Alberta develops ride-hailing insurance policy for companies like Uber

Alberta develops ride-hailing insurance policy for companies like Uber

Metro Vancouver:

EDMONTON — Alberta has rolled out the details on how it will regulate ride-hailing companies such as Uber Canada and TappCar to ensure they are safe for consumers.

The government has developed a type of insurance policy that companies can purchase to cover their drivers as part of the requirements they must meet to operate in the province.

The policy, to be available to insurance companies on Friday, is designed to cover drivers from the moment they log onto their company’s mobile app to pick up a customer.

“I think that this is providing a very good approach to ensure the safety of the public and to ensure a level playing field with other car-for-hire types of businesses,” Transportation Minister Brian Mason said Tuesday.

Two insurance companies are expected to offer similar policies for ride-hailing firms later this summer.

A government release said Alberta is the first Canadian province to develop a new insurance policy designed specifically for ride-hailing companies to protect people in the event of an accident.

The policy would provide up to $2 million in third-party liability insurance, with optional collision or comprehensive coverage.

Drivers must also undergo a detailed police check to ensure they are safe to drive vulnerable people such as seniors, people with disabilities or children, and must obtain a Class 1, 2 or 4 licence.

Alberta-based TappCar, which has about 300 drivers in Calgary and Edmonton, said it supports the government’s policy.

“We applaud the provincial government for putting the safety and security of Albertans first,” company spokesman Pascal Ryffel said in a statement.

“We are particularly pleased that vulnerable sector checks will be written into the legislation.”

Ryffel said TappCar already requires such background checks for drivers.

Uber, which suspended operations in Edmonton in March and in Calgary last November, said it wants to study the detailed regulations before commenting.

“We recognize the steps taken by the Alberta government and we will be reviewing the newly approved ride-sharing insurance policy and other announced rules,” Jean-Christophe de Le Rue said in a statement.

Mason said the government consulted with ride-for-hire companies, insurance companies and municipalities in developing its plan.

It will be up to the companies to ensure that drivers are up to standard. The firms will face audits to ensure they are complying with the rules.

Companies that fail to follow the rules can be fined up to $50,000 per offence per day.

Alberta’s NDP government passed Bill 16 in the spring as part of an overhaul of its Traffic Safety Act and finalized the details of the regulations this month.

When the legislation was introduced, Mason said people who want to use an app to hail a ride-for-hire company need to know that the driver does not have a criminal record, is capable behind the wheel and is covered by insurance if there is an accident.

Mason said he isn’t sure if the details announced Tuesday will lead to more companies operating in Alberta.

“I think this is something that sets a clear floor for what we expect in terms of protecting the public and I will see what happens in the marketplace.”

What first time home buyers need to know about insurance

The pressures of life in today’s economy are pushing millennials into a relationship with a surprising player in the financial business.

It’s insurance, the least-evolved entity in a financial world struggling to make itself relevant to millennials and the technology they use. If you’re buying houses in an expensive market and working in contract positions, it’s crucial to make sure you have proper insurance coverage against death, illness or injury.

We’ll be studying the personal-finance implications of inflated housing prices for years to come. But one thing we already know is that high housing costs are putting more responsibility on owners to have proper insurance coverage. You can’t afford to wing it, even if you’re smart enough to have an emergency fund.

Full-time jobs with benefits that include group insurance can address millennial insurance needs to some extent. But a lot of young adults work temporary or contract jobs with no benefits. They’ll need to look after their own insurance.

You can’t avoid insurance talk when you buy a house because your lender will try to force-feed you policies that would pay your mortgage balance if you die or become disabled. A firm no is the correct answer to such a sales pitch. In this millennials’ guide to insurance, you’ll find out how to do better.

Expensive houses mean tight budgets, so you need affordable coverage. On that basis, consider term life coverage for you and your spouse with a 20-year term. Term life is basic protection against your death. If you go, your beneficiary receives a lump sum. How much? Lorne Marr, a certified financial planner (CFP) and director of new business development at LSM Insurance, suggests using your mortgage balance as a base amount.

If a couple rely to a large extent on one spouse’s income, Mr. Marr suggests making the higher-income spouse’s policy even larger than the basic mortgage amount so the lower-income spouse has something left over after the mortgage is paid.

The reasons why term life sold by an insurance company beats your bank’s mortgage insurance are well summarized in a blog post by banker turned mortgage planner David Larock. The headline is “Why I won’t sell mortgage insurance” (read it here). As for the 20-year life of the policy, that gets you to a point where your mortgage balance has been pounded down and isn’t the liability it once was.

Starting a family demands more coverage, which you can easily take care of by adding additional term life. “A quick rule of thumb for people with kids under 10 years old is 10 times your annual income,” Mr. Marr said. “If you have kids over 10, it’s five times your annual income.” Can’t afford that much? Less coverage beats zero coverage.

