Wawanesa Insurance donates $25,000 to Red Cross to support relief efforts in British Columbia

Wawanesa among the first insurers on the ground helping and supporting people affected by wildfires

WINNIPEG and VANCOUVERJuly 25, 2017 /CNW/ – The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company (“Wawanesa”) today announced it will donate $25,000 towards the Canadian Red Cross as it helps people affected by the British Columbiawildfires. This contribution will enable additional support in critical areas, and help families and communities most severely affected by this disaster.

The safety and well-being of residents in the areas affected by the wildfires is Wawanesa’s utmost concern. Wawanesa has deployed its entire National Catastrophe Team to provide personal assistance and is making a corporate donation to the Canadian Red Cross BC Fires to support relief efforts.

“Our thoughts are with the people in British Columbia as the wildfire situation continues to unfold,” said Wawanesa’s Vice-President of British ColumbiaBrenda Gibson. “We hope our donation and deployment of experienced team members will help expedite the relief that is so desperately needed during this difficult time.”

Adjusters from the company’s National Catastrophe Team were among the first on the ground as evacuation orders were issued in early July, and have set up temporary claims centres in Kamloops (Landsdowne Village Unit #211, 420 Lansdowne Street) and Prince George (Prince George Secondary School – 2901 Griffiths Avenue and Pine Centre Mall – 3055 Massey Drive). Wawanesa is tracking the development of these wildfires, and managing resources to ensure policyholders’ needs are being addressed.

Policyholders can contact Wawanesa team members 24/7 at 1-844-WAWANESA (929-2637) or through our dedicated email address wildfire@wawanesa.com. Wawanesa is continuing to provide resources and information through its dedicated BC wildfires webpage (wawanesa.com/bcwildfire), and is regularly posting updates on the company’s social media channels.

About The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company
Wawanesa Mutual Insurance is one of the largest property and casualty insurers in Canada with $3 billion in annual revenues and assets of more than $9 billion. With over 3,000 employees, Wawanesa proudly serves over two million policyholders through nine regional offices and 41 service offices in Canada and the United StatesWawanesa actively gives back to organizations that strengthen communities where it operates, donating well above internationally recognized benchmarks for excellence in corporate philanthropy. Wawanesa Mutual, founded in 1896 with executive offices in Winnipeg, is the parent company of Wawanesa General, which offers property and casualty insurance in California and Oregon, and Wawanesa Life, which distributes life insurance products and services throughout Canada.


source  http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/wawanesa-insurance-donates-25000-to-red-cross-to-support-relief-efforts-in-british-columbia-636565693.html

When critical illness insurance may make sense

It was about eight years ago that Brooke Robinson bought a critical illness insurance policy due to her family’s history of breast cancer, only to trigger it six years later for an entirely different and unexpected reason.

“I actually ended up with multiple sclerosis and it was a very aggressive version of it,” says Robinson, 33.

“I was diagnosed in April of 2015 and by October of 2015 I was walking with a cane.”

Today, she credits her critical illness payout for allowing her and her husband to take three months off work so they could move from Toronto to Ottawa where she underwent an experimental procedure that has allowed her to walk again without assistance.

While Robinson’s workplace disability insurance made up for some of the couple’s lost income, she says it wouldn’t have been enough to cover the $15,000 of extra expenses they incurred.

“Without the treatment I had, I would be in a wheelchair right now and I wouldn’t be able to work or be in an office,” she says. “We would have had to sell our house and move into a condo. It would have been a disaster.”

Critical illness insurance may be effective at covering costs that disability insurance doesn’t.

Financial planner Rona Birenbaum says the most compelling reason to buy a critical illness policy would be if someone isn’t eligible for disability insurance — for instance, a stay-at-home parent who doesn’t have an income to replace.

But it could also help someone unprepared for the financial hardships that may come with a critical illness diagnosis such as the cost of medical treatment or for a spouse to take time off work.

Unlike disability insurance, which protects your income to age 65 and generally kicks in after 90 days of disability, critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum in the event of critical illnesses such as cancer, a stroke or a heart attack.

“If you find yourself incurring a large expense and your expenses don’t allow you to build an emergency fund, then critical illness insurance becomes that line of defence for those that don’t want to cash in their RRSP and undermine their long-term savings,” says Birenbaum, founder of Toronto-based firm Caring for Clients.

A potential downside is that to receive a payout you must often meet very strict and specific definitions of disease, says Dan Hallett, vice-president of HighView Financial Group in Oakville.

Another caveat, adds independent insurance broker Lorne Marr of LSM Insurance in Markham, is that to get a critical illness lump sum you also have to survive a waiting period, which is normally 30 days. The nature of critical illness insurance also means that those relying solely on it won’t receive any more money beyond the lump sum.

Like Birenbaum, both Hallett and Marr say that critical illness insurance should not be used as a replacement for disability insurance.

Birenbaum says critical illness insurance premiums can be expensive. A $200,000 policy with a 15-year term for a healthy 35-year-old man would cost about $80 a month.

“It really becomes about what’s affordable and it never makes sense to over-insure because you’re a scared person,” she says. “If you’re talking about a lump sum amount that would make a difference to someone, we’re probably talking about $50,000.”

As for Robinson, she says because she purchased her critical illness policy at the age of 25, it only ended up costing her $6 a month in premiums.

