Mental health issues are less likely to be seen as a disability

Highlights:

  • Canadians still hold a bias toward viewing disabilities as being largely physical rather than mental in nature.
  • Yet, 30 per cent of Canadians who have taken time off because of a disability say it was for a mental illness.
  • For most Canadians, disability insurance isn’t something they think about in-depth until they need it.

Despite the rise in public awareness of mental health issues, Canadians still hold a bias toward viewing disabilities as being largely physical rather than mental in nature, according to a recent survey from RBC Insurance. While two in three view multiple sclerosis (65 per cent) and physical accidents (65 per cent) as disabilities, fewer than half feel the same way about depression (47 per cent) and anxiety (36 per cent).

“There is a misconception that disabilities tend to be catastrophic in nature, caused by one-time, traumatic events,” explains Maria Winslow, senior director, life & health, RBC Insurance. “What most Canadians don’t realize is that mental illness causes the majority of disabilities. In fact, almost one-third of group disability claims at RBC Insurance are related to mental health, and that number is higher if you count physical disabilities that lead to mental health concerns.”

Many have already been impacted
Despite Canadians’ perception of mental illness, 30 per cent of working Canadians who have taken time off for a disability say it was because of a mental illness.

“It’s important that we continue to raise awareness around mental illness and provide ongoing support so that Canadians are more comfortable speaking about their illness and being honest with their family, their friends and their employer,” adds Winslow.

Room to educate
While the majority of Canadians (82 per cent) with disability coverage feel they’re well covered through their disability benefits, many don’t fully understand the coverage they have:

  • Nearly one-in-five (23 per cent) say they don’t know anything beyond the fact that they have some sort of coverage.
  • Only one-in-three (33 per cent) who currently have disability coverage say they understand the details ‘very well’.
  • Half (52 per cent) know how their benefit plan defines a disability.

“When faced with a mental illness, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you have the proper coverage in place,” explains Winslow. “It’s important that Canadians not only ensure they have disability coverage, but that they understand the details of their policy. Find out how your plan defines a disability and what is and isn’t covered. For example, while some policies cover mental illness, others may not.”

Here are a few more tips to consider:

  • Ensure you have a trusted network in place such as family, friends or professionals you can reach out to for support when necessary.
  • Confirm you have adequate coverage. Some things to look for include how your plan defines a disability; does your plan provide valuable rehabilitation and return to work services; and if you’re covered for injury as well as illness.
  • Utilize programs and services that are available to you. For example, RBC Insurance offers their clients Onward by Best Doctors, a program that provides personal support and faster access to top mental health specialists.

About the RBC Insurance Survey
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between January 2nd and January 4th, 2018 on behalf of RBC Insurance. For this survey, a sample of 1,505 employed Canadians aged 18+ was 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 results are considered accurate to within ±3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all working 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 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 2,500 employees who serve more than four million clients globally. For more information, please visit rbcinsurance.com.

SOURCE RBC Insurance

CONSUMER WARNING – Allegations of Forgery, Odometer Tampering, Fraudulent Vehicle Transfers & Illegal Sales

Allegations of forgery, odometer tampering, fraudulent vehicle transfers and illegal sales has resulted in the IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION of KK Motors Canada Inc., 6295 Mississauga Rd, Unit 215A, Mississauga, and of Kajendran Kasippillai, KK’s sole officer and director, by Ontario’s regulator of vehicle sales, OMVIC. As a result, KK Motors Canada Inc. and Kasippillai may not legally sell, lease, buy or consign vehicles.

OMVIC found the dealer purchased insurance write-offs from salvage auctions. These vehicles were repaired and sold to consumers, often not by KK Motors directly, but rather by unregistered businesses or individuals working for, or with, the dealer. “OMVIC believes that in order to distance themselves from these vehicles, KK Motors Canada Inc. forged documents and fraudulently transferred these vehicles into the names of past customers, prior to making the vehicles available for sale by the unregistered businesses and individuals, ” states John Carmichael, OMVIC CEO and Interim Registrar. “Most purchasers didn’t know about KK Motors; they thought they were buying the vehicles privately.”

