Winnipeg, Manitoba -- June 17, 2013 -- The Manitoba government has released draft regulations that will allow some businesses to employ insurance agents with restricted licenses.
The proposed draft regulations, if they become law across the province, would allow insurance agents from companies such as banks, auto and equipment dealers to hold these licenses as an exemption to section 369(1) of the Manitoba Insurance Act.
"No person shall act, or offer or undertake to act, as an insurance agent in this province without having first obtained a license under this Act," reads section 369.1 of the province's insurance act.
The act also states that a license can be refused if the Superintendent judging the professional merits of the agent and their history believes them to be unsuitable of being granted a license.
Draft regulations for the restricted licensure were released June 3, 2013, with the office of Manitoba's Superintendent of Financial Institutions-Insurance expected to publicly address the drafted regulations on July 2, 2013. If passed into law, restricted agents will be allowed to sell 14 different classes of insurance, including: cargo, export credit, funeral expense, mortage, loss or damages, personal travel, travel interruption and property loss.
Restricted agents would additionally be able to sell four types of coverage for creditors—disability, life, loss of employment and vehicle inventory—while the draft also specifies who can apply for a restricted license be they individuals or companies.
Any agent applying for a restricted license would require a written recommendation from any carrier they come to an agreement with to work as an authorized incidental seller, while the carriers themselves would have to define sound policies and procedures through which they can ensure the competency of the agent.
Incidental sellers would be forbidden from selling provisions, goods or services that were conditional on buying either the insurance they are selling or any other form of insurance. They would also be required to provide notice to policyholders that their contract is with the carrier and not themselves, and that they're not obligated to purchase insurance in order to obtain the restricted agent's goods and services.
Consumers must be fully informed under these draft regulations of where exactly policies commence and can be terminated, in addition to the procedures to follow when making a claim. They're also to inform consumers that they receive direct and indirect comepensation, inducement and benefits from the insurer for soliciting, negotiating or transacting the insurance.
Toronto, Ontario -- June 17, 2013 -- The Financial Services Commision of Ontario (FSCO) is warning consumers about unlicensed insurance businesses advertising on craigslist.
The FSCO reports that CC&B Group Inc. and Serafattin Solak are not licensed insurers in Ontario and may be connected to an auto insurance scam. The commission states that both entities have solicited insurance business through advertisements on craigslist.
FSCO further notes that consumers who responded to the advertisements were instructed to pay their premiums in cash and provide additional payment via cheque to Mr. Solak (alternatively known as "George"). Respondents then allegedly received fake pink slips listing CC&B Group Inc. and Jevco Insurance Company as their insurers.
FSCO's press release states that CG&B Group Inc., a registered insurance broker by the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO), confirms they are not associated with Mr. Solak, nor is Jevco Insurance.
The commission warns consumers to exercise extreme caution when responding to advertisements online, as well to never purchase auto insurance assuring low rates in the absence of a licensed company or broker. It also advises not to pay premiums in any way other than common practice industry standards, notably excluding cash, wire or e-transfer services. Cash payment should only be made at the office of a registered, licensed broker.
For the full press release from FSCO, including contact lists for licensed insurance companies and agents, please visit www.fsco.gov.on.ca.
Toronto, Ontario -- June 10, 2013 --Travelers has agreed to acquire Dominion of Canada General Insurance from E-L Financial Corp. Ltd. for about $1.1 billion as part of the insurer's efforts to expand outside the U.S. The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, is expected to add slightly to Travelers' per-share earnings next year.
The Dominion and Travelers' Canadian operations will be integrated and the combined organization will remain based in Toronto.
"The Dominion's extensive distribution network and established customer base provide us with an exceptional platform for expanding our commercial lines business and generally strengthening our presence in Canada," said Alan Schnitzer, vice chairman and head of Travelers' financial, professional and international insurance segment.
Travelers plans to fund the deal through a combination of debt and/or preferred stock financing and internal resources.
Dominion President and Chief Executive Brigid Murphy will remain in those roles at the combined organization, while Travelers Canada President and CEO George Petropoulos, will be vice chairman as well as executive vice president of its bond and financial products business.
Toronto, Ontario -- May 31, 2013 -- "It has to stop. Staged collisions are extremely dangerous and are costing Ontarians too much," said Greg Dunn, Executive Vice President of National Claims for Aviva Canada.
Aviva Canada is applauding the work of the Toronto Police Service (TPS) after they laid charges against four individuals involved in allegedly staging an auto accident. The purported collision in the city's west end resulted in over $45,000 in claims costs to two automobile insurers.
