Insurance Bureau of Canada Advice and Information Following Manitoba Storm

EDMONTON, Oct. 15, 2019 /CNW/ – In the aftermath of the snow and windstorm that hammered Manitoba over the weekend, knocking down trees and leaving thousands without heat or power, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is reaching out with tips and advice for those affected.

“We know this storm has caused significant difficulties across the province and our thoughts are with the families who have had their lives disrupted. When you are able to call, your insurance representative is ready to help you with your claim,” said Celyeste Power, Vice-President, Western, IBC.

What insurance covers
Most home and business insurance policies cover damage caused by storms, including damage caused by snow and wind. Your insurance representative is at the ready to clarify the details of your policy.

The claims process
If you have been affected by the Manitoba storm and power outages and, if it is safe to do so, take the following steps:

  • Assess and document the damage. Taking photos is helpful.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items.
  • If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Keep damaged items unless they pose a health hazard.
  • If you have to move out of your home because of insured damage, check with your insurance representative about whether your policy provides additional living expenses coverage, which may cover your costs if you have to move into a hotel/motel.

Damages to refrigerator and freezer contents

  • Your refrigerator, freezer and their contents may be covered for damage related to food spoilage caused by a power interruption. Typically, in this situation, your freezer and its contents are insured for a specified amount. Check your policy.
  • Before disposing of food from your freezer, make a list and take photos of the contents for insurance purposes.
  • If you suspect your fridge or freezer is contaminated by food spoilage or other damage related to the storm, speak to your insurer before discarding the appliance.
  • If your insurer agrees that the refrigerator or freezer must be replaced, the cost of de-gassing and disposing of the appliance is typically covered under the debris-removal portion of your policy.

Next steps

  • Once you have reported a loss, you will be assigned a claims adjuster. It may take some time, but you will be contacted.
  • The claims adjuster will investigate the circumstances of the loss, examine the documents you provide and explain the process. Take notes during these conversations and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Anyone with questions should contact their insurance representative or, for general information, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

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 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_West 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

For further information: To schedule an interview, please contact: Vanessa Barrasa, Manager, Media Relations, 416-550-9062,

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“Little Weight” Given To ICBC Experts in Three Cases Released Today

The BC government is making more noise about Rule of Court reforms regarding expert opinion evidence in personal injury cases in an effort to save ICBC money.  Their not so subtle message is that Plaintiff’s hire too many experts to prove their claims.  If cases released by the BC Supreme Court today are any guide it is ICBC that is in need of reform when it comes to the practice of hiring physicians hoping to refute collision related injuries.

In three separate cases published today by the BC Supreme Court three separate judges found ICBC hired expert opinions deserved “little weight“.

In the first case (Francello v. Cupskey) the Plaintiff was injured in two collisions.  ICBC retained a physician who provided opinion evidence minimizing the Plaintiffs injuries in connection to the crash.  In finding this opinion deserved “little weight” Mr. Justice Burnyeat provided the following comments:

[124]     I am not prepared to find that the Opinion and the testimony of Dr. Bell is inadmissible as was requested by counsel for Ms. Fancello. However, I am prepared to give it very little weight and prefer the evidence in these regards provided by those who remain licensed, continue to see patients, remain up to date in their review of applicable literature, and who saw Ms. Fancello in a professional capacity. I also cannot conclude as did Dr. Bell that the falls being experienced by Ms. Fancello were “just an isolated incident” or that it would be appropriate to discount reports of dizziness.

In the second case released today (Dinnisen v. Lee) the Plaintiff was a pedestrian struck by a vehicle while in a marked crosswalk.  She suffered serious injuries including a fractured right collarbone, a fractured left wrist, and an injury to her brain.  In the course of litigation ICBC had her assessed by neurologist who provided opinions minimizing her injuries.  In giving “little weight” to this opinion Mr. Justice Funt provided the following reasons:

[84]         I have given little weight to Dr. Dost’s opinion for several reasons. First, Dr. Dost takes a primarily statistical approach based on medical literature rather than focusing on the plaintiff with her particular health history, medical imaging, and her symptoms…

[90]         Second, Dr. Dost’s clinical testing is suspect. Dr. Dost met with the plaintiff for 27 minutes in the morning of September 24, 2017 in order to conduct his assessment. During this time, Dr. Dost asked her a number of unchallenging questions as part of an intake questionnaire (e.g., height, time in hospital, work hours, recreational pursuits)…

[92]         I do not accept that even an experienced neurologist can observe and determine decreased processing speed except in obvious instances (e.g., slow to answer easy and readily understandable questions). Dr. Dost’s method is further suspect in that he did not test the plaintiff later in the day after she had been at work for at least several hours. In the plaintiff’s case, her cognitive fatigue occurred later in the day after several hours of work involving mental tasks…

