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ICBC warns against driving drowsy this long weekend

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Paula | Jul 31, 2014 | Auto & Trucking, Road Safety, Summer | 0 comments

Driver fatigue-related crashes peak in July and August in B.C., with an average of three people killed and 81 injured in each of these months.*

In an ICBC survey, an alarming 30 per cent of respondents admitted that they have nodded off while driving and yet only 54 per cent of respondents said they think drivers fatigued from long hours of driving have a very serious impact on road safety.

Long drives and hot summer weather can be a deadly combination that can cause driver fatigue. Fatigue can slow your reaction time and impair your judgment. When driving at highway speeds, even a slight reduction of your reaction time can significantly increase your risk of a crash.

If you’ll be heading out on the road this long weekend, ICBC, the B.C. government and police are urging you to plan ahead to avoid getting fatigued while driving and watch for signs of fatigue or drowsiness. Over the B.C. Day long weekend, on average, four people are killed and 530 people injured in 1,900 crashes across the province.**

Tips

•Plan ahead: Make sure you are well-rested when you head out on your trip. Check out drivebc.ca for up-to-date road and weather conditions so you have a realistic estimate of how long your trip will take. Plan to take a rest break every two hours and identify the rest stops along your route ahead of time so you know where you can safely pull over.
•Know the signs: It’s important to learn the warning signs of fatigue when driving:- You don’t notice a vehicle until it suddenly passes you.
– You don’t recall driving the last few kilometres.
– You’re yawning or daydreaming.
– Your driving speed creeps up or down.
– You find yourself wandering into the next lane.
– Your eyes feel heavy or you have difficulty keeping your head up.
•Take turns at the wheel: According to an ICBC survey, men are more likely to do all the driving on road trips longer than three hours and, as a result, are more likely to nod off or fall asleep when driving. If possible, switch drivers every two hours to prevent driver fatigue. If you begin to feel drowsy and your passengers can’t share the driving or you’re driving alone, pull over when it’s safe to do so and have a nap. The only cure for drowsiness is sleep—it’s better to arrive late than not at all.
Quotes

“Living in Kamloops, I know how hot B.C. summers can get,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “So please pay attention to the signs of fatigue, which can sneak up on you as the temperature rises. Making sure you stay alert at the wheel is the best way to reach your destination safely.”

“Many of us look forward to getting away with friends and family on summer long weekends, but we often underestimate the toll that long road trips can take on a driver,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “Car crashes involving driver fatigue increase at this time of year, so make sure you are well-rested when you get behind the wheel this weekend.”

“Driving while fatigued or drowsy is a serious impairment,” said Chief Officer Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “Don’t let the rush to get there cloud your judgment. If you feel drowsy while driving, switch drivers or pull over safely and take a nap. The only cure for drowsiness is sleep—it’s better to arrive late than not at all. Police will be out looking for unsafe drivers across the province this long weekend.”

“If you’re going on a road trip this long weekend, be prepared,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director of road safety. “Plan ahead to share the driving with your passengers if possible. Pack refreshments and look for opportunities like viewpoints or rest stops to take a break to avoid becoming drowsy.”

Additional stats:

•Over the B.C. day long weekend, on average, 340 people are injured in 1,200 crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.**

•Over the B.C. Day long weekend, on average, 94 people are injured in 360 crashes in the Southern Interior every year.**

•Over the B.C. Day long weekend, on average, 28 people are injured in 110 crashes in North Central B.C. every year.**

•Over the B.C. Day long weekend, on average, 61 people are injured in 270 crashes on Vancouver Island every year.**

*Police reported data (2008 to 2012). Driver fatigue is underreported as it is difficult to measure.
**Fatality data is police data (2008 to 2012). Crash and injury data is ICBC data (2009 to 2013).


Real stories that make you wonder, is that covered by insurance?

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Bet you thought insurance was boring? It’s not (at least it’s not all of the time.)

Maybe it’s just us here at kanetix, but this story got the creative juices going. If we’re interested in these odd types of stories, then wouldn’t others be as well? So we searched; and looked around online to compile a list of some of the oddest, most bizarre, and in some cases downright strange insurance claims out there. But here was the twist; we didn’t want urban legends, or claims that have been identified as fraud. We wanted honest-to-goodness real claims that might have you scratching your head at the end of it. And we found some; enjoy.

