Friday, November 23, 2012

LISTEN UP! All current and future condo owners!!

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Have you ever wondered what would happen if the unit next to you went up in flames or had a pipe that burst, severely damaging other units in your complex? It may not seem like something that could happen to you, but I’m here to tell you it can!

Imagine one day; the unthinkable happens. The woman next door was in such a hurry trying to get to work in the morning she left her stove on HIGH!! Her unit goes up in flames and all the units next to her are burnt to the ground. Including yours! You get home from work only to find your beautiful home in utter disarray. The final flames are being put out by the fire fighters.  All your belongings… gone. You lost everything. Clothes, furniture, appliances, family photos…AND you just put in those new hardwood floors!


Not to worry, you purchased a comprehensive condo policy. Your insurance company will pick up the bill, but you might wonder, who’s going to pay to replace the building itself?

The condo corporation of course! Think again… they do have a policy set in place to cover the cost of rebuilding but who’s on the hook to pay the deductible to the condo corporation’s policy? Surprise! YOU ARE! And it’s not a small amount.

The condo corporation can ask every condo owner to cover the cost of their deductible. Sometimes you’re looking at anywhere between $5,000- $20,000 per condo owner. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t have $20,000 sitting in the bank waiting to pay a deductible for fire I didn’t even cause! 

So where do you go from here? Well there’s actually an easy fix! Some insurance companies will cover the cost of the condo corporation’s deductible under your own policy up to a certain limit. 

Contact your local broker to discuss the coverage’s under your condominium policy.


Written by Genevieve St-Denis, Account Executive,
Rhodes & Williams Limited

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is your pet insured on your homeowner’s policy?

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Some of you may remember the story of the sales associate at Home Depot who was bit by a customer’s Shih Tzu last summer.  She was bending down to pet the dog when it leaped out and bit her right in the face! The woman sustained severe injuries from the little pup and required plastic surgery in order to fix her torn off nose. 

 
The photo above is a Shih-Tzu; the same breed that is
responsible for the attack of the Home Depot Associate.

Regardless of the size, any dog can be dangerous.
 The 66-year-old customer was fined $610 by a bylaw officer and ordered to keep her 12-year-old Shih Tzu muzzled at all times in public.    

Even though the customer was reprimanded for her dog’s actions, the Home Depot employee still decided to take legal action against the dog’s owner. 

In this case, the employee would have sued against the Personal Liability portion of thecustomer’s property policy for the actions of the dog. Keep in mind that every claim is investigated on a case by case basis and that all insurance companies have different exclusions.In this situation, the insuring company did pay out the claim, however the amount was undisclosed. 

It’s important to know that a situation resulting in a liability claim can happen anywhere at anytime. Therefore, it’s important to have sufficient liability coverage on your tenants, condo or homeowners policy. In this case, it benefited the customer greatly as she did not have to bear the cost of the settlement.  

Contact your local broker for more information on liability coverage. 

*Please note that your pet is not insured on your policy as property. Meaning you would have no coverage for health benefits for your animal or coverage if they were to be stolen. 

Written by Genevieve St-Denis, Account Executive,
Rhodes & Williams Limited

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oh Sandy, Baby!

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Tuesday afternoon, a post-tropical storm hit the northeastern United-States. Meteorologists are calling this one “Sandy”. So far, she’s been responsible for major flooding, power outages and at least 16 deaths. New York City has taken her wrath the hardest. Lower Manhattan is completely shut down; the subway systems are at a standstill and people are stuck inside their apartments waiting for the streets to clear. Vehicles that were once parked on the bustling streets of New York are now covered in seawater. 

This is an example of some of the flooding that resulted from Sandy.

The disastrous effects of the storm are now hitting close to home. Southern Ontario has experienced powerful wind gusts close to 80 kilometers per hour and between 20 to 40 millimeters of heavy rain fall.

Reports of vicious winds uprooting trees and destroying homes indicates, now more than ever, that Canada is susceptible to extreme weather conditions that can affect your livelihood, your safety and your home.

Being properly prepared with emergency and first aid kits is crucial when expecting these types of storms. Having enough water, food, extra blankets and clothing on hand will ensure proper safety for you and your family.   

After the storm has passed, it is of utmost importance that you inspect your property for any damages caused by the storm. You should be looking for such things as damage to your windows, doors and roof.

