Long days, hot nights make for riskier summer business

Long days, hot nights make for riskier summer business

Don’t get caught with your shorts down is the message that TruShield Insurance is sending to small business owners, as one out of three Canadian entrepreneurs heads into the busy summer season without insurance coverage.

“Long days and hot nights often make for riskier summer business,” says Ilda Dinis, Head of Customer Innovation & Experience at TruShield Insurance. “Whether it’s a slip and fall on the patio or a power outage that spoils thousands of dollars’ worth of inventory, just one incident can lead to liability issues or significant financial loss.”

Yet, many entrepreneurs feel their operation is not big enough to need coverage, and others believe they’re sufficiently protected by their personal insurance.

“Small business owners are starved for time. Insurance is certainly not top of mind as they ramp up to take advantage of the summer rush,” adds Dinis. “However, seasonal businesses need the same risk coverage as year-round operations.”

From an accident to theft, a thriving business can go belly-up in an instant

This year, TruShield Insurance is diving deeper into some of Canada’s beloved summer industries to help entrepreneurs identify common risks and protect what they’ve worked so hard to build.

  • Patio season: Restaurants and cafes can enjoy revenue increases just by expanding their footprint to include an outdoor space. But if it rains, or someone drops food or an item on the ground, a customer could slip and fall. If they’re injured on your property, you could be facing a costly claim – it might even be enough to shut down your business completely.
  • For the love of ice cream: As temperatures rise, lineups for the cold treat get longer. But heat and humidity can cause power outages due to equipment overheating, which could leave those beloved double-scoops melting into a warm, sticky mess – and shop owners to cover the cost of equipment repair, along with the loss of product and sales.
  • Calm before the storm: When summertime arrives, farmer’s markets pop up around the country. From bakers, butchers, cheese and beverage manufacturers to florists and hobby craft enthusiasts, any one of these small businesses can be sidelined if unexpected inclement weather hits. A strong gust of wind or torrential downpour can easily blow over tents, resulting in damage to business property, or even an injury to a member of the community.
  • Beware of Bridezilla: For most wedding planners, the allure of everlasting love is what drives their business year after year. And, while a well-executed summer wedding has all the ingredients to make those dreams come true, one misstep like booking a vendor on the wrong day, or at the wrong time, can turn a blushing bride into a bridezilla. More importantly, it can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
  • The grass isn’t always greener: When the warmer months roll around, many homeowners come down with a serious case of lawn envy. Trusting a landscaper to bring their perfectly manicured garden back to life is a no-brainer and many landscaping companies will enjoy a big spike in business. But with a thriving black market for stolen equipment, landscapers and gardeners are at risk of losing more than just their hedge trimmers. In fact, replacing costly equipment could put them out of business altogether.

“A small loss can have a big impact on your business,” says Dinis.

“We want to make sure this summer’s entrepreneurs consider the risks involved in running a small business, and that they have insurance to protect them when they need it most.”

To learn more about TruShield Insurance and the solutions they can provide, check out the Insurance 101 section at www.trushieldinsurance.ca.

ABOUT TRUSHIELD INSURANCE

We are 100% Canadian and wholly owned by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited.

As the first direct-to-consumer small business insurance provider in Canada, we are dedicated to educating Canadian business owners on the risks of running their business through industry-leading expertise, and serving them through affordable and flexible insurance solutions.

TruShield Insurance and TruShield Insurance logo are trademarks of Northbridge Financial Corporation, licensed by Northbridge General Insurance Corporation (insurer of TruShield Insurance policies).

SOURCE TruShield Insurance

Alavida Warns of Suicide Rates on the Rise in Canada

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — With the recent suicides of celebrities like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the national conversation around suicide, alcohol abuse, and mental health is more prevalent than ever. High-profile cases such as these highlight just how prevalent this issue is — an astonishing 14.7% of Canadians have thought about suicide and 3.5% have attempted suicide in their lifetime.
It also shows that mental health problems do not discriminate, no matter how successful or financially secure someone is. In fact, 4 million Canadians are living with either a mood or anxiety disorder. With only half of Canadians who experience a major depressive episode receiving adequate care, urgent action is necessary to address this crisis.

