News and entertainment website says data for one million users hacked

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL _ News and entertainment website says some of its databases containing the personal information of about one million users from 1996 to 2008 has been hacked.

The company says the databases breached contained records including names, email addresses, mailing addresses and telephone numbers.

The information was provided by users for contests, forums, comments pages or the hosting of personal pages. Information collected after 2008 was not compromised., which learned of the incident on Sept. 2, says there was no evidence that the compromised data contained financial information, such as credit card numbers or socialinsurance numbers.

The company says it has informed the RCMP, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the provincial privacy commissioners of the breach.

It said anyone worried about the data breach should call 1-833-370-2898. is operated by MediaQMI Inc. (TSX:TVA.B) and was owned by Sun Media Corp. before 2015.

No single formula for hurricane recovery

By Joyce M. Rosenberg



There’s no single formula for a small business to recover from a hurricane or other natural disaster. Many variables determine how well a company can rebound, including the severity of the disaster, the extent of the damage, the type of business it is and how well-prepared it was.

Perhaps the most important factor is money: Does a small business have adequate iInsurance and/or cash reserves to pay for cleanup and rebuilding, and, if it’s unable to operate, to pay its expenses? The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that 40 per cent of companies fail after a disaster. Businesses are particularly at risk during hurricanes because many can’t afford expensive flood insurance, which is sold separately from standard commercial insurance coverage. Many owners don’t buy it because they believe they’re in an area unlikely to flood.

If a company’s premises were destroyed or heavily damaged to the point where it couldn’t be used, its recovery will be delayed until it can rebuild. If the surrounding area is heavily damaged, it can be hard to hire contractors. Building materials may be scarce because of the soaring demand from homeowners and other businesses.

Manufacturers can have a prolonged recovery if equipment has been damaged water, especially if it is salt water, can destroy machinery or leave it covered in rust. Madelaine Chocolates, located near the ocean in New York City’s Rockaway section, was shut for 10 months after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. When the company reopened, it was able to resume only partial production while more repairs were being done on its equipment.

Another potential issue: Is the disaster area accessible? Floods can damage roads and bridges, and earthquakes like the one that hit the Los Angeles area in 1994 can destroy highways and bridges.

Retailers have more than a cleanup to deal with. If merchandise is ruined, that means lost sales until the place is cleaned up and replacements arrive.

The companies likely to have the easiest transition back are those that made arrangements so they could keep operating. If employees can telecommute and the company uses backup computer systems located miles away, or uses the cloud to store data, they often can keep working. A bank in Vermont operated out of a trailer for seven months while the branch was rebuilt following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

The flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and its suburbs left many small businesses unable to operate for weeks or months because employees who had evacuated had lost their homes and could not return to the area. Stores, restaurants and other businesses that weren’t damaged, including those in the city’s famed French Quarter, nonetheless had a long recovery because the tourism industry was affected for years after Katrina.


There’s plenty of information online to help business owners get their companies ready for a hurricane or other disaster. They can learn how to create a long-term plan, or what they’d need to do in a hurry.

In short, experts on disaster prep say a company’s first priority should be ensuring that employees are safe and can be located when the danger has passed. Business information should be protected  ideally backed up online with a company a long distance away from the disaster area. Any computer equipment that can be removed from the premises should be, and taken to a safe area.

“I want people to know that you need to get out-of-province insurance,” she said.

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Worst case scenario not happening and insurance sector soars

NEW YORK _ Though damage from Hurricane Irma is extensive, property insurers are breathing a sigh of relief with the storm nowhere near as catastrophic as many had feared.

Shares in insurance companies that had been hammered in the days leading up to the storm are surging Monday, the first day of trading since the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Particularly strong are companies with a strong presence in Florida, like Federated National Holding, HCI and Heritage Insurance.

Citi analyst James Naklicki is estimating U.S. insured loses to be about $20 billion, with totals reaching up to $50 billion. A direct hit to Miami, he says, could have meant up to $150 billion in costs.

Larger insurers like Travelers, Allstate and Progressive are also rising.

Couche Tard braces for hurricane Irma while rebuilding from Harvey’s destruction

By Dan Healing


LAVAL, Que. _ Employees of Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSX:ATD.B) in the Florida region are bracing for hurricane Irma as Texas staff continue to try to recover from “devastating” damage from hurricane Harvey, CEO Brian Hannasch said Wednesday.

