Devices & apps are hacking our attention, & that’s precisely what they’re designed to do.

Devices & apps are hacking our attention, & that’s precisely what they’re designed to do.

Just months after the first iPhone was released in 2007, Nir Eyal and some of his Stanford classmates were part of a project creating apps that would be advertised and sold via Facebook.

This was before the app store existed and at a time when Facebook was open to third-party app developers.

The goal of the project was to learn about the psychology of Facebook and what drew people to it — or away from it.

Eyal served as the CEO of the business and within months the apps created by the class had 16 million users and they’d generated more than $1 million US in ad revenue. They understood how to design to create dependence.

While people may talk about being addicted to their phones or to social media, the reality is that they are dependent on those products because they’re designed that way.

Those products are designed to get you hooked.

Creating the habit

The group at Stanford, informally known as “The Facebook Class,” went on to work at Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google.

Eyal teaches, consults and writes about the intersection of psychology, business and technology. He’s the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.

“Of course these devices and apps are hacking our attention. That’s what they’re designed to do,” Eyal told Day 6 host Brent Bambury.

He says that five years ago, even he was hooked.

“I would check my phone when I meant to be with my daughter. I would check my phone when I meant to do a project at work. I would check my phone just for any old reason,” said Eyal. “And that actually caused me to reconsider my relationship with distraction.”

Eyal uses an example from the behavioural work of psychologist B. F. Skinner to explain how devices and apps are designed to become habit-forming.

Skinner taught pigeons to tap a disc in order to get a pellet of food. The food was their reward.

Eventually, Skinner changed the pattern so that the pigeons would get their rewards inconsistently. The birds might tap the disc but would not always get a food pellet.

“What Skinner observed was that the rate of response the number of times the pigeons pecked at the disc increased when the reward was given on a variable schedule of reinforcement,” explained Eyal.

“We see the same, what we call intermittent rewards, in all sorts of things. It’s what makes gambling so engaging. It’s what makes the news interesting,” he said. “It’s what you don’t already know.”

The same desire for intermittent reward apply to books, movies and sports – the outcome is unpredictable.

“And of course, it’s at the core of many habit forming products online like social media, email, Google searches. All of these things utilize an intermittent reinforcement.”

That unpredictability is why users keep checking Facebook and Twitter and Instagram – will there be any likes? Will there be any retweets? What’s trending?

Sounding the alarm

Chamath Palihapitiya was a Facebook executive in the company’s earlier years. Today he’s a venture capitalist and a critic of social media.

In a talk at Stanford University in late 2017, Palihapitiya acknowledged that while it wasn’t intentional by Facebook executives, “I think in the back of the deep, deep recesses of our minds we kind of knew that something bad could happen.”

READ FULL ARTICLE AT CBC NEWS 

Condo Insurance: Three Steps To Mitigate Risk From Rising Premiums & Deductibles

It is safe to say that condo insurance is becoming a sore spot for condo corporations not only in Ontario but across Canada. Condo corporations have seen soaring premiums and deductibles. In some jurisdictions, it has been reported that premiums have risen 780%.

The reason for the increase seems to be multi-faceted including, but not limited to, higher property values, reduced number of insurers, rising costs for insurers and drastic weather patterns.

The issue is so pressing that the Insurance Bureau of Canada is engaging a risk manager to make recommendations to condo corporations to reduce risks. The problem, however, is that the Insurance Board of Canada has no cap on condo premiums and the government does not require insurers to apply for rate increases.

So, what can a condo corporation do to mitigate this risk?

1. Standard Unit By-law

One of the key features of a Standard Unit By-law is defining the components of the units that the condo corporation is responsible to insure and defining the components that the owners are responsible to insure. Condo corporations should be passing Standard Unit By-laws and removing items such as flooring and countertops from the items that are the Corporation’s responsibility.

For condo corporations that have Standard Unit By-laws or Standard Unit Schedules (which are prepared by Declarants), boards should be reviewing these documents to determine if other items should be removed.

The purpose of removing items from the condo corporations’ insurance responsibility is not to merely pass the buck to unit owners. Rather, it mitigates the collective risk of unit owners and common expense increases.