Zany Zebra
You know those safari parks, where you drive through to get up close and personal with animals like lions, tigers and zebras? Here’s why you invite another family to go and have them drive; do you really want to tell your friends that a playful zebra collided with your car while at the safari park? No thanks.

How would you claim this through insurance?

In most cases, if your car hit or was hit by a zebra at a safari park, the claim would likely go through your comprehensive coverage even though it’s technically considered a collision. Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage which typically applies in the case of loss or damage from falling or flying objects, theft and vandalism – but getting run into by a zany zebra is anything but typical.
Cow Car Wash
We don’t know what’s in a cow’s saliva, and to be honest we don’t want to know, but apparently it can cause damage to a car’s paint job. Not sure where this person was parked, but how would you like to have to admit to your insurer that a herd of cows licked your car and caused damage to the paint work?

How would you claim this through insurance?

Through your car insurance policy under the Comprehensive coverage you’ll have hopefully purchased (because it too is optional.) Comprehensive coverage usually applies in the case of loss or damage from falling or flying objects, theft and vandalism. While you might think it falls under vandalism by domestic farm animal, it doesn’t; luckily, ‘all-perils coverage’ covers what is not excluded.
Potato Payback
Reason number one to place your groceries in the trunk; you never know when a pesky potato will role out the bag and find it’s way behind your brake pedal. Of course the consequences are obvious; the driver couldn’t apply their brake and ended up getting in an accident.

How would you claim this through insurance?

Through your auto insurance policy under the Collision coverage you’ll have hopefully purchased. Collision is an optional coverage that is the part of your auto insurance policy that protects your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident.
Wasp Worry
Chances are bees, hornets, wasps and yellow jackets have caused many an accident. So it comes as no surprise that a driver got in an accident because a wasp flew up their pant leg causing the person to panic and hit the accelerator. Too bad they didn’t keep their foot on the brake; because the person was waiting at a traffic light with cars ahead of them.

How would you claim this through insurance?

Through your auto insurance policy under the Collision coverage you’ll have hopefully purchased. Collision is an optional coverage that is the part of your car insurance policy that protects your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident.
Redesigning Rover
In case it wasn’t obvious to you, if you own a dog and have just painted the living room, don’t leave the dog alone without getting rid of the paint tray you’ve been using. Otherwise you might find that your favourite pooch will use his tail as a paint brush and paint more than just the walls; maybe your carpet and furniture too.

How would you claim this through insurance?

Through your property insurance policy with the Contents coverage you’ll have purchased. Hopefully, you got ‘all-risk’ contents coverage and not ‘named-perils’. Because with named-perils you’re only covered for losses that resulted from common perils like fire, theft and water damage.
Bull!
The country life is nice, unless you live next to a farm with bulls that love to roam the countryside. It’s gets worse when three of your local farmer’s bulls end up in your backyard getting into a fight destroying your garden, your fence and all your trellis’ in the process; and that ain’t no bull!

Compiled insurance stories by KANETIX.ca.


Tickets And Car Accidents On Vacation: What You Should Know

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Canadians love road trips, but, a road trip can turn sour if you get a ticket or have an accident. Whether you are heading across Canada, or going south into the U.S., it’s important to know what will happen if the open road is marred by a speed bump along the way.

Where Does Your Auto Insurance Cover You?

Canadian auto insurance policies cover you everywhere in Canada as well as in the United States. If you plan to drive even further south, into Mexico, your insurance stops at the border. Car insurance issued outside of Mexico is not valid within Mexico. You can get this (Mexican auto insurance) along with the vehicle permit you’ll need at the Mexican border. Among other things you’ll need: proof of vehicle ownership, proof of Canadian registration, a valid Canadian driver’s licence, your passport and a credit card. Contact the Mexican Embassy in Canada for a full list of what you’ll need if you plan to drive into Mexico.

Tip: Be sure to carry all of your documents (insurance, registration etc.) with you everywhere you go. If you’re pulled over, or involved in a collision, you’ll need to have everything with you.

Getting a Ticket Away From Home

The rules of the road may vary; by city, province, state and country. Don’t wait until there is a police cruiser behind you to find out that what you thought was legal, isn’t. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the road of your destination and all points in between.

