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$65,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Likely “Indefinite” Neck & Back Injury

 Written by ERIK MAGRAKEN

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for long-lasting soft tissue injuries.

In today’s case (Poulin v. Armstrong) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 collision.  She was a passenger at the time and was 14 years of age.  The Defendant admitted fault.  The crash caused soft tissue injuries to her neck and upper back which became chronic and were expected to linger indefinitely.

In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $65,000

Mr. Justice Baird provided the following reasons:

11]        The plaintiff was assessed by Dr. Jonathan Hawkeswood, physiatrist, on August 13, 2018. He submitted a report that documented the plaintiff’s history of difficulties, his diagnosis, and recommendations for her future heath care. According to him the claimant continues to suffer from post-traumatic myofascial neck pain with large trigger points at the medial trapezial fibres, upper intrascapular pain, likely predominately soft tissue in nature, and headaches related thereto. He noted no pre-accident injuries or illness and concluded that the plaintiff’s current upper body pain and headaches are attributable to the accident. His overall prognosis and expectations were reported as follows:

Based on the duration of symptoms and today’s clinical presentation, a complete resolution of all accident related injuries has a probability of less than 50%. In other words, I expect Ms. Poulin will continue to have neck pain indefinitely. This can be reasonably described as a chronic neck pain issue. Furthermore, it is probable she will experience headaches in association with neck pain on a long term basis.

[12]        Dr. Hawkeswood said that the plaintiff is not disabled from light or moderate duty work because of her injuries. In particular, he did not consider her to be disabled from a career as a physiotherapist but concluded that her work tolerance and productivity will likely be compromised by her injuries. “In the future”, wrote Dr. Hawkeswood, “she may well require consistent sick time or perhaps vacation time dedicated to physical recovery due to her injuries.” He also recommended, if the plaintiff ends up pursuing another career, that she should choose a field that does not require heavy lifting, allows for frequent positional changes, and minimises overhead work.

[13]        The plaintiff was also examined by Brent Armstrong, a functional capacity evaluator. He spent the better part of a day with the plaintiff putting her through various physical tests. He concluded that the plaintiff is competitively employable as both a physiotherapist and a kinesiologist, but he predicted that she will experience exacerbations of neck and upper back pain in the course of her work in either occupation. He predicted that she would need to moderate her pace, take regular breaks, and ask for assistance or accommodations in order to succeed in her daily tasks…

[18]        Here, the plaintiff was injured at a very young age. According to the uncontested medical evidence she will likely continue to suffer indefinitely from pain in her upper back and neck with associated headaches. She has been deprived of the full enjoyment of her physical person in the prime of her life and will suffer from these deficits for many years. This is a significant setback, especially for someone as active as the plaintiff.

[20]        I have concluded that a fair award under this heading is $65,000.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Baird, Poulin v. Armstrong

Medical reasons make up one-third of Canadians’ travel claims

Poll also uncovers travel pet peeves, most important items to insure, claims barriers

NEWS PROVIDED BY

RBC Insurance

Highlights:

  • Canadians’ biggest pet peeves while travelling by air include bad travel etiquette, followed by flight delays and going through airport security. And when it comes to the worst things they’ve lost while travelling, the top three items are baggage, their passport and their travelling companion.
  • Over a quarter of Canadians have made an insurance claim as a result of something that happened to them while travelling, with visits to the doctor accounting for 33 per cent of those claims, followed by flight delays.
  • When asked the most important item to insure while on vacation, almost three-quarters had said themselves, followed by luggage, rental car and mobile phone.

TORONTO, June 19, 2019 /CNW/ – Tight airport security and flight delays can definitely be a downside to air travel, but the biggest pet peeve for over a quarter (27 per cent) of Canadians is bad travel etiquette, according to a recent RBC Insurance survey. And when it comes to the worst things they’ve lost along the way, the top three items are baggage (20 per cent), followed by their passport (13 per cent) and, interestingly, their travelling companion (6 per cent).

However, the overall pleasures of air travel seem to outweigh the pet-peeves. Canadians are often on the move, travelling outside of their home province by air roughly once every six to seven months.

