Company strengthens its commitment to safety through measures to support customers, employees and the community
Onlia, safety advocate and fast-growing provider of digital home and auto insurance in Ontario, today announced additional measures to support and protect its community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Onlia’s mission is to promote the safety of Canadians – at home, on the road, and in communities.
Onlia is introducing a premium holiday during the month of May for their home and auto insurance customers. All active policy holders as of March 31st who have made at least one full monthly premium payment will automatically receive a one-month premium waiver. The measure is intended to help relieve the financial impact of the pandemic by providing immediate savings at a time when Canadians need it most.
“Onlia has always put the safety of Canadians first, and now more than ever we are pulling together to protect one another,” says Pieter Louter, CEO of Onlia. “With customers presently experiencing un-precedented lifestyle changes, we are taking additional steps to provide support and assistance to our community.”
True to Onlia’s philosophy to motivate and reward safe behavior-change, the company is also activating their safe-driving app, Onlia Sense™ to reward Canadians for staying home. Typically, the app rewards safe driving, however, in May insurance customers can earn $20 cash for not driving at all.
“Our community has made significant strides in decreasing road usage over the past month”, says Olivia van Eyk, head of marketing Onlia. “Trips taken by Onlia Sense™ users have decreased by 70 per cent from March 1st to April 1st, displaying a commitment to social distancing.”
As a fully digital company, Onlia has always enabled customers to connect with its products, services, and people online. The company’s service model affords seamless, reliable and consistent service to its customers during this uncertain time. Customers looking for additional information are encouraged to visit Onlia.ca.
Onlia Holding Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiaries Onlia Agency Inc. & Onlia Services Inc., offers innovative digital home and auto insurance and a safe-driving mobile app to the Canadian market. Onlia’s mission is to create a community around making Canada a safer place, and to provide tools and motivation to facilitate safer behaviours. Launched in 2018, Onlia is a joint venture between Achmea Canada Holding Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Achmea B.V. the largest insurance group of the Netherlands, and Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a Canadian holding company which, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and investment management. Using proprietary and award-winning technology, Onlia is rethinking the way Canadians approach safety and insurance. Join the community at Onlia.ca and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
SOURCE Onlia Holding Inc.
The excerpted article was written by · CBC News
There are still some grey areas when it comes to insurance coverage for employees who are now doing their jobs from home.
Many workers have temporarily set up their office space in their homes, as their employers deal with public health directives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And it could be like this for another month or two, possibly longer.
“It’s a situation that we’ve never been in before,” says Lisla Beaton, director of claims for Cambrian Insurance in Sudbury.
“We’ve never had everybody working from home like we do.”
Every home insurance policy is different and has different coverage.
Most policies have exclusions which state there is not a business operating out of the home. That definition of a business could include workers who are doing their job for their employer.
“You’re operating the business of your job from your home, so yes, it could still be conceived as a business,” Beaton said.
However, she adds that insurers have currently eased up on the rule.
“Many insurance companies and everybody right at the moment has done it [moved work to home] en masse, that the insurance companies are probably going to be a little more lenient on that.”
However, Beaton does recommend informing your insurance company of the temporary change to avoid the provider denying a claim in the future, or at least inquiring as to what they’re doing with other clients in the same boat.
“I’m not sure the insurance company would want an endorsement for everybody to say: ‘This is now what we’re doing,'” she said.
That endorsement for coverage to operate a business out of a home is roughly an additional $20, but differs depending on the provider.
“It’s not a lot of money to add that extra liability coverage to your policy,” she said.
This is why Beaton believes not every insurance company will be making changes — even if temporary, because they’d have to add endorsements to everyone’s policy.
Business property at home
Home insurance policies have limits on business property, like a laptop, if there’s a claim made for lost or stolen items.
For insured losses for business property, Beaton says the limit is usually somewhere around $5,000, and it’s only while on your property (home).
“It has to be stolen from your premises, so if you were out making a call and you brought it with you, and someone stole it out of your car it would not be covered,” she said.
It’s also a good idea to check with your employer to find out if their insurance covers at-home work, as well as equipment that’s been moved from work to home.
“There’s all sorts of little grey areas we have here,” Beaton said, referring to the current situation.