[95]         Third, Dr. Dost failed to consider the possibility that the patient lost consciousness in the Accident…

[103]     Fourth, Dr. Dost testified that none of the other experts diagnosed the plaintiff as having suffered a moderate traumatic brain injury. A moderate traumatic brain injury may have affected the “effect size” in his statistical analysis. However, as may be seen below, Dr. Cameron opined that the plaintiff “suffered a complicated mild traumatic brain injury or moderate traumatic brain injury”…

[105]     Fifth, as quoted above, Dr. Dost in his June 13, 2018 report states:

I would recommend a psychiatric assessment and I would like the report provided for a review.

[106]     The defendant obtained a psychiatric assessment from Dr. P. Janke but the defendant did not give Dr. Dost a copy of Dr. Janke’s report. Dr. Janke was not called as a witness at trial nor was his report tendered as expert opinion. Dr. Janke’s report was given to the plaintiff and the plaintiff gave it to her medical experts. Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Dr. Cameron referred to Dr. Janke’s report.

[107]     The fact that Dr. Dost recommended a psychiatric assessment of the plaintiff and asked to see the relevant report makes his report provisional…

[110]     It is unhelpful to the fact finding process that a party holds back from one of its own experts an opinion of another of its experts where the areas of expertise overlap, especially when the opinion has been provided to the other party.

[111]     As seen above, in his June 13, 2018 report, Dr. Dost states:

I would expect that if these issues are based on psychiatric issues, then treatment of her psychiatric problem will lead to improvement. [Emphasis added.]

[112]     Dr. Dost’s opinion was provisional. In his October 15, 2018 addendum, his opinion remained unchanged. By this time, he had received the October 26, 2017 independent medical examination report prepared by Dr. D.H. Smith, a psychiatrist. In his October 26, 2017 report, Dr. Smith agrees with Dr. Cameron that in terms of outcome, a mild complicated traumatic brain injury is more like a moderate traumatic brain injury.

[113]     In sum, I have given little weight to Dr. Dost’s report, addendum, and evidence. I find that he did not undertake a sufficiently thorough analysis of the plaintiff’s symptoms and surrounding circumstances in order to provide sufficient reliability of opinion evidence to the Court. He was also somewhat hampered by not having been given a copy of Dr. Janke’s report.

In the final case released today (Miller v. Resurreccion) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2011 collision that the Defendant admitted fault for.  ICBC again retained an expert who minimized the connection of the Plaintiff’s injuries to the collision.  In finding aspects of his opinion deserved “little weight” Madam Justice Baker provided the following comments:

In his second report he questioned whether the flare up of symptoms experienced by Ms. Miller in 2016 could be related to the accident. He did note that migraines fluctuate and can worsen when psychological issues develop.

[81]         Dr. Woolfenden’s opinions were based in part on his understanding that Ms. Miller had a longstanding history of pre-accident headaches, including severe headaches, and neck pain. Under cross examination, Dr. Woolfenden agreed that his understanding of Ms. Miller’s pre-accident pain and headaches arose primarily from the records of Ms. Gibson and Dr. Miles. Both Ms. Gibson and Dr. Miles testified at trial, and their evidence did not support the understanding Dr. Woolfenden gained from their notes. As such, I place little weight on Dr. Woolfenden’s conclusions on the possible origin of Ms. Miller’s headaches.

Advocacy in the Guise of Opinion, bc injury law, Dinnessen v. Lee, Fancello v. Cupskey, madam justice baker, Miller v. Resurreccion, Mr. Justice Bunryeat, Mr. Justice Funt

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

By Tom Fletcher | Victoria News

Private insurers say they would be happy to take B.C. Attorney General David Eby up on his challenge to compete with ICBC for optional insurance, if the Crown corporation would share its driver history information directly with them.

“ICBC denies other insurers access to a customer’s driving record and accident history, as well as to the claims information that all insurers need to price and sell auto insurance,” the Insurance Bureau of Canada said in a statement released Friday. “As the monopoly insurer in the province, ICBC holds this information and uses it to price its products.”

The private insurance industry group was responding to Eby’s comments last week about big increases for new drivers as ICBC moves to a new risk-based rate structure. Eby said the biggest increase in mandatory basic liability insurance new drivers will face is 12 per cent, or about $200 a year.

It’s the optional insurance, including collision repair, where younger drivers are facing the biggest increases, Eby said, and if private insurers believe they can do it at a lower price, “they should do so.”

