Seniors, disabled will be impacted as insurance crisis takes up to 1000 taxis off the road

Seniors, disabled will be impacted as insurance crisis takes up to 1000 taxis off the road

Senior citizens and others who rely upon Accessible taxis are at risk of losing this service as Ontario’s taxi industry is facing a crisis in insurance coverage.

“The number of taxi cabs which are being parked and taken completely out of service is horrendous,” says Marc Andre Way, President of the Canadian Taxi Association (CTA).

“In Hamilton alone, City Council members have been notified by licensing staff that 25 per cent of licensed taxis are now parked because they cannot obtain insurance. Communities across Ontario are facing dire circumstances on account of this insurance crisis.”

Toronto’s Licensing division reports that already 719 licenses have been returned to them. The number of “parked” cabs could climb to as many as 1,000 or more in the weeks ahead as insurance renewals are denied.

This crisis means that riders who require Accessible Taxis for medical appointments and other travel may soon be unable to receive on-demand Accessible taxi service; even standard, non-Accessible taxis may be unavailable.

The CTA, working with Philomena Comerford of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers who are experts in the taxi insurance field, have proposed at least a partial solution to this crisis: they are asking Ontario to amend Regulation 664 to allow Loss Transfer for taxis as is allowed for other vehicles.

“Amending Regulation 664 will not cost the province any money and does not require legislation, it is a simple regulation change which will encourage insurers to stay in the taxi market,” says Way.

“We suggested this idea during Ontario’s Pre-Budget consultations, although in fact, the change could be made at any time. We hope Ontario will consider amending Regulation 664 as at least a partial solution to the taxi industry insurance crisis before it begins to have a serious negative impact on senior citizens and those who require accessible taxis.”

The CTA works with its members across Canada to:

  • improve service standards by sharing information with each other including best practices from proven operators in certain aspects of their business model.
  • introduce new technology or new services to make their businesses more competitive.
  • provide access to suppliers that can reduce operating costs.
  • deliver consistent customer service across the nation regardless of city or locale.

SOURCE Canadian Taxi Association

Related Links

www.cantaxi.ca/

Manitoba funeral director admits to faking client death certificates

Money was collected from insurance companies to pay for funerals that never happened

The excerpted article was written by Darren Bernhardt · CBC News 

A former funeral director pleaded guilty in a Winnipeg court Tuesday to 13 counts of faking death certificates to receive payouts from insurance companies.

Mike Knysh, who once owned and operated Knysh Funeral Chapel in Winnipeg and Beausejour, was set to go to trial in April on 24 counts in total — 11 for fraud and 13 for forgery.

Instead, his lawyer, Frank Coniglio, and Crown prosecutor Mandy Ambrose reached an agreement that saw the 11 fraud charges dropped in exchange for Knysh’s guilty plea in Court of Queen’s Bench to the 13 forgeries.

The victims had purchased prearranged funeral plans from Knysh, police said in April 2018, when the charges were laid.

The 13 counts represent 13 separate people for whom funeral director’s statement-of-death certificates were filed with insurance companies, even though all were alive at the time, court heard.

Knysh then received money from the insurance companies to pay for funerals that never happened. A total of $83,000 was claimed from the insurance policies, police said.

The incidents happened between 2004 and 2014.

As the court clerk read out each charge individually Tuesday, Knysh quietly pleaded guilty. He then responded with a muted “yes” when the clerk clarified each time that he said “guilty.”

Justice Chris Martin followed up by asking if Knysh realized his guilty pleas mean he will have a criminal record.

“Yes,” Knysh said.

Sentencing is set for April 14.

Outside the courtroom, Coniglio called the plea deal “an acceptable resolution,” noting there were a number of charges the defence did not believe were valid.

By avoiding trial, many witnesses — including several who are elderly — will not need to attend court, Coniglio added.

“We didn’t want any of them to have to go through that experience if it wasn’t absolutely necessary,” he said.

Coniglio hopes that will be considered as a mitigating circumstance by the judge during sentencing.

He added there are other such circumstances that will be presented at that hearing to show the crime “is not exactly what it might look like on the face of it.”

City may want a slice of home insurance fire coverage

The excerpted article was written by NORMAN DE BONO | The London Free Press

Home insurance rates may spike in London if the city goes after insurers when firefighters respond to a home blaze, an Insurance Bureau of Canada official says.

But a business that helps communities get money from insurers called the threat a lobby group “scare tactic.” Ken (Ted) Woods, a partner with Fire Marque Inc., said the hundreds of communities it works with, including St. Thomas, Sarnia and Middlesex Centre, have not seen rates rise.

At a recent council committee meeting, Ward 12 Coun. Elizabeth Peloza suggested city staff look into contracting Fire Marque, which files insurance claims on behalf of communities to recover some of the costs of responding to home fires.

If there is home blaze, firefighters respond to and if the home is insured, Fire Marque files a claim on behalf of the municipality, as the homeowner policy covers the service. That claim seeks partial reimbursement of the cost of firefighters’ response.

“If the individual has an insurance claim, charges added to the claim will see an increase in claims paid,” said Peter Karageorgos, the insurance bureau’s consumer and industry relations director. “Premiums for policies are driven by costs, if this increases total costs, it will have an impact on premiums.”

Not so fast, said Woods: Premiums won’t increase because most homeowner insurance policies include coverage of firefighters attending a home blaze, meaning that money is sitting there and available and most homeowners are unaware of it. If the money is not claimed, it simply boosts the insurer’s bottom line, he added.

