Wildfire situation in British Columbia and surrounding area: IBC is here to help – Safety remains first priority

July 8, 2017 (VANCOUVER) – As British Columbia has declared a state of emergency due to wildfires burning out of control throughout much of the Interior, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is reaching out with information and advice for those affected.

“Our thoughts are with those whose lives have been disrupted and whose homes have been destroyed. The priority right now is the safety of those affected and their loved ones,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC. “The insurance industry is here to help. Anyone with questions about their home or business insurance can call their insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask‑IBC.”

What insurance covers

Most home and business insurance policies cover fire damage. If residents have to leave their homes because of a mandatory evacuation order issued by civil authorities, most homeowner’s and tenant’s insurance policies will provide coverage for reasonable additional living expenses for a specified period of time. Your insurance representative is at the ready to clarify the details of your policy.

The claims process

If you have been affected by a wildfire, when safe to do so, take the following steps:

  • Assess and document the damage. Taking photos can be helpful.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items.
  • If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of the damage and keep damaged items unless they pose a health hazard.
  • Keep all of the receipts related to cleanup, and if you’ve been ordered to leave your home, keep the receipts for your living expenses.
  • Ask your insurance representative what living expenses you’re entitled to be reimbursed for and for what period of time.

Next steps

  • Once you have reported a loss, you will be assigned a claims adjuster. It may take some time, given the number of people affected by the wildfires, but you will be contacted.
  • The claims adjuster will investigate the circumstances of your loss, examine the documents you provide and explain the process. Take notes during the conversations and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Your insurance company will ask you to complete a Proof of Loss form, to list the property and/or items that have been damaged or destroyed, with the corresponding value or cost of the damage or loss. You must sign and swear that the statements you make in the Proof of Loss form are true. Ask your insurance representative or claims adjuster to clarify anything you are unsure about.

Resources

Anyone with questions should contact their insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

For additional information, consumers can also visit www.ibc.ca  or email askibcwest@ibc.ca.

IBC congratulates federal government, Ontario and the City of Toronto, for commitment to flood mitigation

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) congratulates the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto for their commitment to flood mitigation as part of an over $1.1 billion funding announcement for Waterfront Toronto.

“Recent flood events in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have demonstrated the effect that these disasters can have on communities,” said Craig Stewart, Vice-President, Federal Affairs, IBC. “As a society, we cannot continue to put Canadians into harm’s way.  The Toronto Port Lands development will transform an industrial site into an attractive residential community.  Recognizing that this is a floodplain, the federal government, the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto are investing the needed funds to ensure this new community is inoculated against flood risk.”

The governments of Canada, Ontario, and Toronto announced a commitment of $1.185 billion for Waterfront Toronto. A portion of this will be devoted to protecting the area around the Toronto Port Lands from flooding including diverting the Don River to a naturalized river mouth. As more development in the area is anticipated, investments in flood mitigation will help make this community safer for residents and stronger for economic growth.

“The era of reckless floodplain development must now end”, added Stewart. “IBC is working with the federal and provincial governments, and other organizations focused on flood-related issues, to advocate for a national strategy to address flood risk. Insurance itself is not sufficient; federal and provincial governments can coordinate on a ‘whole of society’ approach to reduce risk for consumers.”

Additional resources:

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 supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It 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 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Hamilton-Niagara RCMP Make Arrest in Synthetic Identity Fraud

The Hamilton-Niagara Regional Detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) – Financial Crime Section have arrested and charged 48 year old Naeem AKHTAR from Markham, Ontario with Fraud and Money Laundering. The value of the fraud is presently estimated at this time to exceed $3 million dollars.

The scheme involved over one hundred false identities used to obtain credit cards and other loans from Canadian financial institutions. Known as a make-up, pump-up, run-up scheme, the suspect created an elaborate network of false identities and shell companies. The fake identities used included false Ontario driver’s licenses or actual Province of Ontario driver’s licenses created using fake foreign passports, fake Social Insurance Cards or false Canadian Permanent Resident cards.  This differed from traditional identity theft in that the personas created did not exist at all, which poses a threat to the Government of Canada’s systems and programs as well the integrity of Canada’s financial institutions.

Credit was created using the fake identities with falsified employment records and paystubs from the shell companies controlled by AKHTAR. The credit was increased by patiently accepting credit increases over the years. The shell companies were used to launder the proceeds of the crime by creating false invoicing for the fraudulent credit cards.

