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Shadow the Brake, They Might Not Stop

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

One evening while patrolling in an unmarked police car I approached a cross street that was controlled by stop signs. I could see a car approaching from my right going fast enough that I was concerned that the driver did not intend to stop. I shadowed my brake pedal and when the other vehicle was at a 45 degree angle making a right turn I stomped and stopped. So did he. We sat and looked at each other for a moment and when it was clear that he wasn’t going to go, I waved him forward.

I’m sure that you are anticipating why I wanted to have this driver in front of me. Yes, I turned on my emergency equipment and pulled him over to issue a traffic ticket for disobeying the stop sign. The driver was not happy with the outcome and said so. He had come to a complete stop, why was I bothering him by writing the ticket? I explained that it was not only important to stop for stop signs, it was also important how and where you stopped.

The driver must not have believed me because I received a notice for traffic court. He was disputing the allegation.

At the trial, I explained the circumstances to the justice. This driver had started to encroach on my lane before he stopped and I stopped because I was concerned that we were going to collide with each other. He was facing a stop sign at the intersection and both a crosswalk and a stop line were marked on the pavement. The stop occurred with the back bumper of this man’s vehicle over the stop line.

The driver was convicted for disobeying the stop sign and fined.

Chances are good that this driver only intended to stop for the sign if he needed to. The speed at which he approached the intersection was much faster than most drivers who come to a proper stop. Scanning both sides of the intersection as you approach allows you to gauge what other traffic might do before you enter the intersection.

Shadowing the brake when you are concerned allows you to stop more quickly if your suspicions are confirmed. By shadowing the brake I mean taking your foot off of the accelerator and hovering it over the brake pedal without touching it. If you need to brake in a hurry, you are almost there already. If not, move your foot back to the accelerator and continue on.

The stop sign only tells you what you need to do when you face one. It is the markings, or lack of them, on the road that tell youwhere you must stop. If there is a marked stop line, then you must stop before you cross it. If there is a marked crosswalk and no stop line, you stop before entering the crosswalk. If there are no markings present, you stop before you encroach on the lane used by cross traffic.

Now that you’ve stopped, what if you can’t see properly? Your next step is to carefully move ahead to where you can see sufficiently well and stop again. Proceed when it is safe to do so. I have been advised by ICBC driving examiners that the secondary stop is not necessary if no cross traffic is present. However, if you are taking a road test, it would be wise to discuss this with your examiner before you start the exam.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.


JPMorgan Broker-Dealer and Custodian Hit with $1 Million Fine

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

JPMorgan’s broker-dealer and custodian have been fined more than $1 million for supervisory and operational failures related to record keeping, Finra reports.

The regulator has fined J.P. Morgan Securities $775,000, and J.P. Morgan Clearing Corp. $250,000, for failing to provide certain information to customers in two segments of the bank’s global wealth management unit during various times between 2006 and 2014, Finra says in its disciplinary action document.

J.P. Morgan Securities, a brokerage, allegedly failed to send investment objective letters to more than 3,000 JPMorgan Global Wealth Management clients from 2006 to 2012, according to the regulator.

From 2009 through 2013 the firm also allegedly failed to send copies of account records within 30 days of account opening to more than 1,300 Private Bank customers, and from 2007 through 2014, the company failed to deliver transaction confirmations to more than 7,000 Private Bank customers.

The firm also allegedly failed to properly monitor outside brokerage accounts of close to 2,000 of its employees and preserve certain customer correspondence, according to the regulator.

The custodian J.P. Morgan Clearing Corp., meanwhile, allegedly failed to send annual privacy notices from 2011 to 2013, affecting more than 965,000 account holders in 2013, according to Finra.


Cancer survivors denied insurance coverage

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

They’ve come out on top in the hardest battle they’ve ever faced, but many Canadian cancer survivors are in another fight, this time with their insurance company.

Wilhelm Weinmann beat prostate cancer four years ago and, like 90 percent of men who contract it, the disease shouldn’t give him any future problems.

That is, until Weinmann got a new job and sought health insurance through his company’s plan with Sunlife.

He was looking for dental, vision and prescription coverage for his wife and four children, but was surprised to find that the company denied his application.

The company told him that his medical history, specifically his case of prostate cancer, was not considered a standard risk for the policy.

“To me, it felt really wrong, wrong to get that answer. I dunno, it kinda felt like getting cancer again.”

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, the group that Sunlife referred CTV to when asked about the issue, says the denial for cancer survivors is an ‘industry issue’.

Representatives with the Canadian Cancer Society say that it’s a common tactic for insurance agencies that isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

“As our population ages, we’re gonna have thousands of Canadians that have moved beyond their disease but have to live in a system that wasn’t designed for them, that doesn’t support them and their families as they move forward and live their lives,” said Gabriel Miller, policy director with the Canadian Cancer Society.