All of the provinces of Canada have a reciprocal agreement through which they report tickets to each other’s driver licensing departments. This means that if you live in Ontario and get a speeding ticket in Manitoba, it will still affect your driving record and can result in an increase in premiums.

If you receive a ticket in the U.S., whether or not it appears on your record depends on whether the state where the ticket was given has an agreement with your home province. Many states have reciprocal agreements with Canadian provinces, but it differs from state to state and province to province. It’s best not to assume that your home province won’t find out.

If you receive a traffic ticket away from home you can choose to pay the fine or fight the ticket. Bear in mind that if you choose to fight the ticket, you will likely be required to appear in court in that province or state.

Car Accidents in Other Provinces or Countries

Wherever your travels lead you in Canada or the U.S., your auto insurance will follow.

If you’re involved in a car accident, you would do much of the same as if the accident happened in your home town:

  • Stay calm and keep safe; get out of harm’s way.
  • Check for injuries, and call the ambulance if in doubt.
  • Call the local police.
  • Get the contact details, name and address of all driver’s and witnesses.
  • Document the make, model, and model year of the vehicle, as well as the licence plate number, state or country and the name of the other driver’s insurer.
  • Write down the details of the accident: date and time, location, road and traffic conditions. Don’t forget to also document the damages.

As soon as you can safely do so, call your insurance company. Your insurance company can help; they see this type of thing all the time. They’ll be able to recommend local repair shops if your car is fixable, or help set you up with a rental if it’s not. Many travellers make the mistake of waiting until they are back in the country to call their auto insurer. This could complicate matters when making a claim.

No damage. No injuries. No worries?

Perhaps, but just like tickets, if you’re in an car accident outside of your home province or country and there is a police report, it could end up on your driving record if a reciprocal agreement exists.

Road trip travel tips and links

Prepare for your travels to avoid unpleasant surprises:

  • Before leaving, have a mechanic look over your car and top-up all fluids.
  • Pack travel insurance.
  • Make sure you pack your proof of auto insurance, ownership, your driver’s licence, and vehicle registration.
  • Have your auto insurer’s phone numbers handy, just in case you need to give them a call.
  • You will need a valid passport to enter the United States and Mexico. If you do not already have one, contact your local passport office for information on how to get a passport.
  • Map out where the closest Canadian Government offices can be found along your route; they’ll be able to help you if you’re ever in a bind.
  • Visit the Canada to U.S. border wait times table to see how long each border crossings’ wait time is; and, when returning, visit the U.S. to Canada table
  • Once on the road, it is recommended you limit your driving to 700-800 km per day with 15-minute breaks every 2 hours. Aim to stop driving by dinner, so you can eat and relax for the rest of the evening. This pace however, won’t give you much time—if any—for roadside attractions. For that, you’ll want to limit your driving to 300-400 km per day.

Canada: Your Indemnity Clause Means What It Says: No Mulligans Allowed!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

The plaintiff in the underlying action was a passenger in a golf cart operated by a fellow guest at a golf tournament hosted by the Canadian Litigation Counsel Inc. (“CCLI”). The plaintiff was injured while a passenger in the golf cart and sued the operator and the owner of the golf course, Clublink Corp. Clublink Corp. claimed over against CCLI seeking to be indemnified pursuant to their agreement.1 The agreement read as follows:

The Customer and/or their guest(s) agree to hold Clublink Corporation and its officers and employees free and harmless from any damage or claims of any nature that may arise from or through the use of a golf cart.

It is the Customer/s and/or their guest(s) responsibility to fully understand the safe operating instructions of the golf cart and to return it immediately following completion of the round of golf in as good condition as was received. [emphasis added]

CCLI argued that the indemnity did not expressly cover claims made against Clublink Corp. by third parties, claims for personal injury or claims for loss based on Clublink’s own negligence. CCLI took the position that the indemnity was limited to damage to Clublinks’ property by CCLI or its guests, particularly to golf carts. To read the indemnity otherwise was to allow Clublink Corp. to escape liability and transfer the burden of risk to an innocent party.

The court disagreed entirely with CCLI’s interpretation of the indemnity.

On a general level, the Court was not persuaded that an indemnity is the “the most onerous contractual provision in existence” or that it allowed a guilty part to escape liability. An indemnity simply allows for an allocation of risk and dictates which party needs to (or ought to) insure the risk. A right to indemnity is not a defence to liability – it simply determines who will bear the cost of that liability.

