Murdered Vancouver gangster’s family denied insurance payout

The excerpted article was written by KIM BOLAN | Vancouver Sun

Jodh Manj, 31, was gunned down in the parking lot of a commercial complex in the Mexico City neighbourhood of Santa Fe on Dec. 6, 2018. No one has been charged.

Manj, who grew up on Vancouver’s south slope, was associated with the United Nations gang and had been spending long periods of time in Mexico for years.

He bought the RBC life insurance policy in February 2009, according to court documents filed last week in B.C. Supreme Court by his relatives Kirpal, Aman and Yasbir Manj.

The three said in their suit that RBC Insurance sent out a series of letters on July 9, 2019 refusing to pay out the $500,000 death benefit.

The Manj relatives claim the insurance company is in breach of contract and “was obligated to pay to the plaintiffs $500,000 upon the death of the life insured.”

But in court documents, the RBC says the policy is void because Jodh Manj falsely claimed not to have any criminal convictions when he applied for the insurance policy 11 years ago.

“The defendant says that contrary to Manj’s representations, Manj had been convicted under the Youth Criminal Justice Act offences prior to February 2007 and that he had been convicted of breaching the terms of his sentence for theses convictions,” RBC said in its response to the suit, adding that “Manj made these representations knowingly, without belief in truth, or recklessly, careless whether they were true or false.”

RBC Insurance “relied upon these misrepresentations in agreeing to issue the policy,” the court document said.

“The defendant says that the policy is void as a result of Manj’s fraudulent misrepresentations.”

The Manj relatives said there is insufficient evidence that Jodh Manj defrauded anyone.

“The defendant breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing by denying the plaintiffs’ claim when it knew, or ought to have known, that it did not have sufficient evidence to prove that Jodh S. Manj fraudulently made a material misrepresentation in his application for life insurance,” their claim said.

They said that after they applied to be paid out, RBC initially made no determination about cancelling the policy despite a file review by a case manager.

Only after an underwriter spoke to an RBC insurance investigator in an “undocumented call” on June 5, 2009 was a decision made to rescind the policy, the Manj suit said, adding that no notes were kept of the phone conversation.

On June 6, 2009, the underwriter “prepared a single page memorandum in which she stated that the policy could be rescinded for a material misrepresentation in the application.”

The Manjs are seeking damages and court costs, on top of the insurance money, which was supposed to have been split three ways.

Until 2017, Jodh Manj was facing charges of conspiracy to import and distribute methamphetamine, ecstasy and pseudoephedrine in Oregon, California, Washington and Canada.

The U.S. attorney in Portland alleged Manj had conspired with several others to smuggle ecstasy and pseudoephedrine from Canada into the U.S., then transport methamphetamine north to the Pacific Northwest and into B.C. from 2008 to 2010.

In 2009, Manj was intercepted by U.S. agents talking on the phone to the head of a drug trafficking organization about selling him 15,000 ecstasy pills.

The charges against Manj were dismissed in February 2017 because the “defendant has not been apprehended, his whereabouts are unknown, and it would be difficult to locate the witnesses and exhibits necessary for successful prosecution of this case,” U.S. court document state.

Source: Vancouver Sun

Government of Canada helps grain farmers manage risk and build public trust

Grains sector backed to develop export rejection insurance

The excerpted article was written by 

The organization representing Canada’s crops sector will get public funding to develop an insurance plan against the “unpredictability” of export customers.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, speaking Wednesday at the CropConnect conference in Winnipeg, announced over $430,000 for the Canada Grains Council to develop a pilot insurance product for grain exporters.

Such an insurance plan would go to “address the risks they face of having their shipments rejected at the border of the importing country,” the government said.

Ottawa “wants to insure that grain farmers are protected against the unpredictability of the international market and the risks of regulatory trade barriers, particularly around the input residues on seeds,” the government said in a release.

The council will also get $789,558 toward developing a voluntary “code of practice for farm production of Canadian grains.”

The guidelines to be developed “will help farmers encode the best practices to follow to be considered sustainable, for both market and public trust purposes,” the government said.

The codes for crops would “cover a range of topics, including fertilizer management, pesticide use, soil management, farm workers and protection of wildlife habitat, as well as food safety and work safety.”

‘Market readiness’

The Canada Grains Council, in operation since 1969, represents the crops value chain nationwide and is tasked with spearheading efforts to boost sales and use of Canadian grain in domestic and international markets.