Vehicle insurers make driver information available between companies everywhere else in Canada, including Quebec, where the government insurer shares driver data, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says. That’s why Quebec has more than 100 private insurers competing for optional insurance, and B.C. has “only two insurers that compete with ICBC in any meaningful sense.”

Eby has argued that drivers can retrieve their own driving records from ICBC online and take them to a private insurer to compare rates. Private insurers say that is the barrier that prevents better competition in B.C.

“If the Attorney General is suggesting that he will force ICBC to provide other insurers with the data they need to sell auto insurance in B.C., other insurers will gladly provide British Columbians with the choice they deserve,” the bureau said. “Given ICBC’s current performance, it’s a choice that’s desperately needed.”


Victoria News

Are insurance companies ready to handle a major disaster?

By Cindy White

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – What would happen to insurance companies if Canada is hit by a major catastrophe?

While the Calgary floods of 2013 and the Fort McMurray wildfire hit insurance companies hard, a report from the University of Calgary warns larger disasters could lead to the financial collapse of the industry.

Risk Management Professor Anne Klefner said when you have a multi-billion dollar event, it could see some firms crumble.

“For any insurer that becomes insolvent, the rest of the insurance industry then is assessed in order to pay the liabilities of the now insolvent insurers. It’s that which ultimately creates this domino effect.”

Flefner believes as many as 18 insurance companies could go bankrupt following major disasters, leaving property owners in the lurch or governments having to pick up the tab for recovery.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates about $3.7 billion in insured damages came from the Fort McMurray fires, making it the costliest disaster in Canadian history.

The southern Alberta floods cost insurance companies $1.6 billion.

In 2017, the IBC said losses due to natural disasters have increased dramatically over the last ten years.

Klefner said an earthquake in places like Vancouver or Montreal, could cause $35 billion in damages.

“We’re talking about events much, much larger than what we’ve seen to date. Much bigger than Fort McMurray, for example. The idea is there is limited capacity, so although it’s high, it’s not unlimited.”

Canada is the only G7 nation that doesn’t have a federal government plan to help the insurance industry as a whole deal with mega catastrophes.

Consumers, tech companies look to life beyond the Social Insurance Number

Christopher Reynolds

The Canadian Press

In the wake of data breaches at both of Canada’s credit monitoring agencies, some experts say the problem isn’t theft of social insurance numbers and other information, but rather our approach to proving who we are.

As social insurance numbers (SINs) continue to flow into the hands of hackers, industry players and consumers are increasingly on the hunt for an overhaul to how we identify ourselves in the digital age.

Over a lifetime, Canadians hand out their SINs left and right — to landlords, credit agencies, credit card companies, car rental firms, colleges and universities. In none of those cases are they required to do so, although a SIN is often requested.

Federal rules require citizens to provide their SIN only to certain government agencies as well as employers and — if the account earns interest — to financial institutions.

Starting in 1964, SINs originally served as client numbers tied to employment insurance programs and the Canada Pension Plan. Its current use as a kind of ultimate identity marker has far outgrown its original intent, providing effective proof of who you are when matched up with another personal document or piece of information such as a driver’s license or date of birth.

However, if criminals gets a hold of more than one of those ID verifiers, they could use them to file a fake tax return or apply for a loan or mortgage in your name, with consequences that could last decades.

Until the digital age, computer hacking hardly posed a risk to people’s data. Nor were there large databases that stored millions of SINs, outside of government institutions and banks, says Rich Mogull, CEO of Phoenix-based security firm Securosis.

“Earlier, even in my lifetime — I’m only in my 40s — everything was more local. We went into our local bank, even credit cards were generally issued from a local bank,” he said.

“But we started moving toward large-scale regional and national banking…and we started applying for things like loans online” — boosting the need for unique identifiers that could be presented remotely and recognized by a computer.

Increasingly, credit monitoring agencies, utilities companies and credit card vendors began to use social insurance numbers — or social security numbers in the United States — as key identifiers to keep track of clients.

“Everybody is relying on one number, and it’s not a secret,” Mogull said.

“When I went to university my student ID number was my social security number,” he recalled, shaking his head. “Once that number’s out there and exposed, there’s no taking it back. And it can be used for all sorts of fraud.”

The problem drove Quebec resident Pierre Langlois to launch an online petition calling on Ottawa to replace social insurance numbers compromised by identity theft.

Moved to action last summer after a breach at Desjardins Group scooped up data from nearly 2.9 million members — including their social insurance numbers, names and addresses — Langlois posted a second petition asking the government to propose a “quick solution to this security problem.”

With more than 147,000 signatories, the petition shied away from a more specific demand for two reasons, Langlois said: the difficulty of changing your SIN — proof of fraudulent use must be shown — and the dubious benefit of that tactic in the first place, since those newly assigned citizens could be just as susceptible to data breaches down the line.