Unit owners sometimes forget that the condo corporations’ insurance premiums and deductibles (when paid) form part of their common expenses. They also sometimes forget that if an insurance claim is made by the condo corporation pertaining to damage to a unit, the condo corporation will be required to pay the deductible. In this scenario, one unit owner may have his/her flooring replaced (the cost of which could be $15,000) but all unit owners will be required to contribute towards the cost of the deductible.

2. Insurance Deductible By-law

Speaking of deductibles, condo corporations may pass by-laws which extend the circumstances in which unit owners may be responsible for the lesser of the cost of repair and deductible.

Under the existing Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act“) the deductible may only be charged back to the unit owner if the damage was caused by the unit owner’s act or omission and only for damage to that owner’s unit. The Act, however, allows by-laws to be created which makes unit owners responsible for these costs in the event the damage is from their unit irrespective of any act or omission and for damage to other units and the common elements.

There are two key considerations to keep in mind. First, the charge back must pertain to insurable events such as floods or fires. Second, the charge back is limited to the lesser of the cost of repair and deductible. For example, if the cost of repair is $50,000 and the deductible is $10,000, the condo corporation is only authorized to charge back up to the deductible irrespective of whether a claim is made by the condo corporation.

Amendments to the Act will be coming into effect which will make unit owners responsible for the lesser of the cost of repair and deductible for damage to other units and the common elements in the event the damage resulted from an act or omission of the unit owner and the damage did not result from an act or omission of the Corporation or any of its staff. To be clear, the Corporation (once these provisions come into force) will no longer need to pass a by-law to extend the circumstances to address damage to other units and common elements.

The one catch to the amendments of the Act is that the ability to pass no fault charge back by-laws appears to have been removed. As noted above, this scenario deals with insurable events where the source of the damage is the unit but the owner’s acts/omissions were not the cause. However, it appears that condo corporations will be permitted to amend their declarations to address these no fault scenarios. The threshold to amend the declaration for this purpose is quite high and requires 80% consent of the unit owners.

We should note that it is questionable how existing Insurance Deductible By-laws with no fault provisions will be treated once the amendments to the Act come into force, but it is our opinion that there is still value in passing these by-laws.

3. Water Escape Detection Devices

Devices are available which detect water escape and immediately shut down the water line. These devices should mitigate damages and provide comfort to insurers when ascertaining risk and in turn, calculating premiums and deductibles.

Prior to installing water escape detection devices in the units, boards are encouraged to review the legalities of such installations in the unit with management or counsel.

The above list is in no way exhaustive, but if these steps are taken, condo corporations should be able to mitigate their risk pertaining to rising premiums and deductibles.

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.

Source: Mondaq

Distracted driving is a trend on the rise

Canada Safety Council

It’s a scene that is far too familiar on roads across Canada: a cell phone sounds an alert, the driver reaches for the phone, and in the short time it takes to read the screen, a collision has occurred.

Distracted driving is a trend on the rise, a dangerous and life-threatening behaviour that must be stopped. To mark this year’s National Safe Driving Week, the Canada Safety Council and the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) share a crucial message: distraction behind the wheel is entirely preventable. Just don’t do it.

The Statistics

Distracted driving statistics are understated because distraction isn’t always easy to prove. In fatal accidents where distraction was a possible factor, there may not be evidence of phone usage or, sadly, a living witness to tell the story. This has resulted in a significant underreporting of the issue – still, the data currently available reveals staggering numbers.

According to Transport Canada, distraction was a contributing factor in 21 per cent of fatal collisions and 27 per cent of collisions resulting in serious injury in 2016. Comparatively, those numbers were reported at 16 and 22 per cent, respectively, in 2006.

The Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators (CCMTA) provides further context to these numbers: 1.7 per cent of fatal collisions and 1.9 per cent of collisions resulting in serious injury involved electronic communication devices between 2010–14. While more recent statistics are not available, the prevalence of mobile devices in today’s society makes it a reasonable assumption that these numbers, too, are on the rise.

And if you’re fortunate enough to avoid injury or fatality, you’ll still be subject to fines and potentially demerit points depending on your province. Refer to this chart by the Canadian Automobile Association for a detailed breakdown.

To further compound the financial costs, your auto insurance premiums could sharply increase if you’re found to have been operating a vehicle while distracted.

