XL Catlin’s New Contractors Pollution Liability Express Program Provides Speed to Market

XL Catlin News release:

New program will streamline the environmental insurance underwriting process.

To provide our valued customers with speed to market and a streamlined environmental insurance underwriting approach for small to midsize construction firms, XL Catlin has launched its new Contractors Pollution Liability Express Program in the US and Canada.

“The very nature of day-to-day construction activities leaves most construction firms vulnerable to countless environmental liability exposures – from disruption of underground pollution in excavation activities to indoor air quality issues that emerge after construction is finished,” said Matt O’Malley, president of XL Catlin’s North America environmental insurance business. “Over the last 30 years, we’ve continued to develop environmental coverage to fill the gaps that other insurance coverages won’t touch. Now we’ve simplified the underwriting process to help small to mid-size contractors buy appropriate comprehensive coverage quickly and easily.”

According to Cathy Cleary, XL Catlin’s executive environmental underwriter, “The program is designed for construction firms with USD 50 million in projected revenue or less, providing them with comprehensive environmental insurance coverage that, based on our experience, carefully addresses their potential pollution liabilities from their contracting activities. Coverage is afforded for pollution conditions created or exacerbated at the contractor’s job site, during the course of transportation, disposal of waste at a non-owned disposal site and as a result of a sudden and accidental pollution incident on their scheduled property. Standard coverage is afforded for legionella, mold, asbestos and lead based paint exposures at the job site.”

After an easy application process, qualified construction firms are provided a quick blanket Contractors Pollution Legal Liability quote for consideration. The policy is available either on a claims-made or occurrence basis for a one-year term, with liability limits up to USD 5 million, along with a full set of standard endorsement enhancements including:

• Renewal Certificate for ease of renewal
• Legal Expense coverage of USD 1 million in addition to the Limits of Liability
• Legal Expense for Disciplinary Proceedings in addition to the Limits of Liability of USD 10,000
• Litigation and Subpoena Expense Coverage in addition to the Limits of Liability of USD 25,000
• Mediation Credit up to a maximum of USD 25,000
• Disaster Response Expense Coverage at Limits of Liability of USD 250,000
• Green Building Materials at Limits of Liability of USD 250,000

Environmentalists, car makers applaud Ontario’s $8.3 billion climate change plan

Ontario’s climate change action plan, which will provide billions of dollars in subsidies and incentives to businesses and homeowners, was greeted with cautious optimism June 8, 2016 by environmentalists and businesses.

The province will spend up to $8.3 billion on a range of programs to encourage people and companies to switch to more energy-efficient heating systems, buy electric or hybrid cars, convert big trucks to natural gas, add more bio-fuel to gasoline, and help the agriculture and industrial sectors adopt low-carbon technologies.

Most of the money will come from a cap-and-trade program for industrial polluters that the Liberal government expects will raise $1.9 billion a year. All of the cap-and-trade money will go into a dedicated fund for lowering Ontario’s carbon footprint.

Two groups representing automakers said continued rebates of up to $14,000 for electric vehicles, free overnight charging for four years, and a “cash-for-clunkers” program to get older cars off the roads will help create consumer demand for EVs.

“The rebates, combined with looking at renewable fuels, is sort of a broad-based approach to reducing emissions overall from the transportation sector,” said David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada.

“Many of the initiatives announced today will help consumers understand that electric vehicles are part of the future, of their future,” said Mark Nantis of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association.

However, the manufacturers want more details on the cap-and-trade plan, which takes effect in January when Ontario joins a carbon market with Quebec and California.

“In our industry, many of the investment decisions are upon us now, so there’s many details that we have to work out in collaboration with the government,” added Nantis.

The Ontario Home Builders’ Association said getting to “net zero” carbon homes by 2030 will require extensive consultations with the industry, and called for a cost-benefit analysis for consumers.

“We need to make sure that the upgrades to the 2030 Building Code are worth it to the consumer,” said the association’s president, Joe Vaccaro.

Greenpeace said Ontario is on the right track by trying to phase out fossil fuels and by recognizing that climate change is an opportunity as well as a threat.

“Lots of bad things will happen if we don’t break our addiction to fossil fuels, but there are also a lot of good things _ green jobs, cleaner air _ that come with action on climate change,” said Greenpeace Canada spokesman Keith Stewart.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development, a non-profit research group, strongly supports the plan to put cap-and-trade revenues back into actions that will help lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“We hope that these provincial strategies will bolster our federal leaders’ efforts to develop a national action plan on climate change, including an ambitious cross-country price on carbon emissions,” said Institute spokesman Amin Asadollahi.

The Pembina Institute, a clean energy think tank, said the government is “grappling with the tough choices” required to meet its emission reduction targets.

“By providing both the ambition, and the required support to businesses and consumers, this is a good step towards our climate goals,” said Pembina’s Eli Angen.

Details on rebates for home retrofits will come later, but Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray said no one will have to get rid of their natural gas furnace or old car until they’re ready.