[Insurance] is a contract and the wordings are very complicated. People don’t know or understand what they are, so basically you need to phone and ask.– Lisla Beaton, Director of Claims, Cambrian Insurance
“Every insurance company is different. It behooves you to call your broker or your agent and find out how your exact company is dealing with [the COVID-19 pandemic],” she said.
Once the pandemic is over and someone decides to permanently work from their home, Beaton suggests adding an extension called ‘incidental office use’ to their home insurance policy.
“It increases or extends the liability to cover the operation of that business in your home.”
“Insurance is very complicated. It’s a contract and the wordings are very complicated,” Beaton said.
“People don’t know or understand what they are, so basically you need to phone and ask and review.”
Reducing car insurance
Beaton notes that some people might also qualify for a rebate on their car insurance, if they’re working from home and no longer driving the car to the office.
She says just because you’re not using your vehicle doesn’t mean you can get your insurance coverage reduced or stopped.
“If you have your vehicle leased or you still have a lien on your vehicle some insurance companies are actually asking for confirmation from the leasor or the lienholder that you have permission to reduce the coverage because they have an interest in the vehicle as well.”
“They want to make sure that it is protected at all times — they don’t want to lose their money.”
Some insurance companies have also made changes to help seasonal property owners who can’t visit their camp or cottage because of travel restrictions.
Paying the bills
“We know Canadians are navigating a new world with changes occurring rapidly within our communities and beyond,” says Don Forgeron, the president and CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
“This is an incredibly challenging and uncertain time for many Canadians, and insurers want to help alleviate some of the financial burden for the most vulnerable.”
The IBC says insurance companies have already reached out to their clients, acknowledging that this may be a difficult time for some to make payments, and have offered options.
They are working with clients on a one-on-one basis.
TORONTO _ Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is warning that it expects to lose US$1.4 billion in the first quarter because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Toronto-based holding company says its preliminary result will also mean about a 12 per cent decrease in book value adjusted for the $10 per common share dividend paid in quarter.
Chief executive Prem Watsa says that despite the unprecedented turbulence its insurance companies continued to have strong underwriting performance in the quarter.
Net losses on investments currently estimated at about US$1.5 billion primarily reflect unrealized losses in the fair value of our common stock and bond portfolio from the sudden shock of COVID-19, he said. That reverses a significant portion of the US$1.7 billion net gains on investments reported in 2019.
Watsa says in a statement that the company has drawn on its credit facility solely to ensure that it maintains high levels of cash. It had about US$2.5 billion in cash and marketable securities in its holding company at March 31.
Fairfax will also absorb its share of US$200 million in losses related to its investments in Quess, Resolute Forest Products and Astarta.
With warmer weather arriving, snowmelt coupled with spring storms once again increase the risk of spring flooding across Canada. Provincial Emergency Management authorities have predicted certain communities across the country will likely experience flooding and Canadians should be prepared.
Municipalities are already taking action to reduce the local impacts of flooding and Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is informing consumers about how they can prepare for the coming flood season and help protect themselves and their property from damage.
During a severe weather event, everyone’s priority must be their personal safety and the safety of loved ones and neighbours. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, emergency responders may have reduced resources. As such, this places greater emphasis on individual preparation.
A number of Canadian insurers now offer residential overland flood insurance, which, along with sewer backup coverage, helps reduce the financial risk of inland flooding events. These products are optional and must be added to home insurance policies for an additional premium.
Contact your insurance representative to ensure your property is protected. Insurance representatives are an essential service at this time and although they may not be available in person, they can still respond to your insurance coverage questions , as well as assist with any claims.
Tips to protect your home from water damage:
- Keep a current and detailed home inventory.
- Assemble a disaster safety kit.
- Create a 72-hour emergency preparedness plan for your family.
- Visit IBC website for more tips: Water Damage – Are you Protected?
Even while all levels of government are coping with the pandemic, we still face the same risks from extreme weather, especially flooding, that come every spring. Canada still needs a National Action Plan on Flooding as committed to by the present federal administration.
Components of a National Action Plan on Flooding include investing in resilient infrastructure to protect communities from floods and wildfires, improved flood mapping, measures to re locate those at highest risk out of harm’s way, and the availability of affordable overland flood insurance to remaining Canadians at high risk of flooding.