Before you go, ensure you’re insured
Along with such frequent travel comes a greater opportunity for mishaps to occur that could result in expensive bills. In fact, one-quarter (26 per cent) of Canadians have made an insurance claim as a result of something that happened to them while travelling. One-third (33 per cent) of those claims were related to visits to a doctor, hospital or clinic, while flight delays account for one-quarter (24 per cent) of claims.

“Travel is a wonderful, educational experience and it’s great to see that Canadians are exploring the world outside their own province or country so frequently,” said Stacey Hughes-Brooks, Head of Travel, RBC Insurance. “However, given the data from the survey, a quarter of Canadians have needed to make an insurance claim so it’s best to make sure not only that you have coverage, but that you have enough.”

When asked the most important item to insure while on vacation, almost three-quarters (72 per cent) responded themselves – and this increases among travellers aged 55 and over (81 per cent) as compared to younger travellers (64 per cent). When it comes to insuring physical belongings, 12 per cent stated luggage is the next most important item, followed by a rental car (7 per cent) and mobile phone (5 per cent).

Barriers to filing travel insurance claims
Of those Canadians who have never made a travel insurance claim, 79 per cent have been lucky enough to say they have never been in a situation where they needed to make one. However, the remaining 21 per cent said they needed to file a claim but did not or were unable to do so. The top reasons for not making a claim include that it was too much of a hassle, they were underinsured, they incorrectly assumed they were covered by their insurance policy or their credit card or they didn’t know where to go.

“With so many credit cards offering travel insurance many Canadians may assume that they are covered if something happens while travelling,” adds Stacey. “It’s important that Canadians do their homework to understand their coverage otherwise they could find themselves out-of-pocket for minor or major expenses.”

RBC Insurance offers the following tips for Canadian travellers this year:

  • Consider purchasing travel insurance even if traveling within Canada.
  • Ensure you understand what your policy does and does not cover and what other coverages you may have through work or credit cards.
  • Label luggage by putting your name and contact information on the inside and outside of the bag.

About the RBC Insurance Survey
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 23-27, 2019 on behalf of RBC Insurance. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18 years and over were interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance® offers a wide range of life, health, home, auto, travel, wealth, annuities and reinsurance advice and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada, one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC Insurance is among the largest Canadian bank-owned insurance organizations, with approximately 2,900 employees who serve more than five million clients globally. For more information, please visit rbcinsurance.com.

SOURCE RBC Insurance

As Family Dynamics Change, Your Life Insurance Should, Too

As you move through your life, changes to the dynamics of your family and business life may have a direct impact on the type and amount of life insurance you need.

The term “family” has a much different meaning today than it had for previous generations. Many people from older generations grew up knowing the traditional family unit, the one where Dad was the breadwinner and Mom stayed home to raise the children. Today, shifting demographics have helped to reshape the concept of a family. Families come in many shapes and sizes, so there is no longer a single definition of what makes up one. Today you are more likely to know families that include dual-income earners, same-sex couples and blended or extended families living under one roof.

There is one thing that hasn’t changed, though: life insurance. One of the main reasons for life insurance is to provide protection for the family upon one’s death. Traditionally, the death benefit would be there to help replace the income lost, but with changing family dynamics, serving a family’s needs isn’t always so clear. While the replacement of income is important for a family, it is also important to address the role of the surviving spouse. Will he or she need to go back to work? Are there children? If so, how will they be taken care of in the short and long term? All of a family’s wants and needs can be answered with a few simple questions:

1. Do you have a will? Is it up to date?

2. Is there a trust that specifies how property is to be distributed upon death?

3. Do you have enough insurance to take care of your family after you are gone?

Family dynamics can complicate your financial planning process. Understanding these dynamics and asking the right questions is necessary when advising a family on how life insurance can be used to manage the issues they may face, all while providing much-needed protection. To ensure you get the protection you need, it is imperative that you develop a comprehensive plan to guarantee that your wishes are fulfilled. When developing that plan, it is extremely important that you choose the right person to be the executor. This should be someone you trust and who you are confident will carry out your final wishes to the letter.

Ideally, you would only need to purchase life insurance once or twice in your lifetime. But this does not mean you should just put your plan in a drawer and forget about it. You should review your policy at least once a year. The dynamics in your life change periodically, so it makes sense that your life insurance should be adjusted as your needs change. Some of the common life situations that should make you take a look at your insurance are:

1. Financial changes: Any change here, for better or worse, should result in a review of your coverage. Purchasing a home, caring for a family member and changes in employment or salary should trigger you to take another look at what you have.