Of 13 vehicles OMVIC investigated, six appeared to have rolled-back odometers. One, a 2007 Honda Odyssey was sold in June by one of KK Motors’ associated sellers with an odometer reading of 141,411 kms; four months earlier the mileage for the Odyssey was reported as 335,230 kms. “OMVIC is alleging the fraudulent manipulation of odometers was done by, or on behalf of, KK Motors Inc.,” explained Carmichael.

An investigation of the unregistered businesses and individuals who actually sold the vehicles is ongoing.

Dealer’s Past-History

KK Motors Canada Inc. and Kajendran Kasippillai have a past history of non-compliance: in 2012 the dealer was found in breach of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act and fined $1,500 for advertising a vehicle without disclosing in the ad that it had been placed by a registered dealer.  Additionally, the dealer was found to be in breach of OMVIC’s Code of Ethics and fined $5,000 in 2014 for failing to properly disclose material facts related to the past use, history and condition of vehicles it sold, including significant accident repair histories.

Immediate Suspensions

OMVIC only issues an immediate suspension order when the regulator believes a dealer’s conduct may place the car-buying public at risk. Note: a dealer may appeal an Immediate Suspension Order and a hearing will be held within 15 days before the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT). The Tribunal will determine if the order should be extended until a final determination is made regarding the associated Proposal to Revoke Registration.

Advice to Past Customers of KK Motors Canada Inc.

OMVIC encourages consumers who have previously purchased from KK Motors Canada Inc. or Kajendran Kasippillai to have their vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic for problems not disclosed by the dealer/salesperson. Consumers should also consider purchasing a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) available from ServiceOntario, or a CARPROOF/CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Report to check odometer histories.

OMVIC also encourages previous KK Motors Canada Inc.’s customers to run a credit check to ensure that their name/identity was not used fraudulently, and to visit any ServiceOntario location to purchase a ‘personal history’ report of all vehicles that have been registered to them. This is sometimes referred to as a personal RIN search. The cost is $12.

CONSUMERS ARE WARNED not to buy or lease vehicles from, or sell or consign vehicles to, KK Motors Canada Inc. or Kajendran Kasippillai while the dealer’s registration is suspended. Consumers who trade with an unregistered business or individual are not protected by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund.

Consumers with questions or concerns should contact OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries Team at: 1-800-943-6002×3942.

About OMVIC Registration
Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) requires all dealers and salespeople be registered with OMVIC. Unregistered selling (curbsiding) is a serious offence: individuals convicted of curbsiding can be fined $50,000 and/or be jailed for up to two years less a day.

About OMVIC
OMVIC (Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council) administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. OMVIC maintains a fair and informed vehicle sales marketplace by regulating dealers and salespersons, regularly inspecting Ontario’s 8,000 dealerships and 27,900 salespeople, maintaining a complaint line for consumers and conducting investigations and prosecutions (or discipline proceedings) of industry misconduct and illegal sales (curbsiding). OMVIC also administers the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of its Board of Trustees.

About the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund is funded by Ontario’s registered motor vehicle dealers and provides compensation to consumers who have a valid claim against an Ontario-registered dealer. Qualifying consumers may be eligible to receive up to $45,000 for each valid claim to the Compensation Fund. Since its inception on July 1, 1986, the Compensation Fund has paid out more than $5 million to consumers.

SOURCE Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)

Canada: Coverage – Keep It Simple, Sir

Excerpreted Article by Devan Marr

The recent decision of Van Huizen v. Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company, reinforces that Courts have little interest in protracted coverage battles between parties.

The facts of the case are important but straight forward. There were three main entities. Mr. Barkley, Hastings Appraisal Services (“Hastings”), and Mr. Van Huizen.  Mr. Barkley was a property appraiser. He was employed by Hastings. Mr. Van Huizen operated Hastings. Both Mr. Barkley and Mr. Van Huizen had their own professional liability insurance certificates.

