Excerpted article was written By Omar Khan
We’ve all read the stories of celebrities and athletes insuring their body parts for incredible amounts. But sometimes, the risk being insured can be more interesting than the policy itself. And we may even be covered by a policy we never knew existed.
1. Turmoil in Thailand
Thailand has become the tourist capital of Southeast Asia. Each year, approximately 16 million visitors arrive in the country looking for adventure, and most of them will have some sort of travel coverage to keep them protected. But what many visitors don’t know is that they already have a little insurance coverage, courtesy of the Thai government. See, Thailand has experienced more coups d’état than any other country in contemporary history, making large protests and the odd military takeover a relatively commonplace occurrence. As a result, the Thai government has purchased an insurance policy that promises to provide $10,000 to each tourist harmed in any political turmoil.
2. “Take us to your insurance broker.”
Some people say there’s no “official” evidence that any higher intelligence has ever made contact or visited Earth. Others disagree … um, adamantly. Whether intelligent life beyond us exists in the universe or not, over 30,000 people throughout Europe have purchased alien abduction insurance. Now, why they think they’d be selected for abduction over the other 7 billion people on the planet or how they know that kidnapping would be at the top of a visiting alien’s agenda is another story, but … good luck to them.
3. Paranormal policies
“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call?” Apparently, your friendly neighborhood insurance company, that’s who. The owner of the Royal Falcon Hotel in Suffolk, UK has taken out a policy to insure him against damages caused by his “supernatural guests.” The policy offers up to £1m in the event that his staff or customers are killed or hurt by the ghosts, poltergeists, or other abnormal phenomena that allegedly live on the property. Simon Burgess, the policy’s chief underwriting officer, told the BBC that, “There has been paranormal activity there, and we will treat any claims very seriously, and carry out our normal psychic investigation.”
We’ve all seen the almost-impossible, full-court free throw challenges at basketball games. And many golf courses offer amazing prizes to anyone getting a hole-in-one. Of course, nobody really expects anyone will actually win one of these unlikely challenges … nobody, that is, apart from us savvy insurance types.
Prize indemnity insurance is the most popular way of covering these highly valued promotions, with the risk carefully calculated and a series of rules explicitly laid out. Unfortunately, the rules are often overlooked. In fact, one golfer had his hole-in-one prize rejected because the prize indemnity policy for the course needed 2 witnesses and the tournament he was in could only provide one. Oh well, he still has a 1 in 12,000 chance of hitting another once-in-a-lifetime putt, right?
5. Where there are winners, there are losers
Picture this: you’ve built a wonderful midsize company with happy employees, good products, and a healthy bottom line. Then, out of nowhere, the manufacturing department wins the lottery jackpot. The next day, nobody in manufacturing shows up and the company goes from happy, lottery-playing workplace to failing to fulfill their orders and losing the credibility they spent years building. This worry is so prevalent with business owners in the UK that they can now take out a policy protecting them from lottery winners who decide to suddenly leave work after winning.
By Aleksandra Sagan
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO _ Monica Finlay’s childhood yellow Labrador, Amy, had a few surprise accidents that cost her parents a lot of money.
“She blew out her ACL and that was really expensive,” Finlay says.
“Then, right at the end of her life, she blew out her other ACL.”
That experience is partly why she and her husband have been spending $45 a month for pet insurance since they got their German shepherd mix, Ozzie, about six years ago.
Pet insurance plans cover some veterinary costs, but pet owners are divided on whether they’re worth it.
Medical costs over an animal’s lifetime can be steep.
Cats cost their owners at least $100 a year, while dogs cost at least $200, according to the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Those numbers only cover routine visits and don’t take into account emergencies, which can add up to thousands of dollars.
Monthly fees vary depending on factors such as the animal’s breed, age and location, as well as what the plan covers. Owners can choose from accident, illness and wellness coverage, which covers the routine visits most plans don’t.
Plans often have a combination of a maximum payout amount each year, a deductible (an amount the owner must pay before the insurer pitches in) and a co-pay (a percentage of the bill the owner is responsible for). Many plans won’t cover future costs for pre-existing conditions.
Fees vary. But the average yearly cost of insuring an adult cat for accident and illness coverage with Pets Plus Us, for instance, is $370, while for a dog the cost nearly doubles to $734.
It’s estimated only about one to three per cent of all domestic cats and dogs in the country have some type of insurance, like Finlay’s dog Ozzie.