2. Family changes: Since it is likely that a family member will be the beneficiary of your policies, any change to the dynamic of your family should facilitate a change in your life insurance.

3. Health changes: Your life insurance coverage is based on your health, and any significant changes will necessitate an adjustment to your policy, particularly in the case of severe illness or disability.

Life insurance is an important component in financial planning. Besides providing a death benefit for your beneficiaries and future generations, many of the options available today can address other needs like chronic illness or disability. As your life changes overtime, to possibly include marriage, having children, purchasing a home, retirement and all things in between, it is important for you to keep your family protected. You are purchasing life insurance to provide such protection, but to make sure it is adequate, you should review your coverage at every major life event, especially if the event changes the number of people depending on you or your financial security.

Source:

4 Ways to Make Life Insurance More Affordable

Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

You’ve probably been told time and time again that you should have a life insurance policy, but if you’re like many consumers, you’ve been putting it off due to one key factor: money. It’s true that life insurance isn’t always cheap, but there are steps you can take to make it more affordable. Here are a few to begin with.

1. Get a term policy

You have two primary options for buying life insurance: permanent life insurance and term life insurance. With the former, you’re covered forever, and your policy accumulates a cash value that can serve as an income source for you when you need it. With the latter, you’re only covered for a specific period of time (hence the name “term”), and once your policy runs out, you get nothing. You also don’t accumulate a cash value with a term life policy. That said, term life insurance is generally a lot cheaper than permanent insurance, since you forgo the benefit of cash value and indefinite coverage, so if cost is a concern, it pays to look into term policies.

2. Apply when you’re relatively young

The younger you are when you apply for life insurance, the lower a premium rate you’ll generally snag. Many people put off life insurance until their 40s or 50s because they don’t want to start making premium payments earlier on. But by waiting that long, you risk getting slapped with a prohibitively high premium instead.

3. Get healthier

The healthier you are, the easier it becomes to snag an affordable premium rate on a life insurance policy. Therefore, if you work on improving the picture of your health, you could save a bundle. If you’re overweight, aim to shed enough pounds to get into a healthy range. If you’re underweight, do the opposite, because you will be penalized any time your weight lands in what’s considered an unhealthy range. And of course, if you’re a smoker, kick the habit — incidentally, it’ll save you money, too.

4. Buy only the coverage you need

You’ll pay more for a life insurance policy with a $2 million death benefit than you will for a policy that pays a $500,000 death benefit. If you want to keep your premiums manageable, don’t overbuy coverage.

How should you calculate your coverage level? A good way to start is to establish a benefit that’s a certain multiple of your income — say, 5 or 10 times that sum. Next, evaluate your outstanding debt, like your mortgage, and aim for enough coverage to pay it off. From there, think about financial goals you have for your family, and include enough money to pay for them (putting kids through college, for example). Finally, make sure there’s enough money in your death benefit to cover your funeral costs.

Let’s say you earn $60,000 a year and want five times that amount as a basic death benefit for a total of $300,000. Let’s also assume you want to include enough money to pay off your $100,000 mortgage, you want another $100,000 to put your child through college and another $10,000 to ensure that your funeral is taken care of. That means you’re looking at a death benefit of $510,000. If that’s the case, don’t buy a policy with a $1 million payout — you don’t need it.

You don’t need to be rich to get life insurance; you just need people in your life who stand to suffer financially in the event of your passing. If those people exist, then do some research and aim to find an affordable policy that gives your loved ones — and you — the peace of mind you all deserve.

Source: Yahoo

Consumer expectations for claims payouts are being met by the industry

The experience of Canadians with Credit Protection Insurance (CPI) on their mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) is very positive, with 87% saying it is a convenient way to protect themselves and/or their families against major financial setbacks arising from death, disability, critical illness, or job loss.

Canadians with CPI coverage also report that they are somewhat or highly satisfied with the purchase experience overall (87%), and are confident in their knowledge about CPI products (90% at time of purchase). In addition, CPI holders say their expectations of the claims process are being met by the industry, with 80% reporting satisfaction with their claims experience (94% for those whose claim was paid).