There are two types of policies to protect you against the risk of not being able to earn an income. Critical illness pays a usually tax-free lump sum of money if you meet the hyper-strict definitions of the diseases covered by your policy. Disability insurance pays you a tax-free monthly income if your insurer is satisfied that you can’t work due to illness or injury.

Mr. Marr says disability insurance is more comprehensive – it covers injury and illness – and it helps cover your regular income rather than just paying a lump sum. “If you had to choose one of the two, I would go with the disability.”

There are three levels of disability coverage; a cheap option called “any occupation” that pays out only in the worst situations where you can’t do any type of employment suitable for your background, “regular occupation,” where the condition you have need only be severe enough that you can’t perform the broad duties of your own profession and “own occupation,” which applies if you can’t do your own specialized job (example: brain surgeon).

Gen Y’s best choice is regular occupation, Mr. Marr said. Coverage tops out at about 60 per cent of your gross income, in part because insurers want there to be a financial incentive for you to return to work.

Group insurance through an employer may suffice for your life and disability needs, but remember that this coverage lasts only as long as you stay at that job. If you move to a different firm without coverage or work for yourself, you’ll need your own policy.

Do I need tenant insurance? Everything you ever wondered about insuring your rental

Do I need tenant insurance? Everything you ever wondered about insuring your rental

By Barb Feldman | Insight

Today almost a third of Canadians rent their living accommodations, and in some places that rate is even higher — about half of Quebeckers are renters. People who rent rather than own their homes might be empty-nesters who don’t want to maintain big family houses anymore, people at any stage of life who can’t afford or don’t want to get into the housing market, new Canadians who are renting before they transition to home ownership, or students living away from home.

But only about half of all renters currently purchase tenant insurance, estimates Leonard Sharman, senior communications consultant with The Co-operators. Students often don’t, he observes, either because they’re covered by their parents’ home insurance policy while they’re away at school or because they think it’s more expensive than it actually is.

A standard Canadian policy usually includes basic coverage of $50,000 to replace contents, about a million dollars for liability, says Sharman, “which could come into play when somebody is at your apartment and slips and falls and injures themselves and you’re held liable for medical costs and so on after a lawsuit. Or if you cause a fire in your unit that you’re held liable for, you could be on the hook for the damages for the entire apartment building.”

Tenant insurance covers the cost to repair or replace personal property you own, wear or use in your rented space — your clothes and jewelry, furnishings and electronic devices, with some limitations and exceptions. It may cover living expenses if your dwelling becomes unfit to live because of a claim. “‘Additional living expense’ coverage pays you in a case when you need to be out of the apartment,” says Sharman. “Hotels and meals can be covered for days or weeks when people aren’t allowed to be in their homes.”

“You may not think your possessions are worth a whole lot, especially if you’re a young person, but if you looked around your place and thought about losing everything … we deal with this pretty regularly,” says Sharman. “Fort McMurray’s on my mind these days,” he adds. “We have a lot of people there who were renters and who lost practically everything they owned.” The Co-operators has 665 claims from renters in Fort McMurray and the surrounding communities, “and we’re just one company,” he says. “So if 50 per cent of tenants didn’t have insurance, imagine how many renters lost everything? It’s tragic.”

“Neither home nor tenant insurance is a mandatory product — it’s good practice, but it’s not mandatory,” says Steve Kee, ‎director of media and digital communications at the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “Most insurance companies offer contents insurance. The important thing is for people to understand what’s in their place — people who rent may have a considerable amount of stuff and jewelry, or a student may not have much more than a TV and a computer,” he says. “A simple call to your insurance representative explaining what you have and they can outline some of the options that are available to you.”

Cost will depend, of course, on the insurance company you choose and the value of the possessions you want to insure. Other factors might be your claims history, where your dwelling is located and how it was constructed. Tenants can usually choose between two types of coverage, “all risks” and “named perils,” which only insures against risks that are specifically listed.

“Every insurance policy has limits,” says Sharman. In a typical renter’s policy there might be limits for the value of jewelry within the broader coverage – so, maybe $2,000 within the $50,000 – and there’s generally a deductible depending on what the cause of the loss is,” he explains, although more coverage can always be purchased. You can also usually decrease monthly charges by increasing the deductible, he notes. Besides coverage for theft of your possessions, personal liability for your visitors and water or fire damage to your unit and the things in it, tenant insurance can also be purchased that covers things like loss and accidental breakage of your possessions and you can even insure yourself against  losses and expenses you might incur such as time taken off work or legal costs if you’re a victim of identity theft.

“People may think that they’re already covered by their landlord’s insurance, but damage to a building caused by tenants or their guests may be the tenants’ own responsibility,” says Jason Patuano, director of communications for Belair Direct. And, whether a person is an owner or a renter, “from a liability standpoint that’s their own responsibility” if someone is injured in their home and they get sued, he says. “They have to have insurance – or they’re the ones who will have to pay for that.”

