Social media a top priority for P&C brokers Economical survey reveals

Canadian P&C insurance brokerages prefer Facebook to communicate with customers and prospects, say 90% of respondents to a social media survey conducted this summer by Economical Insurance. 61% of respondents use LinkedIn and just over half share over Twitter.

These are some of the learnings from responses from nearly 300 insurance professionals in P&C brokerages across Canada about the use of social media in their companies.

The majority of brokerages surveyed acknowledge the value of social media in creating an engaging customer experience, and 85% of respondents agree that organizations with an engaging social media presence have a competitive advantage over those that don’t.

A key insight from the survey is an indication of the business objectives that drive social media activities by brokerages in Canada:

“Social media is helping change the way Canadian P&C insurance brokers engage with customers,” said Michael Shostak, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer at Economical Insurance. “Brokers are using social media in a variety of ways, from generating new leads and sales, to providing customer service. But it’s early days and as an industry, we haven’t yet fully realized the potential of the medium. Our survey tells a story of an industry that desires change, yet lacks the time, resources, and knowledge to implement an effective social media strategy.”

“Most brokers recognize there’s value in having a strong social media presence,” said Naheed Somji, Senior Social Media Specialist at Economical Insurance. “The top spenders agree that an engaging social presence gives an organization a greater competitive advantage.”

To download the report of the survey results, go to 2017 Pulse Check: Social Media Usage in the Canadian Insurance Industry.

About Economical Insurance
Founded in 1871, Economical is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with more than $2.2 billion in annualized premium volume and more than $5.5 billion in assets as at June 30, 2017. Based in Waterloo, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Sonnet, Petsecure, Economical Financial, and Family Insurance Solutions.

SOURCE Economical Insurance

For further information: Doug Maybee, Manager, Public and Media Relations, Economical Insurance, (T) 519-570-8249, (C) 519-404-0989

Related Links

www.economical.com

Saskatchewan to allow victims to sue if intimate images shared without consent

By Jennifer Graham

THE CANADIAN PRESS

REGINA _ People who have had intimate images shared without their permission will be able to sue for compensation in Saskatchewan.

The provincial government said Wednesday that it plans to change its Privacy Act so that those victims can seek redress through small claims court.

“We want to have some protection for people whose intimate images have been used for revenge porn or sexting without the consent of the person who was in those images,” said Justice Minister Don Morgan.

The government said it has proven difficult to rely on the Criminal Code to deter cyberbullying through unauthorized sharing of intimate images because the burden of proof is so high.

Morgan said the legislative changes will define what an intimate image is and include a prohibition on circulating the image without consent. The amendments will also put a reverse onus on the defendant to prove that they had consent from the person in the picture to release the images, he said.

Victims would not have to wait for charges to be laid, he said.

“It’s not a criminal proceeding, it’s a civil proceeding, so they do not have to wait for a criminal conviction,” Morgan explained.

“This is a remedy that’s made available to the victim. The Crown may well pursue a criminal charge, so you could have one, the other or both.”

The measure was in the throne speech delivered Wednesday which details the government’s plan for the new session of the legislature.

The outline includes new organ donation measures whereby all deaths or imminent deaths in hospital critical-care units are referred to an organ donation group.

The government also plans to introduce legislation so that Saskatchewan Government Insurance can offer coverage to ride-hailing companies such as Uber. Premier Brad Wall said he wants to encourage municipalities to allow ride-booking services to reduce impaired driving.

“I do think we just need more options for Saskatchewan people. Obviously almost every major North America city is comfortable with respect to the safety that’s provided by the various ride-sharing platforms,” Wall said.

Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of impaired driving in Canada. Statistics Canada says there were 683 police-reported impaired driving cases per 100,000 population in Saskatchewan in 2011. The Canadian average was 262.

Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, said he thinks ride hailing services might help lower drunk driving rates, especially in rural communities where there may not be taxi service for people to use after going to the local bar.

“I think actually it would. I think it’s an interesting concept. We’d sure like to look at it,” said Orb.

The government also plans to introduce legislation so that non-Catholic parents can continue to send their children to separate schools by invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian charter.