Alcohol and Depression

A history of mental illness or addiction is the single most important risk factor for suicide: More than 90% of people who commit suicide have a mental illness or addictive disorder according to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Additionally, depression is the most common mental illness among those who die from suicide, with approximately 60% suffering from the condition.

Alcohol dependence often results in clinical depression, and the rate of suicide among people who are dependent on alcohol is six times that of the general population.

Men are two times more likely to binge drink than women. As well, men are both more likely to experience alcohol dependence and are three times more likely to die by suicide than women, but at the same time suicide rates amongst women are increasing faster than men. In Canada, suicide rates have gone up 15% amongst women between 2011 and 2015 and 12% amongst men during that same period.

“Depression falls along a spectrum of severity and is marked by many risk factors and symptoms. It’s not something you feel for a day. It’s a low mood on a daily basis for an extended period of time and gives rise to physical, mental, and social issues if not addressed properly,” explains Lindsay Killam, Clinical Program Director at Alavida.

“Alcohol use is a risk factor for depression. When individuals over consume alcohol for a length of time their brain chemistry changes. Over time, alcohol use becomes more automatic and can feel out of control. The changes in the brain can be a risk for depression especially for those who are genetically predisposed. The lack of control can also lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.”

But according to Killam there is hope for problem drinkers. “Evidence-based practice indicates that there is a combination of strategies that we can employ to help break the cycle of problem drinking and depression. Medication can be used to address the reward system in the brain that reinforces alcohol consumption. When combined with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, individuals can learn better coping skills that improve overall health and wellbeing. Working with a collaborative care team, individuals experiencing co-occurring disorders can get comprehensive medical and therapeutic treatment that offers best results for mental health.”

And Canadian companies are also beginning to see the value of offering online mental-health care to their employees. A 2015 study found that problem drinking accounted for $7.1 billion in lost productivity – a clear sign that online alcohol counselling not only allows people to get treatment discreetly but is also good for business.

About Alavida

Alavida is the leading online healthcare solution for problem drinking. At Alavida, we combine medication and therapy with the latest technology to personalize treatment and allow clients to privately access their care team from anywhere. Clients set their own goals, and see life-changing results: 87.5% reported feeling more in control of their drinking and 82.5% significantly improved their ability to stop drinking. Available in North America since 2016, Alavida currently has offices in Canada and the USA. More information about Alavida and how treatment works can be found at try.alavida.co/press/

‘Looked at every aspect:’ Truck driver criminally charged in Broncos bus crash

By Dean Bennett

THE CANADIAN PRESS

The driver of a transport truck faces 29 criminal charges in a fatal collision that killed 16 people, including 10 players, with the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team.

Thirteen other players were injured.

RCMP say Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 29, is accused of dangerous driving causing death as well as causing bodily injury.

He was arrested Friday morning and was being held in custody pending a court appearance in Saskatchewan next week.

“Mr. Sidhu was arrested without incident at his Calgary residence,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki told a news conference Friday in Regina.

Sidhu was charged exactly three months after the crash at a rural Saskatchewan intersection in the late afternoon of April 6.

The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask., when their bus and a semi-trailer carrying peat moss collided.

The truck driver was not hurt. He was taken into custody after the crash, but was released the same night.

RCMP said they will not release any details of the investigation or what they believe happened. The only thing the Mounties have said to this point is that the truck was in the intersection when the collision occurred.

In April, police said they had recovered driver log books along with engine control modules that had been sent to California for further analysis.

RCMP Supt. Derek Williams said their probe was exhaustive and included 60 core investigators combing through records, interviewing five dozen witnesses and using 3D technology to determine what happened.

“In order to lay these charges, we require evidence the motor vehicle was being operated in a manner that is dangerous to the public,” said Williams.

“We’ve looked at every aspect of the collision, including speed of the vehicles, point of impact, position of the vehicles, impairment, road and weather conditions and witness evidence.

“Every piece of information was carefully examined.”

Each of the 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. The 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm could garner 10 years each.

Tom Straschnitzki, whose son Ryan was paralyzed from the chest down, said he was relieved charges were laid.