“The flooding and damage done by Harvey is among the worst in our U.S. history and we continue to monitor daily the situation to help out our employees, their families and our customers,” he said on a conference call.

“As we approach the weekend, we’re now preparing for hurricane Irma while at the same time hoping the storm loses strength and turns back into the Atlantic.”

Alimentation Couche-Tard said it closed 123 stores because of Harvey and 24 were still shut down as of Tuesday.

Employees in the Florida region are topping up store inventories of fuel, water and batteries while hoping they don’t see  “panic buying” as occurred in San Antonio and Dallas where lineups for fuel forced people to wait as long as five or six hours, Hannasch said.

He said the company has had to deal with hurricanes since buying Circle K in 2003.

But its recent spate of acquisitions have increased its exposure, especially its deal that closed in June for San Antonio-based CST Brands which included more than 600 stores in Texas.

He said that deal and one for CrossAmerica Partners wholesale fuel network have “critically strengthened” the company.

Alimentation Couche-Tard has some property insurance for storms but doesn’t carry business interruption insurance, he said.

‘We view ourselves as being very, very geographically diversified and certainly that’s an advantage to us with situations we faced with Harvey and potentially here with hurricane Irma,” said Hannasch.

His comments came as Couche-Tard, which reports in U.S. dollars, announced it had $365 million or 64 cents per share of net earnings in the first quarter of its 2018 financial year.

After adjustments to exclude numerous items including the impact of the acquisition of CST and the sale of some of its assets, Couche-Tard says it earned about $380 million or 67 cents per share.

The adjusted earnings were up 17.5 per cent from the same time last year and total revenue including acquisitions was up 16.9 per cent at $9.85 billion as of July 23, about a month before devastating flooding began sweeping the U.S. Gulf states.

Analyst Irene Nattel said she has modestly increased adjusted earnings forecasts going forward because of the quarterly trend but added those predictions don’t include potentially negative results due to Harvey and Irma.

Home insurance: 37% of tenants playing with fire

Home insurance: 37% of tenants playing with fire

With the annual merry go round of July moves over, and tenants now in their new homes, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) noted with concern that too many Quebecers still don’t have home insurance.

In fact, a survey done for IBC among 3,076 individuals revealed that 37% of tenants in Quebec have no home insurance, a regrettable situation that clearly puts their financial security at risk. Home insurance not only covers personal property, it also covers liability.

Reasons given for not insuring

  • Too expensive: Almost half (48%) of survey respondents said that the cost of insurance was the main reason. In fact, nearly 70% of insured tenants don’t pay more than $22 a month for their insurance.
  • Little or no property to insure: the lack of personal property to insure or its low value was the second reason mentioned for not buying home insurance (one third of respondents).  Making an inventory of our property often makes us realize that we own more than we thinks.
  • Covered by the owner: 15% of survey respondents falsely believe that the owner’s insurance will cover their personal property in case of loss.  This is a widely-held belief among the 65 and over age group, who would refer to their owner in case of loss.
  • Negligence: 16% of respondents hadn’t given it any thought.

These results show that we need to keep up the information and awareness activities with tenants. A large number of Quebecers still don’t realize the situation they would find themselves in if they were to lose everything in a fire, for example. “This new survey shows that the general public still needs to be made aware of the risks they run if they have no home insurance. In addition to losing everything and being homeless, uninsured tenants may have to indemnify the owner if they were responsible for the loss”, noted Anne Morin, Supervisor, Public Affairs, at Insurance Bureau of Canada.

More familiar with the coverage

Paradoxically, the majority of respondents knew what home insurance policies cover. Theft and fire coverage were the best known, followed by liability, vandalism and water damage.

However, when uninsured tenants were asked who would pay for repairs if, for example, their bathtub overflowed into their neighbour’s apartment or if a fire were to damage their belongings, less than one tenant in two knew that they would be liable for repairs and repayment of damaged property.

“It’s interesting to note that while they may be familiar with basic home insurance coverage, there are still many uninsured tenants who aren’t aware that they would be liable, as a result if a loss,  for repairs or replacement of property damaged through their own fault”, noted Ms Morin.

To help consumers see more clearly, IBC’s Insurance Centre is there for them, Monday to Friday, from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.They just need to do is call 514 288-4321 (Montreal area) or 1 877 288-4321 (elsewhere in Quebec). The relevant information is also available at .

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada, which groups the majority Canada’s P&C insurers, offers various services to consumers in order to inform and assist them when purchasing car or home insurance, or making a claim.


SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

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