A court ruling in April found that public funding of non-Catholic students in the Catholic school system is unconstitutional.

It prompted concern from parents that their children might have to switch schools and be educated in different communities in rural Saskatchewan. Wall said at the time that there could be greatly overpopulated public schools and empty or near-empty separate schools.

The province is appealing the decision, but Wall said the government will move sooner.

“We are indicating pretty clearly that in a proactive way we’re going to protect school choice in the province notwithstanding what happens through the court process,” he said.

Interim NDP Leader Nicole Sarauer said it could take years for the appeal to be heard and, potentially, a Supreme Court challenge.

Sarauer questioned why the government was rushing the legislation.

“We need to let that process first work its way through first, before we consider using the notwithstanding clause,” she said.

The government is also backtracking on a tax cut that was made in July. It says it will raise the corporate tax rate back to 12 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

The tax was lowered so that Saskatchewan’s rate matched other western provinces, but Wall has said that’s no longer necessary because British Columbia has increased its corporate rate.

Legislation that allows up to 49 per cent of a Crown corporation to be sold without it being considered privatization will also be repealed.

The throne speech was the last for Wall, who is retiring when his successor is chosen in January.

Sarauer suggested that’s why the government is making some of the changes outlined in the speech.

“This is clearly a throne speech that’s more about serving the premier’s legacy and protecting the premier’s legacy than it is about serving Saskatchewan people,” she said.

RBC first bank in Canada to enable bill payments using Siri

Who doesn’t wish they had an assistant to pay their bills? Thanks to an update to the RBC Mobile app, Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”) personal banking clients are now the first in Canada who can ask Siri to pay their bills on iPhone and iPad.

Image of the final bill payment screen when paying a bill using Siri on iPhone. ILSTV.com

RBC also launched seamless Interac e-Transfer® payments within iMessage, which means clients can send a transfer without leaving their iMessage window. Building on its market leading, free person-to-person (P2P) money transfer services for chequing account clients launched last year, and money transfers with Siri earlier this year, RBC continues to develop simple and innovative ways for clients to make payments and bank with their mobile devices.

“By offering bill payments through Siri and P2P transfers through iMessage, we’re providing more convenient solutions to support our client’s payment needs,” said Sean Amato-Gauci, executive vice-president, Cards, Payments and Banking, RBC. “Our clients are avid users of Interac e-Transfer payments, and embraced our launch of money transfers using Siri earlier this year. By giving clients the ability to seamlessly and conveniently bank using voice commands, we’re delivering simple and innovative solutions.”

 

Using Siri to pay your bills with the RBC Mobile app

Paying your bills using Siri is simple. Once you give the voice command, Siri will confirm the name from your payee list and the RBC Mobile app automatically debits your account and sends the payment. The payment is secure and protected by TouchID.

Sending an Interac e-Transfer payment is just as simple. Clients simply type the amount of money they’d like to send to their contact in the iMessage window, and authenticate the transfer using TouchID.

These payment solutions are the latest enhancements from the RBC innovation labs, which test new ideas by partnering with academia, fintechs and RBC clients to make banking easier. The RBC labs are actively working on a range of client solutions that will be coming to market this year.

“We’re one of the leading voices on artificial intelligence in Canada, and our integration of Siri into bill payments and P2P transfers are an example of how our clients are already benefitting from these advancements in AI,” said Amato-Gauci. “We’re committed to providing clients with exceptional experiences when, how and where it’s most convenient for them, including exploring ways to integrate into social networks and digital platforms that are essential to their everyday lives.”

The RBC Mobile app was recently awarded the Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Canadian Mobile Banking Apps by the J.D. Power inaugural 2017 Canadian Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study. RBC has seen an increase of more than 20 per cent in active mobile users over the past year, a clear indication that more Canadians are using the RBC Mobile app to bank whenever and wherever they want.

The RBC Mobile app is available for free download from the App Store on iPhone and iPad or at www.AppStore.com. For more information about the RBC Mobile app, please visit www.rbcroyalbank.com/mobile/.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 35 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. For more information please see: http://www.rbc.com/community-sustainability/.