It is alleged that in January 2012, four individuals participated in a staged auto collision between two vehicles at the intersection of Dixon Road and Martin Grove Road in Toronto. After illegal activity was suspected, the insurers involved in the claim, Aviva Canada and The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, retained engineers to reconstruct the reported accident and determined that one of the vehicles had apparently deliberately rammed the other multiple times.
The vehicle insured by Aviva contained two occupants who both had medical treatment costs submitted on their behalf by a west end Toronto clinic. Evidence collected during the investigation revealed that the vehicle occupants were asked to sign multiple treatment plans by employees at the clinic. The investigation into the clinic involvement continues.
Charged by TPS are:
Driver in vehicle number one, Rakio Shire, with public mischief, fraud over $5,000, uttering a forged document and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence;
Passenger in vehicle number one, Ramla Shire, with attempted fraud under $5,000, uttering a forged document and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence;
Driver in vehicle number two, Sheeraz Qureshi, with public mischief, fraud over $5,000, uttering a forged document and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence; and
Passenger in vehicle number two, Justin Wansbrough, with attempted fraud under $5,000, uttering a forged document and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
Aviva Canada has submitted an official complaint with the College of Chiropractors of Ontario against the chiropractor employed at the west end rehabilitation clinic.
A statement from Aviva Canada notes that not all staged collisions involve only willing participants. These types of collisions also involve unsuspecting drivers that are either purposefully hit or deliberately put in scenarios where collisions are inevitable or more likely.
If you suspect that you have been in, or affected by, a staged vehicle accident, contact your insurance broker, insurer or the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) immediately. Collision repair centre staff should also be on the lookout anything that might indicate a collision was staged. IBC has a dedicated phone line you can call, 1-877-IBC-TIPS, or you can visit ibc.ca for more information.
What to look for in a staged collision
- Being driven into after being waved on by a driver
- Immediate stop or sharp breaking ahead of your vehicle for no apparent reason
- Staged accidents usually involve older, salvaged or sometimes rental vehicles
- To maximize the amount that can be claimed in medical treatment costs, vehicles involved in staged accidents usually will contain multiple passengers.
- Staged collisions often involve immediate claims of soft tissue injury such as whiplash by most or all vehicle occupants.
- Those knowingly participating in staged accidents usually discourage others to call police to attend the scene of the collision.
"Putting others in unnecessary danger or bilking an insurance system that millions of Ontarians support is illegal, abusive and reckless," continued Dunn. "We have committed to curbing insurance fraud to protect everyone that supports this valuable system."
The impact of insurance fraud in Canada is estimated at over $1.6 billion dollars annually.
Lévis, Quebec -- May 23, 2013 -- Desjardins General Insurance Group (DGIG) has announced the results for the first three months ended March 31, 2013. DGIG posted a net income of $25.4 million. This was down 59.2 per cent compared with the first quarter in 2012, which benefited from unusually favourable weather across the country.
Sylvie Paquette, President and Chief Operating Officer of DGIG, said that despite the unfavourable comparison with 2012, the first quarter in 2013 was positive both in terms of growth and profitability.
"This was a more typical quarter compared to Q1 last year, as we actually had winter this year," she said. "Overall it was a good quarter. Although our growth in sales has slowed, we remain optimistic that we will continue to increase our market share through the rest of the year. We are increasing our marketing activities and planning other initiatives to improve sales, including an extensive launch a few days ago of the first widely-available usage based insurance pricing programs (UBIP) in the Quebec and Ontario markets. We are confident that our leadership with UBIP will have a significant impact on our growth and profitability."
Direct written premiums increased by 6.1 per cent to $482.4 million compared to $454.7 million in Q1 2012. According to a statement from DGIG, this above market result was achieved entirely through organic growth, with all business areas contributing - mass market home and auto insurance, group insurance, white label partnerships, and commercial lines. The combined ratio in the quarter was 99.8 per cent, 10.9 percentage points higher than in Q1 2012, while the return on equity was 10.9 per cent.
Looking to the future, Paquette said that DGIG is closely monitoring the Ontario government's proposed decrease in auto insurance rates.
"We understand the desire to reduce the cost of auto insurance in Ontario, but any reduction in rates must be offset by corresponding measures to reduce claims costs. All indications from the government are that they understand this reality and will act prudently," she said.
Paquette also noted that DGIG's Ajusto and Intelauto UBIP programs are aligned with the government's stated desire to see better insurance rates offered to good drivers in the province.
