Strategic thinker with extensive industry experience will work with clients to improve employee health and well-being
Climate change means emergency responders need specialized, updated training according to wildfire expert
The excerpted article was written by Anne Gaviola | Vice.com
According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), eight specialists left for Victoria Monday night and another 21 arrived in New South Wales—the area hardest-hit—this weekend. Each round of deployments ranges from 31 to 38 days. A total of 95 Canadians are scheduled to help crews in Australia’s Rural Fire Service, which are mostly volunteers who have been stretched by bush fires fuelled by the country’s longest and driest year ever recorded.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry spokesperson Adrienne South said in an email, “This is the first time a multi-province Canadian crew is going to Australia.”
Even though Canada hasn’t dealt with bushfires as deadly as Australia’s, Canadian wildfire experts say our experience is valuable for fighting the fires now, and also for dealing with the aftermath.
Twenty-five people have been killed as well as an estimated 480 million animals. Millions of acres have been destroyed in fires that have been raging since September and their summer has only just begun. The Insurance Council of Australia estimated that insurance claims have already reached $485 million.
According to wildfire researcher Mike Flannigan, the types of blazes they’ll be dealing with are similar to very large, high-intensity fires that Canadians have seen recently, and more frequently, in British Columbia and Alberta. “These are erratic, hard to predict and dangerous. It has climate change fingerprints all over it,” said Flannigan.
The 2016 blaze in Fort McMurray, Alberta, brought an estimated $9 billion in damages and was the costliest disaster in Canadian history. The historic wildfire seasons of 2017 and 2018 in British Columbia also saw large-scale devastation, which Australian crews helped battle. The two countries have a history of helping each other out and it helps that we have opposite seasons, though fire seasons in both countries have gotten longer in recent years.
The specialists from Canada won’t be frontline firefighters—Australia hasn’t asked us to send those, at least not yet. We’ve sent managers and people behind the scenes in charge of logistics, strategy, and tracking equipment and planes. There’s a lot more to fire response than putting out blazes and Canadian expertise can play an important role in dealing with the humans and the trauma that comes with this kind of extreme destruction.
The biggest insurance brokerage in Canada has been on a dealmaking blitz that may only be about halfway done, according to the company’s Ontario chairman.
Chicago-based Hub International Ltd. sells insurance, but it has also spent the past year expanding the Canadian side of its business, which advises companies on their employee benefits, such as health or retirement plans. It has been doing so in part by acquiring a number of boutique firms.
On Tuesday, Hub said it acquired for an undisclosed sum Toronto’s PDF Financial Group Inc., an independent brokerage that helps a company’s human-resources department manage employee programs. The acquisition was one of five such deals Hub has announced to date in October, involving three companies in Canada and two in the United States.
Hub is Canada’s biggest property and casualty insurance broker by a “healthy margin,” but it had heard back from some clients wanting advice about benefits and pensions as well, according to Gregory Belton, the executive chairman of Hub Ontario.
“We’re not only getting larger and filling out a geographic footprint, but we’re developing services for what we think is the under-served middle market of Canadian business,” Belton said in an interview with the Financial Post.
After announcing its Canadian benefit strategy in July 2018, Hub noted at the beginning of this year that it had already acquired 13 Canadian employee-benefit and pension brokerages since 2018, increased fee revenue to more than $50 million and opened seven new offices. Hub wants to earn more than $100 million in commission fees by 2021, and said it expected to open an additional 10 offices.
“I would say that we’re about halfway done in our acquisition strategy,” Belton said. “We have a fairly robust pipeline across the country, and you’ll see further acquisitions being closed in the coming months.”
Mike Berris, a partner at accounting firm Smythe LLP who specializes in valuations and M&A consulting in the Canadian P&C insurance industry, said he expects more activity in the benefits space — although not all brokers may be able to pull it off.
Even though it’s a risk-based product, you really have to have scale and expertise to do it properly.
“There’s a lot of desire, but there’s only so many people who are capable of doing that,” Berris said. “Even though it’s a risk-based product, you really have to have scale and expertise to do it properly.”
