Pothole damages, can you file an insurance claim?

Re-run

The excerpted article was written by Rikki Watson | DrydenNow

It’s inevitable that most drivers will hit at least one pothole this spring. But what do you do if the crater in the road seriously damages your vehicle?

Most people would say to call the city, they’re responsible for road maintenance, so they must be responsible for the damages. This isn’t usually the case.

In the majority of cases, the city will not accept liability for damages caused by hitting potholes. As long as the city is meeting the Minimum Maintenance Standards – as set out in legislation – there is no negligence on the part of the city.

This leaves two options, make an insurance claim or pay for the damages out of pocket.

To file a claim you need to make sure you have collision insurance. Going this route, getting as much information as possible, including taking photos of the damage and pothole, is always the best idea. Photos could help your claim.

A pothole claim is classified as a single-car accident as it comes under collision. Insurance providers consider the damage caused by hitting a pothole as an at-fault accident. Your collision deductible will apply, and your rates could go up at your next renewal due to filing an at-fault claim.

According to a CAA survey, Canadians pay $1.4 billion a year in pothole damages.

Sometimes the damage sustained is a lower dollar amount than your deductible, which would make filing a claim irrelevant, and you may be better of paying for the repairs out of pocket.

 

The IBC says that for every dollar paid in insurance claims, governments are paying far more to repair infrastructure damaged by extreme weather.
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BrokerTech Ventures Hires John Jackovin as Accelerator Executive Director

DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — BrokerTech Ventures (BTV), the industry’s first broker-led investor group and accelerator program, is pleased to announce the hiring of John Jackovin as its new accelerator executive director.

“John brings with him a unique skillset, which we believe will add tremendous value to our BTV Accelerator Program as we embark on our inaugural year,” said Susan Hatten, BTV interim executive director. “His lens into the startup world, including his own first-hand experience going through the Techstars Accelerator, will prove invaluable in creating the kind of experience we hope to deliver through the BTV Accelerator.”

Over the years, Jackovin’s companies have produced millions in revenue and have serviced thousands of customers. In 2014, he took a company through Techstars, one of the most prominent and successful technology accelerators in the world. Since then, Jackovin has consulted for many organizations in the world of Fintech and InsurTech, most recently Des Moines-based Dwolla, where he managed the Growth and Internal Services Product teams.

“The need for an agent-broker-specific accelerator at this time is clear,” said Jackovin. “To be able to help shape the first program specifically for investors and innovators building the next generation of tech solutions for insurance agencies and brokerages is truly a dream.”

Jackovin’s hiring comes as BTV’s top 20 selected broker-centric, early-stage startups prepare to descend on Des Moines on February 4. These top 20 startups will be pitching to BTV’s nine super-regional owners and partners during “Selection Series Days” at Holmes Murphy’sheadquarters.

The startups, who are based all over the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, cover an expansive amount of technology needs that serve the property and casualty (P&C), employee benefits, and clinical solutions spaces, and include:

  • Agentero, Oakland, CA
  • Briza, Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Broker Buddha, New York, NY
  • Careignition, LLC, Chicago, IL
  • ChalkBites, Inc., Davenport, IA
  • CogniSure, Warrenville, IL
  • ConsumerOptix, Dayton, OH
  • Equal Health, Detroit, MI
  • Goldfinch Health, Austin, TX
  • HazardHub, San Diego, CA
  • InsuranceMenu, Canton, MA
  • Kwema, St. Louis, MO, and Mexico City, Mexico
  • Loss Run Pro, LLC, Missoula, MT
  • MakuSafe Corp., West Des Moines, IA
  • OnRisk, Princeton, NJ
  • ProNavigator, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
  • Serious Social Media, Inc., Des Moines, IA
  • Talage, Inc., Reno, NV
  • TRUSTLAYER, INC., San Francisco, CA
  • Wunderite, Inc, Boston, MA

When the Selection Series is complete, BTV will select the top firms to take part in the first BTV Accelerator cohort. In addition to access to BTV Partners and distribution platforms, each of the selected startups will receive $50,000 in the form of a convertible note.

“This is an exciting time for the InsurTech movement, and especially for Central Iowa, as we now call home to the BTV Accelerator, the Global Insurance Accelerator, the AgriTech Accelerator, and Techstars,” said Dan Keough, Holmes Murphy chairman and CEO and BTV co-founder.

