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Transport Canada issues recall for Chevrolet Orlandos over power steering

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Transport Canada issues recall for Chevrolet Orlandos over power steering -
Transport Canada has issued a recall for 12,035 Chevrolet Orlandos, saying some of them could lose their power-steering assist due to corrosion caused by road salt. The recall affects vehicles from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 model years. General Motors, which sold the minivan in Canada, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. On its website, Transport Canada says a loss of power steering assist could unexpectedly make steering more difficult and increase the risk of a crash. Transport Canada says the problem can arise if melting snow and water containing road salt enters the vehicle and corrodes a connection in the electric power steering (EPS) module circuit. The federal department says dealers will seal the affected connection and repair it as necessary. It didn’t say whether any collision, injury or death has been linked to the defect.

Tesla, BMW electrics fall short of highest crash test rating

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Tesla, BMW electrics fall short of highest crash test rating -
Two luxury electric vehicles – the Tesla Model S and the BMW i3 – fell short of getting the highest safety ratings in new crash tests by the insurance industry. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested 2017 models of both vehicles. Neither earned the institute’s “Top Safety Pick” award, which is given to vehicles that get the highest rating in five different crash tests and offer a crash-prevention system with automatic braking. To get a highest  “Top Safety Pick-Plus” designation, vehicles must meet all of those criteria and have good headlights. In the 2017 model year, 38 vehicles have won the “Top Safety Pick-Plus” designation, including two plug-in hybrids: the Toyota Prius Prime and the Chevrolet Volt. But no all-electric vehicles are on the list. The institute hasn’t yet tested the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, which went on sale at the end of 2016. Tesla’s Model S, an all-electric luxury sedan that starts at $72,500, earned good ratings in four of the institute’s five tests, including a side impact test and a head restraint test. But it earned a lower rating in a small overlap frontal crash test, which replicates what happens when the front corner of the car collides with a tree or telephone poll at 40 miles per hour. The Tesla’s safety belt allowed the crash dummy to move too far forward and it hit its head on the steering wheel. The institute said Tesla made a production change this month to address the problem, so the car will be tested again. The Model S has earned the highest ratings on U.S. government crash tests, but IIHS performs different tests. Tesla also earned a “poor” rating for its headlights. And a high-performance version of the Model S, the P100D, got a lower ranking on the roof strength test because its larger battery makes it much heavier, so the roof might not hold up as well in a rollover crash. The government hasn’t performed a roof-strength test on the P100D. The BMW i3, a small electric car that starts at $42,400, also earned good ratings in four out of five tests. It fell short in the head restraint test, which measures how well the car protects against neck injuries in a rear crash. The i3 earned the second-highest rating of “acceptable” for its headlights. The government hasn’t yet reported crash-test results for the i3.

Aviva Canada Announces Insurance Coverage for Home-Sharing

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Aviva Canada Announces Insurance Coverage for Home-Sharing -
Aviva News Release: With the rise of the sharing economy and peer-to-peer online services, especially those that help consumers rent their homes and cottages, Aviva Canada is pleased to offer insurance coverage for home-sharing across Canada starting February 1, 2017. Home-share, a short-term accommodations marketplace that connects hosts with guests through an online platform or website continues to increase in popularity. Rental networks such as Airbnb, Corporate Housing by Owner (CHBO), Flipkey, HomeAway, Roomorama, VRBO and Wimdu already cite millions of listings worldwide. To ensure consumers are protected, Aviva Canada is offering hosts two home-share coverage options that can be tailored to meet their rental needs:
  1. a simple add-on to an existing Aviva Canada homeowner policy, or
  2. stand-alone coverage for a secondary income property rented to short-term guests year-round (eg cottage, house/condo).
“More and more Canadians are looking to supplement their income by temporarily renting their property through online networks,” said Steve Cohen, Executive Director, Personal Lines, Aviva Canada. “Our research shows that one in five Canadians have rented their property in the past, or would consider doing so in the future*. As our customers’ needs evolve, Aviva Canada is committed to developing innovative solutions that address coverage gaps and to educating consumers on coverage solutions that best suit their needs.” In a 2016 consumer survey, 51% who are currently or considering renting their property are unaware that their existing homeowner policy does not cover home-sharing, revealing a significant insurance gap for Canadians*. This means in the event of loss or damages, the homeowner’s claim may be denied or worse, their home policy voided by their insurer. Although some home-share networks provide certain guaranteed protection as an automatic feature, it should not be considered a replacement for home insurance. Examples of what Aviva Canada’s solution covers and are not provided by home-share networks includes: liability when the property is deemed uninhabitable (eg electricity, fire); loss or damage to buildings; loss or damage to personal possessions caused by the guest; and loss or damage to guest’s possessions while they are renting the property (eg electronics). This simple and comprehensive home-sharing coverage means customers have 24/7 access to claims support from Aviva Canada and are not required to secure liability coverage from their home-share rental network or rental guests first. The home-sharing coverage will be available to new and existing Aviva Canada customers with eligible primary and income properties. The coverage is independent of any home-sharing networks and providers.

