IBC Innovation Agenda

IBC innovation

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) have released an Innovation Agenda for Ontario’s insurance industry. The report contains four excellent recommendations for the industry which miBroker fully supports.

  1. Allowing all insurance communications and transactions to be completed and delivered electronically if the consumer provides the necessary consent.
  2. Allowing insurers to provide consumers with the option of selecting usage-based insurance (UBI) to help determine the cost of their auto insurance.
  3. Integrating the sharing economy – specifically, technology-enabled ride- and vehicle-sharing services – into the auto insurance system so that insurers can offer new products to cover the risks that individuals face while using sharing economy platforms.
  4. Granting both incumbent insurers and new market entrants access to the regulatory super sandbox to encourage new innovations that will benefit consumers.

Conducting Consumer Transactions Electronically

Insurance laws are unclear about the validity of electronic copies of policies. Many brokers and insurers including miBroker issues electronic copies of policies, but must also send the paper copies to be fully compliant.

Worse, certain transactions are only permitted by mail, registered mail, delivery or personal delivery. This throw back is the result of provisions in the Insurance Act not having been updated when the Electronic Commerce Act was introduced in 2000. This puts insurance at a technological disparity with other industries like real estate. IBC is asking that Brokers and Insurers be allowed to conduct some of these transactions electronically and to adapt existing forms and applications to an online environment.

Electronic proof of insurance is something that many consumers would prefer. Many brokers provide electronic copies of proof of insurance, often these are acceptable to whoever is making the request like a police officer for example. However, technically only printed proof of insurance is valid. It could be requested at a traffic stop and insurers still have to issue the paper copies. This could be an easy fix. A bulletin could be issued by the Superintendent of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) to allow electronic slips. These are accepted in most US states and as of January 2018 Nova Scotia. Theres even an industry standard available through the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO).

Option to Choose Usage-Based Insurance (UBI)

People want easy and flexible insurance products. Dynamic pricing is already used in many other industries like finance and banking. FSCO currently allows insurers to use UBI products to offer discounts like through Intact’s My Driving Discount product.

IBC would like to see FSCO go further with this and allow UBI products to set the base price of a policy. This would open the door to pay per use models, or pay per kilometre, which have already ben used in Europe and the US through insurers like Metromile.

This makes a lot of sense as people in cities like Toronto are driving less, and relying more and more of alternative modes of transport like public transit and ridesharing.

Integrating the Sharing Economy

The sharing economy and ridesharing specifically introduce complications into our existing insurance framework. Despite coverage being provided through the ridesharing service, drivers need policies with specific insurers to ensure their adequately covered. We’ve covered some of these issues in the past, and the IBC report goes into greater detail on issues like who’s accident benefits pay in the event of a claim.

An Accessible Regulatory Sandbox

Regulatory sandboxes allow insurers to test new products on real people on a limited basis. Aside from the obvious benefits of prototyping innovative products, regulatory sandboxes allow insurers to work on these projects with an eye to graduating into a regulatory framework.

You can read the full report here: http://mibroker.ca/doc/IBC_InnovationReport.pdf 

You can visit IBC’s Ontario Insurance Innovation microsite here: http://insuranceinnovation.ca

Home Insurance

home insurance

Not all policies are equal. All too often we hear stories about people being sunk by low water damage limits. Or a single limit policy that leaves people out in the cold when there’s not enough to pay for full replacement cost or additional living expenses. Our comprehensive homeowner policies get you the coverage you need for a competitive price. Some of our features include:

  • Guaranteed building replacement cost – In the event of a loss we’ll make sure you’re home is rebuilt just the way it was regardless of increasing construction costs.
  • Replacement cost on contents – Most you for stuff isn’t worth now what you originally paid for it. But if something happens you’ll have to replace that 5 year old flat screen TV with a new one, something not all policies allow for.
  • Jewelry & special limits – Is that new engagement ring covered? Maybe not with a standard policy.  We have higher base limits on things like jewelry and can increase or add extensions if needed.
  • Water – One of the most quickly changing types of coverage in Ontario. We have water damage, sewer back-up, and overland flood coverage with higher limits available.
  • Discounts – can be packaged with auto insurance as well as deep discounts for mortgage free individuals, age, claims free and more!

