A mix of rain, freezing rain and snow could make for a slow and messy commute across southern Ontario later this week.

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Intact Insurance and belairdirect are two of Intact Financial Corporation’s largest brands.

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The Co-operators and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition advocate for fire safety through new partnership

The Co-operators and The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) announced a formal partnership today to advocate for and promote the installation of home fire sprinklers in new construction of homes in Canada. You may have seen fire sprinklers in a hotel room or a restaurant, but HFSC states that the need for them in the home is key to reducing the fire problem inCanada. In fact, eight out of ten fire-related deaths occur in the home.

“As a co-operative insurer, we strive to identify and fulfill unmet needs related to our business,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Fire sprinklers in a home provide life-saving protection. With more awareness and understanding, it is our hope that more and more Canadian homeowners and builders will choose to have them installed to better protect their families and property.”

In 2012, The Co-operators sponsored a three-year study by Sunnybrook Health Science Centre that looked at the healthcare costs and consequences of house fires in Canada and the potential impact that home fire sprinklers can have. The Co-operators also offers a 10 per cent insurance discount for homes with fire sprinklers.

“We’ve been building a relationship for a number of years, but I’m looking forward to the impact we’ll be able to make together inCanada now that this partnership is official,” said Shayne Mintz, Canadian Regional Director of the National Fire Protection Association, a member of the HFSC’s Board of Directors. “The Co-operators is the only Canadian insurer to formally support us in this way, both financially and in terms of awareness.”

Visit www.homefiresprinkler.org to learn more about the need for home fire sprinklers and to read some success stories.

About The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition:
The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition was formed in the United States in 1996 in response to the tremendous need to inform the public about the life-saving value of home fire sprinkler protection. HFSC is charitable organization and the leading resource for independent, non-commercial information about residential fire sprinklers.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned 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; 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

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937; Lorraine Carli, National Fire Protection Association, 617-984-7276

Warning Notice – Unlicensed Entity Selling False Auto Insurance

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) is warning consumers that an organization known as J. Cameron Agency is not licensed to do insurance business in Ontario.

It appears that an unlicensed entity by the name of J. Cameron Agency has issued a fraudulent liability slip (“pink card”) to a consumer. The address of the J. Cameron Agency is stated as Head Office/Scarborough, Ontario, and the telephone number provided is (416) 689-5221.

The J. Cameron Agency is not licensed with FSCO or the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario.

As well, the J. Cameron Agency is not affiliated or associated with either Aviva Insurance Company or Traders General Insurance Company, each a duly licensed entity.

Consumers should exercise caution if they are contacted by anyone claiming to represent J. Cameron Agency, Aviva Traders General Insurance (a blend of the names of the two licensed companies) or using contact information matching the above.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has been notified and Aviva Insurance Company is investigating.

If consumers purchase items or insurance through individuals or companies that are not licensed in the province, they are not protected under the Insurance Act and the regulations that govern Ontario’s licensed insurance companies and agents.

FSCO’s website contains a list of all insurance companies and agents licensed to do business in Ontario. The website of the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario contains a list of all brokers licensed to do business in Ontario.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

What to Do If You Think You are a Victim of a Scam or Fraud

SOURCE Financial Services Commission of Ontario

Karen Gavan, president & CEO of Economical Insurance, to retire at end of Dec 2016

"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

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, February 19, 2016 – The board of directors of Economical Insurance today announced that Karen Gavan will retire as president and CEO and director at the end of her contract on December 31, 2016.

Gavan joined the board of Economical Insurance in 2008 and assumed the role of president and CEO in 2011. As initial Chair of the Special Committee on Demutualization she spearheaded the decision to proceed with demutualization and then as CEO she successfully led the company through a period of transformational change. Under Gavan’s leadership, the company has established a bold vision and strategy, grown significantly, transformed its operating platform, and positioned itself as a strong competitor.

“Economical Insurance is entering the next stage in our journey to becoming a public company. We do so from a position of strength thanks to Karen’s exceptional leadership,” said John Bowey, board chair. “Now is the right time for transition. Karen has been the perfect leader to guide Economical through the first phase of demutualization. Economical has all the characteristics of a company poised for greatness and growth. Our leadership team brings great energy and stability while our long-term strategy is world-class.”

“It has been a privilege to lead Economical at such an exciting time in its history,” said Gavan. “When I stepped in almost five years ago, I had a mandate to develop a compelling strategy for the future, form a great leadership team and drive the results necessary for longterm success. I’m extremely proud to have delivered on this mandate. Economical is now well positioned for the future. I’d like to thank our amazing leadership team for their support, members of the board and our brokers and policyholders for their trust, and every Economical employee for their dedication. I remain committed to providing ongoing leadership for the company until the end of my contract.”