In interpreting the indemnity, the Court stressed the importance of discerning what was in the reasonable contemplation of the parties in context. CCLI’s undertaking to be responsible for the guest’s understanding of the safe operation of a golf cart put the risk of safe driving on CCLI. To have held otherwise would be to exclude the dominant type of claim the parties could expect to see arise “from or through the use of a golf cart” and render the indemnity virtually meaningless.

The Court also looked to the rules of construction and held that CCLI’s narrow reading of the indemnity left the phrase “or claims” without meaning. The term “damage” protected Clublink Corp. from damage to its own property so the phrase “or claims” had to refer to something else.

CCLI also argued that an indemnity cannot obligate a party to indemnify another for its own negligence unless negligence is expressly mentioned or, there is no other possible interpretation of the clause. While the Court agreed that such an obligation should not be inferred absent a clear and express contractual term, there is no requirement that the term “negligence” must be used – just a consideration of whether the words used (whatever they are) extend to include it.

While this decision does not break new ground, it serves as a strong reminder to companies and individuals about the importance of drafting and the potential impact of a broad indemnity.

Footnote

1. Neely v. MacDonald, 2014 ONSC 2866.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

Article by Heather Gray


3 good reasons to get renter’s insurance:

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Renter’s insurance, also known as tenant’s or contents insurance, will help replace possessions in your rental unit in the event of loss, theft or damage. And while it’s relatively inexpensive, experts say many renters are still going without insurance.

“When you start to add up all of your clothes, your computer, your TV, your phones, it adds up pretty quickly,” said Troy Bourassa, VP of Operations with AMA Insurance.

“Usually when you go through that exercise you come to the conclusion that maybe you need insurance.”

Many residents of Edmonton’s South Hamptons condo building, which was extensively damaged by fire earlier this week, were renters. One couple says having insurance is one of the few positives to come from the devastating blaze.

“We’re very fortunate to have had insurance,” said Bethany Erickson.

Three good reasons to get renter’s insurance:

1) To insure your belongings

“Insurance doesn’t just cover furniture, TVs and expensive items,” according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “Insurance will repair or replace pots, pans, clothes and most other household items.”

2) To cope with your other needs after a loss

If there was a fire in your rental unit and the space was not livable, where would you stay? Insurance covers extra costs that an insured loss may cause you.

“Insurance pays for any necessary expenses while your apartment is being repaired, such as hotel bills, restaurant meals and moving costs,” the IBC’s website reads. “This coverage is called additional living expenses.”

3) To protect you in the event of a lawsuit

Tenants are responsible for the harm they may cause to anything or anyone who lives or visits their rental unit.

“If someone slips and falls in your apartment, you could be held financially responsible for the cost of the injured person’s pain, suffering and medical bills,” says the IBC.

While there are several different coverage plans, Bourassa says plans cost an average of $15 per month.

“It’s very inexpensive coverage and it does give you that piece of mind and it’s really something that people need to consider.”

Excerpted article written   Global News


Global airline industry face the prospect of huge insurance premium increases

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

The warning comes as the sector is forecast to see annual losses hit more than £1.2bn – the most expensive year since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

The insurance industry has warned of huge premium increases on aircraft cover, as war is now seen as a threat to commercial flight paths.

On July 17, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed by an apparent missile attack over eastern Ukraine, killing almost 300 people.

ufo-story

Recent conflicts in the Middle East and parts of Africa have increasingly turned underwriters’ attention to “war” insurance policies.

On July 24, an Air Algerie flight AH5017 crashed in a remote region of Mali, close to the border with Burkina Faso, with the loss of 116 lives.

And the day before, a TransAsia Airways flight in Taiwan crashed in bad weather, killing 48 passengers.

Mystery still surrounds the disappearance in March of Malaysia Airlines MH370, which is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean with 239 people on board.

Airlines face sudden policy changes in relation to hostile attacks and could include cover cancellations with just days’ notice.

The Financial Times said that some companies are demanding exact flight path details and may reconsider cover for flights over areas of conflict.

David Learmount, of Flightglobal, told Sky News that consumers are not likely to be hit by insurance increases, but said they may be affected by changing flight paths and fuel prices.