About BrokerTech Ventures (BTV)
Based in the insurance nucleus of Des Moines, Iowa, BrokerTech Ventures is the first broker-led investor group and accelerator program focused on delivering innovation to the insurance agent-broker industry. Founded in 2019, BrokerTech Ventures provides a venue for the best minds in insurance and technology to collaborate and bring to market leading-edge ideas and solutions. BrokerTech Ventures invests in the research and testing for each of the chosen startups, provides access to veteran industry mentors, and helps scale the technology to market through broker distribution channels. Learn more at www.brokertechventures.com

Wawanesa Insurance successfully implements CSIO’s My Proof of Insurance

Press Release:

(Toronto – January 20, 2020) – Wawanesa Insurance, Canada’s largest property and casualty mutual insurer, has successfully implemented CSIO’s My Proof of Insurance (MPOI). Wawanesa’s broker partners in Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia can now send electronic pink slips directly to their customers using the MPOI solution.

CSIO’s My Proof of Insurance leverages mobile wallet technology to allow consumers to securely store, display and share their eSlips without having to download a separate app or sign into a company portal. Developed by CSIO, in collaboration with brokers and insurers, My Proof of Insurance was designed to meet the evolving consumer demands for a more seamless, digital experience with their insurance providers.

In the wake of the recent regulatory approvals on electronic proof of auto insurance, Wawanesa Insurance selected My Proof of Insurance as its preferred solution. With a soft roll out, they have seen tremendous success with thousands of customers electing to receive their insurance cards electronically. By providing a simple digital experience, Wawanesa is supporting its broker partners in enhancing the broker-client relationship.

“Making life easier for people is a critical part of delivering exceptional customer service,” says Jocelyne Prefontaine, Vice President Digital & Innovation, Wawanesa Insurance. “That’s exactly why Wawanesa worked with our broker partners and the experts at CSIO to bring in My Proof of Insurance. Since we launched in October, over 100 customers a day have signed up for this new, industry-leading option. Thank you to our broker partners and everyone at CSIO for working together to improve the customer experience.”

– 30 –

About Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO)
CSIO is Canada’s industry association of property and casualty insurers, service providers and over 38,000 brokers. CSIO is committed to improving the consumer’s ease of doing business within the broker channel by overseeing the development, implementation and maintenance of technology standards and solutions such as My Proof of Insurance, eDocs, and eSignatures. In addition, CSIO operates the industry-owned mail network service, CSIOnet. CSIO maintains offices in Toronto and Montreal. For more information, visit csio.com.

About Wawanesa
The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, founded in 1896, is the largest Canadian Property and Casualty Mutual insurer with $3 billion in annual revenue and assets of more than $9 billion. Wawanesa Mutual, with executive offices in Winnipeg, is the parent company of Wawanesa General, which offers property and casualty insurance in California and Oregon; Wawanesa Life, which provides life insurance products and services throughout Canada; and Western Financial Group, which distributes personal and business insurance across Western Canada. With over 5,000 employees, Wawanesa proudly serves over two million policyholders in Canada and the United States. Wawanesa actively gives back to organizations that strengthen communities where it operates, donating well above internationally recognized benchmarks for excellence in corporate philanthropy. Learn more at wawanesa.com

Saskatchewan’s New Year’s Resolution? A New Insurance Act To Ring In The New Year

Article by Darcy Ammerman and Jordan Goodman

On January 1, 2020, The Insurance Act (“New Act”) and The Insurance Regulations (“New Regulations”) came into force in Saskatchewan, marking the first major overhaul to Saskatchewan’s insurance legislation in decades. The New Act was created to modernize the way insurance is regulated in the province and to provide enhanced protection to consumers. Order in Council 478/2019 proclaimed the first day of 2020 as the coming into force date for the majority of the New Act, with a few provisions set to be proclaimed into force at a later date. Saskatchewan’s prior insurance statute, The Saskatchewan Insurance Act, was repealed when the New Act came into force.

Highlighted below are several important changes created by the New Act. Since Alberta and Manitoba have similar insurance legislation, these changes are also compared to their relevant counterparts from the statutes in those provinces.

New Licensing Categories

The New Act creates a licensing regime for insurance intermediaries, which now includes managing general agents (“MGAs”) and third party administrators (“TPAs”). Saskatchewan is the first province/territory in Canada requiring a license to act as an MGA or TPA. In contrast, Alberta and Manitoba’s licensing regimes only require insurers and insurance agents to be licensed.

An MGA is defined in the New Act as an insurance agent that manages all or part of the business of an insurer and carries out specific activities on behalf of that insurer, including:

  • soliciting, negotiating or accepting applications for insurance from licensed insurance agents;
  • effecting and countersigning contracts of insurance;
  • accepting risks;
  • underwriting insurance contracts;
  • entering into written agency agreements with licensed insurance agents;
  • supervising and monitoring the activity of licensed insurance agents with whom it has entered into written agency agreements; and
  • undertaking any other prescribed duties or activities.