“Insurance is all about risk, and distracted driving is an extremely risky behavior,” said Peter Braid, Chief Executive Officer of IBAC. “That’s why insurance brokers are partnering with the Canada Safety Council to raise awareness of the danger and encourage drivers to keep their eyes on the road. The stakes are high – death, injury, property damage, fines and rising insurance premiums. Whatever the distraction, it’s not worth the risk.”

 

text notification bubble with ellipsis looking like traffic light

The challenge

The challenge in addressing this issue is cognitive dissonance and, where distracted driving is concerned, willingly engaging in behaviours that are known to contribute to the likelihood of collisions. Studies in provinces across Canada have borne out the same result: a majority of drivers understand that distracted driving is dangerous and illegal; yet, the same respondents report using their devices behind the wheel anyway.

“Personal accountability is a major component of society’s role in reducing distracted driving deaths,” said Gareth Jones, president of the Canada Safety Council. “If you’re in the majority of road users who understand the risks, you owe it to your family and to fellow road users to put the phone away and otherwise minimize distractions.  It’s a choice that each of us has completely within our control.  Building a culture of safe driving happens one person and one decision at a time, so let’s choose well.”

 

Other types of distraction

While the topic of distracted driving is often discussed in the context of texting and calling behind the wheel, other forms of distraction exist and can also be harmful. Distracted driving is characterized as any action that removes your focus from the road. This can include eating, adjusting music, heat or GPS, applying makeup and interacting with passengers in the vehicle.

 

Tips to avoid distraction behind the wheel

  • Put your phone on silent or on Do Not Disturb mode. You won’t be tempted by an alert you don’t hear.
  • Even better, use an app or a built-in function that activates a Do Not Disturb feature automatically when connected to your vehicle’s Bluetooth or when increased speed is detected. See the enclosed tip sheet for examples.
  • Out of sight, out of mind – put your phone in a glove compartment, a zipped purse or knapsack, or even the back seat.
  • Make sure to leave enough time in your schedule to eat and groom before getting in the car.
  • Ensure that your temperature, music and GPS are set before you leave.
  • If it’s really that important, pull over.

Above all else, remember that driving is a potentially deadly task that requires your full attention. You wouldn’t take a call while operating a bulldozer; why do the same with a vehicle capable of going at much higher speeds?

Completion of Brown & Brown, Inc. Completes Acquisition of Special Risk Insurance Managers, Ltd.

News Release:

Update on previously ran an article by ILSTV Dec 9th, 2019

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE:BRO) today announced the completion of the previously-announced acquisition of Special Risk Insurance Managers, Ltd. by Brown & Brown, Inc.

Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE: BRO) is a leading insurance brokerage firm, providing risk management solutions to individuals and businesses. With more than 80 years of proven success and thousands of teammates, we offer the knowledge you can trust and strive to deliver superior customer service. For more information, please visit bbinsurance.com.

This press release may contain certain statements relating to future results which are forward-looking statements, including those associated with this acquisition. These statements are not historical facts, but instead, represent only Brown & Brown’s current belief regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of Brown & Brown’s control. It is possible that Brown & Brown’s actual results and financial condition may differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results and financial condition indicated in these forward-looking statements. Further information concerning Brown & Brown and its business, including factors that potentially could materially affect Brown & Brown’s financial results and condition, as well as its other achievements, is contained in Brown & Brown’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such factors include those factors relevant to Brown & Brown’s consummation and integration of the announced acquisition, including any matters analyzed in the due diligence process, and material adverse changes in the business and financial condition of the seller, the buyer, or both, and their respective customers. All forward-looking statements made herein are made only as of the date of this release, and Brown & Brown does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or correct any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that subsequently occur or of which Brown & Brown hereafter becomes aware.

R. Andrew Watts
Chief Financial Officer
(386) 239-7550

See the original article here:

Brown & Brown, Inc. Enters into Agreement to Acquire Special Risk Insurance Managers, Ltd.

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IBC to hire risk manager to assist condominium corporations

EDMONTON, Jan. 7, 2020 /CNW/ – To address issues that have arisen in the commercial insurance market, and especially in condominium insurance in Alberta, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) will be engaging an expert in risk management to assist those having trouble accessing affordable insurance.