He said: “If airlines are now flying around Ukraine for example, instead of across the country, the plane will use more fuel and that might impact the cost of flights.”

Although some airlines were flying over Ukraine prior to the loss of MH17, carriers are now avoiding the country.

Similar concerns have hit other regions. Emirates Airlines has stopped flying over Iraq and Mr Learmount said “it will lengthen journey time and therefore increase fuel consumption”.

As the aviation industry is hit with insurance hikes, Malaysia Airlines is expected to see the highest increases, amid reports that it may seek to rebrand itself after losing the two aircraft this year.

Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, said it expects to see a bill running into hundreds of millions of pounds this year due to recent airline disasters.

Source: sky.com


Natural Disaster Insurance Payout Reached $22 Billion by Mid-Year: Report

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Aon-ReportThe catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield, today issues its mid-year Global Catastrophe Recap report, which aggregates the key global natural disaster perils data for the first half of 2014. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc.

The data show that economic losses from global natural disasters during the six-month period ending June 30, 2014totaled USD54bn (2013: USD95bn) – around 49% lower than the 10-year (2004-2013) average of USD106bn.

Insured losses for the period reached USD22bn (2013:USD27bn) – approximately 19% below the 10-year average ofUSD27bn – with around 55% of insured losses occurring inthe United States, 23% in Europe, and 19% in Asia.

Steve Bowen, associate director and meteorologist within Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting team, said: “Despite some well documented natural disaster events during the first half of 2014, our data show that losses from both an economic and insured perspective were each below their recent averages. However, a relatively quiet first six months does not mean a similar trend will continue throughout the rest of the year.”

Around 39% of global economic losses sustained during the first half of 2014 were covered by either private or government-sponsored insurance programs, slightly above the 10-year (2004-2013) average of 30%, highlighting that a greater proportion of disaster losses occurred in regions with higher insurance penetration.

The severe thunderstorm peril was the costliest disaster type, accounting for 32% of the economic loss and 46% of the insured loss during the period, and comprising mainly hail and wind events in the U.S. andEurope.

In order of size, the five largest economic loss events in 1H 2014 were Japan winter weather in February (USD6.25bn); Southern and Eastern European flooding in May (USD4.5bn); Brazil drought from January to June (USD4.3bn); U.S. drought from January to June (USD4.0bn); and severe weather in Europe in June (USD3.5bn).

In total, 1H 2014 comprised seven separate billion-dollar insured loss events, with four occurring in the U.S., two in Europe, and one in Asia.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2014, Mr. Bowen said: “The third quarter historically is the costliest for natural disasters and is primarily driven by the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. While the pending El Nino is likely to limit the overall number of storms in the basin, it would only take one major landfalling event to quickly make 2014 an above average year for losses – and history suggests that it is just a matter of time before the U.S. endures another major hurricane.”

To view the full Impact Forecasting 1H 2014 Global Catastrophe Recap report please follow the link below:

http://bit.ly/1x0DIfe


5 Blatant Insurance Fraud Cases

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Compiled by Patricia L. Harman, PropertyCasualty360

Medical Insurance Fraud

Vi Nguyen, Theresa Fisher and Lindsey Hardgraves were indicted on multiple counts of mail fraud by a federal grand jury in Orange County, California, for a scheme that involved billing insurers more than $50 million worth of cosmetic surgery claims. According to a report in the Orange County Register, patients were told they could have “free or discounted cosmetic surgeries” such as “tummy tucks,” “nose jobs,” or liposuction if they agreed to undergo other unnecessary procedures such as endoscopies and colonoscopies, which were then billed back to the insurers.

Workers’ Compensation and Identity Theft

In Naples, Florida, as many as 146 employees of Fruit Dynamics, LLC (also known as Incredible Fresh or Collier County Produce) may have committed workers’ compensation fraud, according to Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. Sixteen employees were arrested during a recent raid on the plant.

The investigation into the fraud began when a former employee sought medical attention using a fake identity and mentioned that some other workers had done the same thing. At least 27 employees were believed to have stolen the identities of individuals from as many as 25 different states. The owners of the identities said they had not given permission for them to be used by anyone. The investigation is ongoing.

No Charity Here

In Texas, according to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), more than $10.3 million in insurance fraud was referred for prosecution in 2013. Two of their top fraud cases involved frauds perpetrated against elderly residents.