ICBC sets terms for insurance rate review

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

ICBC sets terms for insurance rate review -
inews880AM ICBC has set the terms for a rate affordability review and are now searching for the firm that will do the work. The reference terms ask the reviewer to make suggestions on mitigating rising costs and claims, after looking at what overall factors are most affecting insurance rates. The overall goal is stated as keeping rate increases in line with inflation. ICBC is also looking for suggestions of how the corporation can bring in additional revenue. Transportation Minister Todd Stone directed ICBC to commission an independent review back in December after another rate hike of 4.9% was requested. The crown corporation is expected to select a reviewer by mid-March, with a preliminary report is due at the end of June, and a new rate filing submitted in August. Rate hike controversy ICBC has been facing growing pressure on rates, it says because of increased number of crashes and expensive claims. Back in November, it produced a five-year projection that showed rates climbing as high as 40%. Transport Minister Todd Stone called that projection a “worst-case, hypothetical situation,” and announced the province would be getting out of the business of insuring luxury vehicles as one measure to contain costs. Stone has also pledged to forgo the annual dividend the province pulls from the crown corporation, worth $150-million, for the next three years. But the opposition NDP have accused the BC Liberals of using the public insurer as a “piggy bank” in recent years, instead of keeping rates low for drivers. With files from Simon Little

All Ontario drivers pay for unnecessary legal costs through higher insurance rates

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

All Ontario drivers pay for unnecessary legal costs through higher insurance rates -
Aviva Canada endorses a new provincial study which concludes that lawyers – not their insurance clients – are the primary beneficiaries cashing in on contingency fee arrangements. The study, conducted by Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Allan Hutchinson, further indicates the need for complete disclosure and transparency on legal issues such as contingency fees (a sum of money awarded to a lawyer if they win a case), referral fees (paid when one lawyer refers a case to another lawyer) and widespread legal advertising. All of these costs are examples of why Ontario drivers are paying the highest insurance premiums in Canada, Aviva Canada’s head of claims said. “Ontario drivers pay too much for auto insurance,” states Irene Bianchi, Executive Vice President of Claims, Aviva Canada. “Contingency fees are one of the key drivers of claims costs and, as a result, increase insurance premiums that all Ontario drivers pay.” The average Ontario driver pays 24% more than an Alberta driver and 72% more than a driver in Atlantic Canada.* These rates are driven by how much is paid out in claims costs. “The cost difference between the provinces isn’t more accidents or a higher population density. Instead, it can be directly attributable to the large amount of costs taken from the system that do not contribute to helping accident victims. The system is broken. A broader review of where total claim payments are going is desperately needed,” Bianchi continued. As Hutchinson’s report highlights, contingency fees can amount to over 40% of a settlement, resulting in just slightly more than half of the money paid in any given insurance claim going to the actual consumer who was injured. Add to this the recent revelations on referral fees and advertising costs in the personal injury legal community and it is clear that all Ontario drivers, not just those injured and needing legal support, are paying for these added unnecessary costs and getting little or no benefit in return. “The next time you see a personal injury legal ad on the back of a transit bus, or on TV, just remember that those advertising costs, and in many cases the referral fees, are all being paid by Ontario drivers through sky-high auto insurance rates,” Bianchi added. The Hutchinson report highlighted the lack of public transparency around contingency and referral fees that are charged by the personal injury legal community. His recommendations also include caps on contingency fees and steps to ensure that such fees charged to consumers are in line with the actual billable hours spent on the case. On the heels of Hutchinson’s report, Julia Munro, MPP for YorkSimcoe, signaled her intention to introduce a Private Members Bill that would protect accident victims and other consumers from certain legal practices. While the Law Society of Upper Canada is conducting a review of its personal conduct rules, including advertising, contingency fees and referral fees, this issue requires immediate action. Aviva Canada supports both Hutchinson’s and Munro’s call for greater transparency and accountability around contingency fees charged by lawyers that result in a much higher percentage of payments going to the actual injured claimants. We urge the government to consider this bill and the recommendations in the report.