In 2008, Mr. Barkley was hired to do an appraisal. It was alleged that he was negligent in his appraisal, resulting in an eventual loss for the property’s insurer when the mortgagor defaulted. The insurer commenced a claim against Mr. Barkley and Hastings for negligent appraisal. A second claim was commenced against Mr. Van Huizen alleging that Mr. Barkley was either his employee or agent and was therefore vicariously liable.

Mr. Van Huizen reported the claim to Trisura, which subsequently denied coverage claiming that the “wrongful act” of Mr. Barkley did not trigger coverage under the policy insuring Mr. Van Huizen.

Trisura alleged that Mr. Van Huizen had coverage only for a negligent act or omission committed by him personally. Their position was that because Mr. Barkley who prepared the appraisal, he could have coverage under the certificate of insurance issued to him but not Mr. Van Huizen. Although the policy included coverage for the vicarious liability of an employer, it required that the negligent act or omission be committed by the member to whom the certificate of insurance was issued. Alternatively, Trisura argued that if an employer was entitled to coverage for the vicarious liability that arose out of the professional services rendered by a member other than the one named in the certificate, Mr. Barkley was not an employee of Mr. Van Huizen or Hastings as both had denied same in their respective statements of defence that he was.

Mr. Van Huizen viewed the case in simpler terms. In the main action and the third party claim, he was alleged to have been Mr. Barkley’s employer and therefore vicariously liable for his negligent acts or omissions. He was insured both for legal claims arising from his personal actions and from his status as an employer. The denial that he was Mr. Barkley’s employer in his statement of defence or that he was vicariously liable did not have an impact on the duty to defend because it was the allegations in the statement of claim and third party claim that matter.

The court cited Coast Capital Equipment Finance Ltd v. Old Republic, 2018 ONCA 540, for the following principles of law on the interpretation of insurance contracts:

  1. The court must search for an interpretation from the whole of the contract which promotes the true intent of the parties at the time of entry into the contract.
  2. Where words are capable of two or more meanings, the meaning that is more reasonable in promoting the intention of the parties will be selected.
  3. Ambiguities will be construed against the insurer.
  4. An interpretation which will result in either a windfall to the insurer or an unanticipated recovery to the insured is to be avoided.

Applying these principles and viewing the insurance contract as a whole, the court found Mr. Van Huizen had coverage for a legal claim arising from his own actions and also when it flows from his legal status as an employer of the alleged wrongdoer.

The Court found that under the policy, an insured does not have to be an appraiser; but he or she has to be an employer of someone who is and, if they are, the policy granted them coverage if they were alleged to be vicariously liable for the negligent acts or omissions of that member.  As a result, Trisura had a duty to defend Mr. Van Huizen.

In parting, the court left the parties with this comment:

At its core, the liability issue is simple: did Mr. Barkley fall below the standard of care in preparation of the appraisal? Both he and Mr. Van Huizen carried insurance coverage for just this type of claim and yet, 10 years after that appraisal was done, litigation over coverage persists. I make this comment not in criticism of counsel but to affirm why, as the Court of Appeal has opined, these types of disputes need to be resolved expeditiously to avoid unnecessary costs and delay.

It is worth noting that in a perfect world, coverage litigation should be short and to the point. In many cases the issue should be determined solely on the pleadings and the contract of insurance. Courts will look for the reasonable interpretation of the clause that satisfies the contract as a whole. While creative and technical arguments have their place and should always be advanced, Justice Hurley would suggest that the ultimate question will be whether coverage makes sense in the circumstances.

See Van Huizen v. Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company, 2018 ONSC 4828

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

Alterna offers emergency loans to Ottawa and Gatineau residents affected by tornadoes

Alterna Savings is offering emergency interest-free loans to their members affected by the tornadoes that took place in the Ottawa and Gatineau regions on Friday, September 21st. Alterna has also donated$50,000 to the Red Cross and hopes that other local businesses will be inspired to give generously.

