‘Try [to] keep that loss at a bare minimum.’– Kent Rowe, Insurance Broker’s Association

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Motorist Found Fully At Fault For Crash Despite Being Rear-Ended

Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken

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Although it is the exception rather than the norm, when a motorist is rear-ended they can sometimes be found partly if not fully at fault for a collision.  Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, with such an outcome.

In today’s case (Bingul v. Youngson) the Plaintiff was rear-ended by a dump-truck driven by the Defendant.  The parties had different versions of how the collision occurred but the Court noted concerns with the Plaintiff’s credibility and accepted the Defendant’s testimony.  The court found that the Plaintiff abruptly moved into the lane of traffic occupied by the Defendant when it was unsafe to do so, namely when he was stopping for an intersection up ahead.  In finding the Plaintiff fully at fault and dismissing the claim Madam Justice Baker provided the following reasons:

[53]         Having considered these and other matters relevant to credibility, and taking into account the testimony of Mr. Tupper, which supports the testimony of Mr. Youngson, I conclude that I must and do prefer the evidence of Mr. Youngson about the circumstances of the accident.  I conclude that Mr. Youngson has provided an explanation for the collision − the sudden and unexpected lane change made by Mr. Bingul − that negatives the prima facie assumption of liability on the following driver.

[54]         I am unable to conclude that anything done or not done by Mr. Youngson constituted negligence that caused or contributed to the collision.  Mr. Youngson testified that as he was approaching the intersection with Clark Drive he anticipated having to bring his vehicle to a stop for a red light.  He braked and down-shifted and reduced his speed to 30 to 35 kph as he approached the intersection.  He testified that had Mr. Bingul not suddenly moved into his lane ahead of him, he would have able to bring his vehicle to a complete stop at or before the stop line, but that Mr. Bingul’s move reduced his stopping distance to an unsafe degree.

[55]         Mr. Bingul was aware that there was a large and heavy vehicle in the lane.  I conclude that it was solely Mr. Bingul’s sudden and negligent move into the lane of travel of Mr. Youngson’s large and heavy vehicle that created the risk of collision and resulted in the accident.

[56]         I therefore dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against all defendants.

Many Hurricane Matthew victims don’t have flood insurance

By Kelli Kennedy And Russ Bynum

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

POOLER, Ga. _ Waist-deep floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew coursed down the street in Pooler and seeped under Lori Galemore’s doors, swamping the carpets and furniture as she and her three sons retreated upstairs, where they stayed until firefighters arrived by boat.

Galemore and her neighbours in Pooler, a community about 35 miles inland from the evacuated Georgia coast, were deluged not by seawater driven ashore by the hurricane, but by rain and runoff that overwhelmed a drainage ditch at the end of their cul-de-sac.

“Everybody said, ‘You’re not in a flood plain. You don’t need flood insurance,” Galemore said Wednesday as her husband and sons threw out soggy furniture, waterlogged books, towels and blankets and wet chunks of drywall. “And flood insurance is expensive. Who wants to pay that?”

Galemore’s story is all too common. Many Americans don’t have flood insurance, some because they don’t want to pay for it, some because they don’t see the need for it.

Even in high-risk flood zones where homes are required to have such coverage, the compliance rate nationally was only 53 per cent as of 2015, according to the government’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Industry officials say it is a troubling situation, especially since the risk of flooding appears to be on the rise.

“We seem to be having more and more flooding events, be it climate change or other things. We’re seeing areas that are experiencing flooding events that may not have experienced them in the past,” said Cynthia DiVincenti, a vice-president at Aon National Flood Services.

Ordinary homeowner insurance typically covers wind damage _ torn-off roofs, fallen trees _ but not flooding. Banks require homes in high-risk flood zones to buy flood insurance, but even then the percentage of properties that are covered is well short of 100 per cent. It was 57 per cent in Florida, 72 per cent in South Carolina and 81 per cent in Louisiana, the National Flood Insurance Program reported.

Worse, lots of flooding takes place outside those designated hazard areas. That was the case when heavy storms flooded parts of South Carolina last year and an unnamed storm recently inundated the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area. The damage in Baton Rouge was put at $660 million, and most people there had no flood insurance.