“The government is asking us to give it to every employer you’ve ever worked for. Do you think the small restaurant where you worked has higher security than a bank?” Langlois asked in a phone interview.

The solution, says Mogull, lies in local transactions or encrypted SIN storage that would make data theft harder.

Cryptographic keys comprise a long string of random numbers that can be used to unlock personal data, but Greg Wolfond, chief executive at Toronto-based SecureKey Technologies, is skeptical of cryptographic identifiers as the answer.

“I fear that the bad folks are still going to be able to take this data and use AI and put it together in smart ways to try to become you to get a loan, to file a fake tax return in your name,” Wolfond said.

He wants to get away from the “static information” model that underpins ID confirmation and motivates data hacks. Instead, Wolfond is advocating something called real-time verification as the best way to show that you are, in fact, you.

His company’s product, dubbed Verified.Me, allows customers to provide proof of their identity using information they’ve already given their financial institutions. The Verified.Me smartphone app connects with participating financial institutions and removes many of the steps currently required to establish a person’s identity.

Though only a few financial products are available through the app, Verified.Me counts Desjardins and the Big Five banks as Canadian partners.

In the long run, the approach could include applying for a mortgage, renting an apartment or obtaining a driver’s licence, Wolfond said.

In the past three years, millions of consumers have been affected by hacks against a panoply of companies including Canadian-based cheaters’ website Ashley Madison as well as British Airways, Uber, Deloitte and Walmart.

TransUnion revealed Wednesday that the personal information of 37,000 Canadians may have been compromised this past summer, leaving both of Canada’s credit monitoring agencies with data blemishes on their record.

Equifax announced in 2017 that a massive data breach compromised the personal information and credit card details of 143 million Americans and about 19,000 Canadians.

TransUnion says data on 37,000 Canadians may have been compromised

TransUnion says someone fraudulently accessed data using a customer’s login credentials

The personal information of about 37,000 Canadians held by TransUnion may have been compromised this past summer, leaving both of Canada’s credit monitoring agencies with data blemishes on their record.

The TransUnion incident is much more limited than the high-profile data hack at credit monitoring agency Equifax Inc. in 2017, which exposed the information of 147 million people, including about 19,000 Canadians.

TransUnion said in a statement Wednesday that someone fraudulently accessed its data through the use of one of its business customer’s login credentials between June and July.

Company spokesperson David Blumberg said that while the investigation is ongoing, the company maintains that the fraudulent login was not a failure of its systems.

“The unauthorized access was not the result of a breach or failure of TransUnion’s systems or our customer’s system,” he said.

Canadian Western Bank (CWB) confirmed that the credit report data was accessed through an account at its leasing division.

“In August, we learned that CWB National Leasing’s account was illegally used by an unauthorized third party to perform unauthorized credit checks,” said company spokesperson Maya Filipovic.

She said no personal information held by CWB National Leasing was taken, disclosed or misused in any way.

Type of personal information accessed

TransUnion did not disclose what kind of personal information was compromised by the fraudulent login.

A credit check by a bank or lender could give access to an individual’s name, date of birth, current and former addresses, information on existing credit and loan obligations, credit repayment history and potentially their social insurance number.

TransUnion said it learned of the breach in August and has notified those whose information may have been accessed as well as the privacy commissioners.

The incident is the latest of numerous data breaches in recent years, including the Equifax breach. More recently, Capital One said in July that data of six million Canadians was hacked, including about a million social insurance numbers. Desjardins said in June that the data of about 2.7 million accounts was hit with a breach.

The problem is that no system is foolproof, said Hasan Cavusoglu, an associate professor of management information systems at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

“The reality is this is a moving target. Organizations are every day exposed to new type of attack vectors, new kinds of threat actors.”

He said customers have little choice but to have their data held with TransUnion and Equifax.

“As long as you do some kind of transaction, your data will inevitably fall into these companies.”

The two credit monitoring agencies collect a variety of financial data to help banks and other lenders figure out how reliably a customer might pay them back. The model means the agencies want to collect as much information as possible to clearly represent someone’s credit worthiness, said Cavusoglu.

While breaches are impossible to rule out entirely, major financial institutions like credit agencies have significant incentives to keep the data safe, he said.

“Reputational damage as a result of these kinds of attacks is tremendous, let alone other kind of maybe regulatory sort of penalties as well as some legal costs associated with it. So they don’t want that reputational damage.”

Chicago-based TransUnion continues to look for ways to strengthen its defences against unauthorized access of any kind, and supports customers in efforts to protect their data, Blumberg said.

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