Once licensed, MGA’s have the authority to sponsor selling agents, and are obligated to perform ongoing monitoring of the persons they sponsor. Employees of an MGA that hold a valid insurance agent’s license specifying that a particular MGA is their employer can only represent that one MGA, and as such will not be issued another license to represent a different MGA, TPA, insurer or business. As well, the New Act notes that the employee’s license is automatically suspended the moment they are no longer an employee. Where such an individual ceases to be an employee of the MGA, the MGA must notify the Superintendent in writing within five days that the agent is no longer an employee, and provide the reasons why.

A TPA is defined in the New Regulations as “a business that, for compensation, carries out activities to administer a contract of insurance on behalf of an insurer, other than solely clerical activities, but does not include a business that is licensed as an insurance agent or managing general agent.”

Similar to MGAs, employees of a TPA that hold a valid insurance agent’s license will not be issued another license to represent a different TPA, MGA, insurer or business. Likewise, the employee’s license will be suspended when their employment ends, and, similar to MGAs, the TPA must notify the Superintendent.

Unfair Practices

In an effort to further protect consumers, the New Act prohibits certain conduct in the insurance market. Specifically, the New Act prohibits insurers, insurance intermediaries and adjusters from making false or misleading statements, representations or advertisements, engaging in tied selling practices, performing any unfair, misleading, deceptive, fraudulent or coercive acts or practices, and any other act or commission prohibited by regulation.

There is also a prohibition on insurance intermediaries providing gifts, payments or anything of value as a method of inducing customers to purchase insurance, except as permitted by the New Regulations.

These prohibitions on unfair practices are substantially similar to those prohibited by Alberta’s Insurance Act. The Insurance Act in Manitoba contains various provisions that prohibit similar behaviours, however, because the provisions are drafted differently, there may be some variation in how they are applied.

Fair Practices

In addition to the prohibitions noted above, the New Act outlines various fair practices that were incorporated for added consumer protection, including:

  • a requirement that insurers, insurance intermediaries and adjusters advise policyholders suffering a loss that they have the right to choose a service provider to make repairs;
  • a 10-day right of rescission in favour of the consumer in the case of life, accident and sickness or specific travel insurance, and the corresponding right to the return of premiums paid;
  • a requirement on insurers in receipt of a notice of claim to notify the claimant of the applicable limitation period; and
  • a requirement that insurers advise policyholders of the options available to them in the event a dispute occurs regarding payment of a claim or loss, or the insurer denies the insured’s claim.

Alberta’s Fair Practices Regulation is substantially similar to Saskatchewan’s fair practices regime, except that Alberta only requires the insurer to notify the insured of the dispute resolution process – not of the options available to them. Manitoba’s statute is fairly different in this regard, as it does not require insurers to advise policyholders of their right to choose the service provider that makes repairs under a claim, advise an insured of the applicable limitation period once a claim is made, nor advise the insured of the options available to them if a dispute occurs after a claim is made.

Self-Evaluative Audits

The New Act requires an insurer, at the request of the Superintendent of Insurance, to self-assess its practices to identify non-compliance, and promote compliance with, insurance legislation, guidelines and other professional standards. This process is to be conducted in accordance with the New Regulations, and a copy of the audit must be provided to the Superintendent.

Documents produced during the self-evaluative audit process are privileged, and any person or entity involved in the process cannot be compelled to give or produce evidence regarding the process in any civil or administrative proceeding. However, these protections do not apply in proceedings commenced against the insurer by the Superintendent.

Alberta’s Insurance Act and The Insurance Act in Manitoba provide substantially similar protections to those identified in the New Act. In all three provinces, there is a positive obligation to conduct the self-evaluative audit when requested by the Superintendent, but in Alberta and Manitoba such a request can also be made by their respective Ministers of Finance.

The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (“FCAA”) has published two documents to help insurers understand the new regime, and is in the process of creating two more. These publications can be accessed here.

The first FCAA publication is a guideline on where and how non-Saskatchewan insurers (extra-provincial, federal and foreign insurers) are required to keep their records. The other is an interpretation bulletin on the notice that an insurer is required to provide to an insured under section 7-25. Where a dispute arises regarding an insured’s claim, an insurer is required to provide them with written notice of the dispute resolution options that are available. The interpretation bulletin clarifies that, in respect of the references to OmbudServices in section 7-25, the insurer is only required to notify the insured of the applicable OmbudService(s) of which the insurer is a member, and which applies to the type of insurance at issue.

As of January 1, 2020, the New Act and the New Regulations are in force, creating a markedly different insurance regime in Saskatchewan. It remains to be seen whether any other provinces/territories will follow Saskatchewan’s lead to adopt similar licensing measures for MGAs and TPAs.

The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.

Source: Mondaq

Does Your E-Scooter Require Automobile Insurance?

