require the insurer to indemnify the insured for the claim. The duty to defend arises when there is a “mere possibility” of coverage under the insurance policy. This principle was stated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Progressive Homes Ltd. v. Lombard General Insurance Co. of Canada, 2010 SCC 33, where the issue was whether there was a duty to defend an insured general contractor for property damage caused by water leaking into a building.

(b) A pollution exclusion clause is to be interpreted by examining the context of the clause when the literal interpretation of the clause leads to a result that is inconsistent with the insured’s reasonable expectations or the main purpose of the insurance coverage. Factors to be considered include the history of the exclusion clause, the environmental context, the purpose of the CGL policy, and the objectively reasonable expectations of the parties. This approach was adopted by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Zurich to determine whether a pollution exclusion clause barred coverage for damage caused by the escape of carbon monoxide.

(c) There is no duty to defend where two distinct perils are alleged in pleadings to have caused the loss but the policy excludes coverage for any liability “contributed to by” an excluded cause. This “concurrent causes” principle was stated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Derksen v. 539938 Ontario Ltd., 2001 SCC 72, where the issue was whether an exclusion clause that only excluded one of the two concurrent sources of liability barred coverage for damage alleged to have been caused by the negligent clean-up of a work site and the negligent use and operation of a motor vehicle.

The Court of Appeal held that there was no duty to defend because the pollution exclusion clause utilized the recommended language in Derksen and excluded property damage “caused by, contributed to by or arising out of the…release or escape at any time of Pollutants”. The Third Party pleadings alleged that one of the sources of liability was the escape of toxic chemicals. Coverage for property damage contributed to by the escape of toxic chemicals is clearly excluded by the pollution exclusion clause.

The Court of Appeal further held that the trial judge erred in applying the contextual approach used in Zurichbecause his analysis was based on whether the pollution exclusion clause barred coverage for the original or proximate cause of the property damage: a fire. A literal interpretation of the CGL policy excludes coverage for liability arising out the escape of toxic chemicals. This interpretation was not inconsistent with the insured’s reasonable expectations because the insured could have no reasonable expectation that it would be indemnified against liability for the escape of toxic chemicals.

This decision clarifies the approach to be used when considering whether there is a duty to defend when pleadings allege concurrent causes of damage. The question to be asked is whether the pollution exclusion clause bars coverage for the alleged source of liability in the pleadings, not the true cause of the damage. If there is a “mere possibility” that the insurer will be obligated to indemnify the insured for the sources of liability alleged in the pleadings, there is a duty to defend.

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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