Those are the key findings of new public opinion research by Pollara Strategic Insights that asked Canadians about their experience with CPI on their mortgage and/or HELOC. This type of insurance, also known as creditor’s insurance, is used to pay off or pay down a mortgage or HELOC, or to make debt payments in the event of covered occurrences such as death, disability, critical illness, or job loss. CPI coverage is typically secured through the financial institution providing the consumer’s mortgage or HELOC financing, and it is provided under a group policy, thereby allowing more Canadians to be insured at economical standard group rates.

According to the research, 83% of Canadians with CPI coverage said it is an effective way to protect themselves and their families from unexpected life occurrences.  Furthermore, 71% said that without CPI, they do not know how they and/or their family would be able to cope, should an unexpected life occurrence negatively impact them financially – for example, not being able to work and earn a regular income. And 70% said CPI is an affordable insurance option.

With respect to the purchase process experienced by CPI holders, 87% said they were satisfied with the overall purchase process; 77% reported satisfaction with the product explanations provided to them; and 74% said they were satisfied with the information provided to them to make an informed purchase decision.

Canadians with CPI coverage also expressed confidence in the CPI claims process, and that their expectations for claims payouts are being met or exceeded. For example, 89% of survivors/next-of-kin who made a CPI life insurance claim reported that it was paid. (The 89% level of CPI life insurance claims payouts reported by the survivors/next-of-kin of CPI insureds in the survey is close to the level found in aggregated self-reported data from CAFII members, which shows that 94% of CPI life insurance claims were paid in the 2018 fiscal year.)

With respect to the factors which Canadians believe are the most important when purchasing Creditor Protection Insurance:

  • 93% said benefits and features of the coverage;
  • 93% said price;
  • 92% said benefit payment amount of coverage;
  • 89% said ease of overall purchase process; and,
  • 88% said being able to speak to someone to answer my questions.

Canadians also said they have a reasonable understanding of CPI coverage terms and limitations, and about the amount of coverage. For example, at the time of signing up for their CPI coverage, 90% of insureds said they understood “very well” or understood somewhat their credit protection insurance terms.

The survey also identified some areas which CAFII members and other providers of CPI coverage on mortgages and HELOCs in Canada can look at to improve the consumer’s experience with this insurance.

For example, 25% of CPI claimants said they had made a complaint about the claims process, with the top two complaints being the following:

  • 35% complained about the length of time it took to process the claim; and,
  • 32% complained about the lack of updates during the process.

However, 85% of claimants who made a complaint said they were satisfied with how their complaint was handled.

Furthermore, some 22% of CPI holder respondents expressed a lack of confidence that a life insurance claim would be paid, without even having made a claim. As this level of confidence is well below the actual claims payout ratio, it is an issue that is concerning to the industry.

“We’re pleased that Canadians feel Credit Protection Insurance is a convenient, effective and affordable type of financial protection for them and their families,” said Keith Martin, Co-Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance (CAFII), which commissioned the Pollara research. “However, the survey also shows that there is room for improvement. As an industry, we will continue to look for ways to improve customer satisfaction, and enhance the value to consumers of the Credit Protection Insurance products that our members provide.”

These are the key results from a national online survey of 1,003 adult Canadians who have Credit Protection Insurance on a mortgage and/or home equity line of credit. The survey was conducted from October 3 to 16, 2018.

About CAFII: 
The Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance is a not-for-profit industry Association dedicated to the development of an open and flexible insurance marketplace. CAFII believes that consumers are best served when they have meaningful choice in the purchase of insurance products and services. CAFII’s members include the insurance arms of Canada’s major financial institutions – BMO Insurance; CIBC Insurance; Desjardins Financial Security; National Bank Insurance; RBC Insurance; ScotiaLife Financial; and TD Insurance – along with major industry players Assurant; Canada Life; Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company; CUMIS Services Incorporated; and Manulife (The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company).

About Pollara Strategic Insights:
Founded in 1980, Pollara Strategic Insights is one of Canada’s premier full-service research firms – a collaborative team of senior research veterans who are passionate about conducting research through hands–on creativity and customized solutions. Taking full advantage of their comprehensive toolbox of industry-leading quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytical techniques, Pollara provides research-based strategic advice to a wide array of clients across all sectors on a local, national, and global scale.

SOURCE CAFII

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