“There’s definitely more education to do in terms of the importance of having tenants’ insurance,” says Patuano. “You never know what could happen, and it’s important that people are well-protected. At $15 to $25 a month it’s not expensive when you’re investing in the peace of mind knowing you’re well-insured,” he adds. “Compared to your cell phone or to get cable … it’s not much.”

An influx of foreign money into high-end homes is the main driver behind the hot Toronto and Vancouver markets

Read more

The Co-operators launches flood insurance in Ontario

Today, Co-operators General Insurance Company launched ground-breaking new insurance coverage that protects homeowners in Ontario against damage caused by overland flooding. The new coverage, which is available throughout the province, is an inclusive and flexible solution designed to protect homes against the most common causes of water damage – flooding caused by an overflow from a body of water, sewer/water backup, and accumulation of surface water caused by heavy rain.

The coverage is available as an endorsement to Co-operators General Insurance Company homeowners’ insurance policies in Ontario. It will be added to existing policies that currently have coverage for sewer/water backup upon renewal. And it can be added to new or existing policies at any time, beginning today. The Co-operators became the first Canadian insurance company to offer homeowners insurance coverage against overland flood when it initially launched the product in Alberta last summer. It will be available throughout the country by the end of 2017.

“It is critically important that we improve the flood resiliency of our communities. Flooding is the most common type of natural disaster in Canada and it will continue to worsen as a result of climate change,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Our product is comprehensive, flexible and simple, and is available everywhere in Ontario – even in the areas at the most severe risk of flooding.”

The new endorsement, called Comprehensive Water, provides coverage against the various types of water damage in one easy-to-understand product. Clients can choose the amount of coverage they wish, based on their individual needs, and flexible deductibles are available as a percentage of the claim amount. In addition, if a client’s home is completely destroyed in a flood, they can choose whether or not they want to rebuild at the current location, a new location, or not rebuild at all. The client chooses, and the claim will be paid.

Canadians can access an online tool available at water.cooperators.ca, which provides a personalized risk assessment and information about preventing water damage to your home.

Homeowners in Ontario can purchase the coverage by contacting a local Co-operators advisor. To find the nearest advisor, use the Find an Advisor function on the homepage of cooperators.ca.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $40 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

Intact Financial Corporation announces automatic share purchase plan

Press Release:

intactinsurance

Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) today announced that it has entered into an automatic purchase plan with a broker in order to facilitate repurchases of its common shares under its normal course issuer bid. Intact previously announced that it had received approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) to make a normal course issuer bid to purchase up to 6,577,156 common shares, representing approximately 5% of its issued and outstanding common shares as of February 1, 2016. The normal course issuer bid commenced on February 12, 2016 and will terminate on February 11, 2017 or the date on which the Company has either acquired the maximum number of common shares allowable or otherwise decided not to make any further repurchases.

“The automatic share purchase plan allows us to remain active through periods where we would otherwise not be able to repurchase shares. Our capital deployment strategy remains unchanged and, while our priority is to invest in growth opportunities (both organic and through acquisitions), buying back shares at times when the market price may not fully reflect the intrinsic value is a responsible use of our capital,” said Charles Brindamour, Chief Executive Officer of Intact Financial Corporation.

Under Intact’s automatic share purchase plan, its broker may repurchase shares under the normal course issuer bid at any time including, without limitation, when the Company would ordinarily not be permitted due to regulatory restrictions or blackout periods. Purchases will be made based upon the parameters prescribed by the TSX and applicable Canadian securities laws and the terms of the parties’ written agreement.

About Intact Financial Corporation
Intact Financial Corporation (www.intactfc.com) is the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada with almost $8.0 billion in premiums. Supported by over 12,000 employees, the company insures more than five million individuals and businesses through its insurance subsidiaries and is the largest private sector provider of P&C insurance in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. The company 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.

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this news release are forward-looking statements. These statements include, without limitation, statements relating to the company’s capital deployment and growth strategies, its strategy for repurchasing shares, the number of shares that may be repurchased under the normal course issuer bid or the automatic share purchase plan, and the timing of such repurchases. All such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the ‘safe harbour’ provisions of applicable Canadian securities laws.

Forward-looking statements, by their very nature, are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties and are based on several assumptions, both general and specific, which give rise to the possibility that actual results or events could differ materially from our expectations expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those discussed in the Company’s most recently filed Annual Information Form and annual MD&A. As a result, we cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will materialize and we caution you against unduly relying on any of these forward-looking statements. Except as may be required by Canadian securities laws, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this news release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Please read the cautionary note at the beginning of the MD&A.

SOURCE Intact Financial Corporation

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