Finlay says insurance has covered Ozzie’s roughly $2,500 of annual medical costs since they discovered he has allergies to about 22 things, including beef, chicken and wool.
“It would have been really cost prohibitive to keep him if we didn’t have pet insurance,” she says, adding the insurer pays 90 per cent of those costs save for a one-time $500 deductible.
But not all pets need such expensive, ongoing care and the monthly fees could add up to more than what the insurer needs to pay.
Michelle Van Dyk-Houghton chose not to insure her dog Brooke or her cat Ginger after weighing the monthly cost of insurance versus the potential savings.
Instead, she and her husband set aside $100 to $200 a month for animal care and draw on those funds when needed.
“If we don’t need it, then it’s money that we still have,” she says. “I don’t feel like I’m just giving it to an insurance company to kind of be gone forever.”
Not all pet owners are able to take out insurance though.
When Marli Vlok’s first guinea pig fell ill with what she believes was fibrous osteodystrophy, a metabolic bone disease, she paid more than $900 for Ember’s teeth to be trimmed three times and about $700 for a visit to a specialist.
She looked into pet insurance for her other guinea pigs, but couldn’t find a plan that would cover them.
Vlok routinely shells out between $40 and $70 for vet visits and has paid about $300 for two sets of X-rays for Onyx.
She says she keeps about $500 on hand for vet purposes at all times, but would prefer to pay for insurance.
“They’re one of those pets that you have a very good chance that they’ll be absolutely healthy,” she says.
“But when things go wrong, it’s expensive wrong.”
By Sidhartha Banerjee
THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL _ A professional boxer and former Canadian Olympian claims he was the victim of racial profiling when he was pulled over and detained by Montreal police on Tuesday.
Custio Clayton, 29, says a police officer accused him of being a drug dealer, handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a squad car while she searched his vehicle.
“I guess seeing a black guy driving a big car, that has to be the reason why,” he said on Wednesday during an interview with The Canadian Press.
The native of Dartmouth, N.S., who has lived and trained in Montreal since 2014, said he was humiliated.
“I always try to do the right thing,” Clayton said. “Even though you try to stick to yourself and try to do the right thing, some people are always going to look at you the way they want to look at you and that’s what I feel happened yesterday.”
Clayton had just returned from training in Cornwall, Ont. and was minutes from home when he was stopped.
He was driving a courtesy car a new rental SUV supplied by his insurance company.
The officer initially refused to tell him why she had stopped his vehicle, he said.
He said she eventually told him he was under arrest for suspicion of being a drug dealer and having drugs in his car.
“I didn’t know what to say anymore,” said Clayton.
The father of four said he sat handcuffed in a police car while she searched his vehicle, finding only child car seats and boxing gear.
“This is the first time in my life that I’ve had handcuffs on and been accused of something that I know I’m not,” Clayton said he’d told the officer.
Clayton said the female officer was apologetic after her search turned up empty and told him it was the first time she’d been wrong in 20 years of policing.
She gave him a ticket for having improper paperwork for the rental and let him go.
Montreal police spokesman Benoit Boisselle said the force is aware of the claims but he wasn’t prepared to comment.
“For now, we have to look at everything that happened in that incident,” he said.
Undefeated since turning pro in 2014, Clayton just missed out on a medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.
He is scheduled to fight next week in Cornwall, and said his focus is on that fight.
By Dave Collins
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
HARTFORD, Conn. _ It took Jaclyn Bentley nearly three years to prove she didn’t burn her house down for the insurance money, allegations she and her lawyer say were born of the junk practice of analyzing cellphone tower data.
She was camping with her husband and co-workers at least 17 miles from her Iowa home in May 2014 when it burned down, she says. An investigator for State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. said cell tower data showed Bentley’s phone was 5 to 12 miles from the campsite in the direction of her home just after the fire was reported the suggestion being she could have been heading back to camp after starting the blaze.
Her claim was denied, and she was arrested on arson and insurance fraud charges. But she was acquitted after questioning State Farm’s analysis of the tower data, and she has a lawsuit pending against the company for failing to pay her claim.
Despite acquittals like Bentley’s and expert testimony that cellphone tower data should not be used to pinpoint people’s locations, insurance companies continue to use the information to deny claims by casting doubt that customers were where they said they were. The problem, experts say, is that a cellphone can be up to 20 miles away when it “pings,” or connects with, a tower.