Miller says he’s called on the government for help with the issue.

Weinmann says he hopes that others will hear his story and be willing to help.

“I’m really hoping to shame these guys into changing their policies.”

While there are insurance policies that cater to cancer survivors, they tend to be very costly.

The Cancer Society says survivors who can’t get insurance often need to rely on financial assistance or charitable programs to fund expenses that insurance would normally cover.


Ontario car insurance injury benefits poised to change

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

By Mike Crawley, CBC News

If you get injured in a car accident in Ontario after June 1, the amount of medical costs that your insurance company will cover may be a lot lower than before.

The provincial government is mandating changes to the standard auto insurance policies that will drive down the limits on medical, rehabilitation and attendant care coverage.

“Starting June 1, 2016, to help make insurance premiums more affordable, the benefits and coverages you receive in a standard auto insurance policy are changing,” says the provincial insurance regulator, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) on its website.

Insurance companies are now informing policy holders of the upcoming changes through the mail

For most injuries, the combined limit of $86,000 for medical, rehabilitation and attendant care is dropping to $65,000. For injuries defined as “catastrophic,” the $2 million combined limit for medical, rehabilitation and attendant care is dropping to $1 million.

For new policies purchased after June 1, the coverage changes will kick in right away. For existing policies, the new limits will apply once the policy renews following June 1.

Drivers can purchase additional coverage for higher premiums.

Other measures that take effect June 1 include:

  • Insurers can no longer use a minor at-fault accident as a reason to increase a driver’s premiums.
  • The standard deductible for comprehensive coverage increases to $500 (from $300).
  • The maximum interest rate that insurers can charge for making monthly payments on a one-year policy drops to 1.3% (from 3%).

Ford recalls 202K pickups, SUVs, cars to fix transmissions

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

DETROIT _ Ford is recalling nearly 202,000 pickup trucks, SUVs and cars in North America because the automatic transmissions can suddenly downshift to first gear.

The company also said Wednesday that it’s recalling more than 81,000 Explorer SUVs to fix a rear suspension problem.

The transmission recall covers the 2011 and 2012 F-150 and the 2012 Expedition, Mustang and Lincoln Navigator. Ford says a software problem in a speed sensor can force the vehicles into a downshift. The problem has caused three crashes but no injuries.

Dealers will inspect the sensors. If they find no trouble codes, they’ll update software. If trouble codes are present they’ll replace the part that houses the speed sensor.

The Explorer recall covers SUVs and Police Interceptor models in the U.S., Canada and Mexico from 2014 and 2015. Ford says the suspension links could fracture due to poor welds.

The company says in a statement that the problem has caused one crash and an injury.

Dealers will replace the left and right rear suspension toe links and align the rear suspension at no cost to owners.


Leaving a spare key in your car is a great idea – for car thieves. But if a crook does find the key you skillfully hid in the cup holder, you’ll probably still be covered by insurance. “Most personal auto insurance policies do not include clauses that would deny coverage for a theft if the keys were in the car or if the doors were unlocked,” said State Farm Canada spokesman John Bordignon in an e-mail. “However, if a person has a pattern of many losses over a short period of time or a history of suspicious claims, this could make an insurance company investigate further or to review their relationship with them.” We checked with the provinces with government insurance. They said the same thing – you’ll be covered if a thief uses your spare key to drive away. And, it happens. “Unfortunately, people leaving their keys in their vehicle and having the vehicle stolen is pretty common in Saskatchewan, according to what we hear from police agencies,” said Kelley Brinkworth, media relations manager for Saskatchewan Government Insurance. How often? We checked with several police departments and didn’t get exact numbers. “We did a project a couple of years ago where 60 per cent of the stolen vehicles we recovered had keys in them,” said Dan Service, director of investigative services for the Western and Pacific region for the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Snippet:

The Star.com

If one national delusion is that our health care system covers all our needs without cost, another is that, in a pinch, the system will also cover out-of-country care.

Canadians get great acute care for accidents and emergencies, but most of the rest is up to us. And when it comes to out-of-country coverage, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) offers only token amounts.

So get travel insurance. It’s like that old American Express commercial: Don’t leave home without it. For extended stays, get as much as you can afford and be very, very careful about filling out the forms. Fudging may save you a few dollars on the premium, but it can cost you tens of thousands later.

And sometimes, even honesty isn’t enough, as John’s story illustrates.

READ ARTICLE HERE: 

Travel insurance tips

Read the policy details carefully. Understand what is excluded.

Remember that travel insurance is for emergencies. Continuing care and pre-existing conditions aren’t covered.

Don’t buy on price alone. Shop around and compare coverage.

Make sure you meet the policy’s minimum standard of good health.

Keep a copy of your answers to the health questions.

If your condition changes before leaving, tell your insurance agent.

