Economical Insurance selected as one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers for 2016

Economical Insurance, one of Canada’s leading providers of home, auto and business insurance, is proud to have been selected as one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers for 2016 by Canada’s Top 100 Employers. Winners were chosen for providing exceptional places to work in Guelph and Canada’s Technology Triangle (Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo).

“This award acknowledges that we have created an engaging and inspiring work environment for our employees,” said Karen Gavan, president and CEO. “We strive to provide an exceptional experience, so we can bring our best every day. We know that by investing in our talent, we will build a team that will allow us to achieve our vision of making Economical one of Canada’s top P&C insurers, recognized for our business innovation and how well we take care of our customers.”

“Since our humble beginnings 144 years ago, we’ve become a national company that imagines bigger and better things, which inspires us to take chances and think innovatively,” said Louise Taylor Green, chief human resources officer. “Our employees are the reason we’ve come as far as we have, and the reason we’ll go much further still. We put our customers first and, as a cohesive national team, we’re stronger together. This award shows our commitment to excellence and will help attract and retain the talent we need to achieve our true potential.”

To select the winners, judges evaluated companies to determine which ones offer the most progressive and forward-thinking programs based on the following criteria:

  1. Physical Workplace
  2. Work Atmosphere and Social
  3. Health, Financial, and Family Benefits
  4. Vacation and Time Off
  5. Employee Communications
  6. Performance Management
  7. Training and Skills Development
  8. Community Involvement

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) Selects LexisNexis as Lead Vendor to Manage its National Flood Program Initiative

Press Release:

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, a leading provider of data, analytics and technology to help organizations predict and manage risk,  announced November 26, 2015 that the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has selected the company as the lead partner to help it develop and manage its flood risk and exposure assessment initiative for Canada.

As a result of record flood losses in 2013 and the increasing threat of climate change, IBC has been tasked by the industry to accurately quantify the extent of flood risk and exposure in Canada. The goal of the initiative is to help IBC, its members and government stakeholders further explore the industry’s role in mitigating flood risk through the creation of a national flood program.

Working closely with IBC, LexisNexis Risk Solutions will lead the development of a new set of market-leading flood hazard maps and property-level exposure data, leveraging LexisNexis® Map View, its risk assessment and exposure management technology. Map View will enable IBC to perform advanced analytics and reporting against millions of data points quickly and efficiently. IBC will be able to clearly identify the number of properties at risk of flooding and the associated economic losses for virtually any geography in Canada. This initiative will provide the basis of understanding necessary for IBC and its stakeholders to have well informed, meaningful discussions about the future of flood-related insurance products and programs in Canada.

A key component of this initiative is the creation of all new pluvial and fluvial flood maps for Canada.  These new models, produced by LexisNexis partner, JBA Risk Management, fully leverage local river, rainfall, snowmelt and higher resolution Digital Terrain Model (DTM) datasets, resulting in completely updated river flow and rainfall estimates based upon a much more detailed hydrological study where snowmelt is now explicitly modelled.  The resulting maps will represent the most comprehensive and detailed set of Canadian flood maps, reflecting the uniqueness of the local environment and greatly improving risk assessment outcomes.

“Extreme weather events driven by climate change are increasing in frequency and severity,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, IBC. “Storms and flooding in recent years have turned extreme. That’s why mitigation and preparedness are vital and why IBC is stepping up to collaborate on a national flood program. IBC believes the backbone to good policy is solid research and data. That’s why we are happy to have formed a partnership with LexisNexis Risk Solutions to develop the program, which will help appraise risk and prioritize mitigation efforts.”

“This is a great opportunity to work with IBC to help quantify and address the issue of flooding in Canada as it’s important to citizens’ livelihoods, the country’s assets and the growing economy,” said Bill McCarthy, Managing Director, UK, Ireland and Canada Insurance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions.  “Many of our customers today use Map View to effectively assess and manage flood risk as well as other perils risk, and to model, manage and report on their overall exposure.”

With innovative risk assessment and exposure management technology and a 30-year history of delivering insurance solutions, LexisNexis and its Map View platform provide the capability to assess exposure country-wide, as well as breakdown exposure within individual provinces and risk zones. It identifies exposure hotspots and will allow IBC to perform sensitivity testing of flood exposure and potential losses in Canada based on scenario analyses. Map View is delivered as a software-as-a-service and users have secure, 24×7, online access to a visual dashboard, allowing them to perform visualisation, data filtering and extensive reporting.

– See more at: http://www.lexisnexis.com/risk/newsevents/press-release.aspx?id=1448551069148886#sthash.vxl7zqsX.dpuf

Risks remain even as courts hold back on liability for private parties

Written By Chella Turnbull | Law Times

With the holiday season approaching, it’s a good time for a reminder about the liability issues facing commercial establishments for the actions of their drunk patrons. The issue is a source of amazement to many foreigners. If you tell people from Germany or Australia that a bar can be liable when a patron drives drunk, they’ll assume you’re kidding.

In 1974, the Supreme Court of Canada held in Jordan House Ltd. v. Menow that a commercial establishment serving alcohol has a duty not to serve patrons past the point of intoxication. The plaintiff was a pedestrian struck while walking home. The court held that the accident was foreseeable because the bar had served him too much. In practical terms, bars do make significant profits and, therefore, it’s reasonable to transfer some of it to the costs of those injured as a result of alcohol consumption.

The court hasn’t however, extended the duty not to serve guests to excess to the private homeowner. In 2006, the Supreme Court of Canada held in Childs v. Desormeaux: “A social host at a party where alcohol is served is not under a duty of care to members of the public who may be injured by a guest’s actions, unless the host’s conduct implicates him or her in the creation or exacerbation of the risk.” That’s still the law in Canada.