Leon “Randy” Sinclair, III, was a former insurance agent who successfully convinced more than 30 of his elderly clients to liquidate their assets and place them into charitable gift annuity accounts. It turns out that the only beneficiary of the charity was Sinclair himself, to the tune of $16 million which was misappropriated from the accounts. He was convicted following a 16-month TDI Fraud Unit Investigation and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In a multi-jurisdictional case that involved the TDI Fraud Unit, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Purser and Robert S. Mills sold Shoreline Cruises of Lake George, N.Y., fictitious marine insurance. When the Ethan Allen, a cruise ship, sank killing 20 elderly tourists, the company found out it actually had no valid insurance coverage. Both plead guilty to federal charges. Purser was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. Mills was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $2.45 million in restitution.

Operation Running Man

A Bridgeport, Conn.-based personal injury attorney, Joseph P. Haddad, perpetrated a large-scale conspiracy involving Francisco R. Carbone, a physician whose license was eventually revoked, and Dr. Marc Kirshner, a chiropractor. Haddad used “runners” to find clients for his legal practice, paying them in cash since using runners for personal injury cases is illegal in Connecticut. He regularly sent clients to Carbone, who fabricated injuries and provided prescriptions, bills and medical reports for Haddad and the patients’ insurance companies, frequently without even doing an examination. Haddad also sent clients to Dr. Kirshner, influencing Kirshner to prescribe more diagnostic tests and treatment than the patients required. After six months of treatment, the patient would receive a false permanent partial disability rating. Others in Kirshner’s office were involved in the fraud, which eventually involved 10 carriers and a total loss of $2.5 million.

Carbone and his cohorts were caught in a 14-month undercover fraud investigation headed by the FBI called Operation Running Man. Other agencies involved in the operation included the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance’s Special Investigation Unit, and the Travelers Insurance Company. Haddad pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of mail fraud, and faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison for each count and a fine of up to $3.5 million. He also agreed to pay restitution of $1,758,368. Carbone, Kirshner, three other chiropractors and a licensed doctor of osteopathic medicine have pleaded guilty and are still awaiting sentencing.

At Haddad’s sentencing, John Sargent, director of the special investigation unit for MetLife made a victim impact statement to the court, summarizing the extent of the damage done by Haddad and his associates to the insurers, the patients and consumers in general.

BP Oil Spill Restitution

In a highly unusual ruling, a federal judge in New Orleans has ordered the attorneys and accountants who represented a claimant in a shrimping claim following the BP Oil spill in Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, to repay nearly a quarter of the $357,000 payment he received.

In 2012, BP and a group of plaintiffs lawyers who represented thousands of residents impacted by the spill, reached a settlement and the company began paying the claims. BP maintained that there were a number of fraudulent payments made and began investigating. Now individuals who made fraudulent claims are getting tough sentences for those actions. Casey C. Thonn and his attorneys are repaying a portion of what they received because the payment was based on phony tax returns. The judge rescinded the $357,000 payment and said attorney Lionel “Tiger” Sutton, III is responsible for repaying $35,700 plus interest from the date of judgment until paid, attorneys Jonathan Andry and Glen Lerner are required to pay the same amount, and an accounting firm retained by the law firm is responsible for repaying $14,280 plus interest. The court has given all parties one month to return the full $357,000 payment.


What You Need to Know Before They Declare Your Car Totaled

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Article courtesy of Roy Rasmussen

Total loss claims from auto accidents increased five percent over the past decade, rising from about nine percent in 2000 to over 14 percent in 2013, according to the latest CCC Information Services Total Loss Costs Update. This means about one in seven vehicles gets totaled in an accident. You should know ahead of time how to respond, in case your vehicle gets totaled. It will reduce your hassle and expense, especially if you’re still paying off a car loan.

When Is a Vehicle Considered Totaled?

The procedure for declaring a car totaled varies by state and insurance provider, so you should consult your agent for specifics. That said, some general guidelines apply, Claims Journal reports. Your insurer compares potential repair costs to your vehicle’s actual cash value to estimate its total loss ratio, also called damage ratio. If the resulting ratio exceeds a certain percentage defined by the state—or, if in the absence of state guidelines your insurer determines that repair and salvage costs would exceed your vehicle’s actual cash value—the vehicle is considered totaled.

