ICLR releases ‘build back better’ guidelines for Fort McMurray

ICLR releases ‘build back better’ guidelines for Fort McMurray

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction has identified best practices for the design and construction of homes to reduce the risk of loss and damage from several natural hazards, including wildfire. These elements, part of ICLR’s ‘Insurers Rebuild Better Homes’ program, are actively encouraged when insurance companies respond to a total loss, and should be considered with a partial loss event.

The program sets out three essential elements for each hazard (basement flooding, wildfire, extreme wind and hail) that provide the greatest impact on risk reduction, and several additional elements that would further improve resilience if funds are available.

The wildfire elements of the program are recommended in all areas at risk of wildfire, and are particularly important in the wildland-urban interface.

Wildland fire
Priority protection:

  • All roofing materials and installation requirements must be A, B or C rated fire resistant. Asphalt, clay tile or metal roofing should be given preference.
  • Use fire resistant siding, such as stucco, metal siding, brick or cement shingles. Sheath exterior walls from the ground level to the roofline with minimum ½” sheathing. Exterior walls should be free of gaps or openings that would allow embers to enter building envelope or become trapped behind siding. Heavy timber construction must provide a minimum 20-minute fire rating.
  • Ensure that exterior windows, windows within exterior doors and skylights are made of tempered glass, multi-layered glazed panels, glass block, or have fire resistance rating of no less than 20 minutes. Exterior doors shall be solid-core wood no less than 1 3⁄4″ thick, approved non-combustible construction, or have a fire protection rating of no less than 20 minutes.

Enhanced protection:

  • Install non-combustible roof gutters, downspouts and connectors, with a cover to prevent accumulation of debris. Use a roof drip edge.
  • Screen vents and soffits with a corrosion-resistant, non-combustible wire mesh (mesh opening not to exceed ¼” in size).
  • Close in eaves, attics, decks and openings under floors with non-combustible materials or, as a minimum, all openings should be screened with corrosion-resistant, ¼” non-combustible wire mesh. Cover attic, foundation and vertical wall ventilation openings with ¼” mesh corrosion-resistant metal screen or other non-combustible material.
  • Install non-combustible mesh window screening to prevent the collection of firebrands and embers or their entry into open windows.
  • Exterior projections (e.g., decks, balconies, car port covers, etc.) should be constructed of non-combustible material, fire-retardant-treated wood, or other ignition-resistant materials, or be a 1-hour fire-rated assembly.
  • Non-combustible materials should be used for balcony and deck surfaces. Decks should be either sheathed with non-flammable materials with access to allow for clean out of flammable materials beneath decks, or have a non-combustible surface free of combustible material below the deck and out to 1 m horizontal from the edge of the deck. Stilts should be built from, or encased in non-combustible materials.
  • Install a spark arrester on every fireplace and wood stove chimney (minimum 12-gauge welded wire or woven wire mesh, openings not to exceed ½”).
  • No attic ventilation openings or ventilation louvers shall be permitted in soffits, in eave overhangs, between rafters at eaves, or in other overhanging areas on exposures facing hazardous vegetation.

ICLR’s ‘Insurers Rebuild Stronger Homes’ is the first program in the world setting out the actions that insurance companies can take to strengthen the disaster preparedness of homeowners by building back better homes after a disaster strikes. The insurance industry provides the majority of funds to support the recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of homes damaged or destroyed in Canada by natural hazards. The recovery and rebuilding process is a critical opportunity to build back better, enhancing the resilience of Canadian homes to future hazards at little or no additional cost.

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Established in 1998 by Canada’s property and casualty insurers, ICLR is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based inToronto and at Western University in London, Canada. ICLR is a centre of excellence for disaster loss prevention research and education. ICLR’s research staff is internationally recognized for pioneering work in a number of fields including wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric sciences, water resources engineering and economics. Multi-disciplined research is a foundation for ICLR’s work to build communities more resilient to disasters.

SOURCE Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Why Safe Cycling Matters

Why Safe Cycling Matters

Toronto has recently approved a pilot project for protected bicycle lanes on Bloor Street West, set to be built this summer. With the success of the installation of protected bicycle lanes on Adelaide Street in 2014, bicycle traffic has tripled to more than 1,500 users per day.1 Bicycles and cyclists now account for almost half the traffic on the street. Although the city is taking strides to protect cyclists with the upcoming pilot on Bloor, cyclists should ensure they are doing everything they can to protect themselves.

As the temperature increases, so does the number of bicycles on the road, and unfortunately, so does the number of cycling accidents. Every year in Canada more than 7,500 cyclists suffer serious injuries. According to the Brain Injury Society of Toronto, head injuries account for 20-40% of all cycling-related injuries treated in Canadian emergency departments each year. In 2013, 63 cyclists died in traffic collisions in Toronto.

