Toronto community housing to require $5M insurance policy for common area events

Excerpted article by CBC News

Some Toronto Community Housing Corporation residents say much-needed programs are in danger because of changes to the corporation’s insurance policy.

Residents were told in a memo that they need $5 million liability insurance for organizations using TCHC spaces.

Neika Lindsay volunteers at the Empringham Mews breakfast club in Malvern, which she says has been feeding hungry kids for four years.

“It’s vital; there are kids walking around with no breakfast,” said Lindsay.

It would be affected by the insurance changes.

The club gets its budget from the Mavern Action for Neighbourhood Change and also gets food donations. Still, Lindsay says, she sometimes spends her own money to keep it running. Lindsay says the insurance changes mean it will cost $50 a day to operate the breakfast club.

“That’s $250 a week. Our budget alone doesn’t even get to $300,” she said. “We just can’t simply afford it.”

The TCHC memo, obtained by CBC News, says private events in common spaces, such as birthday parties, baby showers and memorials also require liability insurance.

“We’re trying to balance the availability of space with the need to protect the corporation and our shareholder – the City of Toronto – from exposure to liability risk,” said Lisa Murray, a manager for the TCH.

Murray says the TCHC common space policy is being reviewed and updated. Residents are being consulted.

She adds that the breakfast club isn’t at risk.

“We’ll work something out. We’re not going to end the program because somebody can’t get insurance,” she said.

Life and health insurance industry experiences strong growth in 2014

Life and health insurance industry experiences strong growth in 2014

TORONTO, Aug. 31, 2015 /CNW/ – Today, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) released the 2015 edition of Canadian Life and Health Insurance Facts. During 2014, the industry continued its trajectory of strong growth, despite the climate of prolonged low interest rates and slower growth of the Canadian economy. “The strong performance of the Canadian life and health insurance industry highlights the trust Canadians have in our companies, and that we continue to offer products and services that our customers need and value,” notes CLHIA President and CEO Frank Swedlove.

In 2014, Canadians’ purchases of insurance products were robust and the industry experienced year-over-year growth in premium revenues not seen since 2007, up 7.7% to $99.4 billion. Industry assets in Canada also rose 11.5% to $721 billion of which almost 90% were held in long-term investments, funding longer-term capital and infrastructure investments, critical to economic growth. Further, the industry paid out $83.5 billion to Canadian policyholders and annuitants in 2014, or more than $1.6 billionevery week. More details and statistics can be found in the CLHIA’s industry Factbook which is available on line atwww.clhia.ca

About the CLHIA

Established in 1894, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada’s life and health insurance business. The industry provides a wide range of financial security products such as life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance to 28 million Canadians. It also employs 155,000 Canadians as full-time employees and agents as well as independent advisors across the country.

SOURCE Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.

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UberX drivers may find themselves without insurance in the event of an accident

Financial Post

TORONTO • UberX drivers have a lot to worry about these days: angry taxi drivers, ticket-happy bylaw officers, even whether they’ll be allowed to continue operating in some cities. But perhaps the most pressing concern is one many aren’t even aware of: Their personal auto insurance is unlikely to cover them in the event of accident.

Car insurers use of a device that watches everything you do while driving, from what time of day you drive to how sharply you brake, sounds a lot like Big Brother to privacy advocates

Take the case of Tawfiqul Alam, an UberX driver in Toronto who was T-boned by a red-light runner while transporting a passenger on June 9. The accident sent both him and his passenger to hospital and totalled his minivan.

But the real shock came later, when Alam went to file a claim with his insurance company and was told that his personal policy was invalid because he was driving passengers for pay.

The worst part, according to Alam’s lawyer, was that Uber Technologies Inc. specifically told him not to worry about insurance when he first applied to work for the company.

“He asks them specifically about insurance and they say, ‘Don’t worry, we’re a $1-billion company and we have $5-million of insurance so you’re fine,’” said Isaac Zisckind, a personal injury lawyer at Diamond & Diamond.

“What they did is basically willfully push him into a misrepresentation contract for somebody who’s not educated. Uber should have known — they should have done their research.”

The issue is that personal auto insurance policies don’t cover drivers who are transporting passengers for commercial purposes. Taxi drivers are required to get a special kind of commercial insurance that is significantly more expensive than personal insurance, but the vast majority of UberX drivers — Zisckind estimates 95 per cent — don’t have any coverage beyond their personal insurance.

This means that when a driver is injured or his car is damaged in an accident that occurs while he’s carrying a passenger, his personal insurance policy will most likely be invalidated, leaving him without coverage.

“The worst thing you can do is not tell your insurance company (that you’re driving for Uber), because in that situation they have the right to say your policy is void in its entirety and there is no coverage for you,” said Daniel Mirkovic, CEO of Square One Insurance and former head of the British Columbia Automobile Association’s insurance operations.

Uber spokeswoman Susie Heath declined to discuss Alam’s case, but she did acknowledge that Uber only requires its drivers “to carry personal auto insurance.”

However, she stressed that every ride on the UberX platform is also backed by $5 million of contingent auto liability insurance covering bodily injury and property damage.

“In the event of an accident during an UberX trip, passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, and the community at large can rest assured knowing that ride-sharing partners are well covered by commercial auto insurance in addition to any insurance coverage maintained by the driver,” Heath said in an emailed statement.

It is not at all clear whether the $5 million of coverage that Uber often cites will cover its own drivers, however.

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