“Flooding is the most common and costly disaster we see in the United States,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Rafael Lemaitre. Flood claims have averaged more than $1.9 billion per year since 2006, according to federal officials.

Flood insurance in low- to moderate-risk areas averages $400 to $600 a year, according to FEMA. FEMA, through the National Flood Insurance Program, offers flood insurance because it’s generally not profitable for private insurers to sell it.

Matthew sideswiped Florida and Georgia last week before blowing ashore briefly in South Carolina and unloading more than a foot of rain on North Carolina, where it triggered disastrous flooding. The U.S. death toll is well over 30.

Walter Coker’s fish camp on the Matanzas River in Crescent Beach, Florida, was inundated. The 4-foot surge destroyed a warehouse on the property where he stores furniture imported from Indonesia. The boat slips he rents out were torn apart, with the huge wooden pilings used to hold the docks jerked out of the river bottom. Floodwaters inundated his bait and tackle shop, ruining the coolers that hold bait and beer.

Coker didn’t have flood insurance.

“I did look into it. It would’ve been very expensive,” he said. “It’s one of those things you don’t buy it on something you don’t think will happen.”

The floodwaters were waist-high inside Kathy Finger’s elegant two-story brick home with crystal chandeliers in Nichols, South Carolina. Now she is unsure how to proceed without flood insurance.

“I wouldn’t imagine that hardly anyone had it,” the 67-year-old said of her town near the Lumber River. The river had never overflowed before, and no one had any reason to fear it would, she said.

Homeowners without flood insurance may qualify for federal grants for shelter and food, but those are typically small sums and aren’t meant to replace all losses. Homeowners can also apply for low-interest disaster loans, which must be repaid.

Paul Mueller estimated his Pooler home has up to $80,000 worth of damage from the foot of water in his house. Like his neighbours, Mueller doesn’t have flood insurance either.

“We’re all in the same boat here,” he said.  “If we had trees to come down on our houses, we’d have been covered. That’s the sad truth.”

Flood damage total at least $10M, premier’s office confirms

Source: CBC | Newfoundland & Labrador

The cost of repairing damage across Newfoundland from flooding and road washouts in the wake of Hurricane Matthew will be much higher than first thought.

Premier Dwight Ball’s office confirmed late Thursday morning that the repair bill will total at least $10 million.

Earlier in the week, Ball estimated damages would be at least $1.5 million, the threshold to qualify for federal assistance.

Whatever level of government pays, repairs are continuing, according to the Department of Transportation and Works, with road links being restored to communities cut off by the torrential rainfall.

Route 340 to Michael’s Harbour, near Lewisporte, has reopened, along with Route 352 to Phillip’s Head, near Botwood.

A number of secondary roads in Notre Dame Bay, through Norris Arm North, Northern Arm and Charles Brook, as well as Route 340 to Embree and Little Burnt Bay and Route 341 to Brown’s Arm had one lane open.

While the Conne River intersection at Route 360 was open, the portion of road near Cat Brook had reduced lanes in sections and Swanger’s Cove Bridge on Route 361 was still closed.

Route 364 to Hermitage remained closed, with one lane due to open by Thursday evening and the road from Musgrave Harbour to Aspen Cove was also closed.

Applications for relief

In the meantime, applications to the Newfoundland and Labrador Disaster Financial Assistance Program are being accepted.

Liberal MP Scott Simms said the first assessment of damage will be done by the province, and the federal government’s assistance will be focused on the medium and long term.

Simms told CBC Radio’s Central Morning Show that applications will be channeled through Ralph Goodale, the minister of public safety.

“[Residents] apply under the disaster assistance arrangements program, and they can get up to 90 per cent reimbursement for the damage. My job now is to go around and make sure that everyone is OK, and we move from here and see what kind of work that we need to do.”

Scott Simms is the Liberal MP for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame. (Liberal Party of Canada)

Simms said the only federal assistance to the province so far has been search and rescue.

“I advise people — like [with] what happened around Igor — check on your neighbours, check on the most vulnerable — the elderly, young children — make sure everyone’s OK and then we [can] get on with the cleanup,” Simms said.