“Extreme weather, like the two tornadoes that touched down in Ottawa and Gatineau, have been devastating and left others in hardship. We know that when disasters strike, not everyone has access to ready cash to handle the immediate expenses of either repairing damage to their homes or replacing homes completely torn from their foundation,” said Rob Paterson, President and CEO of Alterna. “To help, members can access up to $5,000 in credit if they need financial assistance right away and can take advantage of the first 90 days without interest. After 90 days, a low-interest base rate will apply on terms of 2-5 years, with the option to pre-pay at any time without penalty. Interested applicants will need to visit a branch to review terms and conditions before signing.”

“It can take some time for insurance to pay out, and not all homeowners even have home insurance that covers damage resulting from tornadoes and other extreme weather. The 90-day interest-free grace period gives people time to make financial arrangements,” said Paterson.

Alterna Savings has a strong history of helping members and communities at a grassroots level – a legacy which began over 110 years ago when Alterna became Ontario’s first credit union. Recent examples include providing support for federal employees impacted by Phoenix payroll issues and creating emergency loans for residents affected by the 2017 Ontario and Quebec spring floods.

“It’s about helping to support our communities, and we’re here to help”, says Paterson. “With many homes left in ruins, we are particularly concerned about what people need today in order to feel safe. Even if someone isn’t an Alterna member, we’re happy to talk.”

Those affected by the Ottawa and Gatineau tornadoes are encouraged to call 1-877-560-0100 to set up an appointment at one of the Alterna branches and to confirm branch availability. Alterna Savings serves communities across Ontario and in the Gatineau region of Quebec.

You can find a list of branches at Alterna.ca.

About the Alterna Financial Group

The Alterna Financial Group (Alterna) is celebrating 110 years of being the good in banking! Alterna is made up of Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Alterna Bank. Together, we have over $7.13 billion in assets under administration. Our members and customers benefit from industry leading online brokerage and investment management services and have access to the largest surcharge-free ATM network in Canada, with over 3,700 ATMs to serve them.

Alterna Savings has been charting new directions to help Ontarians and achieve their financial dreams and build strong, vibrant communities for more than a century. As the first full-service, member-owned co-operative financial institution outside Quebec, Alterna Savings shares our expertise with more than 158,000 members through a network of 32 credit union branches across Ontario, including our federated partner Peterborough Community Savings, a division of Alterna Savings and Credit Union Ltd.

Alterna Bank is one of the most innovative banks in Canada and the first to offer all Canadians an end-to-end digital mortgage experience. Customers also get fully-digital financial services that include our highly competitive high-interest eChequing, eSavings, RRSP and TFSA products available online and through mobile banking.

For more information please visit www.alterna.ca and www.alternabank.ca and connect with us on https://twitter.com/alternasavings.

SOURCE Alterna Savings and Credit Union

Insurance change bounces out recreational trampoline use at gymnastics clubs

CBC News

Fall programs are rolling out at gymnastics clubs across the city but kids and their parents will notice a difference this season because of an insurance issue.

Recreational trampoline use will no longer be an option, according to the Alberta Gymnastics Federation, which sent a memo to its member clubs in July.

Scott Hayes, president and CEO of the AGF, says the new policy is due to a change in the federation’s insurance coverage.

Underwriters recently informed the AGF that trampoline use was no longer going to be insured at the recreational and drop-in levels.

“We just basically had to revamp a lot of the programming just because birthday parties and drop-ins are such a huge component of their business,” he said.

“So they had to look at some internal restructuring and Alberta Gymnastics had to look at creating some alternate programming and ensuring that the safety coaching expectations and certification were revamped in order to match the changes.”

Jeremy Mosier of Pegasus Gymnastics says losing the recreational business hurts the bottom line.

“We just don’t offer classes. We offer drop-ins and we offer birthdays, which has been substantially hit. You know, a lot of people call and just want birthday parties on trampolines, and unfortunately we can no longer offer that anymore.”

Mosier’s gym and others still do drop-ins and parties but without trampolines.

The new regulations only apply to recreational trampoline use. Competitive athletes and those enrolled in tumbling classes are exempt. But insurance rates for competitive users have quadrupled to about $60 a year.

Source: CBC News

Thousands of cars will be damaged by Florence’s floods

By Tom Krisher

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

As flooding continues in the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence’s massive rainfall, experts say high water will damage thousands of vehicles.

But auto industry analysts say the number of soggy vehicles will be far less than the roughly 700,000 damaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida last year, largely because there are fewer people and cars along the Carolina coast.

Also, Florence followed the expected path, making evacuations more successful and keeping more vehicles out of harm’s way. Still, Florence is being blamed for at least 37 deaths in three states.

Kelley Blue Book Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke estimates that 20,000 to 40,000 vehicles will be total losses due to Florence, while Anil Goyal, executive vice-president of operations at Black Book, which tracks used sales and values, predicts 20,000 damaged or destroyed, maybe less. Both are waiting to make final estimates as swollen rivers crest Wednesday and Thursday.

State Farm, one of the largest U.S. auto insurers, said it had 1,630 auto-related claims from the Carolinas as of Wednesday. That certainly will rise as flood waters recede and people return to their homes.

Smoke and Goyal say the storm damage will drive up used vehicle prices at least on the East Coast as people replace damaged cars.

“We already have strong demand for used vehicles, particularly for used sedans,” Goyal said.

Here are answers to questions about what will happen to damaged vehicles and how to handle your car in the aftermath of the storm.

Q: SHOULD I START MY CAR IF IT’S BEEN FLOODED?

A: No, in almost all cases. If the car was only in a few inches of water that didn’t rise past the bottom of the body, then maybe. Water higher than that can get into wires, transmission parts, the exhaust or other places. Deeper water could enter the cylinders that surround the pistons. Trying to start the car could bend parts that connect the pistons to the rest of the drive train, experts say. Oil, gasoline, antifreeze, brake fluid and other liquids could have water in them that could cause damage if not replaced. Experts recommend towing a car to a mechanic for inspection.

Q: IF IT’S REPAIRED, WILL MY CAR BE SAFE?

A: Probably not. Water could have damaged sensors, electrical connectors, computer chips and wiring that are under the carpet, behind the dashboard or in the engine compartment. That could disable lights, air bags, ignition, sensors or other essential systems. Corrosion can form beneath wiring insulation. Damage may not surface for years.

Q: WILL INSURANCE COVER A FLOODED CAR?

A: Depends on your coverage. If you’re financing or leasing, your lender likely requires comprehensive insurance, which typically covers flood damage. But if you own a car outright, or it’s old and would be more expensive to repair than it’s worth, you may choose not to get comprehensive coverage. As of 2013, 78 per cent of U.S. insured drivers had comprehensive coverage, according to theInsurance Information Institute.

Q: HOW DO INSURERS HANDLE FLOODED CARS?

A: Once an owner files a claim, the insurer will evaluate the damage. Many states have guidelines for a vehicle to be considered a total loss, including the extent and type of damage and the cost of repair. If the insurer determines the vehicle is a total loss, it will pay the owner _ minus a deductible that’s typically $500 to $1,000 _ and take the vehicle and the title.

Q: WHERE DO FLOODED CARS GO?

A: Insurers will turn the cars over to auctions or salvage yards. Undamaged parts will be salvaged and many vehicles will be scrapped. Some will go to salvage auctions, says Black Book’s Goyal. Everything that’s ruled a total loss by an insurance company should get a salvage title. But consumers should be careful. A vehicle considered a total loss in one state might not require a salvage title in another state, experts say.

Q: HOW CAN I AVOID BUYING A FLOOD-DAMAGED VEHICLE?

A: Flooded cars could be shipped to other parts of the country or even other nations. To find out where the car came from and if it has a salvage title, experts suggest keying the vehicle identification number into services that search car histories for a charge, such as Autocheck or Carfaxe. The National Insurance Crime Bureau and Carfax offer free flooded car checks. Buyers can ask to take the car to a mechanic for inspection. They also can also look for signs of flooding, including musty or mouldyodours or overpowering use of air freshener, discolored carpet or new carpet in an old car, water lines in the engine compartment or trunk, fogging inside headlights or taillights, rust or flaking metal under the car, and dirt buildup in unusual areas such as around seat tracks. If you see any signs, don’t buy the car, experts say.

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