Hub has been scaling up since it formed in 1998 with the merger of 11 Canadian brokerages. It went public soon after, expanded into the U.S. and in 2007 was bought by private-equity firm Apax Partners and investment bank Morgan Stanley.
In 2013 Hub announced it was being acquired by funds advised by another private-equity firm, Hellman & Friedman LLC, in a deal that valued the brokerage at around US$4.4 billion.
Hub then said in October 2018 that it had agreed to a deal involving “a substantial minority investment” from funds managed by Toronto-based investment firm Altas Partners. The agreement implied a total enterprise value for Hub of more than $10 billion.
Since the deal, Hub’s website shows it has made more than 50 acquisition-related announcements. Currently, the brokerage has more than 11,000 employees, with more than 250 offices in the U.S. and about 200 in Canada, a spokesperson said.
“Like a lot of private-equity-owned brokerages, they have been very, very aggressive and they’re very, very effective in growing through acquisitions,” Berris said.
Belton said most Canadian businesses fit the mid-market mold, but that there is no “dominant player” in that section of the market right now for the sort of benefits business Hub is expanding. Even so, he said there has been “very robust competition” for the types of companies Hub is buying.
“Our aspiration is to become the dominant player, just as we are in the property-casualty side of the business,” Belton said.
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Chilliwack Registry, finding a police officer fully at fault for an intersection collision with another motorist.
In today’s case (Burroughs v. Chiasson) the Plaintiff was an RCMP officer involved in a crash in 2013. At the time, while driving a fully marked RCMP vehicle, she “pursued a truck with an uninsured trailer by attempting to turn left, on a red light, onto Young Road from the westbound curb lane on First Avenue. While making this turn, she collided with a minivan driven by the defendant, Jennifer Chiasson. Ms. Chiasson was driving eastbound on First Avenue.”.
The RCMP officer sued the other motorist claiming damages from the collision. The claim was dismissed with the Court finding that the Plaintiff entered the intersection when it was dangerous to do so in circumstances with no particular urgency. In dismissing the claim and finding the officer fully at fault for the crash Mr. Justice Basran provided the following reasons:
 As a trained and experienced police officer, Ms. Burroughs knew that there was a significant risk in turning left on a red light from a curb lane in front of a bus that blocked her view of oncoming traffic. She also knew that expired insurance on a trailer did not pose an imminent threat or danger. There was no need for immediate apprehension of the trailer.
 Ms. Burroughs’ position that the offence was “arrestable” and that this explanation justified her actions demonstrates that she failed to weigh the risk of the required maneuver in relation to the risk to the public of letting the trailer proceed. Ms. Burroughs should have abandoned her pursuit and followed up at the trailer owner’s address instead of pursuing this vehicle by making a dangerous maneuver. In my view, the risk to the public from turning left significantly outweighed the risk to the public posed by expired insurance on a trailer. As in Watkins, there was a safer option, but Ms. Burroughs failed to consider it.
 After deciding to pursue the trailer, Ms. Burroughs should have followed her training and cleared the lanes one at a time by ensuring that she could see, and be seen, by all vehicles in, and approaching, the intersection. She knew that the bus created a blind spot and obstructed her view of oncoming traffic. She therefore should have addressed this by stopping and exercising considerable caution prior to crossing in front of the bus. Her poor visibility of oncoming traffic is a factor that increased the potential harm to the public: Regulations, s. 4(6)(b).
 Both Ms. Burroughs and Ms. Chiasson testified that there was no time to react prior to the accident. By the time they perceived each other, the accident was imminent.
 Ms. Sawatzky had a clear and close view of the events leading to the accident. Ms. Burroughs did not stop in front of the bus. She kept moving in front of it and then accelerated past it causing the accident with Ms. Chiasson’s vehicle.