Contact your broker immediately for any questions concerning the effects of the storm and how to begin the claims process

* Keep in mind that damage caused by extreme winds are covered under a comprehensive property policy, however, only certain types of water damage are covered depending on the cause. As an example, if you have sewer backup coverage on your policy and the flooding causes the sewers to backup in to your basement, this type of water damage would be covered up to a certain limit. For more information on water losses click on this link.

Written by Genevieve St-Denis, Account Executive,
Rhodes & Williams Limited

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Employment Practices Insurance

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Lorne Wiebe has written another article about issues important to business owners, for the local online hub serving Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry - http://www.ourhometown.ca . What follows is an introduction to that article. The full article can be read in his column, "Risky Business"

Employment Practices Insurance

Twenty years ago, business owners wouldn’t have given it a second thought but in today’s world where we’ve been taught to stand up for our “rights” it’s a whole new world and that has lead to a relatively new type of business risk. If you run a company which employs any number of people - from 1 to 10,000 - you need to know the ins-and-outs of today’s employment practices; everything from hiring to firing and conduct in the workplace. Whether you are bringing in someone new or exiting a current employee, there are certain rules in place (mandated by law) to make sure that everything is fair and on the up-and-up. And these rules don’t apply only to management; even if one of your employees steps out-of-bounds, you could be held accountable and your business could at risk.......

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Do you have signage on your vehicle? Here’s what YOU need to know!

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Although signage on a vehicle may indicate that it is being used for business purposes, signage does not determine the classification of the vehicle.  The broker or insuring company would typically determine the correct use of the vehicle during the quoting process

Making sure your vehicle is being properly rated is very important regardless of signage. If you’re using your vehicle for business purposes but fail to disclose the correct use of the vehicle to your broker, this could result in a potential claim being denied.

Here’s an example to help illustrate this point; 

A stay-at-home mom has a small home-based business baking sugary sweets. She uses her vehicle to deliver her homemade treats to local businesses. Her vehicle is only being rated as personal use. If she were to be involved in an accident while commuting to a location to deliver her baked goods, the insurance company may deny her claim seeing the vehicle wasn’t properly rated. In this case, her vehicle should have been rated for occasional business use. The annual mileage used for business purposes will also determine the correct classification for business use of the vehicle.

Contact your local broker for any questions concerning personal or business use on your vehicle.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We All Make Mistakes

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Lorne Wiebe has written another article about issues important to business owners, for the local online hub serving Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry - http://www.ourhometown.ca . What follows is an introduction to that article. The full article can be read in his column, "Risky Business"

 
A Sign of the Times
Photo Credit - ourhometown.ca

Years ago I worked for a boss who used to say “It’s okay to make as many mistakes as you want…just don’t make the same mistake twice.” While the sentiment that you’re allowed to make mistakes and then learn from them is nice, when it comes to the services that your business provides for others, most clients won’t be that forgiving if your mistakes cost them money.

At some point, everyone and every company is going to make a mistake. Either we do something that we shouldn’t do or we don’t do something that we should have done. That’s life. We already are accustomed to the thinking that our mistakes could hurt some “body” (bodily injury) or some “thing” (property damage) and most businesses purchase a Commercial General Liability insurance policy which protects them in those instances. But how can you protect your business if you provide a service and a mistake causes financial loss for someone else? This is where a product called Errors and Omissions coverage fills the protection gap....

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

SINKHOLE INSURANCE!!! GET YOUR SINKHOLE INSURANCE HERE!

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The recent sinkhole on the 174 east, close to Orleans, has generated some interest about insurance…… yes, you read that right - INTEREST ABOUT INSURANCE!.  Various comments appeared on twitter and facebook like a few samples below:





Sooooo…. Let’s see if we can shed some light on the situation.  Remember that every situation is unique, you should talk to your insurance broker, and we only know the details about this specific case, that we can read in the newspaper.

Although the ultimate decision about claims rests with the particular insurance company, in this type of situation, we would expect the claim would handled under the loss or damage section of the policy as a collision.

If the person in question did not have collision insurance at the time of the accident, they would be financially responsible for the loss of the vehicle. They would also have to pay for their own rental vehicle (if required) and have to purchase a replacement vehicle at their own expense. They would also be responsible for the costs involved in recouping the lost funds from the province, if that was an option they wished to pursue. This would take time and money.

