CAA Saskatchewan passes along safety tips for the holidays

CAA Saskatchewan passes along safety tips for the holidays

News Release:

Whether you’re staying home or going away for the holiday season, CAA Saskatchewan wants residents to remember some safety tips.

Home for the Holidays Safety Tips: 

  • Ensure artificial Christmas trees are “fire resistant” and that live trees are always fresh and moist. Set up live and artificial trees away from fireplaces, heaters, and other heat sources.
  • Inspect holiday lights for broken, frayed or loose connections and throw out damaged sets. Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house. Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into ground fault circuit interrupters.
  • Keep decorations away from lights, candles, heaters, fireplaces, etc. Place candles in non-combustible containers and never leave burning candles unattended.
  • As you buy your gifts, it’s a safe idea to keep packaging of high-priced items out of sight. Don’t give burglars a shopping list of what they might find in your home. Keep watch for any suspicious behaviour in your neighbourhood and report any questionable observations to the proper authorities.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children. Do not leave cooking or baking unattended.
  • Have the chimney and furnace professionally cleaned and inspected. Ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working.

Away from Home for the Holidays Safety Tips:

  • Suspend newspaper delivery. Arrange for someone to pick up your mail or contact the service to store it until your return.
  • Show discretion on social media, never letting folks know you are away from home.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are locked. For sliding doors, use specially designed bars or locks to prevent the door from being lifted out of its track.
  • Use timers for lights and possibly the TV or radio.
  • Turn off your water supply or have someone enter the home and check on things daily to ensure the pipes are not frozen. (This is a requirement of most insurance policies during the winter months).
  • Ask a neighbour to shovel snow around your driveway and sidewalks. Encourage neighbours to use your driveway so it looks like someone is coming and going on a regular basis.
  • Leave blinds or curtains in normal position – don’t close them completely.
  • Consider installing security bars on basement windows especially those shielded from view or in the back of the house.
  • Close and lock the garage door. Keep your vehicle locked, especially if it has an electric garage door opener.  If you notice signs of forced entry when you return home, do not go inside. Call the police from a neighbour’s home.
  • Make sure your home insurance is up to date and that it will provide coverage for your belongings. Advise your insurance broker of any changes required for major purchases or renovations.

Jetting away for the Holidays Safety Tips:

  • Check your booked flights frequently. Flight cancellations and delays are likely during peak periods. Also check your flight status prior to driving to the airport.
  • Know your airline’s cancellation policy. Some airlines may be waiving fees and issuing changes due to possible rebooking policies.
  • Monitor weather conditions – both for the departure and destination cities.
  • Don’t forget your travel insurance.
  • Make sure your passport is up to date and is valid for time required by the country or countries visited.  Make photocopies of your passport, credit cards, etc. and leave a copy at home with family or friends and keep a photocopy with you along with the originals stored in a separate location.
  • Pack any medications in their original containers and store in your carry-on bags.
  • Weigh your packed luggage to avoid additional airline charges.
  • Booked with CAA Travel? Stay connected with your local CAA Travel consultant for assistance.
  • Know your Air Passenger Rights. Learn more at

Road Trip Holiday Safety Tips:

  • Check weather and road conditions before you travel. Allow extra time to reach your destination safely. Be prepared to reduce your speed and drive with caution.
  • Remember, slow to 60 km/h on Saskatchewan highways for working tow truck operators and emergency responders.
  • Check your vehicle’s battery. Extreme weather weakens the battery and may require charging.
  • Make sure the block heater cord is not frayed. Always plug in at minus 15 degrees Celsius.
  • Remove ice and snow from your vehicle for clear visibility.
  • Pack a roadside kit including extra outdoor clothing, footwear, a mobile phone with charger (for emergency use only or for CAA Roadside Assistance), non-perishable food, drinking water, a shovel, window ice scraper and brush, plus booster cables. Roadside assistance kits are available at all CAA Stores or online.
  • Keep a full tank or at minimum a half tank of fuel. This helps reduce moisture in the gas tank plus it adds weight to your vehicle.
  • Check the tire pressure regularly. The right pressure is important for traction and fuel efficiency. CAA recommends a good set of winter tires as the rubber compound in winter tires allows for better traction and control.