 No witnesses corroborated Ms. Burroughs’s recollection that the siren was on prior to the U-turn. I do not accept that Ms. Burroughs turned on her siren when she executed the U-turn on First Avenue, 20 to 30 seconds prior to the accident. Ms. Burroughs may have thought she activated the siren well before the accident, but no one, including Ms. Sawatzky and Ms. Marchuk, recalls hearing a siren until mere moments before impact. I find it is more likely that while making the left turn maneuver, Ms. Burroughs knew she could not see past the bus, but was nevertheless determined to pursue the trailer, and activated her siren immediately before accelerating in front of the bus. I accept Ms. Chiasson’s evidence that she heard the siren shortly before the collision and that she had no time to react to it.
 Had Ms. Burroughs stopped in front of the bus and waited for the southbound light on Young Road to turn green, the accident would not have happened. If Ms. Burroughs had done this, it is possible that she may have lost sight of the trailer, but as noted above, immediate apprehension of the uninsured trailer was not required.
 In my view, Ms. Burroughs contravened s. 177 of the MVA by not activating her siren before entering the intersection of First Avenue and Young Road.
 Ms. Chiasson could not see Ms. Burroughs’ car and did not hear a siren until shortly before the collision. Ms. Chiasson had no visual and virtually no audible cue to warn her of the presence of Ms. Burroughs’ vehicle. She had a green light and entered the intersection as she was entitled to do. She could not have avoided the accident and is therefore not liable for it.
 I find that Ms. Burroughs’ actions were the sole cause of the accident and she is 100% liable for it.
On June 18, 2019, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal released its decision in the case involving Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company of Canada (Trisura) and Duncan et al. This decision is noteworthy, as it may lessen an insured’s obligation to notify and disclose potential claims, and increase the burden of diligence on the insurer.
Trisura provided professional liability coverage to Keybase National Financial Services Inc. (Keybase) from July 2008 to July 2012. Gregory Duncan and James White (Duncan and White) were Keybase advisors during this time.
Duncan and White assumed responsibility for John Allen’s (Allen) clients. Allen was also a Keybase advisor. He was dismissed by Keybase in September 2007. Allen was sued by his former clients in 2009. Allen was convicted for criminal offences, and his former clients were successful in their action against him (2014 NSSC 31 (CanLII)).
However, following the 2014 decision against Allen, the clients (Allen Clients) turned around and commenced a claim against Duncan and White as well, complaining of improper advice concerning mitigation of losses caused by Allen (2015 Action).
Duncan and White applied for, and were granted, an order compelling Trisura to defend the 2015 Action (2018 NSSC 92). Trisura appealed this decision. It asserted that the Court erred: (1) in its interpretation of notice obligations under the policy; (2) in finding that Duncan and White complied with those obligations; and (3) in finding that relief from forfeiture was available in the circumstances. The decision was upheld.
The Appellate Court’s decision
Trisura stated that: (1) it was not notified of any claims or potential claims during the policy periods; and (2) Keybase knew or should have foreseen that Duncan and White had exposure when Keybase first applied for insurance in 2008.
With respect to Trisura’s first argument on notification, the Court disagreed. Although the 2015 Action arose after the Trisura policy expired, the policy afforded coverage if Trisura was notified during the policy period. In 2010, Keybase’s third party insurance consultant (the “Consultant”) had reported potential claims from the Allen Clients. Trisura argued that these reports were related to Keybase and Allen’s negligence. They argued that “notice” was not collective. Further, notice respecting one Duncan and White client could not be notice for all clients. The circumstances needed to be differentiated.
The Court stated that Trisura’s knowledge of what transpired between Keybase, Allen and the Allen Clients underpinned its understanding of how Duncan and White, as subsequent advisors, were exposed to claims of liability. Trisura, as a sophisticated player in the insurance industry, with the benefit of prior knowledge and context, should have known the potential for further claims. Without prior knowledge, it was safe to assume that Trisura would have sought more explanation in the reports.
Trisura’s argument that notification with respect to potential liability regarding one client cannot be notification with respect to the others failed, because there was no material difference between the former Allen Clients’ claims against Duncan and White, and the losses sought.
In June 2010, the Consultant indicated there were seven client complaints against Allen and “two current agents”. Furthermore, on July 2, 2010, Trisura received an adjuster’s report stating:
“There could be exposure for the alleged failure by the subsequent Keybase advisors (Jim White and Greg Duncan) to rectify the situation or to have caused an aggravation of the situation”.
Trisura argued that the report was misconstrued. The actual focus was whether potential claims against Duncan and White should have been disclosed prior to placement of coverage with Trisura.
Nevertheless, on December 29, 2010, the Consultant wrote to Trisura’s adjuster:
“We confirm that any subsequent claims will be treated by Trisura as having arisen in the period in which these circumstances were reported … July, 1, 2009 to July 1, 2010.”
Trisura did not respond.
Trisura also argued that claims against Duncan and White were not commenced during the policy period, because Duncan and White themselves did not think they had any exposure. However, the Court noted that it was unnecessary for the insured to provide notice personally. Additionally, the Consultant was reporting to Trisura on behalf of Duncan and White, and Keybase. The purpose of notice was satisfied in light of the adjuster’s assessment of the potential exposure.
Considered alone, this is not a novel decision. However, it may form part of a broader legal framework, which will make it difficult for insurers to challenge the adequacy of notification and disclosure moving forward.
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As you move through your life, changes to the dynamics of your family and business life may have a direct impact on the type and amount of life insurance you need.
The term “family” has a much different meaning today than it had for previous generations. Many people from older generations grew up knowing the traditional family unit, the one where Dad was the breadwinner and Mom stayed home to raise the children. Today, shifting demographics have helped to reshape the concept of a family. Families come in many shapes and sizes, so there is no longer a single definition of what makes up one. Today you are more likely to know families that include dual-income earners, same-sex couples and blended or extended families living under one roof.
There is one thing that hasn’t changed, though: life insurance. One of the main reasons for life insurance is to provide protection for the family upon one’s death. Traditionally, the death benefit would be there to help replace the income lost, but with changing family dynamics, serving a family’s needs isn’t always so clear. While the replacement of income is important for a family, it is also important to address the role of the surviving spouse. Will he or she need to go back to work? Are there children? If so, how will they be taken care of in the short and long term? All of a family’s wants and needs can be answered with a few simple questions:
1. Do you have a will? Is it up to date?
2. Is there a trust that specifies how property is to be distributed upon death?
3. Do you have enough insurance to take care of your family after you are gone?
Family dynamics can complicate your financial planning process. Understanding these dynamics and asking the right questions is necessary when advising a family on how life insurance can be used to manage the issues they may face, all while providing much-needed protection. To ensure you get the protection you need, it is imperative that you develop a comprehensive plan to guarantee that your wishes are fulfilled. When developing that plan, it is extremely important that you choose the right person to be the executor. This should be someone you trust and who you are confident will carry out your final wishes to the letter.
Ideally, you would only need to purchase life insurance once or twice in your lifetime. But this does not mean you should just put your plan in a drawer and forget about it. You should review your policy at least once a year. The dynamics in your life change periodically, so it makes sense that your life insurance should be adjusted as your needs change. Some of the common life situations that should make you take a look at your insurance are:
1. Financial changes: Any change here, for better or worse, should result in a review of your coverage. Purchasing a home, caring for a family member and changes in employment or salary should trigger you to take another look at what you have.
2. Family changes: Since it is likely that a family member will be the beneficiary of your policies, any change to the dynamic of your family should facilitate a change in your life insurance.
3. Health changes: Your life insurance coverage is based on your health, and any significant changes will necessitate an adjustment to your policy, particularly in the case of severe illness or disability.
Life insurance is an important component in financial planning. Besides providing a death benefit for your beneficiaries and future generations, many of the options available today can address other needs like chronic illness or disability. As your life changes overtime, to possibly include marriage, having children, purchasing a home, retirement and all things in between, it is important for you to keep your family protected. You are purchasing life insurance to provide such protection, but to make sure it is adequate, you should review your coverage at every major life event, especially if the event changes the number of people depending on you or your financial security.