If the person in question had the full, appropriate physical damage coverage on the policy at the time of the accident, the insurance company would cover the loss of the vehicle, according to the terms of the insurance policy. They would also pay for a rental vehicle (assuming that coverage had been purchased), giving the client sufficient time to find a replacement vehicle. The claim would be subject to the policy deductible.

Since the collision was a single car accident, it is technically considered to be an at fault claim. However, in situations such as these, the outcome of the claim would be handled on a case by case basis. A thorough investigation would take place in order to properly negotiate the settlement with the claims adjuster.

If the insured sustained injuries (which fortunately in this case, I understand that they were only very minor) from the accident he/she would be entitled to compensation under the accident benefits portion of the policy up to a certain limit. The option to increase accident benefits on an automobile policy is available for all licensed drivers in Ontario. Increasing this coverage comes with a minimal cost but could help protect you and your loved-ones in the event of a catastrophic accident.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sinkhole, in Ottawa?

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If you ever needed a reminder that insurance claims can happen in an instant and can come out of nowhere, this very unusual local story proves it.

Yesterday afternoon, a man was driving home eastbound on Highway 174. He took his usual route home, and was proceeding to take the Jeanne D’Arc exit.  However, on this rainy Tuesday, there seemed to be something blocking the exit ramp. At first glace, the man thought there may be a tarp spread out on the road. As he approached the unidentified object, he quickly discovered it was a large hole!


With no room to stop without causing a major accident, his car fell into the large sinkhole.  His options were bleak, the likelihood of another vehicle falling into the hole and crushing him were high. Although the odds were stacked against him, he still managed to get his car door open and crawled out. Alive and safe with only minor injuries reported!

We never know when Mother Nature will strike. Flowing water can have many dangerous consequences. Luckily, the man escaped with only a couple bruises and scrapes. However, the situation could have been far more disastrous. Although we have no way of predicting the probability of a loss, it’s important to have proper coverage on your policy to help protect you and your loved-ones.

Please see our follow-up blog to learn how Insurance would handle an accident like this.

This article was written by Geneviève St-Denis from Rhodes & Williams Insurance Brokers.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cyber Insurance

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Computers are supposed to make life easier…. Right? How is that working out for you???

Your company’s computer network and the internet may have streamlined your operation and have made it easier for your clients to do business with you.... but has this new electronic world also exposed your company to a potentially catastrophic un-insured risk.

Learn more about Cyber Insurance – Would Your Business Survive a Data Security Breach?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Goderich Before and After

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It was August 21, 2011 that a powerful F3 Tornado struck the town of Goderich Ontario. The once beautiful lakeside community had to suffer a 19.5 KM path of destruction caused by the Twister. Many residential and commercial properties suffered a vast amount of damage and it was apparent that rebuilding would be a long and stressful process. One year and millions of dollars later the peaceful community has come a long way. Many properties have been repaired, rebuilt or relocated within the town and not only has Goderich been restored, it’s been improved. A tragedy such as the Goderich Tornado truly proves how a community can come together and overcome nature's strongest forces.







Although you can never downplay the tenacity of the people of this city, it is important to remember that they couldn't do it alone.  Although the positive aspects are never sensationalized in the media, I can truly tell you that insurance is a huge part of the rebuilding of this community.  In the media, if there is one person in Goderich that didn’t have insurance or had a bad experience – you are more likely to hear about that making headlines… but there are many more stories of how so many people and businesses were able to rebuild, because of the insurance protection they had in place, and the insurance companies and people that stepped up and helped out.

See the video below for more on the Goderich community and the impact of the Tornado.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

July 23rd: Severe Thunderstorms for Eastern Ontario

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If you looked out your window at mid-afternoon you would swear it was mid-night. Dark storm clouds completely filled the skies of Ottawa on the afternoon of July 23rd. At first, this appeared to be a blessing; we hadn’t seen much precipitation and some rain would be nice. Unfortunately, we got a little bit more then we bargained for.

At first, it seemed like the outlying areas were seeing the worst of the storm. The Lanark region had been put under a Tornado warning and there had already been un-confirmed reports of Tornado touchdowns. At approximately 3:00 Pm Ottawa began to receive its share of the severe weather. A large storm pummeled the Nations Capital with lightening, strong winds and large hail. Downed trees caused damages to properties and power lines which lead to thousands of people without hydro. Probably the most frightening part of the storm was the golf-ball sized hail. The hail was so large that it caused significant damages to the automobiles of many Ottawa residents.




