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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 resulting in 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: clean up properties, get rid of stagnant water, fix foundations and take care to dry out parts of the home exposed to water and replace any wood exposed to flood water.

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

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/catastrophes/quebec-homeowners-face-potential-post-flooding-woes-mosquitoes-critters-parasites-1004114984/

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 throughout this post as a source to discuss how such insurance policies are affected.

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 by a tenant on the premises.

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 available at this time.

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.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/marijuana-legalization-raises-legal-issues-related-property-policies-liability-coverage-auto-insurance-arc-group-canada-event-hears-1004114705/

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 concern 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.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/36-polled-canadian-firms-no-cyber-security-insurance-fico-1004114548/

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 include 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.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/city-edmonton-examining-flood-mitigation-options-1004114958/

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.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/oral-fluid-drug-screening-devices-can-successfully-used-canada-public-safety-canada-reports-1004114882/

Interview with Le Journal de l’Assurance

The General Insurance OmbudService (GIO) was pleased to hold its summer Board meeting in Montreal this past June 2018. As part of our visit, we met with representatives of Le Journal de l’Assurance, one of the leading media sources for insurance and investment within Quebec. Read all about the discussion here:

https://journal-assurance.ca/article/resolution-de-plaintes-un-organisme-pancanadien-compte-mieux-se-faire-connaitre-des-quebecois/

Safety-first is essential with the anticipated increase in drone activity

New risks emerge for underwriters to assess in connection with increase in use of drones.

Sales of drones for private use have increased substantially in the last few years but now commercial drone activity is growing at an alarming rate. Current uses of drones include disaster relief, inspecting and exploring inaccessible places, precision agriculture, claims handling and logistics.

To improve air traffic at a low altitude, authorities and drone manufactures need to respond to changes due to the rapid development of technology and its capabilities.

Insurers have taken a proactive approach to fill the gaps in knowledge and to offer a comprehensive cover for all stakeholders. Since drone-related accidents involving bodily injury and/or property damage could provoke legal action, drones for both private and commercial use should have legal liability insurance to cover third-party damage.

With no uniform regulation currently existing for drones, insurance has to be tailored around diverse national regulations, in addition to being flexible enough to adapt to the frequent changes made.

We will continue to monitor the use of drones and their development, along with how drone insurance is affected next year. If you have any concerns, make sure to speak to your broker or company agent.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/commercial-lines/drone-activity-sky-anticipated-safety-first-approach-essential-scor-newsletter-1004114944/

Insurance needs to adapt to new technology

Technology-focused investments are pushing business model changes across industries. With the continuous development of technology and its applications crossing traditional boundaries, insurance policies need to adapt to rising pressures of meeting new demands.

Insurance policies within the personal lines insurance value chain, including product development, client acquisition, underwriting, and claims are being challenged to update their policies as technology changes. Digital capabilities and the arrival of new competitors carving off pieces of the insurance value chain may well drive a significant restructuring of the industry.

Insurance needs to continue to adapt as technology advances. We will continue to provide information regarding technology and its relation to insurance developments.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/innovation-based-disruption-personal-lines-insurance-will-drive-new-business-models-conning-1004114524/

Cyber security risk: malware designed to perform attacks on power supply infrastructure

ESET Canada Inc., an IT security company, reported that its researchers have been analyzing samples of dangerous malware capable of attacking a power supply infrastructure.

They have named this malware Industroyer and state that is was most likely involved in the December 2016 cyber attack on Ukraine’s power grid. This attack resulted in power outages for over an hour in the capital of Kiev.

This newly discovered malware is capable of directly controlling electricity substation switches and circuit breakers. It uses industrial communication protocols used worldwide in power supply infrastructure, transportation control systems and other critical infrastructure.

The potential impact may range from simply turning off power distribution, triggering a cascade of failures, to more serious damage of equipment.

Kiev’s cyber attack is a prime example that cyber insurance should be at the forefront of your business’ budget to protect your company from harm.

Source: http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/cybersecurity-company-discovers-malware-designed-perform-attacks-power-supply-infrastructure-1004114987/

Banks vs. Insurers

Denis Ricard deplores the fact that the regulation imposed on banks is much more lax than that imposed on insurers. But who supervises the banks, dare he even ask?

There is the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments, but this organization has much shorter teeth than the panoply of regulators that oversee the insurance industry.

“The fair treatment of consumers is very important for our regulators. We are very much in agreement with that. But when we consider the weakness of the regulation of banks compared to insurers … Phew! There is nothing for banks,” says Executive Vice President, Insurance and Individual Annuities.

Source: https://journal-assurance.ca/article/reglementation-banques-et-assureurs-ne-sont-pas-traites-de-la-meme-facon/