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An increased risk of flooding for Canadian homes

The Canadian landscape is changing when it comes to floods. Climate change and society’s constantly transitioning land infrastructure are contributing to an increased risk of flooding in Canada.

We are seeing a transformation in land, which changes the impact of weather. From lush green landscapes to city grey infrastructures, we are altering the means of receiving and balancing rainfall and need to create new systems to account for both man-made changes and environmental developments.

Weather systems are slowing down and as a result leaving a more damaging effect. Canada is experiencing a new form of lingering weather with heavy doses of rain resulting in such historic floods as Manitoba’s major flood in 2011 and Calgary’s catastrophic flood in 2013.

It is important for consumers to be educated about floods to help them take precautionary steps to address the risk. Consumer awareness is fundamental to the success of avoiding disastrous conditions.

For more information on your policy’s flood insurance options, contact your broker or company agent.

Source: http://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/ca/news/flood/the-new-generation-of-floods-explained-59968.aspx

Ford makes self-driving vehicles a reality with artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems capable of performing tasks that normally require human intelligence. Ford Motor Company has announced its US$1 billion investment in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company, to develop a virtual driving system for their autonomous vehicle launching in 2021.

Ford is expanding into an auto and a mobility company. They believe that investing in Argo AI will create significant value for their shareholders by strengthening the company’s leadership position in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term and creating technology that could be licensed to others in the future.

The partnership aims to deliver the virtual driver system for Ford’s SAE level 4 self-driving vehicles. Argo AI plans to join forces with Ford’s autonomous vehicle software development effort to strengthen the commercialization of self-driving vehicles.

The successful deployment of self-driving cars will fundamentally change how people and goods move. This partnership will enable self-driving cars to be commercialized and deployed at large, extending affordable mobility to all.

We will continue to monitor the use of artificial intelligence and its development. Because the journey into the use of artificial intelligence is just beginning, there is excitement to see what the future holds.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/ford-investing-us1-billion-five-years-ai-company-develop-virtual-driver-system-1004108813/

Yoga insurance and its growing need

As fitness continues to rise in demand for both trendsetters and health enthusiasts, so does the need for its insurance. In addition to the fitness and balance benefits that yoga provides, it is also used as a method to treat PTSD, whiplash, depression and marital issues.

The yoga industry and the demand for insuring it are growing at an accelerated rate. The trends are constantly changing and at times this change occurs faster than the insurance can react. Being involved in this segment takes constantly refreshing oneself on the industry and the growing demands that are changing and developing by the minute.

As this area of insurance begins to be explored and defined it will be interesting to see the path it takes. We will continue to monitor how yoga insurance is affected next year. If you have any concerns, make sure to speak to your broker or company agent.

Source: http://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/ca/news/breaking-news/yoga-insurance-the-pros-and-cons-59789.aspx

Mail scams: a loosing sweepstake

Mail scam is a fraudulent scheme in an attempt to obtain money or something of value from an individual. In 2014, the Canadian Anti‐Fraud Centre Annual Statistical Report stated that more than 42,000 complaints were filed for fraudulent activities originating in Canada or affecting Canadians.

On February 10, 2017, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) issued a warning to consumers about a mail scam conducted involving an unlicensed insurance company called TD Insurance, Melohre Mannex. Although this company may have a similar name to a licensed insurance company, they are not registered or affiliated with FSCO or the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO).

The company issues notices to recipients stating that they are among the winners of a Home Phone Mega Sweepstakes Raffle. They claim to be working on behalf of the North America Financial Clearing Services to find winners that have not claimed their winnings.

The company sends the recipient a cheque to help pay taxes, insurance, handling and shipping fees. It requires the recipient to contact the claims representative listed on the document to either activate the cheque or start the claims process.

This type of scam is commonly known as an advance fee fraud. FSCO warns consumers to exercise caution if they receive unsolicited correspondence advising of lottery, sweepstakes or raffle winnings, and are encouraged to forward copies of the materials received to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Within the past year FSCO has issued several warnings of advance fee fraud scams.

For more information on your policy’s fraud insurance options, contact your broker or company agent.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/fsco-issues-warning-mail-scam-conducted-unlicensed-insurance-company-1004108766/

The Dangers of Texting & Driving

Our Texting and Driving blog post from 2014 has been receiving a lot of attention recently. We would like to bring this to the forefront again as it continues to be a concern on our roads.