IBC continues to advocate for all stakeholders to work together to reduce the financial strain caused by flood events. For every dollar paid out in insurance claims for damaged homes and businesses, Canadian governments and their taxpayers pay out much more to repair public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.
Visit IBC’s website for information on how to prepare for a disaster and ways to prevent flood damage to your home.
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 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.
SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada
These are uncertain and challenging times. With COVID-19 causing global concern, we understand many Canadians will have questions related to commercial insurance. IBC has produced a brief Q&A document outlining how coverage is triggered and how business interruption policies work.
Updated: April 8, 2020
Commercial insurance is complex and specialized, which makes it important that you speak to your insurance representative if you have any questions or need clarification about your coverage.
Will my standard business policy or business interruption policy cover me for interruptions due to COVID-19?
- Generally, commercial insurance policies and traditional business interruption policies do not offer coverage for business interruption or supply chain disruption due to a pandemic such as COVID-19.
- Some organizations may have purchased specialized contingent business interruption coverage, stand-alone business interruption coverage and supply chain disruption coverage which may be triggered as a result of the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic.
- Commercial insurance is complex and specialized and specific to your business which makes it important that you speak to your insurance representative if you have any questions or need clarification about your coverage.
How does business insurance work?
Property insurance for businesses is designed to protect the physical assets of a business against loss and/or damage from a broad range of causes. There are two basic policy types:
- Named perils – covers only loss and/or damage caused by perils specifically listed in the policy, subject to exclusions. Loss and/or damage caused by any other peril is not covered.
- Comprehensive – covers loss and/or damage caused by any peril, unless specifically excluded.
What is business interruption (BI) coverage?
BI coverage is an add-on to an existing business insurance policy. In the event of a business temporarily needing to shut down, BI covers continuing expenses or replaces lost profits. There are three types of BI policies:
- Gross earnings policy, which pays only until property or damage is replaced or repaired, or stock is replaced
- Profits form policy, which continues to pay until a business resumes its normal, pre-interruption level (subject to policy limits)
- Extra expense policy, which is designed for businesses that can remain operational during periods affected by loss and/or damage.
How does BI insurance work?
BI policies are not standardized and include many variants, but most contain language indicating that the insurer will pay for the actual loss of “business income” due to the “necessary suspension” of operations during “the period of restoration.” A number of concepts and nuances come into play, including:
- Physical damage requirement: Most policies require proof that the insured premises sustained physical damage (for example, from fire, heat, flooding or firefighting efforts) that was covered under their property policy, which caused an interruption that resulted in a loss of business income. A business that is interrupted due to the loss of data or a loss of utilities may not have sustained a physical loss. (There is separate utility loss coverage.)
- Period of restoration: If BI coverage is triggered, a significant issue is defining the period of indemnity or, as some policies refer to it, the period of restoration. Most policies will pay business income loss through to the point that the business is restored or when the coverage expires (usually 12 months from the beginning of the interruption).
Consumer Relief Measures
To help Canadians cope with the financial impact of COVID-19, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) member companies are offering substantial consumer relief measures. For consumers whose driving habits have changed significantly, IBC member companies are offering reductions in auto insurance premiums to reflect this reduced risk. IBC expects this could result in $600 million in savings to consumers. The reductions will continue for the next 90 days. Additionally, insurers have supported Canadians and businesses who are most adversely affected by honouring requests to defer premiums. Thousands of Canadians have had their premiums deferred.
Insurance customers whose driving habits have changed significantly or who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic should contact their insurance representative. As it relates to savings on auto insurance premiums, savings will vary depending on individual driving habits.
Many insurers have transitioned their employees to work from home, and insurers ask for your patience as service levels may be strained.
In addition to adjusting premiums for drivers, IBC member companies have also committed to the following measures to help Canadians, which will also apply for the next 90 days:
- Explore flexible payment options for consumers who are in a vulnerable position or facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19;
- Waive the NSF fees they would have charged if you have insufficient funds to cover your premium. You remain responsible for any fees your bank may charge you; and
- If you are temporarily using your car or home differently (for example, you may be using your car to commute to work instead of taking public transit, or you may be working from home) it will not affect your premium or your ability to make a claim.
Insurers are also working with small business and commercial clients to help businesses manage their costs.
Insurers are supporting communities across the country, and some have made substantial donations to help those impacted.