“We’re not forcing anyone to do this,” he said.  “We want people to avoid the carbon price in the future, and the way you do that, is to use very low or non-carbon emitting fuels and technologies in your homes and transportation systems.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne said the province will invest in projects that will “give families and businesses the ability to lower their carbon footprint, and their energy bills.”

The Progressive Conservatives called the plan “a laundry list of Liberal promises” based on money the government doesn’t even have yet.

“I was very concerned today at the manner in which they continually dodged what this is really going to cost Ontarians,” said PC environment critic Lisa Thompson.

Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner said Ontario needed bold action on climate change 10 years ago, but he’s concerned the Liberals’ plan favours businesses, especially big polluters who will get exemptions early on in the cap and trade plan.

“One hundred of Ontario’s largest polluters are getting a free pass on the cap-and-trade plan, and it looks like most of the financial benefits are going to business and not individuals,” said Schreiner. “So is this fair to the people of Ontario?”

canada-press

New study estimates future costs of climate change – Study builds case for infrastructure investment

Insurance Bureau Canada:

Canadian communities need to adapt to avoid the projected increasing costs due to climate change, according to a new study by Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). The Study of Economic Impacts of the Weather Effects of Climate Change, released today, estimates some of the future costs to the Halifax, N.S., and Mississauga, Ont., communities from specific severe weather events stemming from climate change. It points to the need to increase infrastructure investments now to reduce costs down the road.

“Halifax, Mississauga and other Canadian municipalities are working hard to adapt to changes in our climate. But they can’t do it alone,” said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC. “Municipalities tell us they need cooperation and funding from provincial and federal governments to prepare. This study provides a partial analysis of the significant costs of severe weather events in our future.”

Researchers looked at two severe weather events per city. For Halifax, they studied extreme winds and storm surge flooding. For Mississauga, they considered ice storms and stormwater flooding.

For each weather event, the researchers calculated what the economic costs to the city could be as a result of these weather events five years out (in 2020) and 25 years out (in 2040). They also considered the effect of worsening climate change, and ran the numbers for 2020 and 2040 three times – first using the cities’ current climate conditions, and then assuming moderate and high acceleration in the rate of climate change. Here are some of the results:

For Halifax by 2040:

  • The annualized loss expectancy from extreme wind events could be about $18 million. A moderate increase in the rate of climate change could increase this figure to $20 million.
  • One extreme wind event (calculated as a 1-in-25-year event) could cost an estimated $123 million to $126 million.

For Mississauga by 2040:

  • The annualized loss expectancy from ice storms could be about $9 million. A moderate increase in the rate of climate change could increase this figure to about $12 million per year.
  • One severe ice storm (calculated as a 1-in-25-year event) could cost an estimated $23 million to $38 million.

“As a port city, Halifax is acutely aware of the sea level rise occurring in its harbour, and the need to prepare for more extreme weather conditions,” said Shannon Miedema, Acting Manager of Energy & Environment for the Halifax Regional Municipality. “Halifax was an early adopter of greenhouse gas emissions tracking and reduction targets, and our Mayor recently signed on to the Compact of Mayors to show commitment and support in the lead up to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21). Halifax is also active in climate adaptation and resilience building efforts, incorporating these considerations into our policies, plans and projects. This study helps us make a business case to take action in the short term, alongside our efforts to take a precautionary approach to decision-making.”

“In Mississauga, we’re working with other levels of government to study the impacts of climate change so that we can prepare ourselves to prevent future impacts,” said Brenda Osborne, Director of Environment for the City of Mississauga. “Currently we’re working with the Peel Climate Change Strategy Partnership to examine risks and impacts to the community from climate change as well as implementing a stormwater charge to better maintain and expand our stormwater infrastructure.”

Across Canada, insured damages from extreme weather events have cost almost $8 billion since 2010, which is only a portion of the total economic costs to the country. Research, including the IBC study released today, is key to assisting governments, companies and Canadians to prepare for the future effects of climate change. The Canadian home, auto and business insurance industry is advocating for adaptation to climate change to help individuals and communities reduce their risk.

IBC conducted the Study of the Economic Impact of the Weather Effects of Climate Change with support from Natural Resources Canada through Canada’s Adaptation Platform. The study was conducted with the support of Team Green Analytics (Green Analytics Corp. & Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources). The full study, which includes an executive summary, and a backgrounder are available at www.ibc.ca.

B.C. Signs Pledge to Join Global Race Towards Zero Emission Vehicles

British Columbia has joined a global alliance aiming to fill highways and city streets with zero-emission vehicles over the next 35 years, an initiative that could lower global vehicle emissions by 40 per cent.

Environment Minister Mary Polak signed an agreement in Paris at the United Nations climate talks on December 10, 2015, making B.C. the 14th member of the International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance.

B.C. joins Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, along with California and seven other states in pledging to ensure all new vehicles are zero-emissions models by 2050.

Quebec also signed the pledge, which could cut harmful carbon dioxide emissions from the global transportation sector by one billion tonnes a year.

