Aviva Canada to offer personal coverage for ridesharing drivers

Here’s the latest and greatest on insurance issues around services like Uber . . .

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Aviva Canada, a provider of home, auto, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance, announced the coverage for drivers that carry paying passengers in their own vehicles.

The coverage will become available for Ontario drivers in early February, and is a simple addition to an Aviva-insured personal auto policy, the insurer said in a press release, adding that Aviva will be “working with regulators across the country to make the solution available in other provinces in the coming months.”

There are more than 16,000 ridesharing drivers in the Greater Toronto Area, the insurer estimated.

The coverage will protect ridesharing drivers (such as those contracted with UberX and similar drivers) from the moment they initiate looking for passengers through to collecting and dropping off those passengers, Aviva Canada explained. Eligibility for coverage will be based on some simple underwriting criteria (for example, a maximum of eight passengers, licensed for a minimum of six years, no other commercial use, etc.).

Aviva Canada’s coverage will be available for drivers that spend up to 20 hours a week participating in ridesharing. The cost for the additional coverage will equate to a small portion of the income earned by the driver, calculated using factors such as time spent ridesharing, area driven and driving record, the insurer said.

“With ridesharing on the rise, consumers have new options available to them, however there is a gap in insurance coverage which potentially leaves them without appropriate protection and benefits,” said Greg Somerville, president and CEO of Aviva Canada, in the release. “When consumer needs change, we must evolve our insurance solutions to respond. We’re excited to offer a simple and affordable solution within a driver’s existing personal auto policy, thereby providing drivers and passengers with absolute peace of mind that they have insurance coverage while ridesharing.”

Doug Heaman, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, added that the association is pleased to see an insurance company taking a “proactive stance in the ridesharing space. Aviva’s approach and coverage options are welcome as many of our members are struggling to provide clear insurance options for their customers to ensure they are properly covered.”

Another insurer, Intact Financial Corp., announced last September that it intends to offer “tailored insurance products” for Uber. “The intention is to offer and market these products under IFC’s two largest brands – Intact Insurance and belairdirect,” Intact said at the time, adding the company is “working closely with insurance regulators and different levels of government in provinces where the ridesharing service currently exists.”

Considering Uber? You should read this first.

Uber/UberX is now a fact in Ontario. They’ve been getting lots of media coverage lately – both positive and negative.

When you take public transportation, an accident is the last thing on your mind. That being said, the traditional methods of public transportation, buses, trains, taxis, etc. have insurance in place in case of an accident to protect their passengers. Do you know how protected you are if you use Uber/UberX to get from Point A to Point B?

You may have thought about driving for Uber to earn some extra money. It sounds really attractive and easy. But if you and your vehicle aren’t insured for commercial purposes, consider the implications:

  • Your insurance company may refuse coverage in the event of an accident
  • You may personally be sued by anyone involved in the accident
  • Damage claims to your own and other involved vehicles may be denied.

Be informed, be safe, be protected.

If you would like to be kept aware of changes regarding insurance coverage and Uber/UberX, please contact Nick Homiak by email and he will keep you informed as changes occur.

IBAO August 12, 2015 Statement Concerning Uber / UberX

IBAO is working to raise awareness on the risks associated with ride sharing programs for both drivers and passengers. As an advocate for consumers and the conduit between the insurance company and the policyholder, brokers need to understand these risks and be prepared to answer clients’ questions correctly. UberX drivers and UberX passengers in Ontario should understand the reality of their choices when it comes to ride sharing and auto insurance coverage in Ontario.

There are a number of myths in the media that suggest that if an UberX driver or an UberX passenger are involved in a collision, their insurance coverage would be recognized. “The simple fact is that UberX is a new concept that Ontarians are embracing quickly, both as drivers and as passengers. At this time, drivers and passengers should know that there is no existing endorsement for a personal lines policy that is available today that would guarantee them coverage or protection in the event of a collision during an UberX experience. If the driver is working under a standard/basic personal auto insurance policy and they have not informed their insurer or broker that they were using their vehicle for commercial purposes, coverage would likely not be extended,” said Michael Brattman, President, IBAO. “UberX drivers would be properly covered through the Facility Association under their taxi commercial auto policy. This is what is available today for drivers.”

Auto insurance coverage is a complex product. When an injury occurs after a collision, it grows more complex. When you layer UberX on top of that (a grey zone between personal insurance and commercial insurance), the complexity compounds even more.

“Our position will always be to advocate for the protection of Ontario consumers. We are encouraging insurers and regulators to find coverage solutions that specifically protect ride sharing opportunists. We are also developing an education session for brokers to be released in September 2015 which focuses on how to communicate these risks to your consumers – both the passengers and the drivers. We would like to work with Uber to understand more about the coverage they say they provide to their drivers,” said Brattman.