This carries a couple major implications. First, a lower-valued vehicle can sustain less damage than a more valuable one before being declared totaled. Second, if you’re still paying off your car loan, your insurance company must pay your lender first, and if the amount paid does not cover your outstanding balance, you are still obligated to pay off the rest of your loan.

Cover Yourself with Gap Insurance

To avoid paying for a totaled vehicle you can no longer drive, one safeguard is “gap” (guaranteed auto protection) insurance. With gap insurance, your insurer covers any difference between your vehicle’s value and what you owe your lender. As auto writer Tara Baukus Mello explains, gap insurance may already be included in your lease contract, possibly covered under other terms such as “lease coverage,” and it’s only useful if you still owe more than your car is worth on the market, so check if you need it before purchasing it separately.

Paying for Extra Expenses

If you don’t have gap insurance, or if you decide to keep your totaled vehicle, you may find yourself needing to come up with quick cash to cover a new loan or repairs. The best strategy here is to keep your credit rating sound and maintain an emergency fund. If you’re receiving monthly payments from a structured settlement, you might be able to sell all or a portion of your future payments to J.G. Wentworth and receive a lump sum of cash, which you can then put toward your car expenses.

Collateral Exchange Alternative

If you don’t have gap insurance, an alternate strategy is arranging a collateral exchange, in which your lender adds what you still owe on your existing loan to the loan for your replacement vehicle. This option can get you out of having to pay two loans at once.


ICBC survey: Parents Admit to Passing Bad Driving Habits to Teens

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Now that summer’s in full swing, many teenagers may be eager to learn how to drive and gain more independence. In 2013, approximately 46,000 B.C. teens (aged 16 to 19) got their learner’s licence.

1381377083006While the idea of having another licensed driver in the house can be exciting, this rite of passage can also be a stressful time for parents. Driving is particularly risky for new drivers because they lack experience. Not only are they more prone to crash but on average, 18 per cent of crashes involving young drivers result in an injury or fatality.

In a recent survey conducted by ICBC, 29 per cent of parents surveyed believed their teens had picked up a bad driving habit from them.

Here are ICBC’s tips to help parents teach their teen to drive and pass their road test:

  • Set a good example: Once your teen has passed the knowledge and vision tests, they’ll get a class 7 learner’s licence and can now get behind the wheel with a qualified supervisor. Review your teen’s copy of ICBC’s Tuning Up for Drivers guide that they received with their licence. This is also a good time to brush up on the rules of the road, work on any bad driving habits and learn about therestrictions of each stage of the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) so that you can make sure your teen follows them.
  • Gearing up: The type of car your teen learns to drive on can make a big difference. It’s best to learn on a vehicle that’s a manageable size, has good visibility, an automatic transmission and as many safety features as possible. Begin your driving lessons on roads with minimal traffic and avoid rush hour congestion to help build your teen’s confidence and ease their nerves.
  • Call in the experts: To help your teen gain as much driving experience as possible consider signing them up for lessons with a professional driving instructor if you can. Driving school instructors can be objective without the emotion that’s often involved in parent-teen relationships. If you do choose this route, stay involved and discuss what they’re learning. To find a licensed driving school, visit:http://www.dtcbc.com/resources/locations/all-schools.asp
  • Test it out: To prepare for your teen’s road test, practice driving as much as possible at different times of the day, in different weather and road conditions, and in unfamiliar neighbourhoods. That way they’ll be prepared for whatever conditions they might face on the day of their road test. Another great way to prepare is to take ICBC’s road ready quiz that helps teens avoid common driving mistakes.
  • Keep them safe: Once your teen has passed their class 7 road test and can now drive without a supervisor, consider creating a family contract that’s in line with the GLP restrictions. It helps set out your expectations of your teen, the responsibilities you want them to show on the road and the consequences for breaking those rules.

If your teen will be driving your vehicle, check that you have the right insurance coverage. If your vehicle is rated in an experienced rate class (all drivers in a household with at least 10 years’ driving experience), then you’ll need to change the rate class.

For more tips for parents, visit icbc.com.

Teens can find video driving tipsroad signs practice test and practice knowledge test on icbc.com. The practice knowledge test can also be downloaded as an app free from the Apple App Store.