The best deals on cars with active safety technology to decrease insurance

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

The best deals on cars with active safety technology to decrease insurance -

Since last year, Ontario residents who chose to equip their vehicles with winter tires automatically qualify for a 2 to 5 per cent discount on auto insurance premiums. Advances in vehicle technology – including autonomous braking, advanced airbags, pedestrian detection and lane keeping assist systems – have even greater potential to dramatically reduce accidents and the cost of insurance.

“As semi-autonomous vehicle technologies become available, we will see insurers trying to get ahead of the curve to shift their insured fleet to these safer vehicles, thereby creating more competitive rates,” says Igal Mayer, CEO of RDA Insurance, which powers insurance rate comparison site “Consumers will need to compare their vehicle purchase even more, right down to trim and options that include active safety technologies.”

In an industry first, Aviva Canada recently began offering a 15 per cent discount on auto insurance for drivers of vehicles with autonomous emergency braking, which automatically applies the brakes when vehicle sensors or cameras detect a potential front-end collision.

“Autonomous emergency braking has been proven to help reduce the amount of collisions leading to fewer injuries and lower claims costs,” said Steve Cohen, executive director of personal lines at Aviva Canada. “And we want to pass those savings to our customers.”

According to the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), crash avoidance features could prevent up to 33 per cent of fatal crashes and 20 per cent of serious or moderate injury crashes. Since 2015, the IIHS has required vehicles tested to have automatic braking technology to be eligible for its Top Safety Pick award.

Our favourite deals this week feature vehicles with notable incentives that also come equipped with active safety technology.

Court Orders Several Injury Claims Tried Together Due to Fraud Allegations

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Court Orders Several Injury Claims Tried Together Due to Fraud Allegations -

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, ordering several lawsuits to be heard together due to allegations of fraud.

In today’s case (ICBC v. Singh) the court reviewed an application requesting that seven personal injury actions involving motor vehicle accident claims related to three separate collisions be tried together.

In addition to the injury claims ICBC sued the individuals alleging that they “knew each other and conspired to stage the accidents to make false personal injury claims.

ICBC applied to have all the lawsuits tried together. In granting the application Madam Justice Duncan provided the following reasons:

[34]        The authorities provide a non-exhaustive list of facts to consider when making a determination on consolidation or, as in this case, ordering that actions be heard together. The factors are derived from Merritt, as well as Shah v. Bakken, [1996] BCLR No. 2836, and Insurance Corp. of British Columbia v. Sam, [1998] BCJ No. 947:

1.       Will consolidation create a saving in pre-trial procedures?

2.      Will there be a real reduction in the number of trial days taken up by the actions heard together?

3.      What is the potential for a party to be seriously inconvenienced by being required to attend a trial in which they only have a marginal interest?

4.      Will there be a real saving in experts’ time and witness fees?

5.      Is there a common issue of fact or law that makes it desirable to dispose of both (all) actions at the same time?

6.      Will consolidation avoid a multiplicity of proceedings?

7.      What are the relative stages of the actions?

8.      Would consolidation delay the trial and prejudice one or some of the parties?

9.      Would there be a risk of inconsistent results?

[35]        In this case, an order that the actions be heard together should result in a saving in pre-trial procedures. There would be one discovery of ICBC representatives concerning the fraud allegations rather than separately scheduled days of discovery, one per defendant. There would likely be a real reduction in the number of days required for trial if the actions were heard together, rather than as seven tort actions and one fraud action, as a repetition of evidence could be avoided. Parties could be excused for the portions of the trial which do not relate to them, saving their time and expense in that regard.