Public money for the CGC’s insurance project will flow through AgriRisk Initiatives (ARI), a five-year, $55 million program to support development of new risk management tools through the federal/provincial; Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding framework.

The code of practice project will be backed via the federal AgriAssurance program, budgeted for up to $74 million over five years to help ag sector groups develop “systems, standards and tools that enable them to make credible, meaningful and verifiable claims about the health and safety of Canadian agricultural and agri-food products, and the manner in which they are produced.”

Codes of practice for production aren’t new to Canada’s ag sector; similar codes for care and handling of various types and breeds of livestock are today being developed and updated by the National Farm Animal Care Council, which was set up in 2005.

The $1.2 million total funding envelope announced Wednesday for the grains council is expected to help address “two key issues facing the sector: better risk management tools and market readiness,” Bibeau said in the government’s release.

“Despite Canada’s solid reputation worldwide as a high-quality and trustworthy provider of grain and oilseed products, we cannot take this for granted,” CGC president Tyler Bjornson said in the same release.

“Exploring new ways to help producers and industry address market access risks, as well as maintain consumer confidence that we are doing the right things to produce sustainable and safe food, are an essential part of our long-term strategy as a sector.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

Source: AGCanada.com

IBC Launches Commercial Task Force

TORONTOFeb. 10, 2020 /CNW/ – Media headlines about increased commercial insurance premiums have grabbed the attention of many Canadians over the past few months. Commercial insurance is becoming challenging on a global level following years of significant losses. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is launching the National Commercial Insurance Task Force to examine how this is impacting Canadian companies and consumers.

National Commercial Task Force

The task force will bring together insurers, insurance brokers, local chambers of commerce, small businesses, trucking stakeholders, and risk experts to examine the impacts of the hardening global market and develop recommendations to help keep insurance affordable and available across the country. The task force will examine ways to help consumers mitigate risk and manage costs.

“We’ve heard from concerned parties across the country about challenges with finding affordable insurance and we want to know what can be done to overcome the problems,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, IBC. “We strongly believe that if all stakeholders work together, we can find solutions to control costs and, ultimately, improve insurance availability.”

The task force includes representatives from Canadian Condominium Institute, Canadian Trucking Alliance, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Insurance Brokers Association of Canada, Risk and Insurance Management Society, IBC, the insurance industry and other stakeholders.

The task force will hold its inaugural meeting in Edmonton in February, followed by meetings in VancouverHalifaxToronto and Montreal in the coming months. Its report providing recommendations is due this fall.

Condominium Action Plan

In Alberta, to further assist affected condominium corporations, IBC is developing a Condominium Action Plan that includes:

  • Engaging a risk manager to assist condominium corporations find reasonable insurance
  • Providing education and information on insurance and the importance of risk management and loss prevention strategies for condominiums
  • Providing the government with best practices used in other jurisdictions
  • Engaging insurers, stakeholders and government to directly assist condominium corporations facing issues in the marketplace

“The industry wants to work with all stakeholders to help condominium corporations find adequate and affordable insurance,” stated Forgeron. “The Condominium Action Plan is a multi-faceted approach that will help consumers directly, ensure everyone has the best up-to-date information available and promote the critical importance of risk mitigation and loss prevention in condominiums in Alberta and across the country.”

Consumers who have questions or want to learn more about commercial insurance, risk management or factors that impact premiums can call 1-844-2ASK-IBC or visit ibc.ca.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: Media Contact: Vanessa Barrasa – Manager, Media Relations – 416-550-9062, vbarrasa@ibc.ca

Related Links

www.ibc.ca

Ins and outs of travel insurance amid novel coronavirus outbreak

VANCOUVER _ Travellers nervous about globe-trotting during the novel coronavirus outbreak may be eligible to receive a refund for cancelling their travels, say insurance experts, but it depends on the destination, their insurance policy and other factors.

“I think in any case of sort of an epidemic like this, it’s really an evolving situation and every day is different, something new happens,” said Joan Weir, director of health and disability policy for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. CLHIA represents 99 per cent of the country’s life and health insurance companies, according to its website.

Travel insurers watch the unfolding situation very carefully, she said, and the association is frequently checking in with all its members about what they’re experiencing.

There are now more than 31,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, according to the World Health Organization.

The bulk of these are in China, where there have also been 637 deaths. Across 24 other countries, there are 270 confirmed cases and one death. There are five confirmed cases in Canada.

The WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency in late January.

The Canadian government issued a Level 3 advisory for China, asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel. There is only one higher level, which advises travellers to avoid all travel.

The government recommends people avoid travelling to Hubei Province, where Wuhan city is located. The province has recorded 22,112 of China’s 31,211 coronavirus cases, according to the WHO.

As soon as the Canadian government declares a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory, a person may cancel their upcoming trip and their insurance should cover any lost expenses, said Weir.

“You’d have to submit receipts,” she said, but travellers should receive refunds for flights, hotels and other costs.

Trips booked before the government issues these advisories are often covered by travel insurance, said an emailed statement from the insurance company RSA Canada.

“Trips booked after this point are not eligible for medical coverage or trip cancellation/interruption coverage.”

Allianz Global Assistance Canada, which declined to comment due to  “how quickly the current coronavirus is evolving and the changing advisories” from Canada’s government and others, posted a notice on its website to customers about the outbreak indicating booking timing mattered for coverage eligibility.

People travelling to China whose trip cancellation benefits kick in if the government issues a Level 3 advisory would be eligible to submit a claim if they purchased insurance before Jan. 29, when the government issued its advisory, according to the statement.

For those who do qualify, it doesn’t matter whether their trip is next week or in six months, said Weir.

However, the destination matters. While 24 countries have confirmed coronavirus cases, Canada’s travel advisory applies only to China. That means a person who feels uncomfortable travelling to any of the other countries won’t be able to get a refund for cancelling their trip, she said.

That is, unless they purchased what’s known as
cancel-for-any-reason insurance, she said, which does exactly what
the name implies.

Those who haven’t purchased any travel insurance may still be able to secure a refund, Weir noted, as many major credit cards offer some kind of coverage.

“But it depends on which credit card you have and what the benefits are,” she said.  “So it’s good to know what your credit card covers for trip cancellation, for trip health, all that.”

Chinese military members face charges in Equifax breach impacting

By Tara Deschamps

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Four members of the Chinese military are facing charges for allegedly breaking into Equifax Inc. systems in 2017 and stealing data connected with Canadians, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed Monday.

An indictment filed by the department says the breach of the Atlanta-based credit monitoring company’s system compromised a “colossal repository of sensitive personally identifiable information.”

The breach affected the accounts of at least 19,000 Canadians, hundreds of thousands of Britons and 145 million Americans. The hacked information included names, addresses, social insurance and credit card numbers, usernames, passwords and secret question and answer data.

The four Beijing residents that the indictment alleges were involved in the hacking Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Lei are facing charges of computer fraud, economic espionage and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The indictment says that over several weeks the group used a software vulnerability and encrypted communication channels to carry out the breach. They allegedly made use of 34 servers located in nearly 20 countries and wiped log files on a daily basis to reduce the likelihood that they would be caught.

“To further disguise their infrastructure, the conspirators obtained access to the servers located outside of China from reseller hosting services, who pursue remote computing services from other providers and then lease those remote compute services to others,” the indictment alleges.

“The conspirators attempted to disguise their unauthorized access to Equifax’s online dispute portal by using existing encrypted communication channels within Equifax’s network to send queries and commands, which allowed them to blend in with normal network activity.”

Equifax, the documents said, did not notice the hackers’ activity for more than six weeks.

The document also accuses the men of stealing trade secrets from the company.

Equifax reached a US$700 million settlement last year with the U.S. government over the data breach, earmarking most of the funds for consumers impacted by the incident.

Meanwhile, the Canadian privacy commissioner’s office released an investigation last year that found Equifax had poor security safeguards, was retaining information too long, had a lack of accountability for Canadians’ information and offered limited protection measures offered to affected individuals after the breach.

Asked by The Canadian Press on Monday about potential moves the federal government’s public safety ministry and privacy commissioner will make given the new developments, neither outlined any action.

They instead discussed investments in cybersecurity and previous investigations into the incident.

The RCMP said it is maintaining “situational awareness of this investigation and (is) prepared to assist upon request” with an ongoing investigation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. or other international law enforcement partners.

Charles Finlay, the executive director of the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst organization at Ryerson University in Toronto, called the U.S.’s handling of the situation  “aggressive,” but said he didn’t expect the Canadian government to follow suit.