Toronto, Ontario -- May 14. 2013 -- Intact Financial Corporation has reported net operating income for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 of $175 million or $1.27 per share ($1.02 per share excluding a non-recurring item) compared to $179 million or $1.34 per share in the corresponding quarter of last year.
Net income remained relatively unchanged at $174 million and adjusted earnings per share, which excludes integration-related costs, was $1.36 versus $1.55 for the same period last year. The combined ratio increased 2.8 percentage points to 95.1 per cent from the exceptional underwriting performance of 92.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2012. Direct premiums written increased 9 per cent to $1.5 billion compared to a year ago, reflecting the addition of Jevco and organic growth.
"Throughout the first months of this year, we experienced better than expected growth as a result of our recent acquisition and its resulting expanded product offering, which was well-received by brokers and customers," said Charles Brindamour, Chief Executive Officer of Intact Financial Corporation.
"Our operating performance was sound during the quarter compared to last year's exceptional results which benefited from much more favourable weather conditions. Both our home and personal auto insurance portfolios fared well despite a significant increase in the number of snow and wind-related claims."
The company expects that industry premium growth is likely to evolve at a similar pace to that of the last 12 months. Furthermore, the continued low interest rate environment could support firmer market conditions.
Net operating income for the quarter was $175 million, down $4 million from the same quarter in 2012 which benefited from a mild winter. The decrease in underwriting income and lower investment income were partially offset by an unusually-low effective tax rate this quarter.
Underwriting income in the quarter decreased by $40 million to $83 million compared to the same period a year ago. The combined ratio of 95.1 per cent was 2.8 percentage points higher than last year's exceptional underwriting performance. The increase was primarily due to the impact of more normal winter weather conditions in home insurance and less favourable prior year claims development in commercial lines.
Personal auto combined ratio improved 1.1 percentage points from a year ago to 94.1 per cent, as a significant increase in the frequency of claims due to more seasonal weather conditions offset higher favourable prior year development.
Commercial auto combined ratio increased 12.1 percentage points to 97.3 per cent from the very strong performance of 85.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012. The increase was primarily due to a higher number of claims compared to last year's unusually mild weather conditions and unfavourable prior year claims development. Excluding catastrophes and prior year claims development, the current year loss ratio was up by 3.5 percentage points year-over-year.
For more information on Intact Financial Corporation, please visit intactfc.com.
Levis, Quebec -- May 14, 2013 -- Desjardins Insurance has launched a new usage-based insurance (UBI) offering in Ontario and Quebec. This is currently the only usage-based auto insurance offered in Ontario. Aviva previously provided a UBI in Ontario through its Autograph program, but Aviva discontinued the offering on August 1, 2011.
The new offering from Desjardins Insurance is called Ajusto. A statement from Desjardins says Ajusto offers consumers the opportunity to control their car insurance savings and get up to an additional 25 per cent off their premium, on top of existing discounts.
"By introducing Ajusto, Desjardins Insurance is helping to transform the traditional car insurance model, based on factors like age, gender and type of vehicle. We're challenging that model by offering a product that's based on individual driving habits, in line with global trends," explains Sylvie Paquette, president and COO of Desjardins General Insurance Group and senior vice-president and general manager, Desjardins Group, Property and Casualty Insurance.
Ajusto measures three factors to determine a driver's savings: distance travelled annually (up to 10 per cent off), extent and frequency of hard braking and acceleration (up to 10 per cent off), and the time of day the vehicle is driven (up to 5 per cent off). Premiums will never increase as a result of participating in the program.
Customers will have secure access to a personalized online dashboard where they can track their driving habits and insurance savings. The driving data on the online dashboard is updated daily and is subject to strict privacy policies. The discount is calculated monthly.
"We've been committed to offering made-to-measure protection for a long time. Every driver deserves personalized insurance and Ajusto is the ultimate in personalization," says Denis Côté, vice-president of Marketing at Desjardins Insurance. "Participants in our pilot study saved an average of 12 per cent. These discounts are on top of the made-to-measure savings already offered by Desjardins Insurance, so policyholders are getting truly customized savings."
The Ajusto device is about the size of a cellphone and very easy to install. Customers simply follow the instructions included in the package they receive by mail.
Ajusto is a free, voluntary program available to drivers in Quebec and Ontario who own cars manufactured in 1998 or later. Exceptions are limited to a few makes and models, but a Desjardins Insurance says a solution is in the pipeline.
For more information, please visit ajusto.com or watch an overview of Ajusto in the player below.