“We act on behalf of the municipality. Our job is to make sure the insurance company honours the coverage in the policy,” said Woods.

Studies by some communities have concluded the claims don’t affect premiums, he added. Home insurance policies have a clause titled “fire department charges” that usually offers as much as $1,000 in coverage.

Fire Marque offers its services to more than two million people in “hundreds” of communities, Woods said.

In her pitch to community and protective services committee colleagues, Peloza said she met Fire Marque officials at a Federation of Canadian Municipalities  conference. The committee voted to refer the matter to staff for more study.

When the city looked into the issue in 2016, it found Fire Marque claimed 30 per cent of the money recovered. A staff report said the city would have recovered anywhere from $43,000 to $142,000 a year at that time. The money must go toward fire services, either education or capital costs.

Sign up to receive a curated collection of links and highlights from our award-winning breaking news coverage, in-depth analysis, and unmatched investigative features at lunchtime weekdays.

By clicking ‘Submit,’ I consent to receiving the above communication from Postmedia Network Inc. I Understand that I may unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

“We will lay out the information for council, we will investigate this and report back,” said Cheryl Smith, the city’s director of neighbourhood, children and fire services.

The staff report in 2016 recommended the city not contract Fire Marque, citing “legal risk and financial concerns . . .  related to recovery of costs through property insurance policies.”

Karageorgos said homeowners already pay for fire department services through property taxes and home insurance policies, and an additional claim should not be necessary.

“Don’t property taxes already pay for fire service? I would be asking then why am I paying taxes? Is this creating a two-tier system?”

Municipalities have turned to Fire Marque as budget pressures prompt them to seek new ways to generate revenue, he added.

“What’s next? Will firefighters insist on a credit card payment before they put out your fire?”

Source: London Free Press

B.C. making preparations to tackle coronavirus now present in 39 countries

VICTORIA _ British Columbia’s provincial health officer says plans are in the works to expand the province’s battle against the novel coronavirus, which has been diagnosed in seven people.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday the World Health Organization has not listed the outbreak as a pandemic, but the situation is changing, with confirmed cases in 39 countries.

Among the seven people in B.C. with COVID-19, five are doing well and have either recovered or are near recovery, she said. The other two people with COVID-19 are listed as stable in isolation at their home.

Henry said the seventh case is a man in his 40s who is a close contact of the sixth case, a woman in her 30s whose diagnosis was confirmed last week after returning from Iran.

In the coming days, Henry said B.C. will ramp up its public awareness campaign reminding people about measures to fight COVID-19, including staying home from work or school and not attending mass gatherings if they are sick.

The plan will also stress vigilance by international travellers who may be sick upon arriving in Canada.

“We are thinking about what is different if we move to having widespread transmission in countries around the world, having widespread transmission of this in Canada and here in B.C.,” said Henry. “We are making plans with our health-care system and with our partners across government.”

Henry said the elderly would be most at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus if it starts to spread.0.

Will ICBC telematics pilot change driver behaviour?

Read more

Peel Mutual Insurance First in Canada to Launch Hi Marley

Peel Mutual Insurance looks to drive customer centric experience with Hi Marley’s AI-based texting platform built specifically for insurance.

BOSTON, Feb. 18, 2020 /CNW/ — Peel Mutual, one of the largest members of the Ontario Mutuals, is also committed to being the best mutual insurer in Ontario. As a forward-thinking organization that continually looks to innovative, Peel Mutual has launched Hi Marley to continue to deliver an outstanding customer experience built on trust.

Peel Mutual is leveraging Hi Marley to assist in their auto, home and business claims teams. Their aim to be the first insurance carrier offering Hi Marley in Canada is differentiating them by committing dedication to their insureds. They seek to provide a seamless and simple texting solution for their policyholders and offer modern day technology advancements for their claims adjusters.

Irene Bianchi, CEO for Peel Mutual, says, “We are so excited to start the new year off with a better communication commitment to our policyholders. We strive to leverage cutting edge technology in a simple way that today’s customers just expect.”

Dan Heap, VP of Claims, adds, “We are proud to offer not just a texting solution for our insureds, but also a more simple and efficient way for our team to handle claims.”

The Hi Marley platform addresses a significant industry issue of phone tag by connecting carriers and customers through two-way texting. They can communicate and exchange pictures and document, while the insurance-specific AI enables the process. Carriers can start with zero IT effort, delight customers with exceptional service and resolve claims faster. After successful results with US insurers, Hi Marley is now available in Canada.

Mitesh Suchak, COO of Hi Marley, said, “We are thrilled to be working with Peel Mutual and their innovative team. It is very exciting to support them as the first carrier to offer Hi Marley in the Canadian marketplace.”

About Hi Marley, Inc.

Hi Marley is a software provider offering the first AI-enabled conversation platform specifically designed for the insurance industry.  Hi Marley enables insurance carriers to easily and quickly communicate with customers and other partners in the insurance ecosystem so they can deliver an optimal customer experience. The platform has flexible APIs and requires zero integration to get started. Learn more at  www.himarley.com.

About Peel Mutual Insurance

Peel Mutual has been providing quality insurance products and serving Ontario residents since 1876. As one of the largest members of the Ontario Mutuals, we are owned and directed by our policyholders and represent one of the strongest, most secure financial networks in the world. We offer a complete line of residential, automobile, farm and commercial insurance products tailored to protect you and your family. Learn more at www.peelmutual.com.

SOURCE Hi Marley, Inc.

Related Links

https://himarley.com

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest