Okanagan woman fights for prompt insurance payout after serious overseas accident

The excerpted article was written BY

A Lake Country woman said she went into shock immediately after she was in a severe accident in Indonesia, but it was the pain that followed while she was waiting in the emergency room for her insurance coverage to kick in that was most agonizing.

Brittany Roth was exploring a small island near Bali on the back of a scooter when the road made a sharp turn.

“My left knee clipped a jagged rock wall and tore me off the bike,” she said.

Brittany said she looked down and saw an exposed kneecap, a foot that was ripped open and her leg covered in blood.

“I looked at my friend and I said, ‘We have to call travel insurance now’,” she said. “I know you have to call the insurance company before you make a claim or it’s void.

An ambulance then rushed her to a local medical clinic, but her injuries were too severe for staff to treat.

Brittany said she was told she needed to catch a boat back to the main island before sundown.

But despite her insurance coverage, she had to pay up first.

“The way that it works in Bali unfortunately, is the care is really, really good, but until you can pay the bill, you don’t get treatment,” Brittany said. “So they said, ‘we need a credit card now or you’re on your own for the night.’”

Her travelling companion called Brittany’s sister Brooke Roth in the middle of the night in Canada, asking for her credit card number.

“My sister said it was terrifying receiving the call, hearing me screaming in the background. She thought I was getting kidnapped, she didn’t know why I needed a credit card,” Brittany said.

Brooke said she tried to stay calm as she learned the details.

Brooke paid the bill, and Brittany was put on a spine board for transport to Bali.

Some locals and her travelling companion carried Brittany to the waiting boat.

“They had to go down really, really steep concrete stairs to get to the beach, and then they had to walk through the ocean, knee-deep through water to get me to this boat,” Brittany said.

When the 20-year-old arrived at the hospital in Bali, still in a bathing suit, she was met with another bill — this one for $12,000.

“I was there for about four hours,” Brittany said. “They had said, ‘Unless we receive payment in 15 minutes, I’m sorry, we have to let you go. We can’t keep you here anymore.’”

“We were terrified thinking that we might be on the street,” Brittany said. “I don’t know what to do with my leg. I can’t walk. I’m bleeding.”

Meanwhile, back in Canada, Brooke was in a bureaucratic battle with Pacific Blue Cross Insurance.

“It was really frustrating. We had the approval right in front of us, but it took them so long to send the confirmation to the hospital,” she said.

After hours on the phone, confirmation finally went through, and Brittany successfully underwent surgery.

She received 38 stitches, has a torn tendon and is now moving around with crutches.

The sisters are still waiting for their $3,500 back, and Brittany is out-of-pocket the $3,000 expense of flying home unexpectedly.

Friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help Brittany recover some of her costs.

Pacific Blue Cross declined an interview, but emailed Global News a statement on Monday.

“All travel insurance policies require contact with the insurer as soon as possible after an event has occurred to ensure the best treatment for the insured individual and to properly facilitate the claim,” it said.

“We’re obligated to work within each country’s medical system; it is not uncommon for medical facilities to require confirmation of payment, which we appreciate is unpleasant when injured.”

The insurance company also said that it can’t address specific cases because of privacy concerns.

Global News

ICBC provides Drive Smart tips for holiday shopping season

ICBC provides Drive Smart tips for holiday shopping season

As the holiday shopping season officially kicks off this week, ICBC is asking drivers to prioritize safety over finding the perfect parking spot. Last year, there were about 96,000 crashes that happened in parking lots.*

ICBC receives hundreds of thousands of claims every year, with vehicle damage costs totaling $1.33 billion in 2018 alone.

While some may believe that driving in parking lots is ‘safer’ than highway driving, parking lots present drivers with other challenges such as increased congestion and heavy pedestrian activity. The holiday season could add a layer of distraction with people apt to be more preoccupied with their shopping list or finding a parking spot.

Drivers are encouraged to apply a bit of holiday cheer, be courteous and have a bit more patience during this time of year with these Drive Smart tips from ICBC:

  • The rules of the road still apply, even on private property where the public is invited to park. Don’t use your phone while driving, even in parking lots. Program your navigation or holiday tunes before you put your car in gear.
  • Have your car facing out in your parking spot: This position is safest for drivers because it helps you avoid the risk of reversing into a lane with potential blind spots when leaving.
  • Park further away, if you can: Instead of circling endlessly to get a spot that’s closest to the mall entrance, pick a spot that’s further away. You’ll avoid a high-traffic area where you’re more likely to crash with another vehicle or hit a pedestrian.
  • Slow down and be on alert: Drivers should drive slowly in parking lots to have enough time to react to an unexpected vehicle backing out of their parking spot or an unanticipated pedestrian, especially young children, who may be harder to see.
  • Pay attention to the arrows and stop signs: Many parking lots are quite narrow, restricting certain lanes to a single direction. Pay attention to the signs and markings on the road to avoid getting into a crash.
  • Don’t block traffic: Deciding to follow a shopper, then waiting for them to load their car, buckle up and leave, jams up traffic behind you and likely takes you much longer than if you had just found a spot further away. Sitting idle in a lane can leave you vulnerable to a collision, and you could be blocking other drivers who are trying to leave.
  • Let it go: No sense in having a showdown with another driver for a parking spot. Move along, and maybe that good karma will net you something really nice this season.

