52 years ago ·
Make a resolution to review your insurance policies and coverage!
Has Covid changed your habits?
Many people significantly changed their lifestyle this year and these changes should be reviewed with your broker.
- For example, many people have had their driving habits go from what at first thought of as on a “temporary basis” to a more permanent basis moving forward. Some no longer use their autos to commute at all.
- You may now have a permanent office at home and may now have clients coming to visit you at the house.
- Do you have business contents and equipment at home that may need to be properly insured?
An updated review with your broker can make certain that any new arrangements are properly updated and noted with their insurer to avoid any potential surprises down the line.
- Update Your Home Inventory
Part of your renters or homeowners insurance is designed to cover your personal possessions if you face a covered loss — but only up to your policy limits. That’s why it’s important to maintain a current record of all your belongings. Did you receive some expensive gifts this year, such as jewelry or art? Or maybe you finally invested in that big-screen TV. Now is the perfect time to reassess all your belongings and update your home inventory so your coverage limits meet your needs. Most basic home insurance policies have standard limits for big-ticket items like electronics, art, jewelry or sporting equipment. You may need special coverage, so call your broker to discuss changes for your policy.
- Evaluate Your Homeowners Insurance
Maybe your resolution last year was to renovate your kitchen, or perhaps you finally finished your basement. A finished basement may not only increase the cost to rebuild your home, but it may also require additional coverage to protect items from water damage. Hot tubs, swimming pools, trampolines — all fun additions to make, but additional liability also comes with the territory. All of these updates would affect how much your home is worth, so check in with your broker to see if you should increase your coverages.
- Consider Umbrella Insurance
Think of umbrella insurance as an extra layer of protection for your home, auto and other primary liability coverages. An umbrella policy offers coverage for those unexpected instances where your primary coverage exceeds its limit. You might consider a personal liability umbrella policy if you:
- Drive a car or participate in carpools
- Have dogs
- Own or use a boat, ATV, snowmobile or other recreational vehicle
- Have a swimming pool or trampoline
- Own a rental property
- Coach youth sport teams
- Does your policy provide enough coverage for landscaping or outdoor appliances?
Installing a new sprinkler system, a larger storage shed, a new pool or hot tub, or buying a substantial backyard grill or riding mower are outdoor changes that may require a homeowner’s policy upgrade. Updating landscaping and purchasing new lawn equipment or outbuildings can be significant investments that should prompt a coverage review.
- Do you qualify for discounts?
An annual insurance review can also be an important opportunity to ensure you are receiving all possible discounts on your homeowners policy. For example, you may qualify for a discount if you have installed a security system, a smoke alarm or a hail-resistant roof. Additional discounts may apply if you insure both your car and home with the same insurer, if you don’t have any claims, or if no one in your household is a smoker.
Have you had any changes to your driving habits? If so, let us know to ensure your auto policy will cover you in case of an accident. Also take some time to check your auto insurance policy by following the guidelines below:
- Are my auto insurance coverage limits enough?
One of the biggest mistakes someone can make when it comes to car insurance is being underinsured. Liability is the part of the policy that pays for any injury or damage if you cause an accident. If your liability insurance is too low, it is possible that you could be sued for any damages above your liability limits.
- Am I covered if a driver hits me and they don’t have car insurance?
Look for uninsured motorist coverage on your policy or coverage summary. This type of coverage helps protect you financially in the event you’re in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have car insurance. It’ll even protect you if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run or if you’re hit as a pedestrian.
- Review your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage.
This is the amount you will pay if your car is damaged or totaled without fault of another driver. Raising or lowering this amount can affect your premium.
An annual insurance review is something that can go a long way to protecting what is likely your biggest investment. We can help make sure this is a New Year’s resolution you actually cross off your list.
52 years ago ·
The closure of manufacturing plants, restaurants, retail establishments and other places of business to limit the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in significant business interruption losses. Here are some ways to mitigate those interruptions whenever possible:
- Check Insurance Policies
- Have an Emergency Response Plan
- Protect Idle Property
- Implement Cybersecurity Measures
1. Insurance policies
Checking your insurance coverage should be priority number one. The most relevant policies to check for during the coronavirus include:
- Business interruption coverage – to manage against unforeseen effects on your business.
- Portable equipment coverage – for any items your employees need to take home to work.
- Contents insurance – while the office is empty, there’s a higher security risk and potential for burglaries.
- Credit insurance – although less common these days, it helps protect against the eventuality that customers who owe money for products or services do not pay their debts, or who pay them later than agreed.
2. Emergency response plan
Emergency response or contingency plans are key to reducing your exposure to a liability or property claim during a pandemic. If you have an emergency response plan and a business continuity plan, there may be simple changes you can make to reflect recommendations on how your business can respond to COVID-19.
We recommend that you review two specific sections of your emergency plan: your company’s approach to cybersecurity and the steps you have in place to protect your property.
If you don’t already have a plan in place, here are some resources you can consult for guidance:
In general, a strong emergency response plan will
- Identify and analyze possible exposures to risk, including how a pandemic or any other major adverse situation could impact your business.
- Document a response procedure to manage these risks that reflects international, national and regional standards.
How can I make sure my business property is protected?
When commercial properties are left idle, they face a different set of exposures different to when the business is operating normally. There are many things that business owners and site managers can do to keep their properties safe and secure during the COVID-19 shutdown.
- First, inform your insurance broker of the situation. Your broker can provide guidelines in order to safeguard your property (for more information, see our safety tips on theft, vacant and idle properties).
- Consult a specialist before shutting down production or support equipment to make sure that the proper steps are taken.
