Man found not criminally responsible for killing wife gets her life insurance

The excerpted article was written by Blair Rhodes · CBC News

A Cape Breton man who was found not criminally responsible for killing his wife is entitled to receive 100 per cent of her life insurance policy, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has ruled.

Richard Maidment, 42, who also uses the surname McNeil, killed Sarabeth Forbes on April 18, 2017, in the home they shared in Gardiner Mines, N.S.

Maidment has schizophrenia and his mental health had been deteriorating dramatically in the days before the killing. Forbes and their son, then 10 years old, had moved out of the residence as a precaution the day before.

But on the morning of April 18 she returned to the home, where she was killed.

Maidment was charged with first-degree murder, but in December 2017 was found not criminally responsible and confined to the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia’s only secure psychiatric facility.

In 2015, Forbes had purchased a life insurance policy for herself naming Maidment as the beneficiary. She named their son as an alternate beneficiary.

Maidment’s mother, Linda McNeil, claimed the insurance money on behalf of her son.

Forbes’s mother, Emeline Forbes, who is now raising the couple’s son, applied for the insurance money on his behalf.

Because there were competing claims, Co-operators Life Insurance Company paid the claim to the court and left it to a judge to decide.

In a decision released Thursday, Justice Frank Edwards ruled the money should go to Maidment, not his son. The decision does not disclose the amount of the payout.

“There is a public policy rule which says criminals should not be permitted to benefit from their crimes,” Edwards wrote.

“That public policy rule has no application to this case. Richard has been found to be not criminally responsible. He is not a criminal.”

Edwards is the same judge who found Maidment not criminally responsible for the killing, an event he describes as “an unspeakably horrendous and tragic event for everyone involved.”

Friends say the money should be in trust

Friends of Forbes said they were “sickened” to hear about the ruling and that it took them back to the day they learned of Forbes’s death.

“Just a gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach that this can’t be real, this can’t be happening. But now it’s happened twice,” said Valerie Youden, who worked with Forbes at Parkland, a senior’s home in Sydney, N.S. Forbes also worked as a teacher’s assistant at an elementary in nearby Reserve Mines.

“I know he has a mental illness, but he still chose to brutally [kill] Sarabeth, and we all have choices in life, and he made that one,” said Terri Spooney, another friend and co-worker, adding Forbes would be “devastated” if she knew he’d received the money instead of her son.

Both women believe Forbes would have wanted the money to go to her son’s future.

‘Heart bigger than life itself’

Youden considers the situation a failure of the justice system.

“If you’re not responsible for her death, he shouldn’t be [considered] responsible enough to get the money,” she said.

She and Spooney said they try to focus on memories of Forbes instead of her death. They said there’s rarely a day at work that either a client or co-worker doesn’t refer to her fondly.

“She was always smiling, always laughing, a bubbly personality, and would do anything for anybody. She had a heart bigger than life itself,” said Spooney.

Source: CBC News, Nova Scotia

3 things you should always tell your travel health insurer

3 things you should always tell your travel health insurer

The excerpted article was written by LISA FELEPCHUK | Calgary Herald 

Whether your next trip has you looking forward to a special restaurant experience or an epic cycling excursion, researching and planning a vacation is usually a fun task. But once the trip is booked and before you show up at the airport to board your flight, there’s one more thing you need to do: book travel insurance. Some credit cards come with a limited amount of coverage for things like cancellations or lost luggage, but keeping yourself protected against illness and injury abroad needs to be booked separately.

We get it, travel health insurance is boring, but it is important. All it takes is one clumsy move, like tripping on the curb of the sidewalk, to wind up with a broken bone, and adding to the stress of navigating an international hospital is knowing that you’re going to have to pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars out of pocket. For some people, unexpected medical bills can mount to more than the original vacation price tag. Sometimes a lot more.

According to the Government of Canada, your Canadian health insurance won’t cover most international medical fees and even if it does, it’s often just a small fraction of the total bill. Don’t ever rely on this alone.

“In some countries, hospitals and clinics will not treat you if you do not have enough insurance or money to pay your bills,” explains the Government of Canada website, which also notes that the Canadian government is never responsible for your medical bills abroad.

Here are three things you should always talk to your travel health insurance provider when booking a policy for your upcoming vacation.

Pre-existing medical conditions

A pre-existing condition is just that: any medical condition big or small (heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, diabetes, cancer or even sleep apnea) that you have been diagnosed with by a medical practitioner. If you have a pre-existing condition, you may need to shop around to find the best rate, but many companies will still offer coverage as long as your diagnosis is considered stable before you travel.

