Electronic Pink Slips (Proof of Responsibility) Now Available

Cornerstone Insurance Brokers Ltd. is pleased to announce that we now offer our customers access to an electronic pink slip on their smartphone directly from the secure MyCornerstone portal.

This first in the industry portal provides customers unlimited 24/7 access to their policy information and pink slips directly from any smartphone, tablet or desktop without the need to download an application. The interface is fully mobile, providing an excellent view of the secure pink slip with up to the minute information. It is far more secure than keeping a piece of paper in your glove box and you can choose to make it accessible to every driver on the policy by simply by providing them the access to MyCornerstone with the secure user ID and password.

While the current regulation does not provide for the electronic distribution of a pink slip, Cornerstone believes that Ontario will allow this methodology shortly. Cornerstone has made the investment because it compliments their already innovative and constantly evolving customer service platform in their quest to deliver an exceptional customer experience. The portal also provides;

  • The ability to request policy changes and report claims online;
  • Access to an inventory tool that allows customers to download photos of their house and contents to our secure server;
  • An educational area with videos designed around frequently asked questions on insurance terms. We believe that our role is that of an insurance advisor, helping our customers make informed decisions that best suit their needs;
  • Tips on how to care for your car and home as well as frequently asked questions about insurance, and;
  • shopping hub that allows Personal Lines customers to get discounts from our Commercial Lines customers – providing a win/win for everyone involved.

Want to access your electronic pink slip? Sign up for MyCornerstone today!

Cornerstone Insurance Brokers is a full line insurance brokerage with offices in Woodbridge (Vaughan), Aurora, Markham, and Barrie. Cornerstone provides car insurance, home insurance, motorcycle insurance, farm insurance, equine insurance, rural insurance, business insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance and health insurance, as well as employee group benefits all over Ontario.

Rain gutters cause many home drainage problems

By Dean Fosdick

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The person who coined the phrase “saving for a rainy day” must have been a property owner with home drainage problems.

The financial costs of poor drainage can be substantial, and the human health costs significant too.

Prevention is important, and many clues exist for predicting trouble, says Ryan Larsen, a civil engineer with NDS Inc., a manufacturer of drainage products in Woodland Hills, California.

“Low spots in the landscape can be hard to see, but areas where the ground is wet for long periods of time after it rains or the sprinklers run are locations where water is collecting,” Larsen said.

Discoloration and mould growth on a home’s foundation, and places where stucco, siding or paint easily fall off a house are indications that water is pooling, he said. “You should suspect water is getting into your home if you detect damp or musty smells in your basement or crawl space,” he said.

Most homes have some kind of drainage problem, and most often the damage comes from rain gutters, Larsen said.

“Because a lot of homes have gutter downspouts that lead straight to the ground, you’ve got all this water coming off the roof and pouring to just one point, where it can collect against a home’s foundation and flood landscapes and planter areas,” he said. “Fortunately, gutter problems are also the easiest to fix with a downspout extender.”

The financial costs of poor drainage can add up. Outlays for drying basements can range from $1,000 to $10,000, according the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program. Repairing foundation damage can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $25,000, the National Association of Realtors says.

The human health costs of poor drainage on properties also can be sizeable, Larsen said. “Poorly drained runoff from roofs can enter basements or flow inside homes through foundational cracks or leaks where it can warp floorboards and turn finished rooms into mildewy and mouldy messes that can attract insects and rodents.”

Inadequate drainage also cracks foundations, creates standing water that ruins yards and gardens, and allows breeding spots for disease-carrying mosquitoes and heartworms.

“Soggy, poorly graded ground spells certain doom for lawns, shrubs, plants and gardens,” Larsen said.

Three of the most common solutions for drainage problems are catch basins, pop-up emitters and French drains.

Catch basins trap sediment and contaminants beneath downspouts for drainage to safer locations. Pop-up emitters are connected to underground drainage pipes and channeled away from structures. The pop-up tops allow water to drain when full but remain closed when empty to keep out rodents and debris. French drains are gravel-filled trenches that direct storm water away from specific areas. They collect water over their entire length, rather than from one particular spot.