Brown & Brown, Inc. Enters into Agreement to Acquire Special Risk Insurance Managers, Ltd.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — J. Scott Penny, Chief Acquisitions Officer of Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE:BRO), and Mark Woodall and Tom Willie, the principals of Special Risk Insurance Managers, Ltd. (“Special Risk”), today announced that Brown & Brown Programs (CA), Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Special Risk.  The transaction is expected to close effective January 1, 2020, subject to certain closing conditions.

Founded in 1991, Special Risk has grown to a preeminent player in the MGA industry in Canada, recognized as MGA of the Year in 2018.  The acquisition of Special Risk is a strategic step forward for Brown & Brown in establishing a presence in the Canadian insurance brokerage market.  Special Risk will operate as a part of Brown & Brown National Programs, which, under the leadership of Chris Walker, consists of over sixty specialty niche programs and collectively represents over $3 billion in written premium.  Special Risk will become a distinct operating division in the National Programs Division alongside specialist operations such as Arrowhead General Insurance Agency and Bellingham Underwriters.  Mark Woodall will continue to lead the Special Risk team and will be part of the leadership team of the National Programs Division, reporting to Chris Walker.  Tom Willie will continue to the lead the underwriting team of Special Risk.

Chris Walker, President of Brown & Brown National Programs stated, “We are delighted to bring Mark, Tom and their exceptional team of professionals to our operation. We are excited about the opportunities in Canada and believe with Special Risk we now have the talent, reputation and platform to succeed.”

Mark Woodall stated, “I see this partnership as an exceptional marketing advantage going forward for Special Risk.  Brown & Brown will bring us new major insurer opportunities, enhanced Lloyd’s relationships and new and innovative products to offer our retail broker network.  We are very excited about our future within Brown & Brown National Programs.”

Brown & Brown, Inc. is a leading insurance brokerage firm, providing risk management solutions to individuals and businesses. With Brown & Brown’s 80 years of proven success and thousands of teammates, we offer knowledge you can trust and strive to deliver superior customer service.  For more information, please visit

This press release may contain certain statements relating to future results which are forward-looking statements, including those associated with this acquisition. These statements are not historical facts, but instead represent only Brown & Brown’s current belief regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of Brown & Brown’s control. It is possible that Brown & Brown’s actual results and financial condition may differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results and financial condition indicated in these forward-looking statements. Further information concerning Brown & Brown and its business, including factors that potentially could materially affect Brown & Brown’s financial results and condition, as well as its other achievements, is contained in Brown & Brown’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such factors include those factors relevant to Brown & Brown’s consummation and integration of the announced acquisition, including any matters analyzed in the due diligence process, and material adverse changes in the business and financial condition of the seller, the buyer, or both, and their respective customers. All forward-looking statements made herein are made only as of the date of this release, and Brown & Brown does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or correct any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that subsequently occur or of which Brown & Brown hereafter becomes aware.

R. Andrew Watts
Chief Financial Officer
(386) 239-5770

Canada: Latest acquisition, bringing the Landry & Mellow group into the Nicol family

December 6, 2019, OWEN SOUND, ON

Nicol Insurance Inc., with offices in Owen Sound, Wiarton, Port Elgin, Kincardine and Flesherton are pleased to announce that they have purchased Landry Mellow Insurance of Orangeville.

Tim Nicol, CEO Nicol Insurance Inc., said, “We’re very excited to bring the Landry & Mellow group into the Nicol family. Their history of building strong customer relationships and their commitment to the surrounding Orangeville communities made Landry & Mellow a natural fit for us. With this acquisition, Nicol Insurance moves closer to our vision of being an industry leader as both a community-minded and client-centric business.”

While steps to align the internal systems and operations will begin immediately, it will not affect current clients of Landry Mellow as it will continue to operate under the Landry Mellow name until it can be seamlessly merged into the Nicol Insurance brand.