The excerpted article was written by Article by Daniel Strigberger

During the second weekend of 2020, much of Ontario suffered from strong winds and heavy rainfall, causing havoc for motorists across the province. The last thing I wanted to do was leave my house. Especially not on an e-scooter.

On January 1, 2020, the Ontario Legislature launched a five-year pilot program with broad rules for the use of Electric Kick Scooters (e-scooters) on municipal roads. Among other things, the rules include several vehicle and safety requirements. These e-scooters must have:

  • Maximum speed capacity of 24 km/h;
  • Maximum weight of 45 kg;
  • Maximum power output of 500W;
  • Front and rear lights;
  • Two wheels with a maximum diameter of 17 inches; and
  • No pedals or breaks

Only one rider is allowed to use an e-scooter and that rider must be standing at all times. No baskets or cargo are allowed on the e-scooter.

Under the pilot program, municipalities must now pass by-laws to allow their use and determine where they can operate safely in their borders.

When I first read about this new pilot program, the insurance lawyer in me naturally wondered whether these devices would require automobile insurance when being operated on municipal roads. I think they might.

Automobile Insurance Requirements in Ontario

The pilot program is silent on automobile insurance, which could lead many people to assume that automobile insurance is not required for using e-scooters on roads. But what does the law have to say about this issue?

My analysis acknowledges that automobile insurance policies provide insurance for automobiles. There is no question that an e-scooter is not an automobile in ordinary parlance. It does not look, feel, sound, smell, or taste like an automobile. It looks more like a cool toy.

However, section 224 (1) of the Insurance Act has an expanded definition of “automobile”:

“automobile” includes,

(a) a motor vehicle required under any Act to be insured under a motor vehicle liability policy, and

(b) a vehicle prescribed by regulation to be an automobile; (“automobile”)

This means that if an Act requires a particular motor vehicle to be insured, it becomes an “automobile” for insurance purposes.

There are two issues here:

  1. Is an e-scooter a “motor vehicle” and, if so:
  2. Must an e-scooter be insured under an automobile policy when it is being driven on a municipal road?

The Insurance Act does not define “motor vehicle”. I turn next to section 1 of the Highway Traffic Act, which states as follows:

“motor vehicle” includes an automobile, a motorcycle, a motor assisted bicycle unless otherwise indicated in this Act, and any other vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power, but does not include a street car or other motor vehicle running only upon rails, a power-assisted bicycle, a motorized snow vehicle, a traction engine, a farm tractor, a self-propelled implement of husbandry or a road-building machine; [emphasis added]

Is an e-scooter propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power? I believe so. Some quick online research on e-scooters reveals that they are propelled by an electric motor, which gets its power from a rechargeable battery that is mounted to the scooter. Depending on the type and model of the scooter, the motor might power the front wheel or both wheels, thereby propelling the scooter forward.

Assuming that an e-scooter meets the definition of “motor vehicle” under the Highway Traffic Act, it would also meet the definition of “motor vehicle” under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, which adopts the HTAdefinition of “motor vehicle”.

This is where it gets interesting.

Section 2 (1) of the CAIA requires all motor vehicles that are being driven on highways (which includes municipal roads) to be insured under an automobile policy:

Compulsory automobile insurance

2 (1) Subject to the regulations, no owner or lessee of a motor vehicle shall,

(a) operate the motor vehicle; or

(b) cause or permit the motor vehicle to be operated,

on a highway unless the motor vehicle is insured under a contract of automobile insurance.

So if e-scooters are “motor vehicles” and they are being driven on municipal roads, the CAIA requires them to be insured under an automobile policy. And if the CAIA requires them to be insured under an automobile policy when driven on municipal roads, it appears that these e-scooters suddenly become “automobiles” for the purpose of Ontario’s Insurance Act.

Yikes!

What does this mean for E-scooters?

If an e-scooter is an “automobile” for insurance purposes, using these vehicles on municipal roads opens up all sorts of issues:

  1. An e-scooter would be required to be insured under an automobile policy while it is being driven on an Ontario road;
  2. The owner or lessee of an e-scooter could be charged with an offence under the CAIA if their e-scooters are being operated without insurance;
  3. If the owner or lessee of an e-scooter is injured in an automobile accident while contravening section 2 of the CAIA, they would not be allowed to sue a negligent motorist for personal injuries pursuant to section 267.6 of the Insurance Act;
  4. Where the use or operation of any e-scooter on a municipal road directly causes an impairment, the person would likely be entitled to claim accident benefits – even if the e-scooter was uninsured and even if the incident did not involve any other automobiles.

With this in mind, will automobile insurers consider insuring e-scooters under automobile policies? Will the Legislature carve out insurance requirements for e-scooters? Will I ever be able to leave the house with an e-scooter?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

 

 

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