“It’s finally come to charges being laid, so we are very happy about that because we don’t want that to be ignored at all,” Straschnitzki told The Canadian Press.

“It should put a little closure to the first step and the second step is … let’s see what the courts do and find out what exactly happened.

“I think that’s what people want to know. What exactly happened? How it did happen and why it happened.”

Straschnitzki said he and his wife, Michelle, hadn’t thought much about charges in the three months since the crash.

“We were just too focused on Ryan and just had the faith in the RCMP that they did a lot of hard work to get it done. I guess we’ll just wait and see in the courts.”

Sukhmander Singh, owner of the Calgary-based trucking company that employed Sidhu, said in April that the driver was going to the doctor and receiving counselling.

Singh said he basically went out of business after the crash because Alberta Transportation ordered his company, Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd., to keep its only other truck off the road.

On Friday, Transportation Minister Brian Mason said ways to improve trucking safety could be announced within two weeks and will include qualification and training of drivers of large vehicles, how to test drivers in all licence categories and how better to regulate the trucking industry.

He also said results of a review of intersection safety on Alberta’s highways should be available by the end of the summer.

Saskatchewan’s Crown insurance company said in an internal memo sent to driving instructors after the crash in April that a mandatory training plan should be in place by next year.

The memo from Saskatchewan Government Insurance said details were still being worked out, but the curriculum was to include at least 70 hours of training in the classroom, yard and behind the wheel.

The tragedy sparked an outpouring of emotion across Canada with offers of money and other support for the victims and families involved. A GoFundMe campaign raised just over $15 million for the survivors and the families of those who died.

The Humboldt Broncos released a statement Friday saying the organization has faith in the justice system and will be watching as the court process unfolds.

“Our primary focus continues to be supporting the survivors, families and others that were directly impacted by the tragedy on April 6th,” the team said. “We will have no further comment on the investigation or the resulting charges until the process has concluded.”

_ With files from Bill Graveland in Calgary and Samantha Maciag in Regina

Metro Vancouver casinos gang destinations for money laundering

VANCOUVER _ Money-laundering operations in casinos have been tied to British Columbia’s opioid overdose crisis and the real-estate market, the attorney general said Wednesday as he released an independent report detailing how organized crime groups used the gaming industry to distribute its profits.

David Eby said the report highlights disturbing issues related to international gangsters discovering Vancouver-area casinos as destinations to launder illegal drug money and then invest it in real estate.

“The fact that we played not just a local role, but an international role in this should be troubling to everybody,” he said.

Eby said the problem surfaced in 2011, but the former Liberal government failed to address “serious crime with serious consequences.”

“It has to stop,” Eby told a news conference. “We can’t let organized crime get ahead of us.”

Eby tasked former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German to conduct a review and make recommendations last September.

German’s report, “Dirty Money,” said B.C.’s gaming industry and the anti-money laundering system was not prepared for the onslaught of illegal cash flowing through the casinos and they failed collectively.

He estimated more than $100 million was funnelled through casinos as part of a scheme dubbed the “Vancouver model.”

German said the model is linked to Chinese crime organizations that would loan money from their proceeds, usually drugs, to borrowers who would gamble at B.C. casinos. The gambler would then receive Canadian dollars from the proceeds to repay the criminal groups.

“The ‘genius’ of the scheme is the ability to achieve two objectives and be paid for, both in the same transaction,” the report says. “The lender is both servicing a drug trafficking organization by laundering its money, and the Chinese gambler by providing him or her with Canadian cash.”

Much of the laundered money ended up being invested in Vancouver-area real estate, German said.

“Why did this occur? Because it could,” he told the news conference.

German’s report says the RCMP viewed real estate as a hiding place for illegal money.

“It has been said that ‘everything in B.C. comes back to real estate,’ “the report says. “It has also been suggested that you can see a ‘rat move through all of it,’ meaning that each component of the industry is vulnerable to criminal actors who tend to operate in more than one discrete area of real estate sales, mortgages, insurance, and so forth.”

German said the amount of suspicious money entering casinos since a high point in 2015 has been greatly reduced due to police and industry actions, but the prevention measures must continue to ensure the problem does not resurface.

