OPP: Seat belt-related road deaths lowest in 20 years but one life lost is one too many

Insuring and reinsuring Canadian risks from the United States

Dentons

Over the past ten years, regulation in Canada of insurers has evolved significantly. Prior to the financial crisis, Canada’s primary regulator had begun to move from a “rules-based” approach to regulation to a “principles-based” or “risk-based” approach. After the financial crisis, this trend continued and in many ways accelerated.

Insurers carrying on business in Canada are regulated as to solvency (usually at the federal level by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions) and as to market conduct (at the provincial/territorial level) by the local insurance regulator. The test for “carrying on business” is not consistent across the country – from a solvency perspective, it usually relates to the location of the insuring activities, such as where negotiations take place, where insuring decisions take place and how marketing is conducted; from a market conduct perspective, it usually relates to the location of the marketing and promotion activities, though in some provinces having a local risk is sufficient.

To square off these competing tests, where a foreign insurer may not be considered to be carrying on insurance business in Canada (referred to in the legislation as “insur[ing] in Canada a risk”), but its activities may nevertheless require that foreign insurer to require a license under one or more insurance statutes of the provinces or territories of Canada, the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators has sent a “Consent and Undertaking” to foreign insurers licensed in Canada which would require that foreign insurer carrying on provincial insurance business to ensure that the business falls under its federal license and that assets are vested in trust relating to that business. This effectively harmonizes reporting and capital requirements across the provincial/territorial and federal insurance regulators for licensed foreign insurers. Unlicensed foreign insurers will be required to obtain applicable provincial and territorial licenses and potentially deposit assets in trust with the applicable regulators.

One feature of this Canadian regime is that foreign insurers and reinsurers may be able to structure their businesses so that they write business in Canada subject to Canada’s solvency and market conduct regimes, with the maintenance of certain assets and reserves in Canada, in some cases and they write business outside of Canada using a home office or affiliate in other cases. The question of business structure will depend on a number of factors, including regulation in the home jurisdiction, the nature of the business, and tax considerations.

As a practical matter:

  • many reinsurers and reinsurance activities may take place outside of Canada’s regulatory regime, though (subject to the next comment) ceding insurers would not get capital/asset credit for unregistered reinsurance;
  • unregistered reinsurance may be eligible for capital/asset credits if the ceding insurer benefits from acceptable collateral held in Canada, such as certain letters of credit, funds withheld arrangements, or the Reinsurance Security Agreement regime in which an unregistered reinsurer holds assets in Canada and grants to the ceding insurer a first priority security interest in those assets; and
  • “back office” activities (such as policy administration, underwriting support, product development, claims analysis, investment management) may be carried on outside of Canada or by other parties within Canada, subject to specific requirements such as rules related to outsourcing, privacy laws, and related party transactions.

Source: Lexology 

Not my laptop! Airline passengers hit the device doldrums

Not my laptop! Airline passengers hit the device doldrums

By Barbara Ortutay

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ As the indignities of modern air travel go, the latest ban on laptops and tablets on some international flights falls somewhere between having to take off your ratty shoes at the security checkpoint and having your baby food and milk tested for bomb residue.

It’s yet another inconvenience in the name of security for weary travellers, especially those from or passing through the 10 mostly Middle Eastern and North African countries covered by new U.S. and British policies. While it’s not quite as disruptive as an outright ban on smartphones much less a travel ban based on nationality the laptop limitation loomed large for some people as they prepared to travel.

“Why are only Middle Eastern airlines subject to this ban?” asked Kelsey Norman, a doctoral student who plans to fly home Friday to Los Angeles from Beirut and expects to have to check her laptop, a Kindle tablet and her DSLR camera. “Overall this policy is inconvenient, discriminatory, and continues to hurt America’s rapidly deteriorating reputation globally.”