“That’s a couple of cups of coffee,” she says. “It’s well worth the security and the safety of not having to worry about finances when something tragic is happening in your life.”


source https://good-assurance.com/when-critical-illness-insurance-may-make-sense/

Insurers more open to cannabis coverage, says advocacy group

Legalization of recreational cannabis is now less than a year away, with obvious implications for health insurers. Presently none of Canada’s major providers provide medical marijuana coverage, bar a few notable exceptions. In February, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission ruled in favour of Gordon Skinner in his dispute against the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan. Skinner uses medical cannabis as a pain reliever after a workplace injury, but despite having a prescription for the drug, was refused coverage by the trust.

A Board of Inquiry concluded that the denial of coverage for medical cannabis amounted to unjustifiable discrimination and ordered the trust to reimburse certain expenses.

The trust subsequently appealed the decision, which will appear before the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in October and may have major implications for the insurance industry.

Already the worm appears to have turned on this issue, with providers more willing to including medical cannabis.

Jonathan Zaid, the founder of Canadians For Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) has observed opinions change when it comes to cannabis’ medicinal value.

“Over the past few months we have seen a lot of progress with plan sponsors and insurers covering medical cannabis,” he says. “There have been a few major unions that have proactively added coverage on their plan, as well as other companies such as Shoppers Drugmart and Loblaws adding coverage. Employers are making that step to recognize the legitimacy of medical use of cannabis.”

With major corporations now open to including cannabis in their group plans, calls for insurers to follow suit are growing in volume. The current position of the industry is that insurers can’t include marijuana in its health plans without a Drug Identification Number, which Health Canada is yet to issue. This position is open to interpretation, however, as Zaid found out himself when he was able to get coverage for the drug while still at school.

“The drug identification number has historically been used as an indicator of coverage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean if you don’t have the DIN that it can’t be covered,” he says. “In my case, Sun Life used a pseudo DIN to process the claim. The plan sponsor, in my case the University of Waterloo Student Union, can determine with the insurer what benefits are covered.”

Generally, the absence of a DIN number is a sticking point for most insurers, so CFAMM is striving to move things forward. This will only be achieved through funding, reveals Zaid, and already he and other supporters of medicinal marijuana have brought their case to the higher echelons of power.

“A DIN number would be a big step forward for medical cannabis, but at the same time there needs to be a lot of research to get to that level,” he says. “Part of that will be the advocacy we do along with the Arthritis Society – we are calling for the government to fund $25 million of research specific to medical cannabis over a period of five years. Hopefully that could lead to a DIN number and further coverage.”

In becoming the first western nation to fully legalize cannabis, Canada is blazing a trail on the international stage. But when it comes to using the drug for medicinal purposes, the nation still has some ways to go compared to other countries, says Zaid.

“It is extremely limited coverage in the US, even less than here,” he explains. “Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, so financial institutions like banks won’t go near medical cannabis. Germany has a great model where they mandate that insurance companies cover medical cannabis that is authorized by a physician. Patients there get coverage just like they would any other medication.”


source  http://www.lifehealthpro.ca/news/insurers-more-open-to-cannabis-coverage-says-advocacy-group-228559.aspx

Pay for your own earthquake insurance, California: R Street Institute

California should be made to pay for the earthquake risk that comes with development in the state, according to senior fellow Ian Adams at analyst firm R Street Institute.

Adams noted that currently, only 10% of Golden State residents buy earthquake insurance despite the fact that most of the major population centers here are at risk for damage.

Further, the analyst said in a blog post published in The Hill, residents get away with not paying for risk because California is a “nonrecourse state” which means that in the event of a disaster and the mortgage borrower defaults on the loan, all that a lender is entitled to is to recover the property itself, even if it is reduced to a pile of rubble.

Thus, Adams recommended that the Federal Housing Finance Agency could propose rules that require states to only purchase mortgages that carry earthquake insurance, especially if the property carries significant risk.

“It is well past time for the residents of the Golden State to pay for their own risks,” Adams concluded.


source  http://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/pay-for-your-own-earthquake-insurance-california-r-street-institute-60128.aspx

Old Mutual to sell Indian insurance stake to Kotak for £156m

Insurance giant Old Mutual has agreed to sell its 26% stake in the life insurance of arm of Indian lender Kotak Mahindra Bank in return for cash.

The Anglo-South African firm will get £156m ($201m) in cash for the sale of the stake in Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance, with the move terminating its joint venture agreement with Kotak.

The sale is subject to Indian regulatory approvals and is expected to complete in the second half of the year.

Old Mutual said in a statement that it would use proceeds from the sale for “general corporate purposes”.

The FTSE 100 company intends to split its business into four separate entities — Old Mutual Emerging Markets, Old Mutual Wealth, Nedbank Group and Old Mutual Asset Management — by the end of 2018, to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

“Kotak Mahindra Group and Old Mutual have enjoyed a fruitful relationship over the past 16 years and built a successful and trusted brand in the life insurance in India. Old Mutual has been a valued business partner,” Gaurang Shah, president of asset management, insurance and international business at Kotak Mahindra Bank, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

Old Mutual’s profit before tax amounted to £1.7bn for 2016, broadly unchanged from a year earlier.

Adjusted net asset value increased to 228.6p per share from 178.p per share in 2015, mainly due to favourable movements in the exchange rate.

“We are delivering on our promises: we sold down part of our stake in OM Asset Management, materially reduced our debt, cut head office costs and made significant strides in preparing the businesses for independence,” group chief executive Bruce Hemphill said in March.

“We expect 2017 to be a year characterised by the hard work required to get the businesses ready for separation in 2018. We are confident that the managed separation will unlock and deliver long-term shareholder value.”


source http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/old-mutual-sell-indian-insurance-stake-kotak-156m-1619056