Statistics

  • About 96,000 crashes occurred in parking lots in 2018. About 4,300 resulted in casualties and 92,000 resulted in damages only.

  • 480 pedestrians were injured in parking lot collisions last year.
  • There were 4,000 reported instances of theft from a vehicle in a parking lot last year

Shopping bag giveaway

As always, ICBC reminds all shoppers to keep their belongings with them or out of sight in their vehicle.

ICBC will be talking to customers about driving safely and handing out a limited quantity of large, reusable shopping bags at the following locations:

  • Highstreet Mall, Abbotsford: Friday, November 29th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ICBC and Police will be handing out bags in the Central Plaza.
  • Pacific Centre, Vancouver: Saturday, November 30th from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. or until supplies last. Look for volunteers from West End Coal Harbour Community Policing and Granville Community Policing Centres with ICBC, handing out bags at the Easy Park Parking Lot.
  • Coquitlam Centre Mall, Coquitlam: Saturday, December 6th from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ICBC and RCMP will be handing out bags near the food court.
  • Pine Centre Mall, Prince George: Thursday, December 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ICBC and Operation Red Nose’s mascot, Rudy the reindeer, will be handing out bags at the main entrance.

* 2018 vehicle claims data. Rounded to the nearest thousand.

DYK: Nearly half of Canadian drivers think vehicle safety technology poses a risk to road safety

DYK: Nearly half of Canadian drivers think vehicle safety technology poses a risk to road safety

Over-reliance on technology and lack of education cited as main factors

Toronto, ON, November 27, 2019 – Your vehicle brakes automatically to avoid a collision. It beeps to warn you if there is a car in your blind spot. The steering wheel vibrates if you unintentionally drift out of your lane or start crossing lanes without signalling. A light flashes to warn you of a risk of a frontal collision. These features are all designed to make driving safer, but nearly half of Canadian drivers also think they pose a risk to road safety, according to a recent survey released by Desjardins Insurance.Increasingly, vehicles on our roads are equipped with highly sophisticated safety features to prevent crashes or warn drivers of unsafe conditions. While a majority of drivers agree that these safety features are needed to make our roads safer (51%), the survey data suggests more needs to be done to ensure drivers not only understand what these features are meant to do, but also what they don’t guard against.

“While studies clearly show that crash avoidance and other safety systems in newer cars are reducing collisions and saving lives, the survey’s findings are enough to give us pause. They are an important reminder that no matter how sophisticated the safety systems, the driver’s vigilance and attention are essential to ensure safe driving, both for the people in the vehicle and those who share the road with motorists,” said Alain Hade, Vice-President, Marketing and Member Client Experience at Desjardins Insurance.

Among the survey’s highlights, it was found that:
  • 48% of drivers think vehicle safety technologies pose a risk to road safety
  • 46% of drivers think Canadian drivers are over-reliant on vehicle safety technologies
  • 80% think there should be more education on how to use safety features in vehicles
  • 63% of Canadians, drivers or not, feel advanced safety technology can contribute to distraction among drivers
However, the survey did reveal some positive points, including:
  • 52% of drivers believe vehicle safety features help reduce the number of collisions
  • 51% of drivers feel vehicle safety features are needed to keep our roads safer

“It’s important that driver knowledge of safety features and confidence in them is on the rise, particularly as they are exposed to features that are increasingly standard on new vehicles,” said Robyn Robertson, President and CEO of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation. “Caution is warranted in the promotion of safety features and their benefits to ensure Canadians understand the functionality and limitations of them, and to discourage drivers from relying on them in situations for which they were not designed.”

Are we ready for autonomous vehicles?
With most car manufacturers expected to unveil semi- or fully autonomous vehicles in the not-too-distant future, it is clear Canadians are somewhat reluctant to fully embrace the technology. According to survey results, less than a third of Canadians who expressed an opinion on that matter (28%) say they would trust being driven in a fully autonomous vehicle.

“These results lead us to believe that people experienced with the technology have confidence in vehicle safety systems, but not blindly,” added Hade. “Drivers need to be well informed about the car they’re driving before getting behind the wheel. This means knowing what the features and technology can and cannot do. Safety technologies are important to prevent injuries and fatalities, but they also have limitations.”