BAN LOGIC

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security rules forbid laptop computers, tablets, Kindles, some gaming devices, cameras and other electronics larger than a smartphone in carry-on baggage. The U.S. government cited unspecified threats as the reason for the ban. The U.K. government instituted a similar ban; neither government’s restrictions affect U.S.-based airlines.

On the positive side, items people can still carry into the airline cabin include smartphones, overstuffed duffel bags, winter coats, tiny bottles of hand lotion, Tupperware containers full of tuna salad, earplugs, nose hair trimmers, and babies. For now, at least tomorrow could bring a new unspecified threat and with it a new ban.

LOST PRODUCTIVITY

Other travellers, especially of the dutiful business variety, worried that laptops in checked bags could be stolen, damaged or compromised and that in the meantime, they wouldn’t be able to get any work done. Some tried rerouting flights to avoid the affected airports, but this is not easy.

Banu Akdenizli, a native of Turkey, said having to fly 17 hours without her laptop will cost her precious time to work and prepare for a conference.

“It might seem trivial to a lot of people, but what you get from these parts of the world are usually business travellers,” said Akdenizli, an associate professor of communications at the Doha, Qatar, campus of Northwestern University. “It’s not just about watching movies, but also being able to get some work done.”

Of course, others may well revel in the prospect of a few hours of laptop-free time, stretched out in their luxurious middle coach seats instead of hunched over Excel spreadsheets. It wasn’t so long ago that such this was the norm for air travellers.

And there still are a few ways to make do without those laptops, tablets and portable DVD players. Sort of.

AWKWARD WORKAROUNDS

If you’re someone who insists on working, it’s possible to take import documents into Google Docs and thumb away on your smartphone’s keyboard, at least so long as you remember to save them to your phone before you take off. But features can be limited with some apps; Microsoft’s Office app, for instance, only lets you open one document at a time.

Such apps are OK for simple proofreading and minor editing, but probably won’t do if you’re working on your novel. Among other things, the text is tiny when fitting a full page on a phone’s screen, though there’s a button to temporarily reformat text for the smaller display.

Catching up on email or cleaning out your inbox could be another way to pass time without your laptop, especially if you shell out for in-flight Wi-Fi.

If you can resist the urge to work, you can download shows from Netflix or Amazon onto your phone for offline viewing _ though again, you have to remember to do this before your flight. And you might want to stick with comedies or TV shows rather than epics designed for big screens.

AT LEAST IT’S NOT PHONES

For most of us, laptops and other gadgets play mere supporting roles compared to our extra limb, our one and only _ the smartphone. We go to sleep with it and look at it the first thing in the morning. Had the ban included smartphones, passengers might now be agitating for the return of zeppelin travel.

Last fall, Samsung asked users of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 to “power down and stop using the device” when getting on a plane. (The phone was later banned, and then recalled.) People followed the directions but found clever workarounds, such as borrowing non-Note 7 phones from friends.

But at least then people could see Note 7s bursting into flames on YouTube, leading to the natural conclusion that this would be bad on a jetliner. Here, the threat is much harder to envision, travellers say.

A few manage anyway. Nick Lieber, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen living in Jerusalem, plans an April trip to Chicago that will take him through Amman, Jordan, and therefore subject him to the ban. He said stowing his laptop in his checked luggage won’t be too inconvenient because he doesn’t anticipate having work on the flight.

But he worries about laptop lithium-ion batteries which have been blamed for past aircraft fires stored in the plane’s cargo hold. “I’m a nervous flyer already,” Lieber said.

#RoadSafety – We’ve Got a Serious Attitude Problem

#RoadSafety – We’ve Got a Serious Attitude Problem

Sometimes when I read articles on road safety I come across one that really resonates with me. A story from 2008 written by Paul Hergott titled Drivers Need to Smarten Up When Out on the Road is one of them. Paul starts off by saying “We’ve got ourselves a serious attitude problem. We see driving as a right.”

Very little has changed since then except perhaps that this attitude is becoming even more prevalent on our roads in 2017.