[36]        Conversely, the actions could be heard in stages with the ICBC fraud action scheduled first as it might determine, in whole or in part, the viability of the individual tort actions. This, of course, would be dependent on the views of a judge at a case planning conference or a judicial management conference.

[37]        The common issues of fact or law as between these actions is manifest in the pleadings and in the documents placed before the court by ICBC. The question is whether these accidents were staged by the parties. The parties knew one another, or at least knew one person with connection to more than one of the collisions. Mr. Haghmohammadi has some involvement in Collision #1 as he gave Ms. Prakash the vehicle she was driving at the time. Mr. Inderjit Singh, who drove the vehicle which allegedly injured Ms. Prakash and Ms. Mehran in Collision #1, had business dealings with Mr. Haghmohammadi in the sale of rebuilt motor vehicles and was in fact involved in Collision #3 with him.

[38]        If individual trials were held, inconsistent results could ensue. It is no answer to say that Ms. Prakash’s trial would create res judicata in relation to issues of alleged fraud arising from Collision #1, as Ms. Mehran has a separate proceeding arising from the same accident and Mr. Inderjit Singh is also a litigant in relation to Collision #3. Determining what issues were adjudicated in the first trial would not be straightforward and might visit unfairness on others who were not parties at Ms. Prakash’s trial.

[39]        I acknowledge that Ms. Prakash’s action is set for hearing in February and an order that the matters be heard together will necessitate an adjournment of that trial; however, I am satisfied of a high degree of interconnectedness between the parties and that it is in the interests of justice that the matters be heard together, or as directed following the case planning process or by judicial management, if a judge is appointed to hear the matter.

Road Safety: Left Turn Surprise!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Road Safety: Left Turn Surprise! -

A signal light does not provide you with any protection when you make a left turn. This simple fact was discovered by a lady who slowed as she approached her driveway, signalled for a left turn, saw a truck approaching in her rearview mirror and started to make the turn. To her complete surprise, the truck passed by her on the left and they collided corner to corner.

The woman driving the truck said that she did not see the signal light and there were no witnesses to confirm whether it was in use or not.

As there were no lines painted on the highway to prevent the truck from passing ICBC divided the liability for the collision 75/25 with the highest portion bourne by the driver of the turning vehicle.

This collision should not have come as a complete surprise to the lady for a number of reasons. The first might be that she hadn’t actually checked to see if her signal lights were working. The second is that she may not have signalled for a sufficient time to give the driver of the truck notice of her intended left turn. Finally, she could have taken human nature into account. My experience with many drivers is that they will tend to remain in motion rather than slowing or stopping if there is sufficient room to pass by.

When is the last time that you walked completely around your vehicle and checked to insure that all of the lights were working? Unless you are required by law to do pre- and post-trip inspections I suspect that it could be a long time, if ever. We rely on systems that can fail to protect us far more than we should because for the most part they keep working. Until they don’t. It’s up to the driver to make sure that the vehicle is in proper working order in all respects before leaving the driveway.

How long should we leave our signal light on before we do what it indicates? Certainly long enough that other drivers can see it, recognize what it is telling them and then react as necessary to insure safety. I might suggest that at least 4 seconds of signalling should be the minimum time before we take the advertised action. Failing to give sufficient warning is as bad as not giving any warning at all.

The Slow Down, Move Over law has resulted from the drivers tendency to remain in motion without taking action when presented with a sudden situation that does not require slamming on the brakes. Chances are good that you have watched many fail to slow down or move over in your travels. This lady’s left turn indication, if she made it properly, is another example of the same circumstances.

ICBC assesses liability for collisions based on guidance imposed by civil law. The case of Carmichael v Mayhew is an example of similar circumstances that I wrote about in the article Who’s Responsible?

There may be a witness to the operation of the signal lamp after the fact. If it was on when the force of the collision was applied to it, the signal filament could show indications of hot shock stress that could be discovered in post crash lamp examination. This kind of determination would require a trained collision investigator to provide ICBC or the courts with an expert opinion, but it is possible.

What about the driver of the truck who was found to be 25% at fault? The onus was on her not to pass on the left if it was unsafe to do so.