During Gavan’s tenure to date as CEO – from the second quarter of 2011 through the end of 2015 — total equity has grown by more than $500 million to record levels, with the company surpassing $2 billion in gross written premiums (GWP) for the first time in its 145-year history. In addition to financial performance, Economical achieved notable success in areas of strategic importance under Gavan’s leadership. During this period, the company:

  • Formally began its demutualization process
  • Implemented a business transformation program that reduced operating expenses to competitive levels
  • Developed a multi-channel strategy and announced the launch of a direct-to-consumer business, scheduled for later in 2016
  • Made significant investments in technology and predictive analytics, including a multi-year implementation of our Guidewire PolicyCenter® policy administration system

“Economical would not be where it is today without Karen’s vision and drive,” continued Bowey. “We have incredible momentum. The Economical of tomorrow will excite and impress the Canadian business community, while we continue to deliver superior service and innovative products to our customers, brokers, and partners. Our board remains fully committed to our strategy, and our next CEO will share in our excitement and vision as we continue to expand this great company. On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank Karen for the enormous contribution she has made to the company. We look forward to her continued passion and energy over the balance of the year.”

The board of directors will conduct a process to select Gavan’s successor. Gavan will continue to lead the company during this phase, with the full support of the board and the leadership team.

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 December 31, 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, and Economical Financial.

For further information, contact:

Doug Maybee Manager,
Public Relations and Media Relations
Economical Insurance
(T) 519.570.8249
(C) 519.404.0989
doug.maybee@economical.com

David Bradfield
Vice-president, Communication
Economical Insurance
(C) 647.223.5192
david.bradfield@economical.com

Clash brewing over genetic privacy as insurance industry tries to get as much data as possible to assess risk

Ian MacLeod, Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — A clash over genetic privacy and the insurance industry’s need for personal medical data to calculate risk marked the opening day of parliamentary hearings on a Senate bill banning genetic discrimination.

No other generation in human history has had the power to so profoundly investigate and tinker with the essence of life and some believe there should be limits on what people and companies can do with the discoveries, products and knowledge flowing from the rapid commercialization of genetic science.

The Senate human rights committee Wednesday heard how the technology capable of tremendous healing and hope also can be used to discriminate against those found to carry genes that predispose them to potentially developing certain diseases.

“Fear of genetic discrimination is stopping many Canadians from having genetic testing that their doctors believe would benefit them,” said Sen. James Cowan, who is making his third attempt at sponsoring Bill S-201 into law. “In Canada, unlike most other western countries, there is no protection for this.”

The bill would outlaw life and health insurers and others from requiring that individuals undergo genetic testing as a condition of doing business. It would ban requiring a person to disclose previous genetic test results or penalizing those who refuse to undergo the test. And it would add genetic discrimination to the prohibitions in Canada Labour Code and federal human rights and privacy acts.

Life insurance, disability insurance, mortgages and employment would be prime areas of concern.

Bev Heim-Myers of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness told the committee a key problem is that the insurance industry places too much emphasis in the results of genetic tests, which often indicate a person’s genetic predisposition to developing a disease or condition, but not whether they will actually go on to get the disease.

“If a person has a genetic test and it (reveals) a perceived future disability, who knows if it’s going to happen. Perhaps it won’t,” she said. “But the insurance industry or employers are looking at it and saying this (disease) is going to happen. (That’s) not equal.”

She said people who suspect they’re prone to a disease, “will choose not to be tested because of the risk of being uninsurable,” and won’t know to seek medical therapy or make lifestyle or other changes to try to offset their genetic predisposition to a particular disease.

Although Cowan’s bill does not mention the insurance industry, a battery of insurance executives and actuarial experts lined up before the committee to complain the proposed legislation would unfairly blind insurers to the degree of risk they are underwriting.

They argued insurers and prospective policy holders have an obligation to disclose any relevant health information so the contract is entered into on an “equal information” basis. The same, they said, as people now do when disclosing family histories, cholesterol, hypertension, coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other conditions with a genetic component.

“An essential element for insurance to work properly is an equal access to information by both parties,” said Jacques Y. Boudreau, chair of committee on genetic testing for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. “That is why offers to purchase a house are often subject to inspection, or why the seller of a car must disclose any significant collisions.”

An essential element for insurance to work properly is an equal access to information by both parties

But the proposed law creates a material imbalance of information, he said. “Receiving a bad result from a genetic test would be a strong motivator to acquire more insurance. Under the bill, one would be able to acquire insurance at the same price as the general public and well below its true costs, providing a strong incentive to purchase as much as possible.”

He said the industry is “deeply concerned” that a “vast majority” of the public will have to pay more for insurance as a result.

If the bill makes it through the Senate, then House of Commons and into law, the executives hinted at a constitutional legal challenge over federal incursion into an area primarily regulated by the provinces, which have no such legislation.

Cowan first introduced the bill in early 2013, but it died when Parliament was prorogued. He retabled the bill, but it was gutted last spring by the Senate’s Conservative-dominated human rights committee.

Source: National Post

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