“Currently, cyclists, pedestrians and drivers maintain an adversarial relationship on city streets, and this relationship unfortunately leads to collisions,” says Constable Clinton Stibbe, Traffic Services Media Officer for the Toronto Police Service. “Too often we see road users taking shortcuts and these shortcuts are costing lives. Cyclists and pedestrians are the most vulnerable road using group. They must be aware of all situations they face, and at the same time, they must take all steps necessary to help protect themselves, which includes following all the rules of the road at all times.”

Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is a vehicle, just like a car or truck. Cyclists must obey all traffic laws and have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Drivers must also be aware that they are sharing the road with cyclists. For example drivers need to check when turning that there are no cyclists in their blind spot. Drivers must give at least a meter of distance when passing a cyclist, and always check before opening the door of a car.

“I used to ride my bicycle all the time, until I was hit by a car last year,” says Rebecca a 32 year old cycling accident victim who asked to remain anonymous. The driver of the car was making a left-hand turn and was not looking to see if a bicycle was in her blind spot. “The car t-boned me and I was left with severe damage; short-term memory loss, a fractured spine and permanent nerve damage,” she adds.

Cyclists riding on the roadways are vulnerable to serious injury because other than wearing a helmet, they are completely exposed to an impact from a motor vehicle.  Even an approved helmet may be insufficient to protect a cyclist from sustaining a serious head injury.  Bicycle accidents frequently occur when cyclists try to avoid motor vehicles who are unaware of the cyclist’s presence on the roadway.

“The cases we handle involving cyclists who have been injured by being struck by a motor vehicle or by attempting to avoid a vehicle, generally involve serious and often “catastrophic” injuries,” says Leonard Kunka, a partner with the personal injury law firm of Thomson, Rogers.  “Many cyclists are unaware of their legal rights following an accident, and the process for making claims is complicated.  While motor vehicle/cyclist accidents can often be quite terrifying, the insurance and legal process should not be.”

Thomson, Rogers offers an Information Kit for cyclists that has ten steps to follow when you have been injured in a cycling accident.

  1. Get immediate medical attention after an accident.
  2. Ensure the police have all of the information they need about the accident.
  3. Record the names and addresses of all parties involved and witnesses. Record the car insurance information of any other party involved in the accident.
  4. See your family doctor and keep him/her informed of your injury.
  5. Notify your car insurance company within 7 days of the accident, if you own a motor vehicle and intend to pursue a claim for accident benefits.
  6. If you do not have car insurance, notify the insurer of the car that struck you as soon as possible.
  7. Record the names and contact information of all health care professionals who treat you as well as all family members who cared for you (including dates and time spent).
  8. Keep receipts for all related expenses.
  9. Check for other insurance coverage (work, school or private plans).
  10. Contact a lawyer and explore your rights.

To get a copy of the Information Kit (and other helpful information on Safe Cycling) free of charge from Thomson, Rogers, call Leonard Kunka at 416-868-3100.  Or visit www.thomsonrogers.com.

It is important for everyone on the road to feel that they are safe. The knowledge of what to do in and after an accident are just as important as how to be safe when cycling.

Thomson, Rogers is the largest personal injury law firm in Ontario and is also a leader in family law litigationclass actionscommercial litigation and land use litigation.

1 Now Toronto

SOURCE Thomson, Rogers

(HSB BI&I), Introduces TechAdvantageTM, Coverage for Invisible Risks

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada (HSB BI&I), part of Munich Re, today announced the introduction of TechAdvantage™, its new standard equipment breakdown policy. It is the first equipment breakdown insurance product covering undetectable physical damage to microelectronics.

“Technology is changing the risk landscape dramatically, creating new forms of equipment and applications for them,” said David Pivato, vice president for HSB BI&I. “Micro-circuitry, now critical to almost all equipment, is so sensitive that damage, invisible to the human eye, can cause equipment to simply stop working.”

TechAdvantage™ expands equipment breakdown and business interruption coverage beyond evidence of physical damage to circuit boards, computer chips and other micro-circuitry. The new coverage is triggered when equipment containing electronic circuitry stops working but is restored when the electronic component is replaced.

Until now, most equipment breakdown insurance required evidence of physical damage to cover losses and did not adequately address today’s microelectronics risks.

TechAdvantage™ is the most innovative equipment breakdown product HSB BI&I has ever offered, with five new coverages: microelectronics coverage; cloud computing service interruption coverage; expanded data restoration coverage; off-premises coverage and public relations coverage.