Paul goes on to say “We then put a whole lot of police resources into enforcing those basic rules of the road. The enforcement, though, is hardly compelling. The fines associated with blowing through red lights and speeding are nothing more than slaps on the wrist.”

This is an area where I have some experience, having spent about 25 years writing traffic tickets to drivers, trying to change the attitude of the motoring public.

In order to be effective, drivers who do not follow the rules need to believe that there will be consequences for not doing so. The chance of being caught must be seen as significant and once justifiably ticketed for an offence, there should be a proportionate penalty impressed.

If you continue to ignore the rules, you should find yourself without the privilege of driving for a time.

I knew the size of my patrol area and how many of my co-workers were on the road at any one time. From that knowledge alone, I knew that there was little chance that most drivers would see me or my partner during a shift much less risk being issued a ticket.

We would often remark on traffic enforcement that we did not encounter when driving around the province while on leave, marveling at the distance we could travel and not encounter a marked police vehicle doing traffic enforcement.

Why count marked police vehicles? Probably because the majority of the traffic enforcement fleet is a fully marked car. Even the unmarked cars tended to be Fords or Chevys with black steel wheels and a forest of antennae on the roof.

The use of non-standard unmarked vehicles of many varieties that regularly move among the traffic units would go a long way toward keeping habitual offenders watching their rear view mirrors.

Unless you have a significant driving record and have committed a particularly serious offence, there is no risk in disputing the allegation in a traffic ticket. The worst that will likely happen is that you will have to pay the amount shown on the ticket.

I’ll leave a driving prohibition up to the Superintendent is a common response made by the court to a request by the Crown during the penalty phase of a trial.

If you are not part of the Graduated Licencing Program you cannot complain about the Superintendent being heavy handed. Under the Driver Improvement Program a driver has to accumulate fifteen to nineteen penalty points within a 2 year period before a prohibition might occur.

Excessive speeding, driving without due care and attention, driving without reasonable consideration for others or using an electronic device while driving are the exceptions to the rule. They are classed as high risk driving offences and if you are convicted twice in a one year period a prohibition will occur.

Our current system of enforcement likely works well enough for the average citizen who generally tries to follow the rules. What Paul describes as a slap on the wrist is not much of a deterrent for those drivers who put themselves ahead of everyone else in traffic.

Spring Break Health and Safety Tips

Spring Break Health and Safety Tips

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC twenty four seven. Saving Lives, Protecting People

Make this year’s spring break memorable by having fun and helping yourself, your friends, and others stay safe and healthy.

Limit alcohol.

If drinking alcohol is part of your break, remember that it can impair your judgment and actions. Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and nonfatally injure someone every two minutes. Don’t drink and drive. There are plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives.

Be active.

You’ve probably been sitting most of the year working at the computer, studying, or in class. During the break, take the opportunity to start a fitness program. Do a variety of fun activities like walking, dancing, playing volleyball, swimming, and more. It doesn’t need to be hard to be beneficial. Avoid injury by starting any new activity slowly. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles.

Plan a successful trip.

If you are going on a trip, be prepared. Are vaccinations required? Are there special food, destination, or other things you need to consider ahead of time? If you are taking medications, do you have enough for the trip? Know what’s happening en route or at your travel destination.

Protect yourself.

Love is all around, and so are sexually transmitted diseases. The only 100% sure way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy is by not having sex. If you choose to have sex, using latex condoms and having a monogamous, uninfected partner may help lower your risk.

Women are more likely to be victims of sexual violence than men. Women who experience both sexual and physical abuse are significantly more likely to have sexually transmitted diseases. Take precautions and avoid situations or persons that may place you at risk for harm.

Watch your step.

There may be temptations on your break that involve different or high-risk activity. Think twice before putting yourself at risk for injury. Be sure to use appropriate safety gear before venturing out, such as seat belts, life vests, or knee pads. Remember that unintentional injuries kill more Americans in their first three decades of life than any other cause of death. In fact, injuries (both unintentional and those caused by acts of violence) are among the top ten killers for Americans of all ages.