“My suspicion is that the Canadian government will likely wait to se how the U.S. proceedings go,” he said.  “The Equifax breach was much much larger in the U.S. than it was in Canada.”

The case is particularly important, he said, because the hackers gained a great deal of information about potential targets and can access more information by leveraging that stolen data. The situation is even more serious because it can involve a state trying to advance their national security interest, he added.

Finlay doesn’t think those whose information was exposed can be “made whole again,” so he said action like the U.S. is taking is warranted.

“And I think we can expect to see more of this,” he said. “It’s not a game. People’s lives are at a stake and we are now beginning to see governments operate in that way.”

A look at how workplaces can prepare for possible coronavirus outbreak

By Cassandra Szklarski

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Companies wary of what an infectious outbreak could do to their workforce and bottom line are revisiting contingency plans as the new coronavirus continues to spread.

Marie-Helene Primeau of the Montreal-based risk management company Premier Continuum says she’s spent recent days fielding questions from several firms seeking guidance on what to do if the rapidly spreading illness that originated in China threatens the health of employees and customers.

“Everyone’s looking at their state of readiness,” says Primeau, whose company provides training and advice to a range of firms including banks, insurance companies, government agencies and those in manufacturing.

“They’re actively revisiting the plans, but they’re not necessarily stockpiling masks.”

Health officials in Canada have repeatedly stressed that the risk to public health remains low. Seven cases have been identified in Canada, while worldwide, the illness known as 2019-nCoV has sickened more than 37,000 people and killed more than 800, nearly all in China.

Nevertheless, Canadians are being urged to remain vigilant against infection, with medical experts reminding the public we’re still in the throes of flu season and that good hygiene is advised wash hands frequently, cough and sneeze into tissue or your upper sleeve, and don’t touch your face.

Disaster management expert Amin Mawani says workers and managers alike should take this time to combat misinformation, repeat hygiene tips, be clear on sick leave policies and prepare for the possibility of mass absenteeism.

If an outbreak hits, employers should encourage unwell workers to stay home, Mawani says, but a key step to mitigating an outbreak’s impact is to keep people from getting sick in the first place.

“You can’t buy traditional insurance in a sense, but you can prepare for it by spending some money planning for it and stockpiling certain things _ masks and whatever else you might need,” says Mawani, academic director of the health industry management program at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

A possible outbreak has critics refocused on provincial sick day allowances in Ontario, where the Progressive Conservative government offers most workers three days of unpaid leave each year and allows bosses to demand a doctor’s note.

Health-care workers say that can make it hard for some to stay home when necessary, and if sick people work in high-risk settings _ such as food services, long-term care facilities or childcare spaces _ the impact can be significant.

“A lack of paid sick days results in children and adults transmitting infections at school and work, exacerbating contagion throughout the province,” the group Decent Work and Health Network warn in an open letter to Premier Doug Ford.

Mawani agreed employers should consider whether they’re prepared to ease sick day restrictions if the virus strikes staff, noting hardline policies also threaten morale and loyalty.

Workers should also consider coming up with their own protective measures, he adds.

“In some ways employees can take the initiative, they can say: ‘Look, I can easily do this at home,’ or ‘I can do this on the weekend. Why do I need to come in tomorrow?”’ he says.

“And employers should be willing to listen during this phase so even if (workers) don’t start working from home now (the company) can have plans ready.”

John Yamniuk of the Toronto-based consulting firm DRI Canada says there are ways to limit person-to-person infection at the office, even those with open layouts, communal spaces, and shoulder-to-shoulder computer stations: Is there room to leave a vacant spot between workers? Is there an unused meeting room that can be transformed into an alternate work space?

“If you’re in a call centre environment, (think about) providing extra cleaning services, providing individual headsets for folks so they’re not sharing keyboards or things like that,” adds Yamniuk, based in Calgary.

Primeau’s advice includes making sure contact information for staff and partners are up-to-date.

She also encourages managers to run through “a tabletop exercise” _ in which each person discusses their role during an emergency and all agree on how best to respond to various scenarios.

And don’t assume you can just rely on a temp agency if a lot of people call in sick, she adds, because you can’t guarantee availability or loyalty.

“Temporary backup was something that was brought up when we were talking about the (H1N1) pandemic 10 years ago but the thing is that those individuals will also be sick as well,” she says.

“It’s more (about) focusing on what’s key. What’s urgent to perform? What are the critical activities, rather than calling upon a temp.”

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