Basement Flooding in Toronto

basement flood

Over the last few years we’ve seen a change in the Toronto weather. We have experienced heavy rain fall, and this trend is expected to continue. The City of Toronto has been working to upgrade the underground pipes and sewers to assist with the increased water levels.

Unfortunately, many home owners have experienced flooding in their basements over the last few years. Homeowners can take several steps to prevent their basement from flooding. The immediate step a homeowner can take to help reduce their flooding risk is disconnecting the downspout from the sewer system. The Toronto city council has recently approved a bylaw making it mandatory for property owners to disconnect their downspouts. To get more information about how to disconnect your downspout, visit the City of Toronto website. The City of Toronto website has several help videos and images with information about how to properly disconnect your downspout.

The City of Toronto has also introduced a Basement Flooding Subsidy program. This new subsidy program provides financial assistance up to $3,400 to homeowners that install flood protection devices such as a sump pump, backwater valve and pipe severance. To be eligible for the subsidy, you will be required to complete the 5 following steps:

  1. Select a licensed contractor to complete the work. The city recommends that before the work starts, to contact the Municipal Licensing office at 416-392-6700 to verify that the contractor is licensed. If the contact is not licensed with the city, you will not be approved for the subsidy.
  2. Obtain a permit from the City of Toronto Building Division. Whenever completing renovations on your home, you are required to obtain a permit from city before the work starts.
  3. The completed work must be inspected by the City.  The City of Toronto also recommends that you schedule an inspection before covering the completed work.  A City inspector must approve the completed work by contractor. If you do not receive an approval, you will not be eligible for the subsidy.
  4. Complete the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program application form.  To download a copy of the subsidy application, please visit Basement Flooding Application Form.

Mail in your completed application form along with your original invoice to:

Basement Flooding Protection
Subsidy Program
City of Toronto
PO Box 15266 STN B RM B
Toronto, ON, M7Y 2W1

The basement flooding subsidy is only available to registered owners of a triplex, duplex or a single family home within the City of Toronto.  For information about the Basement Flooding Subsidy program, you can visit the City of Toronto Flooding Program website.

To discuss your insurance options for water damage contact miBroker.

Home Sharing

HomeSharing

It should come as no surprise that Canadians, with our international reputation for being friendly and generally trusting, are naturals in the sharing economy. Many Canadians are considering sharing their homes on a short term bases. Rental websites such as AirBnB, Flipkey, VRBO, and HomeAway have made it very easy for home owners to find potential short term renters. Sharing your home can be a great avenue to supplement your income but what about your home insurance? Is your home protected if a renter damages your home?

Most homeowners unfortunately don’t consider the possibility of a potential loss. A recent study shows that 51% of homeowners who rent their home are unware that their insurance wouldn’t cover potential losses or damages that could occur.

Aviva now provides coverage for home sharing. Home sharing insurance is designed to protect home owners from potential losses to personal property or their residence. Home sharing insurance also provides coverage for Liability, protection for criminal acts and much more.

Aviva is the first insurance company to design an insurance product for the home sharing community. Their home insurance coverage provides you with 4 coverage options to choose from and coverage applies to home owners, condo owners, seasonal/secondary homes and rental income properties. Home sharing insurance is not designed for long term rentals over six months or annual lease situations.

You might be wondering, how much does it cost? The price is based a few factors such as your current home insurance premium, the number of days that you rent your home per year and optional coverages. To get an estimate for your current property, please click here.

This new home sharing insurance product is available in all Canadian provinces and territories as of February 1, 2017. For more information you can visit Aviva’s micro-site avivacanada.com/home-sharing or contact miBroker.