Todd Landry of Landry Mellow said, “We are thrilled for what this means for our staff and clients.  With a strong focus on customer service, Nicol Insurance shares many of the same core values that have helped make Landry Mellow Insurance a successful small-town brokerage for the last 40 years. Nicol Insurance will also provide us with more products and expertise to help take the brokerage into the future.”

At this time, there are no plans to make any staffing changes as the merging of the two companies will result in very little overlap of responsibilities.

About Nicol Insurance Inc.

Since 1950, Nicol Insurance, a registered licensed insurance broker with the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario, has been helping clients identify their insurance needs and providing the best value in personal and commercial insurance. Today, with offices in Owen Sound, Wiarton, Port Elgin, Kincardine and Flesherton, Nicol Insurance is one of the largest insurance brokers in Grey and Bruce counties.

About Landry Mellow Insurance

Formed in the early ‘80s and incorporated in 1983. Landry Mellow Insurance has strong ties to the Orangeville community and surrounding areas with a solid reputation for having professional, knowledgeable insurance brokers and a reputation that has been earned with over 30 years of solid and reliable service.

Condo Insurance Premiums Are Spiking In Canada

The excerpted article was written by By Daniel Tencer | Huffington Post

TORONTO ― The cost of insuring a condo building is rising rapidly in Canada, and that could be bad news for owners’ resale values.

Faced with increased climate-related disasters and rising reconstruction costs, some insurers are backing out of the condo market, and that in turn is causing premiums for condo building insurance to spike.

Commercial insurance policies for condo buildings as a whole shouldn’t be confused with insurance policies for condo owners ― although those premiums are also on the rise.

British Columbia condo buildings are facing insurance premium hikes of between 50 per cent and 300 per cent, Condominium Homeowners Association executive director Tony Gioventu recently said.

On top of that, “deductibles are going from the conventional $10,000 or $25,000 to $100,000, $250,000 or $500,000,” Gioventu said in a Global News article.

One core reason is an increase in unexpected weather-related events that have caused insurance payouts to spike, explained Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“There are more and more severe weather events that are resulting in more insured losses, things from wildfires to flooding,” he told HuffPost Canada.

He noted that B.C. has experienced large wildfires, while the 2016 fire in Fort McMurray, Alta., was a “record-breaking event.” The Ottawa region has seen two floods and two tornadoes in the past two years.

Insurance payouts for severe weather jumped to between $1 billion and $2 billion in recent years, from around the $400-million range just five years ago, Karageorgos added.

The result is that some insurers are discontinuing condo coverage, meaning the remaining insurers can charge higher premiums ― which they are using to cover not only weather events but also increased repair costs.

A shortage of skilled labourers across the country is pushing up the cost of reconstruction projects. Materials costs are also rising, further raising the payouts insurers are on the hook for.

In one extreme example, a condo complex in Ottawa recently found its insurance premiums rising by 730 per cent because of wind and fire damage.

“Some people are suicidal,” condo board president Marie Weerasooriya-Epps told CBC News. “Some people are headed for nervous breakdowns.”

‘A downward spiral’

While not every case is as extreme, rising insurance costs can take a bite out of property values. In general, the rule is that condo values are the inverse of monthly fees ― the higher the fee, the lower the resale value.

And the worst-case scenario could indeed be bad. In a recent book, author Randy Lippert warned that condo corporations in Toronto and New York City are at risk of going bankrupt over rapidly rising costs. Lippert noted that condo fees have been rising faster than homebuyers’ incomes for years.

Because condo developers often promise unrealistically low condo fees when they launch projects, buyers often find themselves facing higher costs than they’d expected, and will sometimes allow buildings to fall into disrepair. That in turn increases costs in the long run, becoming a downward spiral for those buildings.

“I think there will be a number of condos where those fees will become unsustainable and people will want to get out, and there’s a point at which it (all) becomes unsustainable,” Lippert told HuffPost Canada earlier this year.

However, not all condo buildings are in poor financial shape, and buyers can still find reliable buildings to buy condos in, Lippert added.