He warned organized crime will move on to other sectors of the economy, including luxury vehicles and horse racing.

“We need a strong provincial regulator, which is not currently the situation,” German said.

The report makes 48 recommendations, including the establishment of a gaming regulator and a police unit that specializes in criminal and regulatory investigations in the industry.

Eby said the government accepts all the recommendations.

“We will be moving as quickly as possible to slam the door shut on dirty money,” he said.

He said the former Liberal government turned a blind eye to money laundering in B.C. casinos for years.

“Nobody said No to taking this money and that is inexcusable.”

Liberal jobs critic Jas Johal said he expected the report to include announcements of arrests and crackdowns on organized crime.

Billions of dollars have been invested in B.C.’s real estate market in the last few years so “$100 million is a drop the bucket,” he said in an interview.

Johal said German’s recommendations will strengthen the system, and the Liberal government was moving towards making improvements before the last provincial election in May 2017.

Eby launched an investigation after the government’s gaming enforcement branch showed him surveillance video of gamblers walking into casinos with suitcases and a hockey bag full of $20 bills.

The BC Lottery Corp., which operates casinos, said the report is an important road map for multiple organizations involved in fighting money laundering in the province.

“We are poised to implement the direction set out by Attorney General David Eby to keep dirty money out of casinos alongside our industry, government and law enforcement partners,” corporation president Jim Lightbody said in a news release.

By Dirk Meissner in Victoria.

Economical submits demutualization conversion plan for regulatory review

WATERLOO, ON, June 26, 2018Economical Insurance today announced that the company’s demutualization conversion plan,  a detailed document that outlines how Economical intends to convert from a mutual company to a widely-held company with common shares, has been submitted by Economical to its principal regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

The conversion plan contains the agreed-upon method of allocating financial benefits resulting from demutualization, opinions from actuarial and financial experts, and the detailed legal particulars to effect demutualization.

As Economical previously announced, the agreement on allocating financial benefits was reached by court-appointed committees representing eligible mutual policyholders and eligible non-mutual policyholders, supported by their counsel and inputs from a group of experts at top consulting, financial, and actuarial firms. The original deadline for submitting the conversion plan was extended by OSFI earlier this year to allow more time to complete the plan and the professional opinions that are required to accompany the submission.

“The conversion plan is a key piece of our demutualization, and its submission to our principal regulator meets an important deadline and maintains our momentum on the path to becoming a public company,” said John Bowey, Board Chair of Economical. “We are gratified by the effort, creativity, and commitment that has gone into achieving this significant milestone. Now, we remain focused on the considerable work ahead that will be required to complete the demutualization process and a successful initial public offering.”

Next steps: regulator reviews, eligible policyholder votes, and federal minister approval

OSFI will conduct a review of Economical’s submission, which will be  supplemented by other information required by the demutualization regulations and updated financial information, when available.  During this review  the details of the conversion plan will remain confidential.

There is no specific deadline governing this next phase of regulatory review. When approval is granted, Economical expects to be authorized to call the second special meeting on demutualization, where eligible mutual policyholders will decide whether the demutualization process will continue.

A detailed information package will be mailed to eligible mutual policyholders in advance of the second special meeting. If that vote is successful, then all eligible policyholders will be invited to convene at a third special meeting to vote together on acceptance of the conversion plan and proceeding with demutualization.

A successful outcome from both policyholder votes would put Economical in a position to apply to the federal Minister of Finance for a final approval to demutualize. As that process continues, Economical will actively monitor market conditions that may impact the timing and outcome of the initial public offering which would follow demutualization.

Foundation for the future

Economical is concurrently pursuing significant organizational changes that will support a successful initial public offering and a future as a strong, independent, public company. These strategic investments are designed to drive profitable growth, improve operational efficiency, and foster innovation, while continuing to develop the infrastructure required for life as a public company. They include the launch of a multi-channel strategy through Sonnet, the roll-out of the new broker offering VyneTM, the acquisition of Petline, and an updated commercial lines strategy and structure. When taken together, these actions provide the roadmap for strong performance to make Economical an industry leader with a long and bright future.