As of today, the message you need to be telling UberX drivers and UberX passengers is this: use at your own risk. It is unlikely that UberX drivers are working under their own commercial lines policy and it is simply too early for anyone to say with confidence that the coverage

The PDF document can be downloaded here.
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Protecting your Home with Life Insurance

Buying a home can be the single biggest purchase an individual will ever make. According to statistics released this year by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales declined for the third consecutive month in December 2013. However, the CREA indicates that 475,000 homes were sold nationally, a 4% increase from 2012. For most buyers, that purchase involves a substantial mortgage and years of debt.

… Read More

Insurance Fraud

Insurance Fraud occurs when someone makes an insurance claim that is completely false or files a claim for more than the value of the goods actually lost, stolen or destroyed.  Fraudulent claims affect the cost of everyone’s insurance.  The Canadian Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that $1.3 billion worth of insurance claims that are paid in Canada every year are fraudulent.  This works out to 10 – 15% of every dollar you pay for insurance.

If someone you know is committing insurance fraud on a home, car or business policy, you can report it to Crime Stoppers.  Crime Stoppers is an international non-profit civilian program that assists police in solving crimes through tips reported by ordinary citizens who have knowledge or suspicion that crime has taken place.  If your tip helps the policy or an insurance company catch an insurance fraud, you may be eligible for a cash reward.  Your call will remain completely anonymous.

This information is compiled and copyrighted by The Insurance Brokers of Ontario


Impaired Driving – Not A Good Policy

Drinking and driving is not only illegal, it is socially and morally irresponsible.  Despite the horrific costs of impaired driving, measured not only in lives lost, injuries sustained and damage to property, the practice still continues.

Many Ontario drivers do not realize that they lose important insurance protection if they are convicted of a drinking and driving offense.  The financial consequences that they and their families will surfer in terms of loss of coverage’s can be considerable.

Did you know, your insurance company will not pay for loss or damage to your vehicle if you are unable to maintain proper control of your vehicle because you are driving under the influence of intoxicating substances?  Likewise, your insurance company will not pay for loss or damage if you are convicted of an offence such as impaired driving, driving with more than 80mg of alcohol in the blood or you refuse to provide a breath sample.

Whether you drive a car, motorcycle, snowmobile or all terrain vehicle, you could face life-long financial devastation by losing your income replacement benefits if you suffer a critical injury, or, at the very least, you could destroy your vehicle and get nothing for the value of it.

Please do not drink and drive.

If you are involved in an accident and are convicted of a drinking and driving offense, your Ontario Automobile Insurance policy will not pay:

The Income Replacement Cost Benefit;

The Non-Earner Benefits; and

Compensation for Other Expenses.

This information is compiled and copyrighted by The Insurance Brokers of Ontario

Tips to Save on Home Insurance

Home insurance protects your most value possessions, but that does not mean that it should cost more than it has to. Following these helpful tips will help you reduce your home insurance costs.

Increase your deductible

Your homeowner’s deducible is the amount in dollars, of risk that you are prepared to accept and pay in the event that you need to make a claim on your policy, If you are finding that the cost of your monthly premiums is increasing annually and you are looking to save, raising the dollar value of your deductible is an easy way to reduce the risk to your insurance provider, and therefore reduce your premiums. For example, if your deductible is currently $500 raising it to $1,000 or $2,500 can make a really big difference on your premiums – saving you as much as 10-25% on the cost of your annual or monthly premiums.

Claim Less

Your insurance is there to protect you when you have a loss, but a history of frivolous claims will increase your premiums. The size of your claim does not register against your history, but the quantity of claims does. Make sure that you review your loss and assess whether it is worth a claim – you will likely be paying your deductible anyway which is some cases, could cost more that the payout on the claim.

Increase Safety Measures

Installing safety devices in your home is not just beneficial for protecting your family, it could save you on your insurance premiums. By installing a monitored alarm system, a sprinkler system (in your home not your lawn!) or hard-wiring smoke and carbon monoxide detectors , you could qualify for reduced home insurance premiums. Make sure you contact your broker if you have made these improvements – otherwise, you will not see the discount on your policy.

Discounts and Deals

You may think that your insurance company will automatically provide you with any discounts that you qualify for. They do not know if you qualify unless you tell them. Many insurers offer discounts for; non-smoker’s, mortgagee free, burglar and fire alarms, etc.. Make sure you inquire so that you may receive some of these discounts.

Pay Annually

Premiums are often subject to financing or administration fees if you pay on a monthly basis – so if you can afford to pay for the year in advance, you will save on your premiums.

This information is compiled and copyrighted by The Insurance Hotline .com.