SOURCE RBC Royal Bank

For further information: Heather Colquhoun, RBC Communications, 437-994-5044, heather.colquhoun@rbc.com; Sarah Hall Turnbull, Blue Sky Communications, 416-458-3878, sturnbull@blueskycommunications.com

Why Twitter won’t ban President Donald Trump

By Barbara Ortutay

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ Twitter has made it clear that it won’t ban Donald Trump from its service, whether the president follows its rules against harassment or not.

That’s no surprise: The president’s tweets draw attention to the struggling service, even if tweets mocking reporters and rivals undercut Twitter’s stated commitment to make the service a welcoming place.

The company has been cracking down on accounts that violate its terms, and Trump’s critics say he has broken Twitter’s rules multiple times.

Calls to ban Trump from Twitter, largely by liberal activists, writers and Twitter users, sounded even before he became president. They were renewed recently when the president posted a mock video of him “body slamming” a man whose face was covered by CNN logo. Groups such as the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemned the video as a threat against journalists (a White House aide said at the time that the tweet should not be seen as a threat).

THE CASE FOR TRUMP

Twitter does ban harassment and hateful conduct, but there is a lot of wiggle room as to what constitutes such behaviour. For instance, though it may be crude to tweet that a TV host was  “bleeding badly from a face-lift,” they are at best in a grey area when it comes to violating Twitter terms.

When asked about Trump, Twitter says it doesn’t comment on individual accounts. But CEO Jack Dorsey told NBC in May that it’s  “really important to hear directly from leadership” to hold people accountable and have conversations out in the open, not behind closed doors.

It also makes business sense: Trump’s tweets are constantly in headlines, calling attention to Twitter and, ideally, getting more users to sign up.

For now, it doesn’t appear to be helping. On Thursday, Twitter said its monthly average user base in the April-June quarter grew 5 per cent from the previous year to 328 million, but it was unchanged from the previous quarter. Twitter’s stock fell more than 9 per cent to $17.75 in pre-market trading Thursday after the numbers came out.

Twitter has never turned a profit. On Thursday, the San Francisco-based company reported a second-quarter loss of $116 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of $107 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue declined 5 per cent to $574 million from $602 million, inching past Wall Street’s muted expectations.

IMPORTANT TWEETS

Free speech advocates agree it’s better for Trump to stay.

Emma Llanso, director of the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Free Expression Project, said Trump’s tweets are  “very clearly politically relevant speech” and are even being cited in court cases challenging the president’s policies. For example, a U.S. appeals court used Trump’s tweets in June to block his travel ban on people from six predominantly Muslim countries.

Llanso said it’s understandable why there has been “so much pressure” on social media platforms to crack down on harassment. Long before Trump was elected, users and online safety advocates called on Twitter to do something about abuse on its service.

But when it comes to the president’s outsized presence on Twitter, she’d rather have a private company avoid deciding what should and shouldn’t be allowed. Rather, she said, “we should be looking to the instruments of our democracy as the appropriate place to hold the president accountable.”

SURVIVING THE CRACKDOWN

Twitter appears to agree. Earlier this month, the company announced that it is now taking some action, including suspensions, on 10 times the number of abusive accounts than it did a year ago (though it did not give a number). Trump, of course, was not in trouble.

In June, the president defended his use of social media, tweeting that the mainstream media doesn’t want him to get his “honest and unfiltered message out.” The White House did not immediately respond to a message for comment on Thursday morning.

IT WORKS BOTH WAYS

Twitter provides a platform for the president to interact with the world directly, without intermediaries such as the news media. But if it’s important for people to hear directly from Trump, free speech advocates say, it’s also important for Trump to listen and to allow people to see his messages.

His blocking of individual users on the service is the subject of a lawsuit .

Comedian Dana Goldberg, who says she has been blocked by the president but is not part of the lawsuit, likened it to him  ‘giving the State of the Union and blocking out the TV sets of people who voted for (Hillary) Clinton.”

Her offence? Goldberg, who has about 7,680 followers compared with Trump’s 34.6 million, said it was her tweet calling Trump “a sad man” after he wished Sen. John McCain well following a cancer diagnosis, despite deriding McCain’s war record before.

