Tips/advice for homeowners and families as Winter Storm heads to Atlantic Canada

Tips/advice for homeowners and families as Winter Storm heads to Atlantic Canada

The incoming storm is expected to bring strong winds, heavy snowfalls and possibly freezing rain toAtlantic Canada. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is providing tips and advice to those who will be digging out and cleaning up in the aftermath of the incoming storm.

“Atlantic Canadians continue to show their resilience to stormy weather, year after year,” said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC. “We know the toll that these storms can have on families. Dealing with the damages, closures and delays that a storm can cause can be a daunting process.

“We want to make the recovery process as straightforward as possible,” continues Dean. “If you have a question about your insurance policy, contact your insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre. We are here to help.”

IBC offers the following advice to those who will be digging out and cleaning up in the aftermath of the storm.

Tips for outside your home

  • Keep the sidewalk and front stairs of your house clear of snow and ice to prevent falls and injuries.
  • Clear the snow and ice from gas or propane meters, exhaust vents and basement windows.
  • To prevent exposed pipes from freezing, fit them with insulation sleeves or wrapping. Frozen pipes can break at their weakest point.
  • If safe to do so, clear snow from your roof and deck to avoid a potential collapse. In the case of heavy snow/ice build-up hire professionals.
  • If you need to drive, clear all the snow and ice from your vehicle before you start out, and make sure to watch for downed power lines.

How to start a claim

  • Call your insurance representative. Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of the damage, and keep damaged items unless they pose a health hazard.
  • Keep all receipts related to the cleanup and additional living expenses if you’ve been displaced. Ask your insurance representative what expenses you may be entitled to and for what period of time.
  • Review your policy to ensure you are familiar with specified deductibles, coverage limits and exclusions. Speak with your insurance representative if anything is unclear.

What insurance may cover?

  • Damage to homes caused by snow, hail or wind is typically covered by home insurance. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage to your home and its contents when water or snow enters through openings suddenly caused by high winds or flying debris.
  • Damage to mobile homes from wind may be covered. Policy wordings vary, so it’s best to check with your insurance representative.
  • Damage to vehicles from ice, wind or water is usually covered if you have comprehensive or all perils auto insurance. This coverage is not mandatory. Check your policy.
  • Coverage for overland flooding is not widely offered in Canada. Water damage caused by sewer backup may be covered if you purchased add-on coverage.
  • Water damage caused by an accumulation of ice or snow on a roof is covered only if specific coverage has been purchased.
  • Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes is covered by most residential policies. However, damage may not be covered when the escape of water is caused by freezing. Check with your insurance representative for the requirements and conditions in your policy.
  • Food spoilage resulting from power interruptions may be covered. Check your policy to see if you’re covered and whether a deductible applies.

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 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Introduces Professional First™ Miscellaneous Professional Liability Insurance in Canada

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Economical implements planned board chair succession

WATERLOO, ON, Jan. 4, 2016 /CNW/ – Economical Mutual Insurance Company announced that, effective January 4, 2016, John Bowey is the new chair of the board of directors following the decision by Gerry Hooper, board chair since March 2005, to step down. Mr. Hooper’s decision triggered the board chair succession plan. Mr. Hooper intends to continue serving on the board until the expiry of his current term in 2018.

In conjunction with this succession, David Wilson has been appointed chair of the board’s special committee on demutualization, a position Mr. Bowey held since July 2011. Mr. Bowey will continue to serve as a member of the special committee.

During Mr. Hooper’s 16-year tenure on the board of Economical, the company’s total equity has nearly tripled, from $632 million in 1999 to $1.72 billion at September 30, 2015.

Gary Hooper

“It was a privilege to have served as board chair these past 11 years,” said Mr. Hooper. “Having achieved pivotal milestones in the demutualization process, I felt the time was right to step back and hand over the reins to John’s capable hands.”

John Bowey, former chairman of Deloitte Canada, was appointed board vice-chair in December 2013 as part of the company’s board succession plan.

John Bowey - Economical Insurance

David Wilson has brought a wealth of experience in capital markets since joining the board in February 2012 and to his service on the board’s special committee on demutualization.

David Wilson - Economical Insurance

“We are fortunate to have benefitted from Gerry’s wisdom and leadership through a pivotal chapter in Economical’s history,” said John Bowey. “Economical has never been stronger and we are now poised to proceed with Canada’s first property and casualty demutualization as we pursue our vision to be one of Canada’s top P&C insurers.”

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 September 30, 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, Federation Insurance and Economical Financial.

