Feds quietly paid $75M settlement for Lac Megantic victims and to avoid lawsuits

By Andy Blatchford

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ The federal government quietly spent $75 million to settle with victims and creditors affected by the Lac-Megantic rail disaster  a contribution that also shielded it from lawsuits related to the deadly crash.

Former transport minister Lisa Raitt said the deal, which involved 24 other defendants who settled, was under negotiation before her Conservatives lost the October election to the Liberals.

The Liberals have refused to reveal how much the government gave to the $460-million settlement fund, even though at least two parties accused of wrongdoing in the deadly Quebec derailment disclosed their contributions.

But in a recent interview Raitt said the amount was public.

She said it was included in Transport Canada’s supplementary estimates as well as in its quarterly financial report under “out-of-court settlement.” The amount listed is $75 million.

Last week, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the figure was “classified” when asked how much taxpayer money the government set aside for the settlement.

Garneau also reiterated Ottawa’s denial under both the Liberals and the Tories that it had any legal responsibility for the 2013 oil- train accident that killed 47 people and levelled part of Lac-Megantic.

“We don’t acknowledge that we had any responsibility; however, we did want to make a contribution because of the impact of this terrible tragedy in Lac-Megantic,” Garneau said last week.

Raitt agreed that the government’s main goal behind the settlement was to speed up the process.

“The motivation was simple: this was an opportunity to get money to the victims for wrongful death in a shorter period of time through the U.S. bankruptcy proceedings as opposed to a long, drawn-out, litigious court case,” Raitt said in a recent interview.

The government’s decision to settle may have also been made to avoid the cost of fighting the allegations in court. It would have faced numerous lawsuits related to the derailment on both sides of the border, said the U.S.-based bankruptcy trustee for the company at the centre of the crash Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway.

Robert Keach has also said that, contractually speaking, the arrangement explicitly stated the settling parties were not acknowledging any liability with their contributions.

The Transportation Safety Board’s 2014 report on the crash said Transport Canada failed to recognize that the railway had urgent safety problems and was not following the rules. It also said the department failed to audit safety procedures at MM&A and didn’t conduct enough inspections.

Raitt responded to the TSB report at the time by saying the government’s role was to put the rules in place. The companies, the Conservative minister added, were expected to follow those regulations something she said MM&A did not do.

In the recent interview, Raitt reiterated the position that the rules weren’t respected.

“We don’t believe we are liable and it’s not an admission of liability,” said Raitt, who added she would have publicly disclosed the government’s settlement contribution.

Irving Oil has announced it had contributed $75 million to the fund. The train was transporting crude oil to Irving’s refinery in Saint John, N.B.

World Fuel Services Corp., the U.S. company that owned the oil aboard the train, announced a few months later that it provided US$110 million toward the settlement.

canada-press

March storm in #Ontario tops $25 million in insured damage

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that the cost of insured damage caused by the ice storm that swept through Southern Ontario between March 23-26 is estimated at more than $25 million, according to the preliminary estimates provided by Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).*

While the storm hit many areas, Fergus, Orangeville, Barrie, Newmarket and surrounding areas were particularly affected by the storm. Strong winds and freezing rain toppled fences, trees and power lines, and left hundreds without power.

“Extreme weather events that used to happen once every 40 years now occur every six years, and have been increasing in severity,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “In recent years, we’ve seen first-hand the impact that these storms can have, and the damage they do to our homes and businesses.”

Canadians, governments, businesses and the insurance industry recognize the toll that severe weather events are taking year after year. IBC has made adapting to severe weather a priority because it’s a phenomenon that continues to affect families and communities.

“One way to be better prepared is to understand your insurance coverage options,” Donaldson added. “Know what’s in your insurance policy, and research ways to reduce your property’s vulnerability to damage. For more information, speak with your insurance representative or call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC. We’re here to help.”

*This figure is based on a preliminary estimate from CatIQ, which compiles and combines comprehensive insured-loss amounts and related information to serve the risk management needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries.

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 $8.2 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

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

Thousands of items to check for insurance claims and possible restoration

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N.L. fish plant will be rebuilt after huge fire, owners assure workers

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. (The Canadian Press) — Tina Andrews woke Tuesday to the lingering smell of smoke and the knowledge that settled on so many residents of Bay de Verde, N.L.: it wasn’t just a nightmare.

Their sprawling fish plant, an economic engine for the lovely seaside town on Newfoundland’s eastern edge, really was a smouldering ruin after a fierce blaze erupted early Monday. Hundreds of vital jobs also went up in those billows of black ash, but owners the Quinlan Brothers offered some much-needed reassurance.

“There has been a great loss of physical assets, but all of it can be and will be replaced,” the company said in a statement late Tuesday.

“The company is fully insured, and it will rebuild at Bay de Verde as quickly as possible.”

It also said it can serve fish harvesters “as normal” with backup plans for processing.

“The company is working ’round the clock to put in place arrangements with other producers to add capacity, increase shifts, etc., that will ensure seafood landed is processed in a timely and high-quality manner.”