But here’s the murky part: the definition of “stable” varies from provider to provider and the amount of time you need to be in this stability period also varies. Some providers will require you to be stable for 90 days before departure while others have shorter windows, like 60 or 30 days.

As with booking all travel health insurance, be honest and upfront with your broker before booking. If you don’t disclose a pre-existing condition, then drink a few too many margaritas and wind up in the ER with an abnormal heartbeat, chances are you’ll be paying for that doctor’s time on your own dime.

Outstanding or upcoming medical appointments

Another important piece of information to disclose to your travel insurance broker: pending medical tests and appointments. If, for example, you’re travelling to Mexico in March, but have a CT scan of your abdomen scheduled for April, any related health issues to your abdomen that arise while out of country could be void of coverage. Always be transparent and discuss upcoming medical tests that your doctor has requested with your broker.

The countries you’re planning on travelling to

Aside from your medical history, your travel insurance provider will also need to know the country or countries you’re going to visit. If the Government of Canada has issued a Travel Advisory for your destination, your provider might void your policy. Make sure to disclose all of the places you plan to travel to and be aware of all government-issued travel advisories and warnings.

Edited for ILSTV

SGI Canada reminding travellers to protect homes during deep freeze

Saskatoon / 650 CKOM

For those homeowners looking to recharge their inner batteries, thaw out and start Googling exotic vacation spots, SGI Canada is reminding them to hold on and double-check their home insurance checklists.

Western Canada’s current cold spell is an example of weather that can take a nasty, damaging toll on one’s home.

“We do see an increase in claims activity when the temperature plummets like this,” said Kurtis Reeder, the company’s senior director of personal lines underwriting.

“Two of the more prevalent claims are water escape due to water freezing in pressurized lines, and then expanding, breaking the pipes, and causing a lot of water damage in the home.

“The second one is due to fire. With the increased use of heating appliances in the cold, there is an increased risk of fire caused by the heating appliances.”

He recommended homeowners check with their insurance brokers as to the conditions their policies have for coverage when they’re away on vacation.

For example, SGI Canada’s policies say that if an owner is away for 10 days or more, they have to have someone check on their home daily, shut off the water supply to the house and drain the pipes or have a home security company monitor temperature decreases, he said.

Otherwise, the policy isn’t valid.

“Every company has similar conditions, but they could be a little bit different,” Reeder said.

Water pipes can freeze and burst if a door or window is left open over a long period, or a home’s furnace shuts down and can’t fire back up, he said.

Even for people planning shorter getaways, Reeder recommended someone checking on the home every day, picking up the mail and turning on different lights inside.

Those are deterrents to potential thefts and break-ins.

He also offered some digital advice: Avoid posting photos and travel updates on social media until the vacation is over.

“Share those pictures and your travel stories when you return and not while you’re on vacation, because it could make yourself a target for theft,” he said.

Reeder said SGI Canada’s website and social media feeds regularly post updated home and travel insurance and online security tips.

Source:

Saskatoon / 650 CKOM

Lougheed Estates has been without insurance since Dec. 31, 2019

Read more

What Australia’s fires could mean for insurance & real estate in Canada

The excerpted article was written by 

Australia’s devastating fires have already destroyed nearly 1,900 homes, but they’re just one of the many types of hazards facing homeowners.

Climate change is raising the frequency and severity of a number of natural disasters, from flooding and cyclones to soil subsidence, which causes structural damage when clay soils start to contract during prolonged periods of drought.

The increased risk has implications for insurance and beyond, according to climate risk analyst Karl Mallon. A recent report from his firm, Climate Risk, projects that 720,000 homes, or five per cent of Australia’s housing stock, will be uninsurable by 2100 as coverage becomes unavailable or prohibitively expensive.

That kind of analysis has caught the attention of lenders. Two of Australia’s largest banks have recruited Mallon to help them assess how climate-related risks might affect their mortgage portfolios. One of them projected that increased insurance costs would increase its share of high-risk mortgages 10-fold in the span of around 40 years, from 0.01 per cent in 2018 to 0.1 per cent by 2060.

Data on exposure to flood risk is already driving decisions about whether to issue mortgages in some cases, Mallon said.

Over time, Mallon sees areas where getting a mortgage will become very difficult. The risk for those properties is that they’ll become hard to sell and eventually decline in value, he added.

The link between natural disasters, insurance and mortgages may be emerging in Canada as well. In both Australia and Canada, however, the issue seems to be centred around flooding for now.

Australia bushfires: Why the situation is likely to get worse

Australia bushfires: Why the situation is likely to get worse

What about fires?

Whether Australia’s extraordinary fire season will have an impact on insurance premiums remains uncertain.