About Economical Insurance

Founded in 1871, Economical is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with more than $2.2 billion in annualized premium volume and more than $5.4 billion in assets as at March 31, 2018. Headquartered in Waterloo, ON, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Sonnet, Petsecure, Economical Financial, and Family Insurance Solutions.

For further information, contact:

Sarah Stevens
Manager, Public and Media Relations
Economical Insurance
(T) 877.859.4950 ext. 54042

Insurers to rely on acquisitions and partnerships to transform business

Facing sluggish industry growth and agile new competition, insurance executives are actively pursuing acquisitions and partnerships to transform and grow their businesses, according to a new report from KPMG International, Accelerated evolution – M&A, transformation and innovation in the insurance industry. In fact, 80 percent of insurance executives surveyed for the report expect to seek one to three acquisition targets or partnership opportunities over the next three years.

The majority of insurers are intending to make acquisitions that could transform their organization for the future, rather than merely enhance their current business and operating models. More than 60 percent of the 200 executives surveyed globally said transforming their business or operating model would be the key factors driving acquisitions, while just 21 percent identified enhancing their current model as the key factor.

“Insurers are competing for market share in a slow-growth environment, that is experiencing an influx of dynamic new insurtech players,” said Laura Hay, Head of Global Insurance for KPMG International. “They know they can’t rely just on organic growth to meet their objectives, so alliances and acquisitions become essential as insurers look to engage with customers in new and different ways, and gain access to innovative operating capabilities and technology infrastructure to reshape their business and drive future growth.”

Cross-border deals expected to dominate
In terms of geography, a majority of insurance executives are looking for inorganic opportunities outside their country of domicile, with 66 percent expecting to conduct cross-border deals, while just 32 percent say they expect deals to be focused domestically. The distinction is particularly telling with respect to partnerships and alliances over the next three years, with 39 percent expecting these to be cross-border and only six percent anticipating domestic alliances.

North America, particularly the US, is widely expected by the insurance executives surveyed to have the most insurance M&A activity in the coming three years. Asia-Pacific is projected to be the region where insurers have the most partnership opportunities, and Western Europe is expected to drive relatively more divestiture activity.

Identifying the right, transformational deals
Intending to do more deals is one thing, but are insurance organizations up to the challenge of identifying and successfully executing the right deals?  Only ten and seven percent of executives, respectively, say they are extremely likely to find a deal that is a strategic fit for their business and operating model.  Moreover, a majority believe their organization’s capabilities for deal sourcing, evaluation and execution are lagging, with 72 percent saying their deal sourcing objectives aren’t highly aligned with their corporate strategy and 72 percent rating their capabilities for evaluating a target’s strategic fit as moderate to low.

To accelerate their transformation goals, an emerging trend for insurers is setting up dedicated capabilities, including corporate venture capital (CVC) teams, to acquire and accelerate innovation. Eighteen percent of insurers surveyed indicated they either already had an established CVC or had plans to establish one, with the top ranked objective being acquiring innovation for business model transformation.

“To realize value from their deals, insurers need to rethink their approach and their capabilities,” points out Ram Menon, Global Head of Insurance Deal Advisory for KPMG International. “Insurers need to redefine deal success — from acquisition strategy to integration execution — set out a clear path for transformation applying holistic design thinking, accelerate innovation by standing up an inorganic innovation engine, and more importantly, resist short-term thinking. Transformation is not a ‘one-and-done’ event.”

About the report
For KPMG worked with Mergermarket to interview more than 200 global insurance executives involved in M&A, strategy and innovation initiatives at their respective organizations to learn about their outlook for the industry and their expectations as they plan to strategically deploy capital. The research respondents were divided regionally among firms in Asia-Pacific (33 percent), EuropeMiddle East + Africa (33 percent), and North America (33 percent) as well as by the segments Life (25 percent), Non-Life (25 percent), Reinsurance (25 percent), and Other (25 percent) (the segment ‘Other’ encompasses Insurance Brokers and Insurance Services). Companies needed to have a minimum of US$1.5bn in annual revenue to qualify for participation.

About KPMG International
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 154 countries and territories and have 200,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

SOURCE KPMG International

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