Fort McMurray woman wants Insurance Act changed

‘We are still paying a mortgage on a pile of ashes,’ homeowner says

Excerpreted article was written by Jamie Malbeuf · CBC News 

After struggling for three years to get a settlement, a Fort McMurray woman wants to see changes to the Insurance Act.

Jamie Harpe lost her home in the May 2016 wildfire that destroyed 15 per cent of the buildings in Alberta’s oilsands city.

“Three years into it, we are still paying a mortgage on a pile of ashes, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight,” she said.

After the fire, Harpe said, she was able to settle a claim for the cost of her home’s contents with her insurance company, Aviva.

But the house claim remains unsettled.

Aviva declined to comment on the case, but Harpe said she will opt for a formal dispute resolution process.

The most recent estimate for the cost of the rebuild is from two years ago; Two different companies assessed the cost at between $3.1 million and $4.3 million, said Harpe, the president of an oilfield servicing company she owns with her husband.

She estimates the house was about 7,000 square feet. Her lawyer requested a quote for the cost of heating and hoarding — which includes a fence around the construction site to prevent unauthorized access and tarpaulins to cover the site and keep heat contained, allowing construction in winter — and that estimate came in at between $200,000 and $400,000.

The two parties almost came to an agreement recently, she said, except for one unresolved matter: who would pay the heating and hoarding costs.

Harpe said she doesn’t think her family should have to shoulder that cost.

She has been paying lawyers to help her with the claim, which she said has cost her about $70,000 over the last two years.

In the meantime, she bought property two doors down from her old house and put a prefabricated home there.

She says the money for living expenses from the insurance company ran out, and her family has been paying additional expenses out of pocket.

Now they’re paying for a second mortgage on top of almost $5,000 a month for the first mortgage.

The insurance industry is going to be here until the very last claim is closed in Fort McMurray.– Rob de Pruis, Insurance Bureau of Canada

She would like to see the Insurance Act changed so that companies have to pay additional living expenses for lengthy cases such as hers.

“The Insurance Act seems to work for the insurance company, and when it comes to the consumer there are so many loopholes that the insurance companies can, in a sense, bully the hardworking Canadians.”

At this point, she said, her payout should be higher than the cost of the rebuild, because of the additional money they’ve spent.

The provincial and federal governments should make changes to insurance regulations that benefit consumers, she said

Harpe said the claim has taken a toll on her mental health.

“You still have to work. And you still have to live your day-to-day life. And in the meantime … you’re always worried about what’s happening with the rebuild.”

Less than 1% of claims unresolved

The Fort McMurray wildfire was the most expensive insured disaster in Canadian history.

Rob de Pruis, director of consumer and industry relations for the western arm of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said more than 60,000 insurance claims were opened after the fire.

He said less than one per cent of those files remain open, and those are typically the complicated files, or ones where the company and homeowner couldn’t come to an agreement.

An aerial photo of Harpe’s home before it burned down. She says it shouldn’t take three years to get an insurance settlement. (Submitted by Jaime Harpe)

De Pruis said in most cases when the claim is drawn out, it’s because of misunderstandings or poor communication between the company and the homeowner.

There are options for the homeowner to pursue if an agreement can’t be reached: the company’s internal ombudsman or an independent company called the General Insurance Organization.

They can facilitate conversations between the two parties.

There is also a formal dispute resolution process, which is the route Harpe is taking. This is a facilitated discussion with representatives and specific timelines.

As a last resort, De Pruis said, the claim could go to court.

“The insurance industry is going to be here until the very last claim is closed in Fort McMurray,” he said.

De Pruis said the IBC is available to help anyone who is struggling with an insurance claim.

Business Interruption Insurance Training

Business Interruption Insurance Training

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Business interruption insurance, also called “business income” insurance, is one of the most important and yet most widely misunderstood of all insurance coverages. Fact: We don’t need an extensive financial background or training to effectively explain how business interruption insurance works. Nothing could be further from the truth. After completing this course, you will know a lot about business interruption insurance and, specifically, the Profits Endorsement Form. From there, it is just a matter of communicating that information in a way that your prospects will understand.

This course is broken down into three components:

Component A – Component A – Introduction to Business Interruption Insurance

  • The Importance of Separate Business Interruption Insurance
  • Two Types of Business Interruption Endorsements
  • The Role of The Broker in The Sales Process.

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  • Indemnity Agreement
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  • Indemnity Period – Duration of Coverage
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Included as part of the ILScorp Chad CE Subscription.