Blue Cross Canassurance Forms a National Alliance With Blue Cross Life


Blue Cross Canassurance

MONTREAL, Dec. 5, 2019 /CNW/ – The Canassurance Hospital Service Association (Blue Cross® Canassurance) and Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada will enter into a Canada-wide alliance as of January 2, 2020. Blue Cross Canassurance will become a shareholder of Blue Cross Life, in alignment with the other members of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans.

“Blue Cross Canassurance is very pleased to join Blue Cross Life together with the other Blue Cross member plans. This alliance will contribute to strengthening the collaboration between the various Blue Cross plans across Canada, thus reinforcing our ability to provide excellent products and services to our customers and business partners,” stated Sylvain Charbonneau, President and CEO of Blue Cross Canassurance.

The Blue Cross plans always favored working collaboratively to optimize their individual and shared strengths in order to offer customers solutions that support improved health and wellness. This important agreement will enable Blue Cross Canassurance to ensure that it meets the evolving needs of its customers.

“This alliance marks an important step in achieving our strategy of operating on a truly national level; it strengthens our business while improving our capacity to work with the Blue Cross plans throughout Canada,” stated Marie-Josée Martin, President and CEO of Blue Cross Life.

As this alliance is subject to approval by regulatory authorities, a submission has been filed with Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

About Blue Cross Canassurance

The Canassurance Hospital Service Association (Blue Cross Canassurance) contributed to introducing health and travel insurance to Quebec and Ontario. Founded over 75 years ago, the organization is built on solid foundation of excellence and continues to be the reference standard for individual insurance and assistance, thanks to services that continually adapt to the changing needs of its clients. It operates under the names Québec Blue Cross® and Ontario Blue Cross® and provides assistance through its subsidiary CanAssistance Inc.

About Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada

Blue Cross Life is a federally-licensed company with operations located in several provinces. The Company is owned by four shareholders, operating as Alberta Blue Cross, Saskatchewan Blue Cross, Manitoba Blue Cross, Medavie Blue Cross. It specializes in life and living benefits insurance to supplement the portfolio of health and dental products distributed by its shareholder Blue Cross plans.

RBC profit dips on weaker showing in capital markets, insurance units

The Globe and Mail

Royal Bank of Canada’s profit slipped 1 per cent lower in the fiscal fourth quarter, hobbled by weak returns from capital markets and insurance.

Canada’s largest bank by assets also reported a spike in provisions for credit losses, or the money banks set aside to cover bad loans, to $499-million. Provisions increased 41 per cent from a year earlier, when they were unusually low, rising in each of the bank’s three largest divisions.

RBC said it earned $3.21-billion, or $2.18 per share, compared with $3.25-billion, or $2.20 a share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Adjusted to exclude certain items, RBC said it earned $2.22 per share. On average, analysts had expected adjusted earnings of $2.28 a share, according to Refinitiv.

For the full fiscal year that ended Oct. 31, RBC’s profit was $12.87-billion, up 4 per cent from a year earlier, and earnings per share improved 5 per cent to $8.75.

“Against a challenging macroeconomic environment, we delivered solid results in 2019,” said Dave McKay, RBC’s chief executive officer, in a news release.

The bank held its quarterly dividend steady at $1.05 per share.

Profit from RBC’s core personal and commercial banking division increased 5 per cent to $1.62-billion, as Canadian loans and deposits grew by 6 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. And wealth-management profit rose 32 per cent to $729-million, though most of the gain came from a sale that spun off the private-debt business of BlueBay Asset Management, worth $134-million after tax.

But capital-markets profit fell 12 per cent to $584-million year over year, due to lower investment-banking fees and higher provisions for loan losses. And in the insurance division, profit dropped 11 per cent to $282-million.

A revamp of the bank’s troubled investor- and treasury-services business incurred severance pay that dragged the division’s profit down 71 per cent from a year earlier, to $45-million.

On Wednesday, RBC also announced it has appointed telecommunications and media executive Maryann Turcke to its board of directors, starting in January. Ms. Turcke is chief operating officer of the National Football League and previously spent 12 years BCE Inc., including a stint as president of Bell Media.

Source: The Globe and Mail

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