The Account Managers of Rhodes & Williams have been very busy this week assisting all of their clients’ needs surrounding this storm. When Personal Lines Account Manager-Carol Kelly was asked about the storm, she responded “I’m up to about 10 auto claims”. Carol continued to explain that the hail was so large it caused considerable damage to the exterior of many vehicles. West of Ottawa, strong winds brought down thousands of trees. Personal Lines Account Manager- Laurie Hall-Groulx has been busy assisting clients with damages resulting from fallen trees.

July 23rd is a prime example of the weather forces that Ontarians should be prepared for. Always monitor weather bulletins and plan accordingly if severe weather is imminent in your area.

 Read more about this storm in a story created by local live tweets of people on scene:

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Sign of the Times

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Lorne Wiebe has written another article about issues important to business owners, for the local online hub serving Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry - http://www.ourhometown.ca .  What follows is an introduction to that article. The full article can be read in his column, "Risky Business"


A Sign of the Times
In this series of articles, we’ve been digging through the myriad of potential gaps in your business insurance coverage; gaps which could place your company at risk. Many of the gaps might not be obvious at first glance but when you think about some of the limits of coverage outlined in a typical insurance policy and consider today’s costs to repair or replace certain items after a loss, it suddenly becomes apparent that you might be underinsured in certain areas.
PHOTO CREDIT - OurHometown.ca























In this series of articles, we’ve been digging through the myriad of potential gaps in your business insurance coverage; gaps which could place your company at risk. Many of the gaps might not be obvious at first glance but when you think about some of the limits of coverage outlined in a typical insurance policy and consider today’s costs to repair or replace certain items after a loss, it suddenly becomes apparent that you might be underinsured in certain areas. 

One good example of this is your company’s outdoor signage. Now, it might be the case that every day you drive past your company sign which is out in front of your parking lot and you’ve seen it so often you never give it a second thought. But that rather innocuous sign could end up causing you big headaches if it is ever damaged. It might have been erected a decade ago or more and perhaps you figure it’s not worth a whole lot of money. But if you ever have to replace it, you could be in for a shock.  ....

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Clean Up This Mess!

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Lorne Wiebe has written another article about issues important to business owners, for the local online hub serving Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry - http://www.ourhometown.ca .  What follows is an introduction to that article. The full article can be read in his column, "Risky Business"


Most businesses carry a commercial insurance policy that includes some level of coverage to help pay for cleaning up a mess caused by an insured peril.
PHOTO CREDIT - OurHometown.
When I was little kid, I remember our family arriving at our cottage late one Friday night.  It was dark and we were all tired after the long drive.  As we dragged our suitcases through the kitchen and across the living room floor, something seemed different but we couldn't quite put a finger on it.  Then as the lights turned on in room after room it quickly became very apparent.  A wild animal – possibly a squirrel - had gotten into our cottage during the week and tore the place up.  Chewed up bedding here...pictures smashed to the floor over there.  And the worst - it somehow got into the oil stove and there was greasy smut all over the place.  Who knew that a tiny critter could do so much damage?  And that story leads me to an often overlooked business risk that might be staring right at you.

Most businesses carry a commercial insurance policy that includes some level of coverage to help pay for cleaning up a mess caused by an insured peril.  For example, suppose your business suffers a fire and you own the building.  The fire department arrives on the scene quickly and does a terrific job.  They snuff out the fire before it becomes a raging inferno and you are pleased there isn't more damage, but now the cleanup begins.  Your insurance covered the cost of repairing the building but who pays for the clean up?  Hopefully your broker informed you of a very important coverage known a "debris removal".  It pretty much does what it says; this insurance product helps to pay for removing all of the debris which is often the result of some type of damage.  But as important as debris removal coverage is, a fairly common problem with it is often overlooked.....

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Free, Public Wi-Fi Can be Dangerous to Your Health

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This guest blog comes from Steve Anderson. Steve provides useful tips and information that can help generate revenues and prevent loss.

A few days ago I was sitting at a local coffee shop and watched a young lady come in with her laptop. She sat down at the table, connected her laptop to the free wireless network, and proceeded to log into her online bank account. I remember thinking at the time, "That is a dangerous practice."

I then received an email from Steve Aronson, an agent in Massachusetts, highlighting the same issue. He suggested I write about how to protect your information when using free public Wi-Fi.