If you are hospitalized, call your insurer immediately before treatment begins.

Source: Travel Health Insurance Association


Will insurance be denied if a key is hidden in the car and the car is stolen?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Leaving a spare key in your car is a great idea – for car thieves. But if a crook does find the key you skillfully hid in the cup holder, you’ll probably still be covered by insurance.

“Most personal auto insurance policies do not include clauses that would deny coverage for a theft if the keys were in the car or if the doors were unlocked,” said State Farm Canada spokesman John Bordignon in an e-mail. “However, if a person has a pattern of many losses over a short period of time or a history of suspicious claims, this could make an insurance company investigate further or to review their relationship with them.”

We checked with the provinces with government insurance. They said the same thing – you’ll be covered if a thief uses your spare key to drive away. And, it happens.

“Unfortunately, people leaving their keys in their vehicle and having the vehicle stolen is pretty common in Saskatchewan, according to what we hear from police agencies,” said Kelley Brinkworth, media relations manager for Saskatchewan Government Insurance.

How often? We checked with several police departments and didn’t get exact numbers.

“We did a project a couple of years ago where 60 per cent of the stolen vehicles we recovered had keys in them,” said Dan Service, director of investigative services for the Western and Pacific region for the Insurance Bureau of Canada.


Ontario: Upcoming Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule Changes

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Change is the name of the game when it comes to Ontario car insurance.  It seems that every year our legislature is keen to make changes to our auto insurance laws.  Similarly, it would appear we are currently on a five and a half year cycle where the Accident Benefits system gets a substantial overhaul.  Unfortunately, history has shown us that these insurance changes are not usually in favour of the injured person.  Looking forward, it appears history is about it repeat itself.  On June 1, 2016 Ontario Regulation 251/15 comes into force, which will considerably change the current Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS). The amendments will only apply to accidents occurring on or after June 1, 2016.

Amendments to Non-Catastrophic Benefits

Under the current SABS, a maximum amount of coverage of $50,000.00 is available for non-catastrophically impaired claimants in terms of medical and rehabilitation benefits and an additional $36,000.00 is available for attendant care purposes. The June 1st amendments combine these two categories into one standard benefit. Under this new benefit category the maximum amount available to claimants will become $65,000.00, reducing the overall combined amount previously available by $21,000.00 and forcing injured people to juggle the two benefit types.

Not only will the amount of coverage be decreasing but so too will the duration for accessing these benefits.  For those over 18 at the time of the accident, their period of coverage is being reduced from 10 years to 5 years. For those under 18 at the time of the accident, access to these benefits will be available until their 28thbirthday.

The current optional medical and rehabilitation benefit and the optional attendant care benefit are being combined into a standard optional benefit. The new standard benefit reduces the amount of optional benefits from $172,000.00 ($100,000.00 for medical and rehabilitation and $72,000.00 for attendant care) to $130,000.00.

Catastrophic Benefits

Under the current SABS, a maximum of $1,000,000.00 coverage is available for catastrophically impaired claimants for medical and rehabilitation benefits, as well as $1,000,000.00 coverage available for attendant care. For those catastrophically impaired in an accident on or after June 1, 2016, the attendant care, medical and rehabilitation benefits are being combined into one standard benefit – just like what is being done in the non-catastrophic category. For those who quality, the maximum level of coverage available under this new benefit is $1,000,000.00, reducing the overall amount previously available by $1,000,000.00

The current optional combined medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefit maximum available is $3,000,000.00. Following the amendments the optional combined benefit amount will be reduced to $2,000,000.00 with the option to purchase an additional $1,000,000.00. Catastrophically impaired claimants may still have access to the $3,000,000.00 maximum provided that they bought both options.

Catastrophic Definition

Not only are the amounts of funding being changed but so too are the criteria for entitlement.   June 1st will see significant changes to the definition of catastrophic impairment.  Most notably, the new definition completely removes all references to the Glasgow Coma Scale. Instead, the regulation refers to “Structured Interviews for the Glasgow Outcome Scale and the Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale: Guidelines for Their Use, Journal of Neurotrauma, Volume 15, Number 8, 1998” as the new tests to be used to determine whether a person has suffered a catastrophic brain injury.

The new definition also overrules Pastore v Aviva Canada Inc., 2012 ONCA 642. In that case the Court of Appeal concluded that only one functional impairment due to a mental or behavioural disorder at the marked level was necessary to declare a claimant’s injuries to be catastrophic. Under the new definition mental or behavioural disorders will only be deemed catastrophic if there is a marked impairment in three of the four aspects of function or an extreme impairment in one aspect. Further, the claimant must be precluded from useful function.

The new definition also updates the criteria for amputations, ambulatory mobility and loss of vision. The regulation indicates that the Spinal Cord Independence Measure, Version III must now be consulted when determining whether an individual is catastrophic in circumstances of paraplegia, tetraplegia or a severe impairment of ambulatory mobility.

