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

The Co-operators donates $75,000 to three organizations in Regina

REGINA, Dec. 17, 2015 /CNW/ – The Co-operators Life Insurance Company announced donations totalling $75,000 to three organizations working to address unmet needs in its hometown of Regina. The Regina Food Bank, Regina Palliative Care and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency each received $25,000 gifts.

“We are proud to support these three exceptional organizations that provide much-needed services to so many people in our community,” said Kevin Daniel, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Co-operators Life Insurance Company. “Reginais a community where people come together to help one another in times of need, and we’re pleased to support three organizations that make that happen on a daily basis.”

The Co-operators has long been a supporter of the Regina Food Bank. Last year, the two organizations partnered to introduce the food bank’s Reclamation program. It accepts unwanted cleaning, hygiene and other small household items from retail businesses and distributes them to other community based-organizations such as women’s shelters and addiction services. This helps the recipient organizations focus their financial resources on their programs and services, while diverting thousands of pounds of material from landfill. Today’s donation will allow the Regina Food Bank to expand the program.

Regina Palliative Care improves the quality of life for palliative care clients, supports their families and operates the Greystone Bereavement Centre as a means of providing specialized and accessible bereavement care and support. The $25,000 donation will help the organization continue to provide education and support, free of charge, to those who require its services.

With its $25,000 gift from The Co-operators, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency will be able to purchase a Total Body Precision Patient Immobilization Unit for the Allan Blair Cancer Centre. The unit will be used for radiation therapy that requires precise patient positioning and extremely accurate radiation delivery to treat tumours, allowing local residents to receive the treatment in Regina, rather than having to travel out of town as they currently do.

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 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 www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

Co-operators Insurance rejects church’s bid to forego trial

By Jennifer Choi, CBC News

The lawyer representing Co-operators General Insurance is asking a judge to reject the Archdiocese of Moncton’s request to forego a trial.

Danys Delaquis is acting on behalf of Co-operators Insurance. (CBC)

Danys Delaquis told Justice Stephen McNally Monday that the case merits a trial.

“We reject a summary judgement,” Delaquis said in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Moncton.

The Archdiocese of Moncton is suing Co-operators General Insurance for $4.2 million. It wants to recover some of the $10.6 million it has paid out to victims of abuse through a confidential compensation process.

The archdiocese had a policy with the insurer between 1977 to 2000, and it believes that’s the amount of money the insurer should pay.

One reason the archdiocese is requesting a summary judgement is because it is “less expensive.”

If McNally agrees to a summary judgement the two sides would forego a trial and he would review evidence and make a decision.

Lawyer Chris Blom is representing the Diocese of Moncton, said claims need to be settled by 2016. (CBC)

“There are no other documents that the parties have that should have been brought before the court in a trial, no further evidence that will assist us,” said Chris Blom, one of the lawyers representing the diocese.

Blom’s co-counsel Mark Fredrick also told McNally the archiocese is under “pressure.”

Frederick told the court that the archdiocese has commitments to settle some claims of abuse by June 2016. The archdiocese is requesting McNally render a decision by that date, so in the event the archdiocese is awarded some or all of the $4.2 million it wants from Co-operators, it can use that money to pay claimants.

McNally stressed that is a tight timeline and “a bit unfair to other people that have been waiting in the queue for trial dates, that will be a consideration.”

McNally said he would look into dates and see what he can do, but he made no guarantees.

Files lost

One of the main issues in this case is the lack of insurance policy records.

Both the Archdiocese of Moncton and the Co-operators have been unable to locate the policy records.

The lawyers for the archdiocese argue that according to a former policy writer with Co-operators, the maximum coverage limit is $500,000 per occurrence between April 1977 to February 1992. After that the policy limit changed to $2-million per occurrence of abuse.

Delaquis told the judge without the records there is no way of knowing with certainty the exact annual limits to the policies.

“Co-operators can’t confirm what the wording is for the entire policy period,” Delaquis told the judge.

McNally will now deliberate and make his decision on how to proceed.

Intact Foundation Provides Local and International Support for Syrian Refugees

TORONTO, On Dec. 16, 2015 /CNW/ – In response to the growing need for humanitarian aid and relief for Syrian refugees, the Intact Foundation announced that it has donated $100,000 to UNICEF Canada to support displaced youth remaining overseas. The Foundation will also be donating $75,000 to immigrant employment centres across Canada.

“It’s important to recognize the magnitude of this crisis and the impacts felt at home and abroad,” said Monika Federau, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer of Intact Financial Corporation. “The support of the Intact Foundation recognizes there is still much work to be done overseas, in addition to welcoming new Canadians to communities across Canada.” The Intact Foundation has partnered with UNICEF Canada by providing a donation to support Syrian refugee youth in countries including Lebanon and Jordan.

“We’re extremely grateful for Intact’s generous donation of $100,000 to support UNICEF’s life-saving work with Syrian children and families,” said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. “As the UN agency for children, we’ve been responding to this crisis since it began in 2011. It has become the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time with 8.25 million Syrian children at risk today. With the support of Intact and other generous Canadian donors we are reaching the most vulnerable children with critical health, education and protection programs to ensure a whole generation of children is not lost.”

Donations will be made to five regional immigrant employment centres in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver to help support immigrant placement through mentorship programs. Intact Insurance and belairdirect will also work with the centres to provide employees the opportunity to mentor immigrants who have expressed an interest in finding employment in the insurance industry.

About the Intact Foundation
Since 2004, the Intact Foundation has contributed over $26 million in charitable funding to over 1,300 organizations nationally. The Intact Foundation, governed by employees of Intact Financial Corporation, Intact Insurance, and belairdirect, focuses its resources in two arenas – climate change adaptation and supporting at-risk youth.

About Intact Financial Corporation
Intact Financial Corporation (www.intactfc.com) is the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada with over $7.3 billion in annual premiums. With over 11,000 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 Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Québec 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.

SOURCE Intact Financial Corporation

For further information: Media Inquiries: Stephanie Sorensen, Director, External Communications, +1 (416) 344-8027, stephanie.sorensen@intact.net; Investor Inquiries: Samantha Cheung, Vice President, Investor Relations, +1 (416) 344-8004, samantha.cheung@intact.net

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