With water drainage problems, though, come opportunities, said Monica Day, a water resources educator with Michigan State University Extension.

“Be creative,” Day said. “There are positive ways of dealing with too much water. Keep it in the soil but where it’s not damaging anything. Let (ornamental) plants grow there to filter out the water and retain it.

“That provides beautification as well as practicality,” she said.

Water damage: covered or not?

Rivers that burst their banks – not unheard of in January – water main breaks, sewer back-up, torrential rains that seep through roofs and windows, an overflowing bathtub … water damage can be a real headache. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has therefore developed a new interactive tool to help consumers see things more clearly.

Accessible to all on the Infoinsurance.ca web site, this online animation tool features a home beset by all kinds of water damage.  Web browsers can test their knowledge of insurance coverage, compare their results and even share them on social media.

Whether caused by climate change, outdated infrastructure, poor building maintenance or domestic accidents, water damage has been a real scourge over the past 10 years or so. In fact, water damage accounts for 50% of the total cost of claims paid out by insurers in Quebec each year, and the trend is rising.

“Consumers can use this new tool to better understand what is and isn’t covered, and they can find out what coverage is available on the market. We hope that in doing so they’ll be encouraged to take steps to better protect their homes and avoid the inconveniences caused by water damage”, noted Line Crevier, Supervisor, Technical Affairs and Insurance Information Centre, at IBC.

While some damage may be inevitable, IBC reminds consumers they can help reduce claims, thanks to a few prevention measures. For example, making sure to change their water heater every 10 years; checking and replacing washing machine and dishwasher hoses; not leaving the house while the washing machine and dishwasher are on; asking a friend or neighbour to check that everything is OK if they’re away from home for more than 7 days (especially in winter); leaving the heat on in the winter; removing snow and ice from windows and eaves troughs, etc.  

What about vehicles?
When it comes to vehicles, for example, water damage is covered under an auto insurance policy, provided policyholders chose “Coverage against perils other than collision or upset” or “All Perils” coverage.

For more information about insurance, IBC’s Insurance Information Centre is there to help. Just call 1 877 288-4321 (or 514 288-4321 in the Montreal area).

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada, which groups the majority of Canada’s P&C insurers, offers various services to consumers in order to inform and assist them when purchasing car or home insurance, or making a claim.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

By Bob Weber

THE CANADIAN PRESS

If it seems as if the weather’s getting weirder, you’re not wrong.

An index of extreme weather in Canada compiled by the insurance industry backs that up.

“Yes, we see definite trends that can’t be explained by normal variability,” said Caterina Lindman of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

The institute compiles what it calls the Actuaries Climate Index, a joint effort by insurance organizations across North America. It recently released its latest quarterly update up to spring 2017.

The index begins with a 30-year average taken from 1961 to 1990 of everyday weather conditions such as temperature, precipitation, wind speed and sea level. Thresholds are set for each of those based on the top 10 per cent of readings.

For an average month, for example, about three days would be in that 10 per cent.

Using data provided by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration one of the top American government science organizations the index then counts how many days actually exceed that threshold. The index plots the results for every three-month period since 2016.

The method reveals a slow, gradual increase in extreme weather.

The overall Canadian index indicates that during the entire three decades between 1961 and 1990, extreme weather fell outside the range of normal variability only five times. In the last 10 years, however, that happened 12 times.

Temperatures have been climbing.

Across Canada, hot days have exceeded the normal number every quarter since the winter of 2015. The number of cold days hasn’t exceeded normal for nine years.

It’s getting wetter, too. Across Canada, the average number of days with heavy rain or snow has been outside the norm since spring 2013. In Ontario and Quebec, it’s been since winter 2008.

It’s harder to draw conclusions about wind for Canada as a whole. Likewise for sea level unless you live in the Maritimes, where sea level has been higher than the normal range for the last 12 years.

The findings correspond with data from Environment Canada, which suggests average summer temperatures have climbed one degree since 1970 and precipitation has increased about five per cent.