For one, it’s only the beginning of the summer Down Under, and Australians are holding their breath for what the rest of the season might bring.

Until now, though, “bushfires traditionally have been no cause for concern on the insurance front,” Mallon said.

That’s because even though Australia is prone to fires, they haven’t caused damage on a scale that insurers would consider “an unacceptable probability,” he added.

It’s too soon to tell whether the current fires will change that.

Fire and water are significantly different beasts in the world of home insurance, said Rob de Pruis of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Overland flood insurance, which covers damage from water flowing above ground and seeping into buildings through doors, windows and cracks, only became available in 2015 in Canada. Its introduction was largely an industry response to the 2013 southern Alberta floods, which resulted in $6 billion in damages, of which just $1.7 billion was covered by insurance.

Damage from sewer backup is also a growing issue for insurers. They are facing both an increased likelihood of flooding caused by flash rain, which has been linked to climate change, and higher repair costs, partly because finished basements have become more common.

Home insurers are also struggling with a lack of up-to-date information about where flooding is likely to happen, although the government is working on updating Canada’s flood-risk maps, de Pruis said.

Severe flooding is also happening with increasing regularity, a problem for insurance, which is meant to cover events that are “infrequent and unforeseeable,” de Pruis said.

Fire, by contrast, is a familiar hazard to the home insurance industry, which traces its origins to the Great Fire of London in 1666, which nearly destroyed the city. Coverage for fire damage, including from wildfire, is standard in any home insurance policy.

Extensive losses from fires, on the other hand, have remained relatively rare in both Canada and Australia so far.

In Australia, for example, it usually takes several years after a bushfire for vegetation to grow back to a point where there is fuel for another fire, Mallon said.

In Canada, even the Fort McMurray fire of 2016, the most expensive event for insurers in modern Canadian history, did not shake the industry.

Canada’s domestic insurance companies had their own insurance to fall back on, something known as re-insurance, according to de Pruis. And the $3.7 billion in insured damages claimed by the Alberta blaze remain a relatively small price tag for the trillion-dollar giants of the global reinsurance market, which have seen natural disasters billed at tens of billions of dollars in other parts of the world, de Pruis said.

And for now, de Pruis added, there is just not enough information to predict the future of wildfires in Canada.

But experts warn climate change is helping make wildfires worse.

What you should know about health care for international workers & students

Santiago Guzmán · for CBC N.L.

Picture this: you just finished grocery shopping for the week. Standing in front of the glass door that leads to a crowded parking lot in St. John’s, you see a not-so-scary snowstorm coming before you.

Luckily, you’re just a couple of metres away from the bus stop, so it shouldn’t be that bad. You don’t take the bus regularly because of its lack of efficiency — sometimes it’s easier and faster to walk, instead of waiting for an extra half hour.

This time, the bus is your best bet. Plus, the bus will leave you almost in front of your door. Sounds like a well-thought-out plan.

You’re trying to be positive. Although this is not your first winter in Newfoundland and you know how to deal with it, sometimes it’s hard to keep yourself positive. Kudos to you.

Now that you’ve made a plan, you put your groceries on the floor to prepare yourself to face this winter crusade: you pull out your mittens, put your warm hat on, cover your mouth and nose with your bulky scarf.

You walk through the glass door.

You can feel the immediate change in temperature and the wind. You start walking slowly, aware of the slippery street, balancing the grocery bags you’re carrying. It seems like there is enough salt on the floor to protect you from sliding, and the bus stop is barely 60 metres away.

Slip.

Your right boot swiftly slides on an icy spot that the salt didn’t cover. Miraculously, you juggle the grocery bags, as though you were on a tightrope above a hungry shark waiting for its prey to fall.

You find your balance and stand still for a second. That was close!

You let a laugh out, take a deep breath and try all over again.

Now you’re sitting on the barely cleared sidewalk with all your groceries around you. No laughs this time.

Instead, slow tears that freeze as they fall down your face. Your ankle. Despite the cold making your body feel numb, you can feel pain. Deep, sharp, acute pain. It’s broken, you know it.

In the distance, you see the bus arrive, its passengers get out while some others hop on, and you’re still on the ground in pain. No bus, no groceries, no laughs, but a broken ankle and the fear of having to go to the doctor.

No, you’re not afraid of needles, and prescriptions — you’re afraid to have to pay fully for the medical service in ER.

The answer I’ve always encountered is ‘you’re not eligible.’

You don’t have health coverage.

You really don’t know why you’re crying now: if it’s the pain of your broken ankle or of depleting your minimum wage savings to pay the medical bills.

READ MORE HERE from CBC News

 

 

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