Wireless access to the Internet has become a necessity for many people so they can stay connected. Whether you're on vacation at a resort, waiting in an airport or sitting in a coffee shop, it's likely you will be able to connect to the Internet through a wireless network provided by the property owner. Sometimes these will be offered for a small fee and sometimes they will be free.

But be careful: sometimes free Wi-Fi can be a scam perpetrated by criminals hoping to steal your personal information. You could end up being the target of a "man in the middle" attack, in which a hacker is able to steal the information you send over the Internet, including usernames and passwords. And you could also have your files and identity stolen and end up with a spyware-infested computer. The attack could even leave your laptop open to hackers every time you turn it on, by allowing anyone to connect to it without your knowledge.


How the attack works

You go to an airport or other hot spot and fire up your PC, hoping to find a free hot spot. You see one that calls itself "Free Wi-Fi" or a similar name. You connect. Bingo -- you've been had!

The problem is that it's not really a hot spot. Instead, it's an ad hoc, peer-to-peer network, possibly set up as a trap by someone with a laptop nearby. You can use the Internet, because the attacker has set up his PC to let you browse the Internet via his connection. But because you're using his connection, all your traffic goes through his PC, so he can see everything you do online, including all the usernames and passwords you enter for financial and other websites.

In addition, because you've directly connected to the attack PC on a peer-to-peer basis, if you've set up your PC to allow file sharing, the attacker can have complete run of your PC, stealing files and data and planting malware on it.

You can't actually see any of this happening, so you'd be none the wiser. The hacker steals what he wants to or plants malware, such as zombie software, then leaves, and you have no way of tracking him down.

All that is bad enough, but it might not be the end of the attack. Depending on how you've connected to that ad hoc network, the next time you turn on your PC, it may automatically broadcast the new "Free Wi-Fi" network ID to the world, and anyone nearby can connect to it in ad hoc peer-to-peer mode without your knowledge -- and can do damage if you've allowed file sharing.

Security company Commtouch (previously Authentium Inc.) has found dozens of ad hoc networks in Atlanta's airport, New York's LaGuardia, the West Palm Beach, Fla., airport and Chicago's O'Hare. Internet users have reported finding them at LAX airport in Los Angeles.

Commtouch did an in-depth survey of the ad hoc networks found at O'Hare, visiting on three different occasions. It found more than 20 ad hoc networks each time, with 80% of them advertising free Wi-Fi access. The company also found that many of the networks were displaying fake or misleading MAC addresses, a clear sign that they were bent on mischief.


How to protect yourself

The easiest way to protect yourself from Wi-Fi fraud is to not connect to any free wireless networks. If you're in a coffee shop, airport or hotel that has a legitimate Wi-Fi connection for a small fee, it's worth the price for peace of mind. Ask the business' staff if there is a hot spot available and get the name from them.

Mobile device users should make sure they have downloaded all the security updates for their operating systems.

If you function in a wireless environment on a regular basis, you are better off spending the money on a wireless card that you get through AT&T, Verizon or Sprint. This way, you have your own relatively secured wireless connection. This is what I do for access.

If you choose to take advantage of free Wi-Fi availability, here are some things to keep in mind.
  • Never connect to a "computer-to-computer" network. When choosing a wireless network, check out the description of each one. A normal wireless network is simply called "wireless network" not a "computer-to-computer" network.
  • Use HTTPS to access webmail and avoid protocols that don't include encryption.
  • Turn off your computer's file sharing capabilities. The instructions will vary slightly depending on what computer system you're using (Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, etc.).
  • Use a software firewall to further control who can connect to your computer and how.
  • Avoid conducting financial transactions or accessing any sensitive websites if you aren't using an Internet connection that you know and trust.
It pays to be vigilant whenever you are connecting to a wireless network. If you have any doubt about the Wi-Fi connections, then don't connect. It's just not worth the potential problems.

Friday, June 1, 2012

When the Money Stops..

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Lorne Wiebe has written another article about issues important to business owners, for the local online hub serving Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry - http://www.ourhometown.ca .  What follows is an introduction to that article. The full article can be read in his column, "Risky Business"

Recently we featured a Risky Business article which spoke about how business owners and their insurance brokers need to get good at digging for holes; those potential gaps in insurance coverage which may be easy to overlook but can be deadly to the survival of a company after it suffers a serious loss. Here is one of those holes to look for in your insurance coverage.
PHOTO CREDIT - OurHometown.ca
Most basic commercial insurance policies include coverage for your property and equipment and your stock for physical damage which was the result of an insured peril. Usually the policy also includes some protection in case you unintentionally hurt someone in the course of running your business - that's the liability section of your policy. So you're fully covered, right? Wrong.......