“I’ve gone through … hell,” said Bentley, 37, of Clinton, Iowa, who cares for people with brain injuries and mental illness. “It’s ridiculous what happened. You’re innocent until proven guilty. I’ve never felt like I was treated like I was innocent. As far as the insurance company was concerned, I was guilty.”
State Farm does not comment on pending litigation or specific claims, spokesman Justin Tomczak said.
“We handle each claim on its merits and conduct a diligent investigation to determine what we owe under the policy,” he said. “That work can include many things, including phone records, that become pertinent to completing our investigation. While I cannot comment on a specific claim, I can tell you that we rarely obtain phone records.”
The records can be obtained only by a court order or a customer’s consent.
A private investigator, Tim Wilcox, chief executive of International Investigators Inc. in Indianapolis, said he believes cell tower data analysis can be fairly accurate in tracking someone’s movements, within a half-mile. He said the information is just one of many pieces of evidence needed for a strong fraud case.
Michael Cherry has testified in successful cases to free people who were imprisoned based in part on cell tower evidence. Among the early design team members of the Apollo 11 moon trip, Cherry is now chief executive of Cherry Biometrics, a computer and cellphone data analysis firm in Falls Church, Virginia.
Phones can be miles away when they ping towers, Cherry said, because calls are not simply routed to the nearest cell tower or the cell tower with the strongest signal. Rather, a number of factors decide which tower handles the call, including which has the clearest signal and is the most cost-effective, he said.
“They’re misinterpreting it, and it’s not very reliable to begin with,” said Cherry, who played no role in Bentley’s case.
Bentley, who spent three days in jail _ including her birthday _ after being arrested, said the insurance company claimed cellphones can be only up to 3 or 4 miles away when they ping towers. But she was able to disprove that claim with her cellphone records.
Hours after the fire was out and she had returned to the campground, she checked her voicemail and her phone pinged a tower near the campground. A few minutes later, her mother called her, and her phone pinged a tower back in Clinton, 17 miles away. Minutes later, her husband called her, and her phone pinged a tower about 20 miles away, she said.
That information, she believes, resulted in the not guilty verdict.
A couple Cherry is helping, Monica and Ali Almazni of Perris, California, are facing trial next month on insurance fraud charges, stemming from the theft of their car in 2013. Their insurer, Progressive, said that before the car was reported stolen, the Almaznis’ cellphones pinged a tower near where the car was later found.
The Almaznis say that Progressive’s take on the cellphone data is wrong, and that they didn’t stage the theft to get the insurance money. Cherry said the couple could have been where they said they were Ali Almazni at a mall where the car was stolen and his wife at home based on the tower information.
Jeff Sibel, a spokesman for Progressive, said the company collects a variety of information when investigating insurance claims. He said he would check into the Almaznis’ case and provide a response, but did not follow up with The Associated Press.
Another California couple, Linda and Eric Norwood, of Hemet, said they gave up on pursuing an insurance claim for their stolen pickup after State Farm used cell tower information to insinuate they were involved. They said they couldn’t afford a lawyer to try to fight State Farm, and no criminal charges were filed against them.
Tomczak, the State Farm spokesman, declined to discuss the case.
Four law firms from across Europe and North America have launched a new multi-jurisdiction legal network to provide a global service to insurance clients.
The Insurance Law Global (ILG) network is made up of founding law firms from the UK, Spain, Canada and the USA. The firms will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis to help clients respond to the challenges presented by globalisation and the increasingly dynamic political and environmental landscape.
In the UK, the network is represented by leading law firm Weightmans, which will work alongside fellow founders Blaney McMurtry of Canada, Spanish firm LC Rodrigo Abogados and the USA’s Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin.
Collectively ILG has bases in 30 cities across six countries.
ILG was launched at a conference in London last week, which brought together delegates from the UK insurance sector and representatives of the founding firms. ILG discussed the emerging issues affecting global insurance claims, including cyber threats, the impact of climate change on catastrophic loss and the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform the claims process.
The formation of the network was led by Weightmans. Dan Cutts, Senior Partner at the firm said: “The legal services market – and the way in which our clients need us to work – is changing. By bringing together law firms with exceptional pedigree and experience in the global insurance market, we are formalising a collaborative approach to respond to the challenge. Our partnerships will ensure we can continue to deliver legal support to our insurer clients in an increasingly globalised environment.”