Protect your eyes.

If you wear contact lenses, practice healthy wear and care tips, even when you’re on vacation. Carry a spare pair of glasses and contact lens supplies with you so you can take out your contacts safely when you need to. Remove contacts before swimming, as exposing contact lenses to water can lead to painful, sometimes blinding eye infections. Always take your contacts out before bed, even if you’re up late or traveling. Sleeping in contact lenses has been linked to serious eye infections.

Know the ropes.

When swimming and boating, know what’s expected and what you can do to prevent injury or death for yourself and others. Know how to swim. Wear your life jacket while boating. Avoid alcoholic beverages while boating. Complete a boating education course. Participate in the vessel safety check program.

Protect yourself from the sun.

After a cold winter, it’s tempting to stay in the hot sun all day. Although getting a little sun can have some benefits, excessive and unprotected sun exposure can result in premature aging, changes in skin texture, and skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15. For eye protection, wear wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection.

Eat healthy.

Having fun takes energy and fuel. Be sure to eat a variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. Also include low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, and legumes. Drink lots of water and go easy on the salt, sugar, alcohol, and saturated fat. Good nutrition should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, not smoking, and stress management.

Be smoke-free.

Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Just 20 minutes after smoking that last cigarette, your body begins a series of positive changes that continue for years. Quitting is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others.

Five Habits of a Highly Professional Home Reno Contractor

Shoddy workmanship. AWOL contractors. Sub-par construction materials. Improper insulation. Mould. Sewage leaks. Everyone has heard the horror stories of home renovations gone wrong.

According to Guy Solomon, president of Penguin Basements and a spokesperson for national renovation source RenoMark™, it doesn’t have to be that way. In addition to dispensing renovation advice and solutions at the National Home Show in Toronto (March 10-19), Mr. Solomon will deliver a seminar entitled 5 steps to a successful renovation. “Every homeowner deserves to know what their project will cost and entail and to have insight into how the nature of the renovation will impact the value of their home. A successful renovation starts well before construction begins,” he says.

Advising on lifestyle, financial and logistical factors to consider when contemplating a reno, Mr. Solomon also offers an informed perspective on what consumers should look for in a successful contractor:

A  business licence, liability insurance and WSIB insurance.  All professional renovators should carry these qualifications, especially now that cities and municipalities are in the process of requiring renovators to be licensed.

A written contract. A true renovation professional will provide a proper contract that spells out project scope (and a process for authorizing and communicating any amendments), defines roles and reporting structure, specifies construction materials and provides a complete timeline, clear payment schedule, and a detailed explanation of what’s under warranty and for how long. “Without a contract, you’ll have no legal recourse if the work is substandard,” warns Mr. Solomon.

An understanding of required permits and a willingness to help you acquire them.  A professional contractor will be up-to-date on provincial building codes and the municipal requirements of your area. They should be ready to work with you on creating and submitting a detailed application that includes a set of plans, drawings and other documents.

An affiliation with a professional homebuilder’s organization. While neighbours and friends can be an excellent source of recommendations, cross-referencing the names of prospective contractors and renovators with an industry association like BILD (which offers a searchable database of members) is an additional  indicator of professionalism and ethical conduct.

Experience with projects similar to yours. Always ask for (and check!) references. Reluctance or refusal to provide at least two referrals may be a sign you’re not working with a professional. And no homeowner deserves that.

Guy Solomon speaks at the National Home Show on Tuesday March 14 @ 12pm. Visit Guy and Penguin Basements at Booth 4420.

About Penguin Basements
Penguin Basements is Canada’s leading basement renovation contractor and creator of The Second Suite Solution, a wealth-building strategy designed to help homeowners unlock the value beneath their feet and turn their basement into income.

www.basementscanada.com
@penguinbasement

SOURCE Penguin Basements

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