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.


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



3 things you should always tell your travel health insurer

3 things you should always tell your travel health insurer

The excerpted article was written by LISA FELEPCHUK | Calgary Herald 

Whether your next trip has you looking forward to a special restaurant experience or an epic cycling excursion, researching and planning a vacation is usually a fun task. But once the trip is booked and before you show up at the airport to board your flight, there’s one more thing you need to do: book travel insurance. Some credit cards come with a limited amount of coverage for things like cancellations or lost luggage, but keeping yourself protected against illness and injury abroad needs to be booked separately.

We get it, travel health insurance is boring, but it is important. All it takes is one clumsy move, like tripping on the curb of the sidewalk, to wind up with a broken bone, and adding to the stress of navigating an international hospital is knowing that you’re going to have to pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars out of pocket. For some people, unexpected medical bills can mount to more than the original vacation price tag. Sometimes a lot more.

According to the Government of Canada, your Canadian health insurance won’t cover most international medical fees and even if it does, it’s often just a small fraction of the total bill. Don’t ever rely on this alone.

“In some countries, hospitals and clinics will not treat you if you do not have enough insurance or money to pay your bills,” explains the Government of Canada website, which also notes that the Canadian government is never responsible for your medical bills abroad.

Here are three things you should always talk to your travel health insurance provider when booking a policy for your upcoming vacation.

Pre-existing medical conditions

A pre-existing condition is just that: any medical condition big or small (heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, diabetes, cancer or even sleep apnea) that you have been diagnosed with by a medical practitioner. If you have a pre-existing condition, you may need to shop around to find the best rate, but many companies will still offer coverage as long as your diagnosis is considered stable before you travel.

But here’s the murky part: the definition of “stable” varies from provider to provider and the amount of time you need to be in this stability period also varies. Some providers will require you to be stable for 90 days before departure while others have shorter windows, like 60 or 30 days.

As with booking all travel health insurance, be honest and upfront with your broker before booking. If you don’t disclose a pre-existing condition, then drink a few too many margaritas and wind up in the ER with an abnormal heartbeat, chances are you’ll be paying for that doctor’s time on your own dime.

Outstanding or upcoming medical appointments

Another important piece of information to disclose to your travel insurance broker: pending medical tests and appointments. If, for example, you’re travelling to Mexico in March, but have a CT scan of your abdomen scheduled for April, any related health issues to your abdomen that arise while out of country could be void of coverage. Always be transparent and discuss upcoming medical tests that your doctor has requested with your broker.

The countries you’re planning on travelling to

Aside from your medical history, your travel insurance provider will also need to know the country or countries you’re going to visit. If the Government of Canada has issued a Travel Advisory for your destination, your provider might void your policy. Make sure to disclose all of the places you plan to travel to and be aware of all government-issued travel advisories and warnings.

Edited for ILSTV

SGI Canada reminding travellers to protect homes during deep freeze

Saskatoon / 650 CKOM

For those homeowners looking to recharge their inner batteries, thaw out and start Googling exotic vacation spots, SGI Canada is reminding them to hold on and double-check their home insurance checklists.

Western Canada’s current cold spell is an example of weather that can take a nasty, damaging toll on one’s home.

“We do see an increase in claims activity when the temperature plummets like this,” said Kurtis Reeder, the company’s senior director of personal lines underwriting.

“Two of the more prevalent claims are water escape due to water freezing in pressurized lines, and then expanding, breaking the pipes, and causing a lot of water damage in the home.

“The second one is due to fire. With the increased use of heating appliances in the cold, there is an increased risk of fire caused by the heating appliances.”

He recommended homeowners check with their insurance brokers as to the conditions their policies have for coverage when they’re away on vacation.

For example, SGI Canada’s policies say that if an owner is away for 10 days or more, they have to have someone check on their home daily, shut off the water supply to the house and drain the pipes or have a home security company monitor temperature decreases, he said.

Otherwise, the policy isn’t valid.

“Every company has similar conditions, but they could be a little bit different,” Reeder said.

Water pipes can freeze and burst if a door or window is left open over a long period, or a home’s furnace shuts down and can’t fire back up, he said.

Even for people planning shorter getaways, Reeder recommended someone checking on the home every day, picking up the mail and turning on different lights inside.

Those are deterrents to potential thefts and break-ins.

He also offered some digital advice: Avoid posting photos and travel updates on social media until the vacation is over.

“Share those pictures and your travel stories when you return and not while you’re on vacation, because it could make yourself a target for theft,” he said.

Reeder said SGI Canada’s website and social media feeds regularly post updated home and travel insurance and online security tips.