Maria Scarfo, Managing Partner of Blaney McMurtry in Toronto, Canada, says “We are very proud to be a founding member of the Insurance Law Global network, an organization created to meet the increasingly diverse needs of the global insurance industry and to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing across multiple jurisdictions.” Maria Scarfo adds, “As the needs of clients become more complex, our network of leading insurance law firms will help to ensure that they continue to receive the consistent, high quality expertise and service they have come to expect, wherever their business takes them.”
For more information about ILG, please email email@example.com.
SOURCE Insurance Law Global
Canada’s leading banks and insurance companies today announced their intent to create a fund to invest up to $1 billion in Canadian businesses over the next decade to bolster growth and innovation.
The Canadian Business Growth Fund will make investments in small- and medium-sized Canadian companies seeking long-term, patient, minority capital to finance continued growth and to allow the scaling up of existing operations. Typical investment amounts in each company will range between $3 million and $20 million. Importantly, the fund will facilitate mentorship and access to talent pools to help these businesses achieve their full potential.
The fund is expected to have initial capital commitments of over $500 million, with the possibility for future contributions of up to $1 billion in future years, depending upon both demand for investment and the fund’s performance. Initial participants include: BMO Financial Group, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Manulife, Sun Life Financial, Great-West Life, National Bank of Canada, HSBC Bank Canada, ATB Financial, Laurentian Bank of Canada, and Canadian Western Bank. Other institutions are considering involvement and a broad range of financial institutions will be able to invest in the fund when it is formed.
The fund will operate as an independently managed entity, supported by its investors with its own board of directors and management team, with an objective of having offices and personnel across Canada. The board will be comprised of independent directors and representatives from the initial investors. The Fund will begin a search for an independent chair, along with a chief executive officer, with the intention to have an executive team in place to start deploying capital within the next 12 months.
The executive team will also be tasked with developing an advisory network to provide mentorship, thereby closing some of the knowledge gaps preventing many mid-sized companies from achieving their full growth potential at home and globally. The aim is to help business founders maintain effective control of their companies to execute on their vision as they grow and expand.
This announcement follows the publication of the second report from the Minister of Finance’s Advisory Council for Economic Growth, which identified a gap in the Canadian market for long-term capital and recommended the creation of a private sector-led growth fund for minority equity stakes in companies. One of the goals of the Fund is to ultimately help Canadian companies grow outside of Canada, creating a vibrant, innovative and diversified economy that will spur the creation of jobs and growth for our country.
A further announcement will be made in due course.
BGF Board Representatives: ATB Financial – Curtis Stange, Bank of Montreal – Nadim Hirji, Scotiabank – Philip Smith, CIBC – Stephen Forbes, Manulife – Vipon Ghai, National Bank of Canada – Mark Mulroney, Royal Bank of Canada – Jamie Anderson, Toronto-Dominion Bank – Barbara Hooper.
SOURCE CIBC – Corporate
For further information: For media inquiries: ATB Financial, Glenn Kubish, GKubish@atb.com, 780-408-6529; BMO Financial Group, Ralph Marranca, Ralph.Marranca@bmo.com, 416-867-3996; Canadian Western Bank, Matt Evans, Matt.Evans@cwbank.com, 780-405-0198; CIBC, Caroline Van Hasselt, Caroline.VanHasselt@cibc.com, 416-784-6699; Great-West Life, Tim Oracheski, Tim.Oracheski@gwl.ca, 204-946-8961; HSBC Bank Canada, Sharon Wilks, Sharon_Wilks@hsbc.ca, 416-868-3878; Laurentian Bank of Canada, Louise Bergeron, Louise.Bergeron@BanqueLaurentienne.ca, 514-284-4500 ext : 4840; Manulife, Sean B. Pasternak, Sean_Pasternak@manulife.com, 416 852-2745 ext: 222745; National Bank of Canada, Claude Breton, Claude.Breton@bnc.ca, 514 394-8644; Royal Bank of Canada, Paul French, Paul.French@rbc.com, 416-974-3718; Scotiabank, Heather Armstrong, Heather.Armstrong@scotiabank.com, 416-933-3250; Sun Life Financial, Catherine Melville, Catherine.Melville@sunlife.com, 416-408-7826; The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Maria Saros, Maria.Saros@td.com, 416-983-4093