Finally, the new definition sets out that one must consult the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 6th edition (instead of the 4th edition) for the purpose of “combining” physical and mental impairments. Along with the 4th edition’s system for rating other impairments, the new definition directs one to use the 6th edition’s methodology for assigning a Whole Person Impairment to certain mental and behavioural conditions.          

Non-Earner Benefits

Currently, non-earner benefits are available to injured claimants who are 16 years of age or older and these benefits remain available for their lifetime. There is a six-month waiting period following the accident before these benefits become payable. Once payable, they continue for life so long as the claimant continues to qualify. Non-earner benefits are currently payable at a rate of $ 185.00 weekly. For students the weekly amount increases to $320.00 weekly at the two year anniversary of the accident.

Under the new regulations, for accidents occurring on or after June 1, 2016, non-earner benefits will only be available to claimants who are 18 years of age or older and are available for a maximum of two years. The six-month delay is reduced to a four week delay. The increase previously available to students has been eliminated.

Implications

The above only highlights some of the major changes that are coming our way.  We are entering a new era of accident benefits where, undoubtedly, there will be even less funding available for the majority of accident victims.  There is sure to be growing pains and a learning curve for insurers and medical assessors who will have to learn the new tests and texts that will be relied upon when making a catastrophic determination.  While it is expected that the damages recoverable in tort claims will also increase, due to the decreased availability of statutory accident benefit credits, a number of seriously injured claimants who do not have tort claims will be left to contend with insufficient benefits.  It is also worthwhile to consider the effect that insufficient benefits may have on the public health care system.  Time will only tell whether these changes will be tolerated; but, for better or for worse, the changes are coming and look like they are here to stay.


ICBC speakers reaching out to youth to prevent crashes this grad season

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

With the graduation and prom party season in full swing, ICBC’s road safety speakers are touring B.C. high schools to share their personal, heart-wrenching stories with students and remind them of the tragic and life-changing consequences of taking risks while driving.

On average, 32 youth aged 16 to 21 are killed in crashes each year in B.C. During graduation season from April to June alone, on average, six youth are killed.

In B.C., 39 per cent of young drivers in fatal crashes were speeding, 27 per cent were impaired and 22 per cent were distracted.

“For many teenagers, getting their driver’s licence represents freedom and independence, but there is also a great responsibility that comes with it,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “ICBC road safety speakers help connect with youth through their personal experiences and motivate them to think twice before taking risks behind the wheel.”

“Graduation marks an important milestone in the life of every student, but a car crash can change that in a moment,” said Mike Bernier, Minister of Education. “The road safety speaker program is an investment in the well-being of our students and the continued safety of our roads.”

“Unsafe choices related to driving and being a passenger in a vehicle remains the top risk to the lives and health of youth,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO. “We want to get students talking about the dangers of distracted driving, speeding and impaired driving and help them make safer choices.”

For the past 19 years, ICBC road safety speakers have been sharing their stories with approximately 50,000 B.C. high school students every year.

ICBC is committed to working with youth, parents, educators and community groups to help reduce crashes, identify the risks of the road and help young drivers develop strong decision-making skills.

You can find video clips of the speakers and more details on their presentations on icbc.com. ICBC also invests in various road safety programs for students including K-10 school curriculum and B.C.’s graduated licensing program.

Editor’s Note: Media are invited to these upcoming presentations in the Lower Mainland,Southern Interior,Northern B.C. and on Vancouver Island.

Regional statistics:

  • On average, 12 youth are killed in crashes each year in the Lower Mainland.
  • On average, nine youth are killed in crashes each year in Southern Interior.
  • On average, eight youth are killed in crashes each year in the North Central region.
  • On average, four youth are killed in crashes each year on Vancouver Island.

Note: all data referenced is police-reported data based on the five-year average from 2010 to 2014. Youth are defined as ages 16 to 21.


CRA offers credit protection after social insurance numbers disclosed

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

OTTAWA — The Canada Revenue Agency has offered credit-protection services to several people after their private information — including social insurance numbers and addresses — was mailed to others.

The federal privacy commissioner’s office says it is investigating the violations, first flagged by constituents of New Democrat MP Charlie Angus.

Angus says the revenue agency twice sent batches of personal data to the wrong people in his northern Ontario riding.In a letter to the commissioner’s office, Angus says the revenue agency mailed a package April 6 to several constituents in Kirkland Lake, Ont., containing the names, SINs, addresses and phone numbers of five people.

Five days later, the same constituents were mailed a second package with similar personal information about 11 people.

Revenue agency spokesman Philippe Brideau says the agency contacted the privacy commissioner after confirming the breach, informed the affected people and made no-cost credit protection services available to them.