SOURCE Economical Insurance

For further information: Doug Maybee, Economical Insurance (http://www.economicalinsurance.com/), (T) 519.570.8249, (C) 519.404.0989, doug.maybee@economical.com

Economical and its employees raise more than $447,000 for United Way programs and agencies across Canada

WATERLOO, ON, December 17, 2015 – Employees at Economical Insurance offices across the country dug deep again this year and generously donated to United Way, the company’s signature charity. Every dollar an employee pledged up to $2,500 was matched dollar-for-dollar by the company. At the end of the national campaign held from November 16 to 20, a grand total of $447,097 was raised.

“Through their pledges during the campaign, our employees demonstrate that we truly are stronger together,” said Karen Gavan, president and chief executive officer. “Their wonderful generosity is going to make a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of Canadians in need.”

Providing a better life for everyone was the focus of Economical’s 2015 campaign which framed how supporting United Way extends much-needed support to people in need communities across Canada.

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 September 30, 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, Federation Insurance and Economical Financial.

For further information, contact:
Doug Maybee
Economical Insurance
(T) 519.570.8249
(C) 519.404.0989
doug.maybee@economical.com

Report: Little to no fire protection in almost half of First Nations reserves

By Chinta Puxley

THE CANADIAN PRESS

An internal federal government report says almost half the First Nations across Canada have “little to no fire protection” and rely too heavily on poorly trained volunteer firefighters who can’t do the job.

The 2011 report examining insurance coverage for First Nations communities, obtained by The Canadian Press through Access to Information legislation, found only 56 per cent of First Nation sites across Canada have adequate fire protection – most because they depend on a neighbouring municipality.

British Columbia and Manitoba had the highest percentage of First Nation sites with little to no fire protection while First Nations in Atlantic Canada had the most sites with adequate service.

“The number of fire-related deaths in First Nations is also a major concern,” the consultant’s report said. “The fire death rates in First Nations are substantially higher than those off reserve.”

The report found that fire incidence rates for First Nations are 2.4 times higher than for the rest of Canada. First Nations residents are also 10 times more likely to die in a house fire.

The victims are often young children.

A two-year-old boy and an 18-month-old girl were carried by their father from a burning home this year on the Makwa Sahgaiehcan reserve in Saskatchewan. They were pronounced dead at the scene. The fire department from a neighbouring municipality didn’t respond due to a funding dispute with the First Nation.

Two-month-old Errabella Harper died in a house fire on the St. Theresa Point First Nation in 2011. At the time, the community’s fire truck was broken, with no fire hoses and no one knew where the keys were.

A second fire about two months later on the God’s Lake Narrows First Nation killed Demus James and his two grandchildren. Neighbours tried unsuccessfully to douse the flames with buckets, wet towels and a low-pressure hose. An inquest into the deaths found the reserves were woefully unprepared.

Reserves rely too much on volunteers who aren’t properly trained to protect homes that are dilapidated and not built to code, the government report found. There is a high attrition rate and volunteers don’t “adequately serve the public interest,” it added.

As the Liberal indigenous affairs critic, Carolyn Bennett called federal funding for fire protection services “appalling.” Now indigenous affairs minister, Bennett said the report’s findings are “not acceptable.”

First Nations need better fire prevention tools and adequate housing, as well as the ability to fight fires when they break out, she said.

“We think there are far too many First Nations families living in homes that other Canadians wouldn’t be subject to,” Bennett said in an interview. “This is a goal for all of us and for all Canadians – they don’t think that First Nations people should be living in third-world conditions.”

Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson, with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which represents northern First Nations, said the lack of fire protection provided to First Nations would never be tolerated in any other Canadian community.

“It’s appalling,” North Wilson said. “Are we second, third-class citizens?”

First Nations have very little discretionary spending and fire protection has to go up against housing, education, water and sewer systems, she said. Deliberately under-funding basic priorities like fire protection is “racist,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada said the government takes issue with parts of its report. The report “does not provide a complete picture of fire protection coverage in First Nation communities today,” said Michelle Perron, in an emailed statement.

A reserve can have more than one site, some of which may not have housing or infrastructure and “therefore no fire protection service,” she said.

On Wasagamack First Nation, a remote northern Manitoba reserve, last week, a brand-new youth centre which hadn’t even opened yet burned to the ground.

Chief Sharon Mason said the volunteer fire department was only able to keep the fire from destroying the adjacent community hall.

It was the best the department could do with an ancient fire truck that still bears the name of a town in the United States.

“We need a proper fire hall. We need a truck that actually works. We need supplies for our volunteers,” she said, adding the reserve can’t afford to lose any homes because it is already struggling with a chronic housing shortage.

“Fire safety is really critical.”

canada-press

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