Access Duration from the Date of Purchase: 6 months
Credit Hours: 3
Credit Type: Insurance Technique
Credit #: AFC10854
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The Importance of Insurance When Buying or Selling a Home

Ahead of this year’s wildfire season, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) remind British Columbians about the important role that home insurance plays in protecting homeowners. It’s particularly important for those purchasing a home to obtain home insurance early in the sales process if their closing date is during the wildfire season.

Wildfires have had a devastating impact on communities across British Columbia in recent years. With wildfire season starting earlier every year, British Columbians need to consider their insurance needs both now and year-round. Individuals living in fire-prone communities should seek insurance protection before a wildfire threatens their home, including when they are buying or selling a home.

“Home insurance is for unforeseen risks, and it may be more difficult to obtain when a wildfire is threatening your residence or community,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President Pacific, IBC. “That’s why we are reminding British Columbians to ensure they are protected year-round and not simply when their home is threatened.”

IBC and BCREA recommend that British Columbians buying a home include an insurance clause in their offers of purchase and seek out insurance before a sale is complete. Further, individuals selling their home should not cancel their homeowner’s insurance until after the closing.

“When a community is threatened by an active wildfire, it may be more difficult to secure home insurance, which can greatly hinder the sales process,” said Darlene Hyde, BCREA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Adding a clause making an offer subject to insurability is another way your REALTOR® can help make buying a home go as smooth as possible.”

Home insurance is readily available across British Columbia. However, when an active wildfire threatens a home or community, it may be more difficult to obtain this coverage until the wildfire is contained or the threat passes. Homeowners at risk of wildfire are encouraged to purchase insurance before their home is threatened. Insurers will renew home insurance policies when a wildfire is threatening a home or community. This ensures that existing customers have coverage despite the increased risk to their properties.

To learn more about wildfires and wildfire safety, visit IBC’s website.

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 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @IBC_West 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.

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

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Here’s what you need to know about business-related insurance, says Russ McEachnie

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Cyber Risk Training

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During this session we will begin by discussing recent changes made to the Personal Information Protection Electronic and Documents Act. This is a natural spring board when discussing cyber insurance with clients. Next, we will briefly look at today’s cyber insurance market place to review common challenges. Then we will roll up our sleeves and get into the actual coverage forms most common in our market. Data Compromise Coverage, Computer Attack Coverage and Network Security Liability Coverage are the three major topics.

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Credit #: AIC#50977;MB32089
Accrediting Provinces: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON
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Access Duration from the Date of Purchase: 6 months
Credit Hours: 3
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Credit #: AFC11036
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Foresters Financial bolsters its leadership as it refocuses on life insurance

Foresters Financial™ today announces the further bolstering of its senior leadership team with the appointment of its new Chief Operating Officer, Bruce Hodges, as the organization repositions itself to focus on its core life insurance business.

Joining recent appointments Marcia Mendes d’Abreu, Chief Human Resources Officer; Alvin Sharma, Global Chief Financial Officer; and David Longfritz, Chief Marketing Officer, Bruce rounds out the leadership team at this unique life insurer whose mission is to give back to the communities in which its clients live.

Bruce comes to Foresters at a transformative time following the organization’s April announcement to sell assets related to its U.S. asset management business.

With 30 years of financial services, insurance and IT expertise, Bruce has leadership and international experience at Generali, ING, Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial that spans markets including North America, Europe and Asia.

Under the direction of Foresters President and CEO, Jim Boyle (formerly John Hancock CEO and a member of Manulife’s Executive team), this purpose-driven organization continues to build off successive years of record sales, positioning Foresters for long-term growth and success.

About Foresters Financial
Since 1874, Foresters Financial has been providing socially responsible financial services to individuals and families. Foresters Financial includes The Independent Order of Foresters, the oldest non-denominational fraternal benefit society. Foresters is a purpose-driven organization that exists to enrich family and community well-being and offers insurance products to over three million members and clients in Canada, the US and the U.K. For 18 straight years, The Independent Order of Foresters has received an “A” (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best.1 For more information please visit foresters.com

1. The A.M. Best rating assigned on August 2, 2018 reflects the overall strength and claims-paying ability of The Independent Order of Foresters (IOF) but does not apply to the performance of any non-IOF issued products. An “A” (Excellent) rating is assigned to companies that have a strong ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders and have, on balance, excellent balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile when compared to the standards established by A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best assigns ratings from A++ to F, A++ and A+ being superior ratings and A and A- being excellent ratings. See ambest.com for our latest rating.

SOURCE Foresters Financial

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