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Truck-related fatalities are on the decline

Although collisions related to trucks in Ontario have increased recently, resulting in higher costs for insurance companies, provincial figures show that fatalities have actually decreased.

The latest data from Ontario’s Transportation Ministry found that the number of truck-related fatalities on provincial highways is falling – down 3% between 2010 and 2014. This is despite the fact that the number of trucks on the road climbed by 12% over the same period.

The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) hopes to address both mechanical issues and driver error to further reduce collision casualties. The OTA has proposed that the provincial government makes electronic trucker driving logs mandatory to help improve the roads.


Trucks and SUVs are booming in Canada

Hagerty’s latest Vehicle Rating has recorded a huge upswing in demand for classic trucks and SUVs across North America. Two-thirds of the vehicles in the newest Top 25 ranking are trucks or SUVs, and nearly 90% of them are valued at $16,000 or less. Millennials are driving the demand for classic trucks and SUVs.

They’re easy to maintain and their parts are available while being affordable. Servicing them is straightforward and they provide multiple experiences that go beyond the services of a regular car.

Collector car insurance will cover a classic truck or SUV as long as it’s a passion or pleasure-use vehicle. Insurers are finding that a lot of these trucks and SUVs are being set aside for pleasure-use or collector-use and that’s when a different insurance policy comes into play.

Insurers are continuing to update their policies to get you the best value for your vehicle pertaining to its use.


Cyberattacks are on the increase, so who is most at risk?

Cyberattacks are a growing problem. They’re getting easier for criminals to conduct, they’re happening more often, and they’re hitting businesses harder than ever.

Though cyberattacks can affect everyone, they’re proving to be particularly dangerous to small and medium-sized businesses. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in a report this year entitled Cyber Security in Canada, noted statistics that “the number of businesses reporting a loss or exposure of sensitive data… has increased every year for the past three years and 8% overall.”

Furthermore, the report noted, “along with the proliferation of attacks, the scale of losses has also increased. The number of businesses reporting a $1 million-plus loss has risen to 7% from just 1% two years ago.”

The risk of cyber attack is growing quickly and it is imperative that your business be protected against these possible cyber threats.


The adoption of smart home devices

Price continues to be a hurdle in adopting technology that could decrease loss or damage to homes.

What appears to be holding people back from successfully adopting smart home technology are concerns over price, ease of use and whether it all works together reliably.

The seven-question online omnibus survey, conducted by YouGuv in the below listed article, was fielded among 1,116 people in the U.S., 18 and older, this past May. The idea was to better understand reasoning about home management and how a smart home system could help reduce the load.

Survey findings show that the majority of respondents are open to smart home experiences. In all, 73% of respondents indicate they can see ways in which a smart home system could make their day-to-day lives easier.

In all, 93% of respondents who manage their home on a daily basis indicate a range of activities they would participate in if they were able to cut down on time spent managing their home.

We will continue to monitor the use of smart home devices and its development. If you have any questions or concerns, make sure to speak to your broker or company agent.


Post-flooding woes: are you ready?

Quebec’s historic flooding this year could mean critter and pest-related woes in the months and years to come. Heavy water accumulation has created standing pools of water, which could translate into fertile ground for mosquito populations this year as well as other damaging effects to your home and neighbourhood.

Expect a higher number of mosquitoes this year in areas that experienced heavy rainfall due to ponds remaining full after a combination of saturated soil and repeated rainfalls.

In addition to mosquitoes, homeowners could be dealing with a host of other critter-related problems. Flooded homes face potential mould problems, which, in addition to the human health impact, bring their own set of parasites, such as flies.

Broken trees, debris and wood inside homes left humid from long-term water exposure could also be ripe territory for wood lice and carpenter ants.

As recommended by the article referenced below, use the following precautions to help deter pests: cleaning up properties, getting rid of stagnant water, fixing foundations and taking care to dry out parts of the home exposed to water and replacing any wood exposed to said water.

For more information on home insurance options, contact your broker or company agent.


Marijuana legalization raises concerns for insurance

The impending legalization of marijuana in Canada raises a number of legal issues related to property insurance policies, liability coverage and auto insurance. The referenced article below is used as a source to discuss how such insurance policies are affected throughout this post.

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a decision in a case that dismissed the insured’s property loss claim under homeowner’s policy. The insured’s home was totally destroyed by an explosion arising from the illegal production of marijuana on the premises by a tenant.

The court found that the exclusion for indirect or direct loss or damage to dwellings used in processing or manufacturing of marijuana applied. Insurers may decide to continue to avoid coverage for illegal mass production of marijuana by individuals, while recognizing that the limited production that will be allowed under the proposed Cannabis Act is lawful.

Regarding liability coverage, it remains to be determined how preliminary underwriting considerations addressed by the application process will be determined, along with how that coverage will apply and any limitations in terms of limits, deductibles or aggregates.

In relation to auto insurance, there could be an increase in impairment cases. Noting that impairment is not as straightforward as alcohol and no test comparable to the breathalyser is currently available.

With the legalization of marijuana around the corner, the Canadian insurance industry will have to adjust to its presence. We will continue to keep you updated with developments, but in the meantime contact your broker or company agent with any questions or concerns.


Many Canadian firms do not have cyber security insurance

More than a third of surveyed Canadian firms do not have cyber security insurance. This is a concerning situation that has been made worse by a lack of understanding on how premiums are priced and failure to do everything possible to guard against breaches. As a result, businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable to cyber threats that could affect both the company and consumers.

The percentage of Canadian businesses with cyber security insurance is lower than the 50% of surveyed respondents in the U.S. and the 40% for respondents globally.

It is important for businesses to assess the strength of their cyber security defences and to make sure they are covered if they are faced with a data breach. The ripple effect of a breach can be felt throughout the organization for a very long time, especially now that Canada’s Digital Privacy Act will require organizations to report any breaches to regulators and customers.

Contact your broker or company agent today to protect your business from cyber threats.


Spring showers led to damaging storms in Canada

Several low-pressure systems that brought heavy rainfall to portions of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes this spring caused hundreds of millions in dollars, while damaging more than 5,200 homes.

Two people were killed in Quebec, where nearly 2,000 residents were evacuated. Significant flooding was also experienced across Ontario and in portions of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Also in Canada, throughout April, southern portions of British Columbia experienced prolonged periods of rainfall, leaving several rivers well above normal for the time of year.

South of the border, the U.S. economy took a US$4 billion hit from severe weather in May, with insurance payouts approaching US$3 billion.

As severe weather occurrences continue to rise throughout the world, it is in your best interests to ensure that you are protected, by protecting your home with home insurance. Contact your broker or company agent for more information.


The City of Edmonton looks to flood mitigation options

Staff from the City of Edmonton are scheduled to look at flood mitigation options for the city as the next step in its examination of upgrades to drainage infrastructure.

Cities need to invest to protect residents, home and businesses in preparation for changing weather patterns. Edmonton’s city council is considering four options based on an analysis of extensive infrastructure and rainfall studies.

Options presented balance risk, cost and the likelihood of major rainstorms. Next steps including working with water services company EPCOR to examine the impact of the citywide flood mitigation strategy on the drainage utility rates and public engagement results to date.

Options for flood mitigation could also impact solutions for underpass flooding, as upgrading the system will increase capacity to absorb rainfall that might otherwise flood roadways.

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


Drug screening devices: a new method to protect against impaired driving

Results from the federal government’s oral fluid drug screening device pilot project suggest the devices can be successfully used in Canada to identify drivers who test positive for certain drugs in various conditions.

A total of 53 police officers from seven jurisdictions across Canada collected over 1,140 samples between Dec. 18, 2016 and March 6, 2017 with two oral fluid screening devices that were selected for the pilot project.

Oral fluid screening devices can detect the recent presence of several drugs, including THC from cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamines, opioids, benzodiazepines and amphetamines.

Feedback from officers involved in the pilot project was largely positive. Officers reported that the devices were easy to use at the roadside with some standard operating procedures.

Drug impaired driving is a serious problem and giving law enforcement more tools to detect and deter drug-impaired driving will better protect communities.