“The fact that I was blocked by the president of the United States, it’s insane,” she said.

Latest smartphone app provides more convenience and peace of mind

Attention tech, insurance, housing and auto journalists.

Many of us can’t live without our smartphones. They’re in our pockets, purses and bags and we check them often for communication, information, or just force of habit. Now your phone can become the ultimate home and auto insurance tool by downloading the new State Farm Canada Appwww.statefarm.ca/sfcanadaapp – for free!

Telematics, Alert and easy access to Online Services all at your fingertips

The all-new State Farm Canada App includes Telematics* – a fully mobile telematics insurance program. Telematics can help you to become a safer driver by using your smartphone to track and improve your driving in real-time and then rewards you with savings of up to 25% on your auto insurance premium at renewal. – www.statefarm.ca/insurance/auto/discounts/telematics

The app also allows you to manage your home and auto insurance easily. By logging on to your Online Services account directly from your phone you can receive instant access to your insurance policies, obtain valuable information and tips, file a claim or get an online quote, anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

And for even more peace of mind, the State Farm Canada App includes Alert, our latest home insurance prevention program that detects water leaks and risk of freezing to prevent water damage.

Customers with a home insurance policy that sign up for the Alert program will receive a free water and freeze detector. The detector is a connected device and can be placed close to a potential source of leaks like a bathroom, dishwasher or washing machine. If it senses a problem it sends an alert to your smartphone by notification, text message or email, so you can act quickly to limit any damage. Participation in the program will not lead to premium increases or changes in existing coverage, regardless of how many alerts a customer receives.

In Canada, water damage accounts for more than 50% of property insurance claims, so acting fast can prevent significant damage and avoid the disruption that comes with it.

How and where do I get it?

Call your State Farm agent to enroll in Telematics and/or Alert, and download the State Farm Canada App from the App Store® – www.apple.com/itunes/download – or Google Play™ – https://play.google.com/store/apps.

About State Farm

In January 2015, State Farm’s Canadian operations were purchased by Desjardins Group, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and among the three largest P&C insurance providers in Canada. With its 500 dedicated agents and 1700 employees, the State Farm division provides insurance and financial services products including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, visit www.statefarm.ca, join us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/statefarmcanada, or follow us on Twitter – www.twitter.com/statefarmcanada.

App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.

*Telematics is currently available in Ontario only

State Farm branded policies are underwritten by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company.

®State Farm and related trademarks and logos are registered trademarks owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, used under licence by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company.

©Copyright 2017, Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company.

SOURCE State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Spam campaign targets Google users with malicious link

Spam campaign targets Google users with malicious link

Reuters

Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) warned its users to beware of emails from known contacts asking them to click on a link to Google Docs after a large number of people turned to social media to complain that their accounts had been hacked.

Google said on Wednesday that it had taken steps to protect users from the attacks by disabling offending accounts and removing malicious pages.

The attack used a relatively novel approach to phishing, a hacking technique designed to trick users into giving away sensitive information, by gaining access to user accounts without needing to obtain their passwords. They did that by getting an already logged-in user to grant access to a malicious application posing as Google Docs.

“This is the future of phishing,” said Aaron Higbee, chief technology officer at PhishMe Inc. “It gets attackers to their goal … without having to go through the pain of putting malware on a device.”

He said the hackers had also pointed some users to another site, since taken down, that sought to capture their passwords.

Google said its abuse team “is working to prevent this kind of spoofing from happening again.”

Anybody who granted access to the malicious app unknowingly also gave hackers access to their Google account data including emails, contacts and online documents, according to security experts who reviewed the scheme.

“This is a very serious situation for anybody who is infected because the victims have their accounts controlled by a malicious party,” said Justin Cappos, a cyber security professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

Cappos said he received seven of those malicious emails in three hours on Wednesday afternoon, an indication that the hackers were using an automated system to perpetuate the attacks.

He said he did not know the objective, but noted that compromised accounts could be used to reset passwords for online banking accounts or provide access to sensitive financial and personal data.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Jim Finkle in Toronto

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