Alberta fires may be worse for CDN insurance companies than Hurricane Katrina was for U.S.

By National Post

Intact Financial Corp. said it will post insured losses of as much as $1.1 billion from the wildfires in Alberta, which may dent the Canadian economy harder than Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S.

Intact, Canada’s biggest property and casualty insurer, said the damage claims will lead to net losses of $130 million to $160 million, or as much as $1.20 a share, according to a company statement Monday. The Toronto-based insurer had net income of $147 million in the first quarter.

“The devastation brought on by the wildfires is unprecedented,” Charles Brindamour, chief executive officer of Intact, said in the statement. “The scope of the damage and destruction that we have observed in recent days is a reminder of the important role we play in getting our customers back on track.”

Industrywide insured losses could reach $9 billion, according to reports from Bank of Montreal and others. With Canada’s 2016 gross domestic product estimated at $1.8 trillion, or about 10 per cent of U.S. GDP, the disaster could be bigger on a relative basis than Katrina, based on estimates from Imperial Capital. Katrina, the storm that devastated New Orleans in 2005, cost $60.5 billion, according to data from Munich Reinsurance and the Insurance Information Institute.

Intact’s damage estimates imply industry-insured losses of $4 billion to $7 billion, according to a report Monday from National Bank of Canada.

Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016

Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016

A new standard Ontario automobile insurance policy will come into effect on June 1, 2016.

The new standard includes reductions in coverage particularly as they relate to the Statutory Accident Benefits (SAB) from the current auto policy.

This information is intended to assist brokers in the development and implementation of a plan for communicating with their clients about the Ontario Automobile Reforms. Further, it is designed to provide guidance on receiving and documenting client instructions relating to auto coverage in light of these reforms. Your clients are entitled to your advice on their options under the new standard auto policy. The presence of a clear and consistent approach toward communication and documentation will enable a broker to demonstrate if asked; that meaningful steps were taken to service their clients in a conscientious and
diligent manner.

ILScorp will have a brand new course on the Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016 available soon.

Highlights Summary

  1. A new standard automobile insurance policy will come into effect on June 1, 2016.
  2. The new standard includes reductions in coverage particularly as they relate to the Statutory Accident Benefits (SAB) from the current auto policy.
  3.  Brokers are specifically encouraged to make all reasonable efforts to advise their clients of these changes.
  4. As policies renew after June 1st, brokers should be prepared to review with their customers how the changes will impact them.
  5. Brokers should ensure client files accurately reflect discussions and instructions received.


As part of the Provincial budget announced on April 23, 2015, the Ontario Government has issued some automobile insurance reforms that will become effective on June 1, 2016. Of particular interest to brokers are a new Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule – Effective June 1, 2016 (“new SABS”). There are a number of other changes to related Regulations which will also be summarized in this document. This best practices document will focus primarily on the impact of the SABS reforms.


The new standard Ontario automobile policy, to be effective June 1, 2016, includes several significant changes from the current standard policy including provisions that will result in lower coverage for clients.


A Summary Chart of the most significant new policy changes that take effect on June 1, 2016, including the current policy provisions as well as consumer choices under the new policy, are set out below:

Most Significant Changes

On June 1, 2016, if a consumer is buying a new policy or renewing an existing one, brokers should be aware of the most significant changes to auto insurance:

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.09.58 AM

Some important things to remember about these choices:

Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits for minor injuries are fixed at a maximum limit of $3,500.

If clients purchase both the additional Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefit for catastrophic injuries and for all injuries, the total eligible benefit amount for a catastrophic impairment would be $3,000,000.

Other Optional Benefits

There are many other options available to purchase additional or increased benefits and coverages. The following chart lists some but not all of those and indicates if those options will change on June 1, 2016. Clients can also choose not to increase any benefit or coverage. Brokers should let clients know if they had previously purchased any optional benefits. A further review of documents is required as they may have changed.

Ontario Automobile Other Optional Benefits

NOTE: This information is a sample summary and should not be relied upon to be exhaustive. For complete information follow this link:


ILScorp will have a brand new course on the Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016 available soon.

Manulife first to increase testing limits to $1 million for insurance policies

Manulife today announced that it will underwrite term life insurance policies without the need to meet with a paramedical to gather blood, urine and other biometric data for policies up to $1 million for eligible applicants between the ages of 18 and 40 in most cases.

“Manulife is the first insurer in Canada to raise the limit to $1 million,” said Marianne Harrison, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Canada. “We are focusing on making the life insurance application process faster and easier so Canadians can achieve the level of protection they need.”

According to the LIMRA Canadian Life Insurance Ownership Study1, almost half of Canadian households surveyed admit they would have trouble meeting everyday living expenses if a primary wage earner died.  A Manulife study found that 43 per cent of middle-market2 Canadians surveyed have no individual life insurance, and while many rely on group coverage, 27 per cent have no group life insurance.  Even among those with some life insurance, 70 per cent have less than $500,000 of life insurance.