Top 5 Travel Insurance Tips for Hurricane Season

Travel Underwriters provides out of province/country health coverage for Consolidated clients and their visitorsTravel Underwriters provides out of province/country health coverage for Consolidated clients and their visitors. The following article about travelling during hurricane season has been used with their permission.



If you’re anything like me, you’ve been planning your trip for quite a while. But hurricane season can be a wild card that changes your plans in a second.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts in early June and can run as late as November. This raises a lot of questions for Canadians travelling to hurricane hot spots like the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and the East and Gulf coasts of the United States—in particular Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

Here are our top 5 tips for staying covered while travelling to at-risk hurricane zones:

1. What if there’s a storm, but it hasn’t yet been named a hurricane?

You still have time to purchase travel insurance, and more importantly, trip cancellation and interruption. But once a hurricane has been named, it becomes a “known peril” and you won’t be covered under an existing policy.

It’s similar to trying to buy home insurance while your house is on fire. As soon as the hurricane is named, you can’t get your trip covered by travel insurance.

2. What if there’s a hurricane warning for my travel destination?

Only you can decide if you want to take the risk, but checking for travel advisories specific to hurricanes is a good start.

Before you travel, monitor local news and weather reports and register online with the Canadian government office abroad. Leave all phone numbers and a detailed itinerary with your family and friends if you do go. Lastly, you can always cancel your trip, and if you’ve purchased trip cancellation or interruption you won’t lose out.

3. What if I can’t get to my travel destination, due to a hurricane?

This happens a lot, especially for cruise-goers. Check the travel advisories for your destination and contact your local broker for details about your plan.

4. What if I’m on vacation and a hurricane starts?

Most insurance policies will cover you for mandatory evacuations due to unforeseeable events. It’s best in these situations to contact your insurance provider and the Canadians abroad office.

5. What if there’s a hurricane in my hometown, and I can’t leave for my trip?

A “ripple effect” can happen if you can’t leave your hometown to get to the first leg of your trip. Make sure you’ve purchased travel insurance that will cover you for situations like these. At Travel Underwriters, for instance, our Freedom policy covers you for natural disasters or “unforeseeable events” or delays in connecting flights due to weather conditions.



Stay safe this hurricane season and make informed decisions. At the end of the day, purchasing travel insurance and trip cancellation and interruption as early as possible is your safest bet.
Information provided by Travel Underwriters


International Driving Permits (The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles)

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has suspended the enforcement of a state law that required Canadian drivers to carry an International Driving Permit in addition to their drivers license. The initial law was quietly introduced on January 1st, 2013 and was found to violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949), an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory. Treaties to which the United States is a party preempt state laws in conflict with them.

From the moment IBAO learned about this new Florida legislation early yesterday morning and how it was affecting Ontario consumers, the association responded immediately, initiating phone calls and discussions with our political and industry partners to work on a resolve as quickly and effectively as possible. We were on and off conference calls all day yesterday and learned around 3:30 p.m. that the Florida legislation had been suspended, and vehicles remain insured.

We compliment the Canadian government on taking action quickly. Keep in mind that this immediate response is a suspension only, and the Florida legislation has not been entirely revoked. The suspension eliminates the need for an International Drivers Permit at this time. IBAO will continue our discussions with our political partners and will keep you informed as to any updates as we learn of them.

In the meantime, you can read more about the government’s response on the following links.

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles release

Toronto Star Article

CBC News Story


Information provided by IBAO WWW.IBAO.ORG

A Home Covered with Snow

The winter months can be especially hard on your home, its structure and foundation. When the temperature drops, your pipes might freeze, leaving you with extensive water damage. Sudden changes in temperature can cause cracks in your foundation, allowing melting snow to flood your basement. Even a small amount of ice and snow build up on your roof can create an ice dam, which can leak water into your attic.

Be Prepared for Winter Storms

  • When you leave your home, don’t turn off the heat, since this can cause your pipes to freeze. If you must turn the heat down significantly, open the hot and cold faucets just enough to drip, to help prevent freezing.
  • Keep your attached garage door and fireplace flue closed to help keep your home warm.
  • Check your sump pump, if you have one, to ensure that it is working properly. If electrical outages are common in your area and you need a sump pump to keep your basement dry, consider investing in a generator.
  • Know the location of the main water shutoff and find out how it works in the event of an emergency.

Take Action After a Storm

  • Keep your gutters and downspouts free of dirt and debris, reducing the chance of ice dams and water seepage into your home.
  • Keep your storm drains clear of debris so that standing water has a place to go.
  • Clear the snow from around your doors and windows so that melting snow doesn’t enter your home.
  • Clear snow mounds from around exhaust pipes and air vents on heaters, furnaces and dryers.
  • Take care of damaged limbs on and around your property so that they don’t become a hazard to your home or your neighborhood.

Source: Tri-State Restorations