Andrews lives just two blocks from the fish plant.

“There’s dust and, I guess, it’s soot and ash, all over the furniture,” she said of damage left by thick smoke as the fire burned throughout Monday. Still, Andrews feels luckier than most to still have a job as a gas attendant in the nearby town of Old Perlican.

As the investigation into the cause of the fire continues, many of her neighbours have no idea what to do next, she said.

Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker, whose district includes Bay de Verde, knew many of the 700 people who worked in the plant.

“Any time a tragedy like this happens, it’s awful,” he said in an interview. “But as a province, we’ll rebuild. We’ve seen this in the past.

“I look forward to this being a short interruption.”

Crocker said he’ll work with Quinlan Brothers to help displaced workers and ensure millions of pounds of seafood are processed at other sites. It’s possible labourers affected, including 43 who arrived earlier this month from Thailand, could be added to extra shifts at plants in nearby towns, he added.

Crocker said the plant is the province’s largest snow crab producer and processed about seven million kilograms last year. It was expected to ramp up its annual run starting this month through November.

The fisheries minister is also looking to Ottawa for some help. Many workers are home from Alberta after the oil-sector collapse and were counting on income from the plant, along with hours toward employment insurance benefits.

Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk said Tuesday that Service Canada officials are setting up an office in the region where workers can get advice.

“All of Canada was shocked to see such a horrific fire,” she said in an interview. “It’s going to rock Bay de Verde and the whole region. So we’ll work with the company, we want to be there, we’re there already, and we intend to stay and help the folks that lost their jobs for this year.”

Andrews said the brightness in a dark time is how people from the area and far beyond have offered everything from cash donations to spare rooms and sandwiches.

People are also especially grateful to regional firefighters who risked their lives containing a ferocious blaze that could have been much worse, she said.

“What they did, it’s amazing.”

canada-press

Toronto: Man busted for alleged insurance scam

BY , TORONTO SUN

TORONTO – A Vaughan man has been accused of creating false identities to get insurance and then cashing in tens of thousands in bogus claims.

York Regional Police’s major fraud unit launched an investigation in October after receiving a call about a possible insurance scam, police said Monday.

Investigators alleged false identities and stolen credit cards were used to obtain and pay premiums on auto and home insurance policies. False claims were later made on those policies, according to police.

The insurance money paid out — around $63,000 in total — was funnelled into “fraudulent bank accounts” and then transferred to the suspect, police alleged.

Adeniyi Rafael Kayode, 36, is charged with fraud over $5,000, unauthorized use of credit card data, and laundering proceeds of crime. He is due to appear in a Newmarket courtroom May 5.

The types of insurance that any kind of business must have

Tucson, AZ (SBWIRE) Business Insurance signifies one kind of security to any business. In times of acts of God and unexpected circumstances, business insurance is a great help.

risk

Usually, the kinds of business insurance and the levels of coverage are determined by the type of business itself. However, it may also affect lenders who are responsible for holding portions of the business as security against loans.

Here are some of the types of insurance that any kind of business must have:

General Liability Insurance. This kind of insurance is indeed a must, whatever the business is, even home-based businesses. In any case of claims for compensation from people outside the business, this general liability insurance provides protection.

Property Insurance. Business owners should always consider business interruption concerns business personal property, which includes office equipment, computers, inventory, or tools. This would protect any business from undesirable instances such fire, vandalism, theft and smoke damage.

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). A typical business should involve these insurance policies. It is a combination of protection from all major property and even liability put together in one package. For many business owners, BOP would save money because of the bundle of services at lesser cost.

Worker’s Compensation. At any time, injury may occur to employees in the course of employment.In business, worker’s compensation protects the company and the employees.

Commercial Auto Insurance. This insurance involves the vehicles that carry employees and the products and equipment of the company.

Professional Liability Insurance. Commonly known as Errors and Omissions Insurance, failure to perform on the part of the policyholder, lost finance and error in the service are all covered in this type of insurance.

Directors and Officers Insurance. Directors and Officers Insurance protects the directors and officers of a company. It covers the costs or damages lost of any officers in a legal situation. It can also cover the defense costs from any criminal and regulatory investigations and trials.

Homeowner’s Insurance. Homeowner’s insurance, focused to protect the home of an individual against house damages or possessions in the home, is one of the most important kinds of insurance. Additionally, this type of insurance provides liability coverage against accidents in the home and property, as well. Homeowners insurance in Tucson, Arizona, for instance, is one of the least expensive because Tucson is given a rating based on its proximity to fire protection.

Life insurance. If there is an insurance that protects any person from death, it is the life insurance. This would not put too much financial burden on the family of the insurance holder who died.

Insurance is a good decision taken by any business owner. Understanding the differences of a variety of insurance types and getting involved with those are quite better decisions from sudden and paralyzing damages in the near future.

To learn about insurance training for Canadian insurance agents, visit ILScorp.com

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