Hurricane Dorian: Advice and information from Insurance Bureau of Canada

Hurricane Dorian: Advice and information from Insurance Bureau of Canada

HALIFAX, Sept. 9, 2019 /CNW/ – In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is reaching out with tips and advice for those who have been affected.

“We know is that there has been significant damage across the region, and a lot of families have had their lives disrupted.  When you are able to call, your insurer is ready to hear the details of your claim,” said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC.

What insurance covers
Most car, home and business insurance policies cover damage caused by a hurricane or tropical storm. Your insurance representative is at the ready to clarify the details of your policies.

The claims process
If you have been affected by Hurricane Dorian, when it is 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. Keep damaged items unless they pose a health hazard.
  • If you have to move out of your home because of insured damage, check with your insurance representative about whether your policy includes additional living expenses coverage, which may cover your costs if you have to move into a hotel/motel.

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 Dorian, but you will be contacted.
  • The claims adjuster will investigate the circumstances of the loss, examine the documents you provide and explain the process. Take notes during these conversations and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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

Additional resources
IBC.ca – severe weather
IBC.ca – Preparing for severe weather

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 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_Atlantic 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

www.ibc.ca

Cheech And Chong Get Into A Car Accident

Cheech And Chong Get Into A Car Accident

Article by Christopher Macaulay

“Do my insurance benefits cover my medical marijuana costs?”

It’s a question that claimants are increasingly asking of their first-party healthcare insurers, and one that is not always easily answered.

On one hand, the use of cannabis as a legitimate treatment option has grown exponentially in recent years. On the other, the associated medical literature is in somewhat of a nascent stage, and it is not always clear whether marijuana will aid an injured party with their recovery (at least in any clinically verifiable sense).

In the recent LAT case of F.F. and Aviva Insurance Canada,1 the Tribunal was faced with the question of whether a treatment plan for medical marijuana was reasonable or necessary to treat a claimant’s anxiety and depression.

Facts

The insurer denied the treatment plan on the basis of a psychiatric expert report. The psychiatrist did not recommend cannabis as a form of treatment for the claimant’s psychological impairments. He highlighted the fact that there was limited clinical research to support the use of marijuana in treatment of anxiety symptoms.

Despite referencing the psychiatrist’s view of the clinical research, the Tribunal did not delve into what this research actually says. It is unclear whether any medical literature was put before the hearing Adjudicator.

The claimant relied predominantly on the opinion of his family doctor for his evidence. The family doctor’s records confirmed that the claimant had reported little relief from traditional psychiatric medication and psychotherapy. However, he had shown a marked improvement in both his psychological and physical well-being with the use of medical marijuana. He had also noticed an improvement in his sleep quality while using the drug.

In light of these results, the claimant’s family doctor was supportive of medical marijuana as a viable treatment option. This opinion was corroborated by a letter from a treating nurse who had also noticed the claimant’s improvements when he began to use marijuana.

Decision

The Tribunal preferred the claimant’s evidence and ordered the treatment plan payable in its entirety. The Decision highlighted the fact that the insurer’s expert psychiatric report failed to consider relevant details about the claimant’s treatment course; for instance, that the claimant had already tried traditional psychiatric medication and psychotherapy with little to no improvement before submitting his treatment plan for medical marijuana.

Interestingly, the Decision also ordered the insurer to fund a related treatment plan for a medical marijuana assessment. The Tribunal held that such an assessment would be reasonable “to determine what would be an appropriate marijuana product” for the claimant.

Questions Raised

The Decision was undoubtedly a resounding win for the involved claimant. However, the Tribunal’s underlying reasoning raises the question of whether a claimant who turns straight to medical marijuana, without first attempting more traditional pharmacological interventions, would have the same level of success.

On a separate note, if the Decision’s findings with respect to the marijuana assessment are left to stand, this seems to open the door for cannabis clinics to submit similar assessment costs for nearly every claimant with a medical marijuana prescription. Will a cottage industry of quasi-medical “personalized cannabis evaluations” spring up? Time will tell.

Lessons Learned

One clear takeaway from the Decision is that a blanket reliance on (a lack of) medical literature will not suffice as a primary reason to deny a medical marijuana treatment plan. The Decision implicitly follows the standard set by prior SABS case law that there is no requirement for a claimant to prove to a medical certainty that a treatment will be therapeutic.2

In a broader sense, the Decision presents another example of the ever-increasing role that the cannabis industry is beginning to play within personal injury litigation. In years past, both FSCO and the LAT grappled with the idea of marijuana as a treatment modality by contrasting the illegality of recreational cannabis with its purely clinical uses.3 This distinction has since been blurred through federal legalization of the drug for recreational use. Both first and third party insurers can expect to see an increase in claims factoring medical marijuana into treatment and future care costs as a result.

  1. 18-002994/AABS.
  2. Pacquette and Certas Direct Insurance Company, FSCO A05-000934.
  3. See: Biro v. Unica Insurance Inc., FSCO A109-001753; M.J. and Pembridge Insurance Company, 16-000583/AABS.

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

IBC sees spike in high-loss weather events across Canada

KENTVILLE, N.S. 

The nights are cooling down, and the floodwaters are rising.

As hurricane season hits its stride, it begs the question: are things getting worse?

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has an answer to that question – yes.

Insurers from coast to coast in Canada are seeing increases in severity and frequency of severe weather events, said Erin Norwood, manager of government relations with the IBC’s Atlantic office, Sept. 4.

“Last year, we noticed right across the country that insured damage from severe weather events reached over $2 billion, which is the highest amount of losses on record,” said Norwood, speaking on behalf of the national association representing the country’s private home, auto and business insurers. “That was from a high amount of high-loss events across the country.”

This is a pattern that has persisted over the course of a decade, from events like the historic flooding in New Brunswick in 2018, resulting in $6 million in insured losses, to the 2016 flooding in the Cape Breton area, which caused about $100 million worth of damage.

Overland flood insurance, Norwood said, is a relatively new option for consumers seeking additional protection.

“That’s something I think is really important for people to consider when they’re preparing for severe weather events,” she said. “It’s really important for people to check with insurance reps to see what optional coverages are available to them, and that includes overland flood insurance.”

Norwood recommends that property owners concerned about severe weather events reach out to their insurance representatives directly to go over their policies and learn more about what coverage is appropriate.

“It’s really important when people are preparing for severe weather events to have that conversation with their insurance representative about those types of products,” she said.

She stressed that it’s crucial homeowners understand severe weather is inevitable, and plan accordingly.

Flood preparation steps include keeping a current, detailed home inventory, installing sump pumps, ensuring downspouts drain away from the foundation of a home, and having an emergency preparedness plan.

“It’s important that everyone has as much information as possible as we’re heading into hurricane season here in Nova Scotia,” Norwood said.

Source: Hats Journal 

Grapefruit-sized hail storm in Edmonton caused $90 million in insured damage

Isabella O’Malley | The Weather Network

Severe storms in Edmonton on August 2 resulted in grapefruit-sized hail that caused significant damage including shattered windows and large dents in cars. The Catastrophe Indices and Quantification (CatIQ) Inc. says that this single storm caused an estimated $90 million in insured damages, with more than half of that involving auto insurance coverage, which caused approximately $46.9 million in insured damages.

Commercial property insured damages cost approximately $3.4 million and personal property insured damages cost approximately $39.5 million.

Environment Canada confirmed that grapefruit-sized hail fell in Spruce Grove and ranged between 80 to 120 mm in diameter. The large hail that fell in Edmonton was between the sizes of golf balls and baseballs, which are between 45 to 70 mm in diameter. The large hailstones also resulted in crop damage in areas northwest of Edmonton.

The report from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) states that insured damage from severe weather events across Canada reached $2 billion, which is the fourth-highest amount of annual losses on record.

Significant losses in 2018 occurred from the high frequency of smaller severe weather events as opposed to record-breaking events such as the 2013 Calgary floods, and IBC says that this could be attributed to the cost of a changing climate.

While an individual weather event cannot be entirely explained by climate change, more frequent and severe weather events are expected as global temperatures increase.

IBC states that it is working closely with all levels of government to advocate for increased investment to mitigate the future impacts of extreme weather and to build resiliency against potential damages and impacts.

These investments include new infrastructure to protect communities from floods and fires, improved building codes, better land-use planning, and creating incentives to shift home and business developments away from areas with high risk.

Source: IBC

Taking Stock Of The Insurance Market Challenges Which Evs Present

Article by Samantha Holland

The growing popularity of electric vehicles, as well as the ongoing challenges around building the charging infrastructure necessary to make their widespread rollout possible, is challenging a range of sectors and services to show the model is a suitable fit for the future – and the insurance industry is no exception.

James Roberts, business development director at Europcar has recently discussed the issue within a Post Magazine opinion piece, and rightly highlights that, ‘there is no question that the tide is starting to turn, undoubtedly encouraged by the Department for Transport’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy which sets out the ambition for at least 50% of new car sales to be ultra-low emission by 2030′.

Opportunities for Insurance

Taking advantage of the opportunities that EVs present to the industry has, therefore, never been more urgent, with agility and efficiency being key for those providers that truly want to make this a reality – and provide suitable insurance services that properly fit the technology and the structure of this new automotive route to market.

While the initial risk around insuring EVs means premiums are higher – as it is more of a step into the unknown than the pricing methods used to insure conventional vehicles – it is hoped that the industry will eventually filter out this risk and premiums will become more balanced. However, as Mr Roberts highlights, automotive insurers need to look at their supply chains as a matter of urgency to ensure that they house the appropriate skills and specialisms for repairing and maintaining EVs. Providing the insurance is only half the battle, of course, as a failure to deliver on claims experience will mean that customers are likely to move on.

Aligning the sector with EVs

A core aim of any new industry is to ensure that customers have a seamless experience with no nasty surprises – the fact, therefore, that EVs are in such an early stage of their product life cycle means all eyes will be on end-user delivery, in relation to which the insurance industry can play a key part. Really challenging themselves to ensure their backend capabilities are aligned to the technicalities and specifics of EV operations is therefore a priority for those looking to not only take advantage of the opportunities but crucially, to add value to the overall EV customer experience. As Mr Roberts highlights, there is a parallel push by The institute of the Motor Industry to introduce regulation for vehicle technicians working with EVs specifically, which is something insurers need to keep a close eye on, in order that they can act accordingly if it is introduced.

Forward thinking

As with any new industry, developments can be unpredictable, but for insurance firms with the forward thinking skills and capacity to chase this market, the opportunities are there for them to make sensible planning decisions about how they can truly add value to a burgeoning automotive market.

Read the original article on GowlingWLG.com

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 News

Ontario: Overview Of The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund

Article by Gabriel Lessard

A person injured in a motor vehicle collision in Ontario can submit a claim for accident benefits, Ontario’s system of no-fault insurance, and, if the collision is someone else’s fault, can sue the other driver for negligence (a tort claim). In both circumstances, the injured victim will primarily be dealing with insurance companies who are obligated to respond to the claims on behalf of their policyholders.

Sometimes it can be confusing to know whose insurance company is responsible for responding to an injured person’s accident benefits claim or tort claim. In Ontario, all licensed vehicles require insurance, so the majority of car accident victims will have some source of insurance either from their own insurance company or the other driver’s.

Typically, an injured victim will turn to their own car insurance policy for accident benefits (if they have one) and pursue the at-fault driver’s insurance for their tort claim. However, many potential factors can impact which insurance company will respond.

Certain circumstances arise where there is no insurance company to respond to a claim. A common example is a pedestrian or cyclist who is involved in a hit and run or struck by an uninsured vehicle.

In a situation where there is no insurance company to respond to an accident benefits claim or a tort claim, injured parties can turn to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF). The MVACF was set up by the Ontario Government, as a safety net for victims in need of treatment and compensations for their injuries. The MVACF is considered the payor of last resort, which means that the individual must have exhausted all other potential sources of insurance before the MVACF will consider responding to their claims.

When must the MVACF respond in an Accident Benefits Claim

Section 268 (2) of Ontario’sInsurance Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. I.8) outlines the priority list of insurance companies who must respond to an accident benefits claim before the MVAC. A summary of the priority list for accident benefits claims is:

  1. The insurance company that insures the victim;
  2. The insurance company of the vehicle that the victim was in or was struck by;
  3. Any other vehicle involved in the incident; or
  4. The MVACF

With respect to number 1, it does not matter if the victim was not in their own vehicle when the accident occurred. Furthermore, number 1 may be the priority insurer if the victim is married to, lives with, or is financially dependent on someone with car insurance, even if the victim does not have their own policy.

As the MVACF is last on the list, the victim must exhaust all other options before they can expect the MVACF to respond to their claim for accident benefits.

When must the MVACF respond in a Tort Claim?

If the at-fault party does not have liability insurance, then an injured victim may be able to turn to their own car insurance policy for compensation prior to pursuing MVACF. This is because most car insurance policies have uninsured and underinsured coverage which protect their own insureds (the victim) in circumstances where the at-fault driver’s policy limits are too low to provide the victim with adequate compensation, the at-fault driver does not have valid insurance or the identity of the at-fault driver is unknown.

The MVACF will respond to a tort claim on behalf of the at-fault party if there are no other insurance companies required to respond to the victim’s claim which includes their own insurance company. The maximum amount that the MVACF can pay out in a tort claim is $200,000.

Residency Requirement

Section 25 of theMotor Vehicle Accident Claims Act(R.S.O. 1990, c. M.41) outlines the requirement that an individual must be a resident of Ontario to benefit from the Fund. The act states:

The Minister shall not pay out of the Fund any amount in favour of a person who ordinarily resides in a jurisdiction outside Ontario unless that jurisdiction provides persons who ordinarily reside in Ontario with recourse of a substantially similar character to that provided by this Act.”

This requirement is particularly relevant to tourists travelling in Ontario who have not purchased any car insurance. The exception is that the MVACF may still respond if the jurisdiction where the individual resides (such as another province, state, or country), has a similar system to the MVACF.

Conclusion

Knowing which insurance company is responsible for responding to your claim can be confusing. If you were uninsured or hit by an unidentified driver, you may be able to pursue a claim through the MVACF. It is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible to help you understand your rights.

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

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