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The City Did What?!

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Lorne Wiebe has written another article about issues important to business owners, for the local online hub serving Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry - http://www.ourhometown.ca .  What follows is an introduction to that article. The full article can be read in his column, "Risky Business"


Have you ever surfed a city’s official website? If you own a business, check out the section covering their building bylaws. It’s enough to make your head spin. Every town and city has a seemingly endless list of construction does and don’ts and that list gets longer every year.
PHOTO CREDIT - OurHometown.ca
 It’s all well intentioned of course, as city planners try to manage commercial development and keep it as orderly as possible.  As businesses become more complex, so do the rules which govern them. The scary part for a business owner is trying to keep up with it all.  Usually you can’t and that can lead to a serious business risk ...

Read the rest of the article here: "Risky Business"

Friday, March 30, 2012

Digging for Holes

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It might sound a little funny if you were to tell someone that you are busy “digging for holes” but that’s a skill you practice everyday if you own a business. Part of the boss’s job is to snoop around and identify any holes in your operation; issues which could seriously harm your company.... Read the rest of Lorne's article at http://www.ourhomtetown.ca/ .

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Seven tips for Business Owners - Dealing with the media

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We were recently asked to be an expert insurance writer for a local online hub serving Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry.  Commercial Insurance Account Executive, Lorne Wiebe has started the feature entitled, "Risky Business", to be featured in the business section at www.ourhometown.ca .   Lorne's first article touches on a subject close to his heart, as a formal Cornwall, Ontario broadcaster.  Below is a copy of the article from www.ourhometown.ca:


     There are few things in life that will ruin your day faster than waking up to the radio, only to hear your company’s name in a “bad news” story. I know. I used to get calls from frantic business owners asking if there was any way we could stop reporting whatever news it was about their company that had made headlines. Whether an employee gets hurt on the job or your business suffers a fire, you can bet that reporters will be calling you or lining up outside your door

PHOTO CREDIT - OurHometown.ca


There are few things in life that will ruin your day faster than waking up to the radio, only to hear your company’s name in a “bad news” story. I know. I used to get calls from frantic business owners asking if there was any way we could stop reporting whatever news it was about their company that had made headlines. Whether an employee gets hurt on the job or your business suffers a fire, you can bet that reporters will be calling you or lining up outside your door. As a former News Director for a national corporation, here are my suggestions for not only dealing with media inquiries, but ultimately turning a bad news story into a positive news story.

#1 - Get ready: The key to winning a public relations battle is preparation. Have a designated person on your team to handle all media inquiries, both good and bad. That strategy also helps to brand your company because the public will begin to relate the spokesperson’s name and voice to your business. Plan out your message and strategy in advance and then stick with it.

#2 - Stay Focused: If the worst happens and you are forced to address the media shortly after disaster strikes your company, it can be easy to get off track when answering questions. Your mind is swirling with a hundred different thoughts. Pause. Take a deep breath…and keep your answers focused directly on the question.

#3 - Be Forthcoming and Honest: Do not fudge the truth about what may have happened. Reporters have all kinds of tools at their disposal to discover the truth and ultimately, it will be reported.

#4 - But Not Too Forthcoming: Do not expand your answers past what the reporters ask, however try to give full answers in relation to their question. Never speculate.

#5 - Reflect: Regardless of how much you prepare for an interview, there will be questions that you never saw coming. It may seem obvious to think carefully before you speak but it’s easy to just start rambling if you’re not careful. If you’re not sure about an answer, tell the reporter that you’ll get back to them later that day. And then be sure to get back to them later that day.

#6 - And Deflect: Sometimes a question will come up that you really don’t want to answer. That’s a good time to gently deflect. Say something like “Well, that’s a good question but I think the more important issue here is…” and then focus on promoting your agenda.

#7 - Stay Positive: Even in the midst of tragedy there can be positives to point out. The support of the community. The heroics of the police or fire department. The unity of your company’s team. Be sure to be generous and grateful in your public comments. It will help people empathize with your business’s situation and ultimately can help portray your company in a more positive light.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

If I get pulled over in mum’s car (she has insurance, I’m not on it) do I get in trouble? Will rarely drive car."