IBC will make the risk manager available to assist condo corporations that are having trouble acquiring insurance. The risk manager will make practical recommendations that will reduce condo corporations’ risk and help improve the availability of insurance. For example, if a condo corporation can’t obtain insurance because of numerous water damage claims, the risk manager will identify that as the obstacle for the condo corporation and advise them on the maintenance required to reduce that risk.

While the commercial insurance market has been hardening globally, there are a number of condominium corporations in Alberta that are feeling the pressures more significantly than others. The IBC risk manager, to be hired early this year, will work closely with the insurance industry, the provincial government and condominium corporations to understand risks facing condos and how they can prioritize actions needed to access much-needed insurance.

“We recognize the seriousness of the issues facing a number of condominium corporations in Alberta, especially in Fort McMurray, and want to help all stakeholders find solutions,” said Celyeste Power, Vice-President, Western, IBC. “Insurance is all about understanding and pricing for risk. Engaging with a risk manager will help those who are having difficulty finding insurance to take steps that will help them get the insurance coverage they need.”

There are about 9,000 condominium corporations across Alberta, and recent media reports suggest at least a handful are having trouble accessing insurance or are seeing increased rates. Being better informed will help condominium boards to examine and respond to these concerns. The risk manager hired by IBC will be able to increase boards’ awareness about how insurers view risks and evaluate properties. The risk manager can also provide advice on how claims history, building materials and location can affect insurance rates.

“We understand this is an incredibly stressful situation for Albertans in the affected condos. We do not want to see any Albertan lose their home or have difficulty paying their bills. We are hopeful that this first step will help inform those affected and improve the situation,” Power added.

This is just one step of many that the insurance industry is taking to address this issue. IBC has brought together industry representatives and key stakeholders to take action and is also working closely with the provincial government.

“It is essential that all stakeholders work together to find common-sense solutions to relieve the pressure in the condominium market right now,” Power concluded.

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 us on Twitter @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.

Backgrounder

How insurance for condominium corporations works

Tough market conditions have led to companies re-evaluating their risk appetite for writing new business and having more discipline in commercial underwriting. Many insurers across Canada, and in Alberta in particular, have seen more frequent and more severe weather losses, including losses as a result of the 2013 floods in Calgary, the 2016 wildfires in Fort McMurray and the 2019 fires in High Level.

  • 7 of Canada’s 11 most-costly insured disaster events have taken place in Alberta, and this has contributed to changes in the way companies underwrite risk and price premiums.
  • Several lines of insurance business are currently experiencing high losses. A hardening insurance market – a period where claims payouts have increased – makes insurers less inclined to write new business, making it more difficult for commercial consumers to obtain insurance.

Insurers look at a number of factors to assess risk and price premiums, including the following:

  • Type of construction and the materials used in the building’s construction, including whether materials are fire resistant, e.g., wood frame structures are considered higher risk.
  • Location of the condo, e.g., buildings located on flood plains pose a greater risk of water damage due to overland flooding, and in the northern parts of Alberta, water damage from burst pipes is more prevalent.
  • Multi-unit condos are prone to water damage through accidental overflowing of toilets and bathtubs, as well as burst pipes and supply line failures.
  • Claims history, such as repeated water damage claims or multiple other claims, will affect the availability and affordability of insurance coverage.

There are unique risks to consider when insuring condo corporations, including the following:

  • Difficult economic conditions have led to higher vacancy rates, which pose significant risks.
  • A unit occupied by tenants, as opposed to the unit owner, may not be maintained as adequately and repairs may not happen as quickly.
  • Higher tenancy rates can often lead to less oversight from the board of directors, which could lead to irregular maintenance or substandard repairs in the condo building.

What you can do now:

  • Talk to your insurance representative about what risk management strategies will help protect your condo. An efficient and effective maintenance program will help to mitigate many of the risks your condo corporation faces.

If you are a condo unit owner:

  • Ask your condo corporation about its maintenance strategy and what it is doing to mitigate risks.
  • Ask your condo corporation about the condo’s claims history and whether there are maintenance issues that need to be addressed.
  • If you have questions about insurance, call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask‑IBC for more information.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

www.ibc.ca

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