B.C.’s Energy Minister Bill Bennett said the province already has the largest public-charging network in Canada for electric vehicles at more than 1,000 outlets, but more can be done.

So far, there are less than 2,000 electric vehicles on the road in B.C., he said.

“How do you get more people doing it?” Bennett said. “You have to show them that they can save a lot of money on not having to buy fossil fuels and you have to make it easy for them to charge their vehicle.”

B.C. introduced its Clean Energy Vehicle Program four years ago. It offers electric vehicle buyers point-of-sale incentives of more than $8,200. The program also invests in charging infrastructure improvements.

“You continue to provide incentives at this stage and we’ll have to do that for at least the next decade,” Bennett said. “If this is going to work, we’re going to have to invest in charging stations all along the Trans-Canada Highway. Every community is going to have to have convenient access to charging.”

“We’re a long ways from that, but that’s where it’s going to have to go.”

One of the lowest-price Tesla electric vehicles currently sells for about US$80,000 while other Tesla models list for about US$130,000.

 

Groups warn Alberta climate change plan will hit rural areas harder than cities

Groups are warning that Alberta’s new climate change strategy will hit people who live in rural areas harder than people in cities.

The plan includes a carbon tax that the NDP government estimates will cost an average family about $500 a year by 2018 and about $960 by 2030.

Paige MacPherson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says many consumers will pay more to drive and to heat and power their homes. There will also be added costs for groceries and other goods, she says.

The changes will be felt more acutely outside of urban areas, she suggests.

“In rural Alberta there is no bus to take if you need to get your kid to daycare or you need to get yourself to work,” she said Monday.

“Anything that needs to be transported across our province _ the price is going to go up.”

MacPherson also suggested the planned phase-out of coal-fired power plants will mean a loss of jobs and a shrinking tax base in small rural communities.

The federation bases its assumptions on a report it completed on the effects of British Columbia’s carbon tax. The report, submitted to the B.C. government in 2012, determined that people in urban areas benefited by shifting their burden to people in rural areas and the suburbs.

It also found the tax put more pressure on the agriculture, manufacturing and resource sectors.

Alberta’s plan calls for rebating part of the money raised by the carbon tax _ about $3 billion in 2018 _ to middle- and lower-income families. The province says about 60 per cent of households will receive some kind of refund.

The NDP government is not expected to spell out exactly how it will spend the carbon tax until next year.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said as the government develops its policy, it will work to ensure that the tax doesn’t have “detrimental economic effects.”

Al Kemmere, president of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, said people in rural areas care about the environment. But the carbon tax could be a challenge for the farm economy.

“We are fuel users when harvest goes on and crops get put in, and we may not have the ability to pass these costs back on to end users.

“It could ultimately have a negative impact on the profitability of agriculture,” said Kemmere, who represents 69 rural municipalities.

He hopes the government will ensure some money raised by the carbon tax will directly benefit rural areas.

Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy said the $3-billion levy is equivalent to bringing in a provincial sales tax.

“It is a pretty big tax. B.C. used the revenues to lower corporate tax rates and personal income tax rates. Alberta’s revenues are going to be spent on transit, adjustment programs, energy efficiency,” he said.

“It will hit more heavily people in rural areas.”

Opposition Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said the plan could lead to dramatic power price spikes that businesses will pass on to consumers.

 

Manitoba NDP government promises environmental bill of rights

Manitoba’s NDP government is promising to introduce an environmental bill of rights in the coming months, the first of its kind in Canada.

“You’re going to see legislation that will enshrine environmental rights as part of our way of doing business in Manitoba,” Premier Greg Selinger said October 16, 2015  following a meeting with environmentalist David Suzuki.

“That will inform everything we do, from infrastructure investments, to water and sewer, to how we handle greenhouse gas emissions. When you put legislation like that in place, it’s like human rights legislation. It becomes a backdrop to everything you do.”

The David Suzuki Foundation has been pushing all provinces and the federal government to adopt such a law under its so-called Blue Dot campaign. Suzuki said the law would change the burden of proof whenever factories, manufacturing plants or other developments posed a risk to the environment.

“It means the burden is no longer on the victim to prove that plant is harming my health. Now the burden is on the developers … to show it doesn’t in any way impinge on the air, the water, the soil that are critical to our health.”

While Ontario has had similar environmental legislation since 1993, the Suzuki Foundation has asked all governments to adopt broader laws to ensure environmental concerns are part of government decisions. The proposed law would also ensure residents were informed about pollution and had input on decisions that could affect the environment.

Selinger said he will introduce the bill in the legislature before the provincial election set for April 19, but it is not clear whether it will be passed into law by then.

Selinger also announced the province will invest $400,000 over the next two years in a new research centre on climate change at the University of Winnipeg.

The Prairie Climate Centre is to help governments and private- sector companies such as insurance firms better understand the effects of climate change, said university president Annette Trimbee.

“This new centre will provide well-researched maps and models that you can trust, data with real-life climate change projections that people can use.”

 

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