Money Saving Pro has recently put together a guide on the dangers of texting and driving based on our previous posts. While there is plenty of general awareness surrounding this dangerous activity, the most convincing argument is the data: https://www.moneysavingpro.com/cell-phone-plans/texting-and-driving/

Statistics on texting and driving can be eye opening to those who don’t see this as a real highway safety issue:

  • An estimated 341,000 auto accidents in 2013 involved texting and driving (National Safety Council)
  • 3179 people were killed in distraction-related car crashes in 2014. (U.S. Department of Transportation/Distraction.gov)
  • Roughly 660,000 drivers are using an electronic device at any given time. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

We certainly do not want to give up all of the wonderful things our smartphones bring to our lives. As with most things, however, there has to be some level of risk mitigation in order to enjoy the pros without adding undue cons.

Cyber Insurance To Disrupt Business

Cyber insurance is intended to protect individuals or companies from online risks relating to their technology infrastructures; however, is not typically included in commercial general liability policies or traditional policies. The challenge is that some insurance companies are refusing to pay out for breaches caused by ineffective security practices.

With online technology taking a larger role in personal and business’ everyday lives, Cyber insurance is becoming more of a critical requirement for safety of your online presence and technology. The premiums and payouts will be increasing with the higher need and cost for breaches which are becoming more prevalent and frequent.

Yahoo’s last hack was a prime example that cyber insurance should be at the top of all business’ minds and fit into all 2017 budgets!

Source: http://www.insurancebusiness.ca/ca/news/breaking-news/cyber-insurance-to-disrupt-businesses-218889.aspx

Government of Alberta committed additional $45 million towards flood and drought protection

The government of Alberta has announced an investment of an additional $45 million towards funding flood and drought protection. The project was scheduled to wrap up by 2017, but now will expand over the course of the next four years.

The $45 million will be split between two programs: $31 million will go toward the Alberta Community Resilience Program (ACRP) and $14 million toward the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP).

The added funding will help further enhance the two critical flood and drought protection programs to support the safety and protection of communities against the effects of severe weather.

Thus far, over $100 million has been invested to the resiliency projects through the ACRP. The money has gone towards flood barriers, erosion control, storm water management, safeguards for critical municipal water management infrastructure and other critical flood mitigation projects across the entire province.

If you have any further questions, make sure you speak to your broker or company agent.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/catastrophes/government-alberta-announces-additional-45-million-flood-drought-protection-1004105577/

Insurance Bureau warns about the effects of environmental disasters

Due to the increase in natural disasters, the Canadian insurance industry may have to consider raising premiums for consumers.

The bill for the Fort McMurray fires sparked conversation throughout the insurance industry, leading many to believe that severe weather is a top priority nationally. The trend of a warming atmosphere is taking a toll as we continue to see flooding and fires all around Canada.

Because insurance provides protection coverage to clients when disasters happen, the amounts paid out for these events have increased dramatically. With this in mind, insurers need to confirm they adequately rate for true exposure, and that they can increase premiums if a property is located in a high-risk zone.

Educating the public on the effect of environmental disasters is key to helping homeowners protect themselves and their property. They must know how to mitigate loss and reduce the risks they face where possible, as natural disasters become less of a future threat and more of a present danger.

Rising auto insurance claims could lead to higher premiums in 2017

An unprecedented rise in auto insurance claims may affect policyholders as the industry mulls over premium increases. New findings from Canada’s General Insurance Statistical Agency reveals a surge in claims.

This year, policyholders’ rates have been squeezed, with claims on the rise. This resulted in a poor year for insurers. Manitoba saw a 68% rise in non-collision claims, while New Brunswick topped a 30% increase in claims. These rising costs across the nation may be reflected in next year’s premium rates for consumers.

Amanda Dean, VP of the Insurance Bureau for the Atlantic region, said it is difficult to predict what the industry will do overall with premiums following the recent rise in claims. She suggested that even though this occurred last year, it may not be a recurring trend.

We will continue to watch to see how premiums are affected next year. If you have any concerns, make sure you speak to your broker or company agent.

Quebec’s Airbnb regulations: Will homeowners abide?

Although Quebec’s provincial government recently amended its tourist accommodation legislation to regulate people participating in home-sharing, some have doubts on how the law has affected this new service.

Under the law, anyone who advertises rental accommodations for no more than 31 days must purchase at least $2 million of insurance, as well as secure a $250 permit. According to one media source, less than 500 permits have been issued across the province—41 of those in Montreal.

To compare, it is important to note that over 10,000 units are listed on home-sharing websites in Quebec—meaning that renters are not purchasing the necessary insurance.

Users are finding loopholes in the law, making lawmakers realize the need to take a stance against the illegal activity. Because the modifications were only issued five months ago, there is hope that over time compliance will improve.