Actuaries use the information in their calculation of risk as they insure lives and property, said Lindman. But they also do it to contribute to public debate.

“There’s a lot of political angst around the issue of global warming and we’re trying to be neutral sources,” she said. “We’re just adding our voice.

“We’re in it for the long haul, so we are concerned for the sustainability of our planet.”

$75,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Back and Hip Soft Tissue Injuries

Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken

Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Chilliwack Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries caused by a collision.

In this recent case (De Groot v. Heller) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2012 collision that the Defendant accepted fault for. The crash caused soft tissue injuries to her hip and low back along with an aggravation of a pre-existing arthritic condition.  The symptoms lingered to the time of trial and were expected to negatively impact her moving forward.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $75,000 Mr. Justice Greyell provided the following reasons:

[125]     In my view, the evidence establishes that it is likely that the Accident aggravated Ms. De Groot’s underlying arthritic condition in her left hip. There is no evidence connecting her prior back complaints with back complaints brought on by the Accident. The lay witnesses called to testify on her behalf each confirmed that she was active in regularly walking her dogs and that she engaged in such activities as hiking, canoeing and horseback riding on the trips she made to the interior. It is also clear on the evidence that, post-Accident, her ability to engage in those activities is limited…

[130]     At the time of the trial, almost five years had passed since the Accident. Ms. De Groot continues to suffer from pain in her lower back and hip, which prevents her from enjoying the activities she enjoyed prior to the Accident, and while she has not missed time from work, she has difficulty sitting for long periods. She has difficulty lifting and carrying her child, and performing heavier household tasks. She and her husband have experienced difficulty with intimacy due to her injuries from the Accident. Ms. De Groot’s prognosis for improvement is uncertain.

[131]     After considering the principles set out in Stapley and the cases referred to by counsel, I award Ms. De Groot $75,000 in non-pecuniary damages.

Significant flooding hits Atlantic Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is encouraging residents affected by flooding in Atlantic Canada to call their insurance representatives immediately if they have damage to report.

“We have seen the devastating effects that flooding can have on communities across our region,” said Tom O’Handley, Manager, Government Relations, Atlantic, IBC. “Warming temperatures and melting snow are adding to the already-dangerous conditions in some parts of Atlantic Canada.  There is a need for everyone to be on alert and to be safe. That’s why we want to help make sure that Atlantic Canadians are prepared and ready to deal with the damage when floods strike.”

Overland flood insurance has become more available across Atlantic Canada in recent years. When severe weather occurs, it is important for consumers to understand their insurance policies and to know what is covered. If damage occurs, consumers should contact their insurance representatives. IBC is also here to help policyholders if they have any insurance-related questions.

“IBC’s Consumer Information Centre is also available to answer any insurance-related questions that affected individuals might have. Contact us at 1-844-2ASK-IBC. We’re here to help,” added O’Handley.

If you have a claim, this is how to start the claims process:

  • When safe to do so, assess and document damage.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company to report damage or losses.
  • Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • Water damage to vehicles is usually covered under comprehensive or all-perils policies. Contact your insurance representative for more details.
  • If you need help getting in touch with your insurer, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ASK-IBC (1-844-227-5422).

When flooding is imminent, help protect your home from water damage:

  • Store valuable items in upper floors of your home, away from the basement.
  • Have large appliances, furnaces, hot water heaters and electrical panels raised up on wood or cement blocks. If you’re unable to do so, consider anchoring these items and protecting them with a floodwall or shield.
  • Anchor fuel tanks to the floor. A fuel tank can tip over or float in a flood, causing fuel to spill or catch fire. Make sure vents and fill-line openings are above flood levels. For propane tanks, contact the propane company on best storage methods.
  • If flooding is imminent, shut off electricity to areas of the home that may be affected. Use sand bags or install flood shields or built-up barriers for basement windows and doors.
  • Create an emergency preparedness plan with your family.
  • Assemble an emergency supply kit.
  • Prepare a detailed home inventory.
  • Pay attention to local authorities and monitor weather developments regularly.
  • Avoid roads covered by water

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 $52 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.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

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