The scheme was further complicated by the use of postal mail forwarding services.  Through this AKHTAR was able to provide dozens of seemingly unrelated and innocuous addresses on credit applications but the mail would actually be redirected to rental mailboxes controlled by him.    AKHTAR is scheduled to appear in court on August 15th, 2017 in Newmarket, Ontario.

This investigation was assisted by proactive work from the anti-money laundering and corporate security units at Canadian Tire Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Bank of Montreal, TD Bank, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. The RCMP would also like to thank the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) for its collaboration in this investigation.

“The creation and use of synthetic identities by criminals to enrich themselves is a threat to all Canadians and poses a significant risk to Canadian government programs and financial institutions. This investigation is an example of the effective partnership between the RCMP, FINTRAC and Canadian Financial Institutions. The RCMP is committed to working together with our partners to combat this type of fraudulent activity by criminals who only seek to enrich themselves at the expense of Canadians” said Inspector Todd Gilmore, Southwest District Commander.

The investigation is ongoing.

Website: RCMP in Ontario
Twitter: @RCMPONT
Facebook: RCMP.Ontario
YouTube: RCMPGRCPOLICE

SOURCE Royal Canadian Mounted Police

$75,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Aggravation of Chronic, Disabling Pre-Existing Condition

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a collision which aggravated long-standing pre-existing health complications.

In today’s case (Cheema v. Khan) the Plaintiff was disabled since 2003 due to arthritis and depression.  She was involved in a 2012 collision that the Defendants admitted fault for.  The collision aggravated her pre-existing issues.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $75,000 Chief Justice Hinkson provided the following reasons:

[103]     There is no question that Ms. Cheema was unemployable after 2003. She had been on long-term disability from employment as a linen worker since 2004 due to rheumatoid arthritis and major depressive disorder. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the 1990s. The pain was in her neck initially, followed by bilateral hand pain since 2000. Her rheumatoid arthritis affected her hands, wrists, feet, ankles and shoulders. In the month preceding the Collision, the plaintiff had a flare up of her rheumatoid arthritis. Since 2000, the plaintiff had also suffered from longstanding, severe and chronic major depressive disorder, chronic anxiety and panic attacks leading up to the Collision.

[104]     I am unable to accept the plaintiff’s submission that her condition prior to the Collision was stable. She suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis, Morton’s neuromas and a severe major depressive disorder prior to the Collision, and these conditions compromised her ability to ambulate, cook, clean and perform other household activities. I am satisfied that the plaintiff’s severe rheumatoid arthritis and severe depression waxed and waned prior to the Collision, but overall were worsening, and would have continued to worsen even if she had not been involved in the Collision.

[105]     I find, however, that the Collision caused an aggravation of her pre-Collision neck, back and shoulder pain and headaches, and likely had a negative effect on the symptoms arising from her rheumatoid arthritis.

[106]     I conclude that the plaintiff’s neck, back and shoulder pain and headaches were worsened by the Collision and that without the accident she would not have suffered from those difficulties as much as she has for the four years that have followed the Collision.

[107]     I accept the evidence of Dr. Shuckett that stress has a negative effect on someone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, and has had such an effect on the plaintiff and accelerated the progress of her disease.

[108]     I am also persuaded that the Collision had a negative effect on the plaintiff’s psychiatric state that has resulted in a downward spiralling effect causing the plaintiff to brood about her physical condition and limit her activities, in turn worsening her depression, in turn compromising her participation in certain activities and so on…

[133]     I assess the plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages at $75,000.

US – Crash claims up 2.7 per cent in first states to legalize pot

By P. Solomon Banda

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DENVER _ An insurance study links increased car crash claims to legalized recreational marijuana.

The Highway Loss Data Institute, a leading insurance research group, released the results Thursday saying the study found collision claims in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon went up 2.7 per cent in the years since legal pot sales began when compared with surrounding states.

Marijuana advocates question the study’s comparison of states with such varied populations.

Researchers accounted for factors such as the number of vehicles on the road in the study and control states, age and gender of drivers, weather and even whether the driver making a claim was employed. Neighbouring states with similar fluctuations in claims were used for comparison.

Insurance industry groups have been keeping a close watch on claims when auto accidents across the country began to go up in 2013 after more than a decade of steady decline.

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