The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada, a member of HSB Group and part of Munich Re’s Risk Solutions family since 2009, is a leading specialty insurer providing equipment breakdown, other specialty coverages, inspection services and engineering-based risk management that set the standard for excellence worldwide. We focus on clients and partner with them to craft inventive insurance and service solutions to cover existing and emerging risks posed by technological change. Today, as throughout our 140+ year history, our mission is to use our engineering knowledge and insights to help clients prevent loss, advance sustainable use of energy resources and build deeper relationships that benefit business, industry, public institutions and consumers. HSB Group holds A.M. Best Company’s highest financial rating, A++ (Superior). For more information, visit www. munichre.com/hsbbii and connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Munich Re stands for exceptional solution-based expertise, consistent risk management, financial stability and client proximity. This is how Munich Re creates value for clients, shareholders and staff. In the financial year 2015, the Group – which combines primary insurance and reinsurance under one roof – achieved a profit of €3.1bn on premium income of over €50bn. It operates in all lines of insurance, with over 43,000 employees throughout the world. With premium income of around €28bn from reinsurance alone, it is one of the world’s leading reinsurers. Especially when clients require solutions for complex risks, Munich Re is a much sought-after risk carrier. Its primary insurance operations are concentrated mainly in the ERGO Insurance Group, one of the leading insurance groups in Germany and Europe. ERGO is represented in over 30 countries worldwide and offers a comprehensive range of insurances, provision products and services. In 2015, ERGO posted premium income of €17.9bn. In international healthcare business, Munich Re pools its insurance and reinsurance operations, as well as related services, under the Munich Health brand. Munich Re’s global investments (excluding insurance-related investments) amounting to €215bn are managed by MEAG, which also makes its competence available to private and institutional investors outside the Group.


Silvana Martins, 416-216-7204
Media Relations

Aviva Canada & the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction create free emergency preparedness mobile app

Aviva Canada & the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction create free emergency preparedness mobile app

Press Release:

Aviva Canada is pleased to announce another industry first with the launch of the Plan & Protect mobile app in partnership with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR), a world-class centre for disaster prevention research and communications. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s 2015 Fact Book (page 16), for the past six consecutive years, insured losses caused by large natural catastrophes have been around or over $1 billion. By comparison, insured losses averaged $400 million a year over the 25-year period from 1983 to 2008.

The free app can be downloaded to mobile devices where users will receive personalized information to help them prepare for natural disasters, including severe weather and earthquakes. For the first 10,000 app downloads, Aviva Canada will donate $5 for each download to the Canadian Red Cross to help communities affected by disasters.

“As one of the leading insurers in Canada, we see the devastating impact of severe weather and natural disasters firsthand,” says Irene Bianchi, EVP National Claims, Aviva Canada. “We’re excited to partner with the ICLR to help people prepare for the unexpected. Canadians who download the Plan & Protect app will have the information they need to protect their family and homes, even if wifi isn’t available.”

Now available from the App Store and Google Play, the Plan & Protect app is available in English or French and compatible with both Apple and Android devices in support of national Emergency Preparedness Week (May 1-7).

Once users download the app, they can easily create a profile and answer a brief set of questions that will determine their level of vulnerability to Canada’s five most common perils – floods, wildfires, severe wind, winter storms and earthquakes. All information is tailored to the user’s location by postal code and can be used to plan and prepare in case of an emergency. The app provides users with practical resources such as:

  • a personalized risk report that is specific to their location,
  • alerts and notifications tailored to their emergency needs,
  • useful tips and information that can be used to protect people and property in the event of a natural disaster, and
  • a customized list of items to include in their 72-hour emergency kit.

The Plan & Protect app can also store home and auto insurance policies. In the event of an emergency, users can access all app content and policy information without an Internet or data connection. Users will receive vital information about what to do before, during and after an emergency as well as seasonal preparedness tips throughout the year.

“We share a common goal with Aviva Canada – to protect Canadians and educate them about disaster prevention and emergency preparedness,” says Glenn McGillivray, Managing Director, ICLR. “We’re proud to be involved in a partnership that will help Canadians and provide them with the information they need to prepare for natural disasters, whether caused by a severe storm or a devastating earthquake.  Together we can control the damage caused by natural hazards and build more resilient communities.”

About Aviva Canada
Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country providing home, automobile, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance to more than three million customers. A wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the company has more than 3,000 employees, 25 locations and approximately 1,500 independent broker partners.

Aviva Canada invests in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund, Canada’s longest running online community funding competition. Since its inception in 2009, the Aviva Community Fund has awarded $6.5 million to over 222 charities and community groups nationwide.

For more information visit AvivaCanada.com

About the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR)
Established in 1998 by Canada’s property and casualty insurers, ICLR is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based inToronto and at Western University in London, Canada. ICLR is a centre of excellence for disaster loss prevention research and education. ICLR’s research staff is internationally recognized for pioneering work in a number of fields including wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric sciences, water resources engineering and economics. Multi-disciplined research is a foundation for ICLR’s work to build communities more resilient to disasters.