But Canadian courts, in obiter dicta, have held that if a homeowner serves alcohol to minors, actively encourages consumption or allows drinking in dangerous circumstances, the potential for liability remains a risk. The B.C. case of Chretien v. Jensen held the defendant homeowner 60-per-cent liable for allowing guests to drink on a bridge that had no handrails. In Sidhu v. Hiebert, the B.C. Supreme Court, holding that the issue required a full trial, dismissed a summary judgment application brought by a homeowner whose guest had driven and allegedly killed a third party.

These and other cases leave the door open for a decision establishing social host liability. As a result, social hosts would be wise to take steps such as holding back keys and calling cabs.  Nobody wants to be the defendant in a test case.

For company holiday parties, which are a sort of hybrid between the commercial and social-host situations, foreseeability is a crucial part of the analysis. Liability of an employer likely requires specific knowledge of impairment plus a lack of any policy to help employees get home. The duty to employees would be more significant in rural or suburban settings where people are more likely to be driving as opposed to urban centres. One way to avoid liability is to hold office parties at a commercial establishment.

Based on Hunt (Guardian of) v. Sutton Group Incentive Realty Inc. and Jenkins v. Muir, there’s a positive duty of care between employer and employee; however, the employer must have specifically foreseen that the particular employee would be driving in an impaired state. In Hunt, the Ontario Court of Appeal wouldn’t dismiss the case against the employer even though there was evidence that the plaintiff wasn’t drunk when she left the company party. It held that the issue was one that required a trial. The Court of Appeal did opine, however, that there must be a clear chain of causation between the employer’s knowledge of the employee’s impairment and the accident. Given that comment, it’s likely wise to ensure that employees are aware of available transportation assistance when it comes to parties that take place at an employer’s office without trained servers to oversee consumption.

While the courts have assigned liability to commercial establishments, they’ve so far been reluctant to intrude into the realm of private parties. As the court stated in Childs: “A host is entitled to respect the autonomy of a guest. The consumption of alcohol, and the assumption of the risks of impaired judgment, is in almost all cases a personal choice and an inherently personal activity.”

Chella Turnbull, a lawyer practising personal injury litigation at Zuber & Co. LLP, is available at 416-646-3129

Quebec: Industrial Alliance acquires BBA Financial Group

By Alain Theriault , Serge Therrien , Hubert Roy

iA Financial Group (Industrial Alliance) has signed an agreement to purchase the operations of Quebec managing general agent BBA Financial Group on Dec. 1, 2015. This confirms the news that we reported last week.

The agreement provides that, after this date, BBA will become a division the National Financial Insurance Agency Inc. (NFIAI), which is part of iA’s subsidiary Investia. The parties have not disclosed the value of the transaction. Sources close to the deal have estimated that it is worth somewhere between $12 million and $13 million.

In an official announcement made on Nov. 13, iA Financial Group indicated that the conclusion of this transaction is subject to both board and regulatory approval, as well as “other closing conditions.” iA also said that this transaction is part of its growth strategy, which reflects its “strategic focus on adding new distribution in its retail insurance and wealth management operations”.

In comments sent to FlashFinance.ca, a sister publication of The Insurance and Investment Journal, BBA’s CEO Lise Bouchard said that this partnership was a natural one.  “In the context of a rapidly changing industry, notably marked by major technological changes where there is more and more emphasis on compliance requirements, as well as the need to offer our representatives high quality continuing education and a solid range of products to distribute, this alliance is the best one BBA could conclude, and it is in the interest of our advisors,” she wrote.

Bouchard also indicated that she will remain in charge of the BBA division following this transaction. iA says that BBA has about 200 advisors, while on its website the MGA lists the names and functions of forty employees.

“We are pleased to welcome the employees and advisors of BBA to our team,” comments Louis DeConinck, president of Investia. “Through this strategic acquisition, National Financial Insurance Agency continues to grow and definitely ranks among the major players in the Canadian industry. We also want BBA’s clients to know that we will do everything we can to serve them to their satisfaction and that they can count on the professionalism and expertise of our entire organization.”

BBA offers products from the major suppliers in the industry. Founded in 1984, NFIAI describes itself as an MGA with a sales force of more than 700 advisors and which has contracts with most of Canada’s large insurers.

Economical Executive Changes

"Our new look is very distinct and will help to further differentiate our brand in the marketplace," said Economical's President and CEO Karen Gavan

Press Release:

WATERLOO, ON, November 17, 2015 – Economical Insurance today announced that Michael Gagnier has left the company to pursue other endeavours.

“We thank Michael for his leadership over the past three years as senior vice-president and chief information officer and wish him success in the future,” said Karen Gavan, president and CEO of Economical Insurance. “We appreciate Michael’s contributions to the company, most notably leading our IT transformation project.”

Economical also announced that Alice Keung has joined the company as interim chief information officer, effective immediately. Ms. Keung, a seasoned IT executive with extensive public and private sector experience, was named to the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2004 and 2007. She brings to Economical significant expertise leading major technology transformations, establishing effective governance frameworks, and building high performance teams.

About Economical Insurance
Founded in 1871, Economical Insurance is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with approximately $2.0 billion in annualized premium volume and $5.3 billion in assets as at September 30, 2015. Based in Waterloo, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical Insurance conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Family Insurance Solutions, Federation Insurance and Economical Financial.
For further information, contact:
Media Inquiries:
Doug Maybee, manager, public and media relations Economical Insurance
(T)519.570.8249
(C)519.404.0989
doug.maybee@economical.com

“As our survey found, most people simply don’t know about this common home insurance condition,” says Vander Zalm. “

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