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I was recently asked a question on Twitter:

"Twittersphere: insurance?. If I get pulled over in mum’s car (she has insurance, I’m not on it) do I get in trouble? Will rarely drive car."

The direct answer to this question is that you do not need to be listed on a car insurance policy to be able to drive that car. You may borrow a friend’s car, family member’s car, etc. and it is not a requirement that you be listed on that policy. If a police officer pulls you over, what they are going to want to know is that there is insurance on the car. If proof of insurance (the "pink slip") is in the car, the police shouldn’t care if you are listed on the policy or not. There are always exceptions and qualifications to this statement. Obviously, you need to have been given permission to be using the car, and you need to be licensed to drive. Also, there is sometimes an exclusion put on a policy (called an OPCF 28a) to exclude specific drivers (which means if someone is excluded under a 28a, they would not have coverage should something happen to them or the car while driving it). Always discuss your specific situation with your Insurance Broker to make sure. This answer is general in nature and to make sure you are protected (and won’t get in trouble) in your specific situation, always talk to your Insurance provider (or your Mum’s in this case).

That all being said, it is important to ensure full disclosure by the person who does take out the insurance policy. One of the questions on an automobile application for insurance is, "Are there other’s in the household licensed to drive?" Most Insurance companies will want all drivers in the household listed on the policy, regardless of the frequency of use of the car. Make sure you answer all questions truthfully, and give full details so your insurance broker can help you find the best options specific to your situation.

One last point – there are circumstances where it would make sense to be listed on a family member’s insurance policy. It creates an insurance history and can help keep your premium’s down when you do get a car. Talk to an insurance broker and let them determine the best plan for you!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Insurance Fraud ... Be very AFra"u"d

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There has been a lot in the news recently about the cost of insurance in Ontario.  Immediately I started seeing articles with many truth's peppered throughout the article filled with media hype and finger pointing.  One thing that is true is that insurance fraud is costing all Ontario insurance customers a lot of money.  Insurance Brokers have been talking about this for a long time and working on solutions.  Hopefully the most recent press will help draw attention to... and solution for the insurance fraud problem.

Below is a recent article by Deputy Senior Vice President of Claims for Intact Insurance, Sharon Bridge, regarding insurance fraud.  Intact is one of the many insurance companies with whom Rhodes & Williams Insurance Brokers can place insurance, if it is the best choice for our clients.

Detecting Insurance Fraud Controls Claims Costs

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Deputy Senior Vice President, Claims Sharon Bridge explains why and how Intact Insurance, the industry and the Ontario government are working together to reduce abuse of the claims system.

With catastrophic weather events on the rise – like April’s severe hailstorms in Thunder Bay and Stratford, wild windstorms in the Ottawa and Niagara regions and Goderich Tornado – the last thing consumers need is added costs due to increased auto insurance fraud. But that’s exactly what’s happening in Ontario.

“Auto insurance fraud has been on the rise, particularly in the GTA,” says Sharon Bridge, who’s been leading Intact’s claims transformation in Ontario over the years. “The previous accident benefits system led to the prevalence of increased abuse committed by various parties involved in the claims process and increased the cost of injury claims costs. These trends adversely affected consumers as premiums rose.

”Abuse and fraud is an issue that affects the cost of protecting people, so we’re tackling it head on. Our proactive approach to fraud management involves investing in people, technology and infrastructure to help manage, detect and prevent fraudulent or improper activities. It’s an approach that we developed with the customer in mind. Putting the customer at the centre of everything we do is what the Intact Insurance brand is all about and these actions help us get customers back on track as quickly as possible by ensuring that they get the right kind of treatment by the right practitioners for full and fast recovery.”

“Tackling fraud is a complex, long¬-term fight, but with the government willingness to take action, it’s one we intend to win. The Ontario Auto Reform, adopted last year, gives us more time to respond to treatment plans and identify inappropriate and abusive requests. What we need in the longer term are greater consequences for the perpetrators of fraud and abuse.”

The industry is working together to fight the problem of fraud and limit the impact it has on premiums.

Intact welcomes the establishment of the Ontario government’s Anti-Fraud Task Force that has made recommendations about detection, investigation and enforcement. “The task force is a step in the right direction given that fraud is omnipresent, puts innocent people at risk and increases insurance premiums,” Bridge continued.