For more information about the ICLR, visit www.iclr.org.

SOURCE Aviva Canada Inc.

Polaris to recall 133,000 recreational all-terrain vehicles

Polaris to recall 133,000 recreational all-terrain vehicles

Source: REUTERS – Polaris Industries Inc will recall about 133,000 recreational all-terrain vehicles in the United States as they pose a fire risk.

Recall Summary

Name of product: Polaris RZR recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs)

The recall involves RZR 900 and RZR 1000 vehicles of model years 2013 to 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The recalled vehicles, sold between July 2012 and April 2016 for $16,000-$26,000, can catch fire while driving, putting drivers and passengers at risk.

Polaris has received more than 160 reports of fire involving the models, resulting in the death of a 15-year-old passenger, the CPSC said.

Polaris will suspend the sale of affected vehicles until they are repaired, the U.S. consumer product safety watchdog said. The CPSC urged owners of the recalled vehicles to stop using them immediately.

Consumer Contact:

Polaris at 800-POLARIS or 800-765-2747 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off-Road Safety Recalls” on the main page of the Polaris web site.

Safety is a shared responsibility: a 10-year review of surgical safety incidents in Canada

OTTAWA, April 13, 2016 /CNW/ – The effectiveness and safety of surgery has steadily improved over the last many decades in Canada. There are now over one million surgical procedures performed annually. Nevertheless, despite the significant improvements in patient outcomes, patient safety incidents do sometimes occur.

A detailed review of medico-legal cases in Canada between 2004 and 2013 reveals that a large number are related to surgical care.

This review was conducted by The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) and the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal ofCanada (HIROC) who combined their surgical safety incident data collected over that 10-year span to produce a retrospective analysis. The two organizations, along with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, are using the findings to advocate for extensive system and practice improvements.

In their analysis, the organizations identified 1,583 CMPA and 1,391 HIROC medico-legal cases involving an in-hospital surgical incident. Retained foreign bodies or wrong surgery were identified in 12 per cent of CMPA and 18 per cent of HIROC surgical safety incidents.

System factors – a lack of or non-adherence to a surgical safety protocol – were also found to be key contributors to surgical safety incidents.

“This review clearly shows that we need to maintain our focus and continue to build capacity in surgical safety,” said Polly Stevens, VP, Healthcare Risk Management at HIROC.

The analysis is the result of a request made of the CMPA and HIROC by members of the National Integrated Patient Safety Consortium, an initiative facilitated by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. The group of more than 50 healthcare organizations is united in their pursuit of safer care for all Canadians.

“Working together on this review provided the opportunity for shared learning about surgical safety,” continued Stevens. “We really benefitted from each other’s unique databases and areas of knowledge.”

The results of their review have renewed the partners’ commitment to pushing even harder for systemic and workplace cultural changes within the healthcare environment.

“As we go forward, this is about building better healthcare systems and encouraging team training so that surgical outcomes are further improved,” said Dr. Hartley Stern, CEO of the CMPA.

“Surgical safety is a key element of patient safety,” said Stern. “This report contains valuable lessons and recommendations that surgical care providers can use to provide the best care possible. The CMPA, through its commitment to contributing to safe care and the prevention of harm to patients, is proud to be involved in this work.”

“Improving surgical safety culture requires the cooperation and commitment of the entire healthcare team in the adoption of safe practices,” said Chris Power, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.  “In keeping with the mandate of the Patient Safety Institute we will take these recommendations and work with patients, leaders and providers to achieve a culture of surgical safety with improved patient outcomes.”

A Summary Report and full copy of the Detailed Analysis can be found at: www.patientsafetyinstitute.ca, www.hiroc.com and www.cmpa-acpm.ca.

About the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA)
The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) is a not-for-profit organization that has delivered medical liability protection in a cost-effective and ethical manner since 1901. CMPA medical-legal protection enables physicians to practise confidently and to make decisions that result in better patient care and a more efficient healthcare system. The CMPA’s mission is to protect the professional integrity of physicians and promote safe medical care in Canada. Our vision is to be valued as an essential component of the Canadian healthcare system.

HIROC (Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada) is Canada’s leading provider of healthcare liability insurance. HIROC works in partnership with its 600 subscriber organizations to develop cost-effective insurance & risk management solutions that prevent losses, mitigate risk and support safety in healthcare. As a not-for-profit reciprocal, HIROC is owned by its subscribers and is dedicated to giving back – since inception, HIROC has given $120 million back to healthcare.

About the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI)
The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to raise awareness and facilitate implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve a transformation in patient safety.  Funded by Health Canada, CPSI reflects the desire to close the gap between the healthcare we have and the healthcare we deserve.

SOURCE Canadian Patient Safety Institute

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