Saskatoon / 650 CKOM

Lougheed Estates has been without insurance since Dec. 31, 2019

Read more

Auto insurance in N.B. likely to see double-digit increases in 2020

The excerpted article was written BY

Car insurance rates are likely to see a hike this year, according to experts.

New Brunswick’s consumer advocate for insurance says rate percentage increases could jump by double digits, with several applications before the province’s insurance board.

“Now we have all those fancy sensors and all those things, so a regular or a small fender bender or accident that we used to have a couple of years ago, now the amount to repair accidents, it costs much more than it used to,” says advocate Michèle Pelletier. “I think in 2020, it’s going to be about the same thing as it was in 2019; insurers are still filing for substantial increases, two-digit increases.”

A hearing held by the New Brunswick Insurance Board started Tuesday in Fredericton, following an application from Echelon General Insurance Company, seeking a 30 per cent rate increase for private passenger vehicles. Pelletier says the request has since been modified, and the company is now asking for a 51 per cent increase. She says Echelon is a mid-market company, however, for consumers who have been involved in multiple accidents or people with speeding tickets.

Sonnet Insurance Company, which has a hearing in Saint John in February, is seeking a 50 per cent increase, according to the board’s website. There are notices for other applications seeking increases, as well.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says there’s been a gap between claims and premiums.

“From 2014 to 2018, claims cost have increased over that period 22 per cent. Now if we look at premiums from 2013 to 2018, the average written premium increased 11.5 per cent,” says Amanda Dean, the Atlantic region’s vice-president for IBC.

Drivers who spoke to Global News in Moncton Tuesday didn’t take the news too well.

“I believe that the increases are a little exuberant,” says Gus Dublin. “What we do pay for insurance is probably already high enough.”

“Car insurance is crazy these days,” says Bruno Gallant.

Charline Bourque always shops around to find the best rate, but still says “(it’s) ridiculous because I find (rates) are quite high already.”

Meanwhile, Pelletier says New Brunswick still has one of the lowest premiums in the country.

Dean says insurance companies across the country are seeing “claims pressures building,” although to varying extents, but notes that increases in New Brunswick are a result of claims filed in New Brunswick


Appeal court to hear multi-million-dollar insurance case this week

The excerpted article was written by ALEX MACPHERSON, SASKATOON StarPhoenix

Saskatchewan’s highest court will decide whether investors can put unlimited funds into insurance policies with a guaranteed rate of return.

Saskatchewan’s highest court is set to spend the next three days hearing a case that could have lasting implications for Canada’s insurance industry, hundreds of policyholders and the provincial government.

The case, which will be heard at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in Regina Wednesday, will test whether investors can put any amount of money into certain life insurance policies with a guaranteed rate of return, as well as the effects of the province’s decision to intervene in a live court case.

The plaintiffs — investors who own the 20-plus-year-old policies — want the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan to overturn a lower court’s ruling that says they cannot use the policies for “unlimited stand-alone investment opportunities.”

While the investors have argued the policies do not have a cap on premiums and can be used for exactly that, three of the country’s largest insurers contend the polices were never intended to be used that way and, if they are, it could bankrupt them.

The insurance companies, meanwhile, are asking the court to reverse the same justice’s finding that new provincial regulations, introduced during the original trial to close the loophole used by the investors, cannot be applied retroactively.

The provincial government’s decision to make the changes by way of a three-page order that mentions neither the trial nor the Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.’s (Manulife) lobbying efforts has been criticized as not transparent and potentially unfair.

Saskatchewan Attorney General Don Morgan later acknowledged the province could have been more transparent, but emphasized the decision to protect the companies and, by extension, the people they insure was the correct one.

The case is set to be heard by a three-judge panel consisting of justices Brian Barrington-Foote, Neal Caldwell and Jerome Tholl.

The appeal is scheduled to begin three weeks after the court refused the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association’s (CLHIA) application for intervener status — which, if granted, would have allowed it to make arguments.

The insurance companies involved in the case — Manulife, BMO Life Assurance Co. and Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc., who are collectively known as the respondents — are all CLHIA members.

In a Dec. 23 chambers decision, the same three-judge panel acknowledged the association has a “clear interest” in the proceedings, but declined to grant it intervener status in a private matter involving experienced litigants.

“We are not persuaded by the materials or argument in this application that CLHIA would add anything meaningful to the respondents’ arguments, as opposed to simply adding to the chorus,” the justices wrote in the decision.

CLHIA spokesman Kevin Dorse declined to comment on the grounds the case is before the courts.

Given how much is at stake in the case, it is expected the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s decision in the matter will result in a request for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada — the country’s highest judicial authority.

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