Homeowners, small businesses, non-profit organizations and communities can apply for government disaster relief.

Residents should contact their insurance companies first to help alleviate further damage, a provincial government release stated.

For more information and advice from the provincial government click here.

Kim Kardashian West sues online media outlet for libel

By Larry Neumeister

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ Kim Kardashian West sued an online media outlet for libel Tuesday, saying she was wrongly portrayed as a liar and thief after she was attacked in Paris.

The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court seeks unspecified damages from MediaTakeOut.com. It said Kardashian West, traumatized by the Oct. 3 armed robbery, was victimized a second time when the website reported hours afterward that she faked the robbery and lied about the assault.

The website’s owner, Fred Mwangaguhunga, didn’t answer his phone when comment was sought Tuesday. A message left with the website wasn’t immediately returned.

Police said armed robbers forced their way into a private residence where the reality TV star was staying, tied her up and stole $10 million worth of jewelry. She was in Paris for fashion week.

No arrests have been made.

The lawsuit said the website lacked any factual support when it published a series of articles referring to her as a liar and a thief and alleged that she faked the robbery, lied about the violent assault and filed a fraudulent claim with her insurance company to cheat her carrier out of millions of dollars.

The lawsuit said the “malicious publication of the articles, which paint the victim of a serious crime as a criminal herself, is libelous.”

The website also ignored her demand that it publish a retraction and apology for calling her a liar and a criminal, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, Kardashian was assaulted and robbed by two masked men who put a gun to her head, duct-taped her hands, legs and mouth, and left her lying helplessly on the bathroom floor while they left with the jewelry.

After the attack, her husband, Kanye West, abruptly ended his New York concert, announcing that he had a family emergency.

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How Much Insurance Money Will Kim Kardashian Receive for Her Stolen Jewels?

Billboard.com

A few hours after midnight on Monday morning, Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel of what is now estimated to be more than $10 million worth of jewelry — a story that has captivated the media, both in Europe and the U.S., in the days since.

As there is little chance the jewels will be recovered, Kardashian is now presumably about to enter into a complicated claims process with her insurance company — most likely Lloyd’s of London (which specializes in insurance for multimillion-dollar gems), according to Scott Andrew Selby, co-author of Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History.

But how much Kardashian West will receive for the loss (assuming, of course, that each piece was insured) depends on a number of factors, including the category and conditions of her coverage. “It all depends on the type of jewelry coverage the customer purchased,” Janece White, North American vice president of underwriting and jewelry specialist at Chubb Personal Risk Services, a multinational property and casualty insurer, tells Billboard. “Was it worldwide coverage? Was there a maximum amount of coverage provided while traveling? Were there any restrictions with regard to the security required while traveling with the jewelry? In some instances restrictions are placed on the policy, which require that when traveling the jewelry be kept in a secure hotel safe — not the room safe.”

The conditions of Elizabeth Taylor’s insurance on the famous, 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton diamond, for example, specified that Taylor should only wear it in public 30 days per year and when protected by security guards, according to Lloyd’s. If anything had happened to the diamond while violating those conditions, she would not have received the full value of her claim.

Assuming Kardashian West is indeed insured, and was following the dictates of her policy to a T, the claims process will still be complicated. “Very high value, unique and rare items can be tricky to replace with pieces of ‘like kind and quality,’ which is the standard for most insurance companies,” Heather Perkins, head of underwriting at Los Angeles-based jewelry insurance specialist Lavalier, tellsBillboard. “So a multi-million dollar claim like this one is going to be difficult, both to investigate and to resolve.”

It is common for those who own jewels as pricey at Kardashian West’s to wear imitation jewelry while traveling — something White strongly suggests for other owners of high-ticket items. And if an imitation set is not an option, storing the jewels in the hotel security safe when they aren’t being worn is a must. “I would also be wary of making my whereabouts known, as individuals who could wish me harm could use that information,” she adds. “And lastly, because even when all precautions are taken, sometimes bad things happen. I would want to make sure I had the best insurance coverage in place to protect my valuabl

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