Impact on insurance
Half (52%) believe the safety systems help reduce the number of crashes; however, they rely on costly electronic components and sensors that also have a direct impact on the cost of repairing a vehicle. Between 2009 and 2016, the average cost of a two-vehicle collision (at-fault and not-at-fault) jumped 30%.

WSIB Rate Framework: Gearing Up For 2020

Article by Jerry Cukier

Effective January 1, 2020, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (the “WSIB”) is changing the way premium rates are set for over 300,000 Ontario businesses covered by its workplace injury and illness insurance.

The new model will change the way businesses are classified, boosting fairness and increasing transparency as to how premium rates are set and adjusted.

The WSIB’s new model will use a two-step approach to set and adjust premium rates for businesses:

  1. Set an average rate for each industry class based on their risk profile and share of responsibility to maintain the insurance fund.
  2. Examine how a company’s individual claim history compares to the rest of the businesses in its class. This means that businesses’ overall rates under the new model will reflect their individual claims experience and risk.

The WSIB will be using insurable earnings, claims costs and the number of allowed claims, over a six-year period to set premium rates. For new businesses with less than one year of experience, premium rate will be the class rate.

The WSIB is offering monthly webinars to ensure Ontario businesses are prepared for the New Rate Framework. More detailed information on these changes can be found on the WSIB website.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

IBC Applauds Manitoba Government Investment in Emergency Response Efforts

EDMONTON, Nov. 26, 2019 /CNW/ – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) commends the Manitoba government for providing new funding to help protect communities in emergency situations. The announcement included funding for a new communications system, damage prevention, climate resilience measures and spring flood preparedness.

“As the frequency and intensity of severe weather events, such as floods, are escalating, we want to work with the government on adaptation measures, like the ones recently announced, to better protect Manitobans. IBC and its members applaud the Manitoba government’s investment,” said Celyeste Power, Vice-President, Western, IBC.

The announcement includes a one-time capital investment of up to $45 million for damage prevention and climate resilience measures, and $3 million for spring flood preparedness, to be spent according to the priorities to be established by a panel of representatives from the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, the Winnipeg Metro Region and the province, including the Climate and Green Plan Implementation Office.

IBC reminds Canadians that it is not only insurers that foot the bill for severe weather damage, but also taxpayers. That’s why all stakeholders should come together to reduce the financial strain caused by flood events. For every dollar paid out in insurance claims for damaged homes and businesses, Canadian governments and their taxpayers pay out much more to repair public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

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 www.ibc.ca. 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.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Related Links

www.ibc.ca

Trouble After a Vehicle Purchase

raised pickup truckThis inquiry arrived in the DriveSmartBC inbox last Thursday: “I bought a used newer truck from a dealership and was told prior to signing the final documents that the truck had gone through a full safety inspection. Less than two weeks later I was pulled over and issued a ticket for improperly equipped motor vehicle and issued a box 2 inspection order for my 2017 Dodge Ram 3500.”

The person goes on to say that the notice order is vague. He was not sure what to do next, but made an appointment for an inspection at the dealership where he purchased the truck.

Actually, the notice is not vague, it simply says that you must take the vehicle to a designated inspection facility, undergo inspection and make the identified repairs with a pass required within 30 days. The officer will not list what needs to be repaired, the facility will determine that.

There could be a significant difference between what the dealership calls a “safety inspection” and what the inspection facility does. Simply checking that all the lights work, that the tires have sufficient tread and that the brakes are not worn out could be considered a safety inspection. The designated inspection facility is required to check all items in a comprehensive set of standards (that you may find in your local libaray) and make sure that those standards are met.

The only way to know is to ask the dealership what was checked when you are shopping for the vehicle.

That said, the dealership is not supposed to sell you a vehicle that is not roadworthy:

Sale of motor vehicle contrary to regulations

222   A person must not sell, offer for sale, expose or display for sale or deliver over to a purchaser for use a motor vehicle, trailer or equipment for them that is not in accordance with this Act and the regulations.

Probably the only way to escape this requirement is to specify that what is being sold is not meant for use on a highway on the bill of sale.

You may find this FAQ from the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC useful. It outlines your rights when you purchase a vehicle from a dealer and what to do if you have problems.

Of course, if you made the modifications that triggered the officer’s interest after you purchased the vehicle, you are on the hook for that yourself.

If you did not, then you may have some recourse against the dealership for the cost of the inspection and the changes necessary to make the vehicle roadworthy. The VSABC may assist you with that or you may have to conduct a small claims court action if the dealership refuses.

If you knew at the time of purchase that the vehicle was not roadworthy in all respects you may find that willful blindness can limit your options as well.

Finally, you can take advantage of lawyer referral for properly informed advice.

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