The previous limit was $250,000 to apply without the requirement of fluids and had been the industry standard for close to 20 years.  Manulife has developed analytic tools that can better process the data obtained from reviewing thousands of applications over generations as well as inputs from a growing number of public sources.  This modernization of underwriting will reduce the turnaround time on applications to less than a week for eligible applicants from the industry standard of four weeks.

There are exceptions to the increased limit process based on diagnosed medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. These applicants will be required to provide additional information similar to current industry practices.

“Canadians are seeing a modernization of the insurance industry in Canada,” added Harrison.  “Manulife recently became the first insurer in Canada to underwrite HIV positive Canadians and with the introduction of Vitality, Canadians are seeing how Manulife is making life insurance easier to access and more relevant to their lives.”

1 LIMRA, Billion Dollar Baby: Sales Potential of the Underinsured Life Market in Canada, based on the LIMRA Canadian Life Insurance Ownership Study, 2006.

2 Manulife Financial survey conducted with 1,000 Canadian homeowners between the ages of 30 and 50 with household income of$50,000 to $150,000 per annum. Conducted online by Research House, March 2011.

About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group providing forward-thinking solutions to help people with their big financial decisions. We operate as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2015, we had approximately 34,000 employees, 63,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving 20 million customers. At the end ofMarch 2016, we had $904 billion (US$697 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made more than $24.9 billion in benefits, interest and other payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canadaand the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong. Follow Manulife on Twitter@ManulifeNews or visit or

SOURCE Manulife Financial Corporation

Full economic cost of rapidly changing fire hard to calculate

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Great-West Lifeco announces succession plan for President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada

Press Release:

Great-West Lifeco Inc. today announced the succession plan for Dave Johnston, President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada, who has communicated his intention to retire in the third quarter of 2016 following a 38-year career with the Great-West Lifeco organization, including the last three years as President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada.

In conjunction with Dave Johnston’s upcoming retirement, the company announced that Stefan Kristjanson, currently Executive Vice-President, Strategy & Transformation, will be appointed to the role of President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada effective August 6, 2016.

“As President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada, Dave launched the strategy to invest in the capabilities required to ensure that our Canadian operations remain competitive, responsive and relevant in a dynamic and changing environment,” said Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great-West Lifeco. “Dave championed significant change initiatives relating to innovation, digital services and employee engagement. These and his many other achievements position us well for continued success in the future.”

Stefan Kristjanson has been associated with the Great-West Lifeco organization for 26 years. He has held a wide variety of roles with increasing responsibility, including leadership of the group insurance business in Canada and the integration of the Irish Life business inIreland. Most recently Stefan has led the strategy and transformation of the business in Canada.

“Stefan’s deep understanding of our Canadian operations and his recent focus on strategy and transformation position him well to lead our growth in Canada,” said Paul Mahon, adding that Stefan will work closely with Dave to ensure a smooth transition.

About Great-West Lifeco
Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSX:GWO) is an international financial services holding company with interests in life insurance, health insurance, retirement and investment services, asset management and reinsurance businesses. Great-West Lifeco has operations inCanada, the United States, Europe and Asia through Great-West Life, London Life, Canada Life, Irish Life, Great-West Financial and Putnam Investments. Great-West Lifeco and its companies have approximately Cdn $1.2 trillion* in consolidated assets under administration and are members of the Power Financial Corporation group of companies.

* Assets as of March 31, 2016

SOURCE Great-West Lifeco Inc.

For further information:

Marlene Klassen, APR
Assistant Vice-President, Communications
204-946-7705 |

J.D. Power ranks The Co-operators highest for auto insurance customer satisfaction

The Co-operators has been awarded the 2016 J.D. Power Canada awards for Canadian Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction in all three regions where it competes – the Atlantic, Ontario and Alberta.


The J.D. Power study measures customers’ satisfaction with their auto insurance providers in four regions by examining five critical study factors that constitute the relationship between customers and their insurance company: billing and payment, claims, non-claim interactions, policy offerings, and price.  The Co-operators received the highest score in the price, policy offerings, and billing and payment categories in each of the Atlantic, Ontario and Alberta regions.

“We believe our performance in this J.D. Power study clearly shows that we have a consistently high level of customer satisfaction across the country,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “We are pleased with the results and will use the information gathered in the surveys to improve upon our position as an industry leader in client engagement.”

Since the inaugural study in 2008, detailed results of the J.D. Power study has been used to identify strengths and areas in need of improvement. Results from previous years have helped The Co-operators focus on specific areas to improve customer service, and these efforts are producing positive results. The organization’s scores improved significantly this year in four of the five categories that are factors in the study.

For more information on the study, please visit

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 50 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

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937

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