- Continue preventive maintenance activities for your building and its components according to schedule. If access to your facility is restricted, only continue urgent repairs.
- Ensure mechanical components, such as elevators, receive essential servicing by monitoring them remotely or conducting periodic on-site assessments. This will help reduce the possibility of a loss of essential equipment following a prolonged period of inactivity.
- Monitor fire protection and burglary alarm notification systems. If these systems are not available, you may want to consider periodic on-site assessments.
- Ensure that all maintenance and service elements are taken care of so that the property is prepared for an extended shutdown. For example, set the temperature in the building to around 15C as this helps to prevent sprinkler systems and water pipes from freezing and bursting.
- If a property is vacated, or even just looks empty, it immediately becomes an easier target for vandals and thieves. To mitigate these risks, schedule regular visits and visual check-ups of the site whenever possible.
- Ensure that security devices, like locks and alarms, are operational, and those with human security patrols can up the frequency of visits to the property.
- Maintain appropriate lighting around the facility and especially around all entrances because it gives the impression somebody is overseeing the facility even if it’s closed.
- Conduct regular checks of their roofs, their downspouts, and any outdoor drains to ensure everything is properly maintained.
- Inform your business partners and clients of your decisions.
How can I prevent cargo losses?
The pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain. As a result, is has created a situation where cargo is being stored for long periods of time in unattended or improvised storage areas and increasing the likelihood of theft or vandalism.
To help you mitigate losses, we recommend the following control measures:
- Ensure the storage yard is fully secured using chain link fence and adequate lightning.
- Monitor site access at all times.
- Establish and implement a policy requiring permission for vehicle to leave the site.
- Limit access to the shipping paperwork.
More information: Preventing cargo losses
How can I protect my business and my employees working from home?
Because of the COVID-19, many businesses have employees working from home – some for the first time. Here are some tips to ensure that your business operations remain secure while your team works remotely.
- Keep up-to-date contact information (including personal and professional phone numbers and emails) for staff, partners, suppliers and the IT team responsible for your online properties.
- Identify the essential operations and services you want to keep running. For example, if you offer an online consulting service, what would you need to maintain a certain level of service with your team working from home? Consider key employees, computer and internet connectivity, phone lines, software, database accessibility, etc.
- For employees who work from home, assess their access needs on a case-by-case basis:
- Work with your IT professionals to secure who can access your network and encrypt confidential information
- Ask your employees to avoid working from unsecured public networks or enable a VPN option for remote network connection to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks
- Enforce a strong password policy and set an automatic inactivity logout
- Ensure endpoint protection for all devices (by installing firewalls, antivirus and security information, and event management (SIEM) software, and disabling USB ports, etc.)
- Provide cybersecurity training to all personnel and reinforce best practices often
- Back up data daily and create a physical backup if the information needs to be quickly retrieved and restored.
- Remind employees that they should not leave these laptops or other company material in the car or anywhere else that would increase the risk of theft.
- Ensure confidential data and intellectual property are adequately protected by different layers of security—this is not the time for a data breach.
What is phishing and how can I prevent it?
You should also remind your employees to be aware of phishing or fraudulent attempts to gain personal information by phone or email. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do not click on any suspicious email attachments or give information to anyone. Common phishing emails often:
- Evoke a sense of urgency to act now
- Ask for sensitive information
- Request that you click on a link
- Come in the form of unexpected emails
- Include multiple people on the sender list
- Contain grammatical errors
- Have an uncommon file type or include suspicious attachments
Employees working from home should also be wary of unsolicited calls. If they didn’t initiate the call, they shouldn’t provide or confirm any information, including business addresses or phone numbers, account numbers, or any information about equipment in the office (such as the make or model of the printer, laptop, etc.).
If you’d like more information, check out the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Get Cyber Safe.
Source: Intact Insurance
52 years ago ·
Quebec’s automobile insurance board, the SAAQ, requires all taxi and passenger vehicles, as well as mopeds, motorized scooters and motorcycles to be outfitted with winter tires from Dec. 1st to March 15th inclusively.
Fail to do so, and you’ll face up to $300 in fines.
In the spirit of the season, here are five things to know about your winter tires, according to George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association.
1. Tire lifespan
Tires can generally last through three Montreal winters, but if you don’t use them often they can be used for four or five.
2. Wearing them out?
Don’t worry if there is no snow. Your tires are not wearing out faster. Daytime temps of 7 to 10 degrees are cold enough to have your tires on.
3. Be careful buying online
The key to buying winter tires is to check the manufacturing date. It’s a code with four numbers representing the date they were made. If you don’t understand what these numbers mean, you should not be buying used tires online. Always ask how old they are, ask for a receipt and check the manufacturer’s date.
Always store your tires in a plastic bag and lay them flat if you can. The rubber can deteriorate and wear out.
5. Check your tire pressure
If nothing else, the obligatory winter-tire change rule ensures that drivers are checking their tire pressure at least twice a year. As for the pressure level, you shouldn’t go by the number on your tire, which is the maximum level and not vehicle specific. Check inside your car door for a yellow sticker. if you can’t find it, look in the owner’s manual.
Wondering about the benefits of installing winter tires? Read the article “What do winter tires really do?”
Are you adequately insured? Learn more or give us a call, we’ve got your back!
52 years ago ·
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52 years ago ·
Campuses are filling up again and unfortunately this means an increase in crime – with burglary accounting for half of all crimes on campus. When thefts occur, there can be big expenses to replace stolen property including laptops, phones, cars to name a few.
So, how can you protect your belongings while you’re away at school? The first step is to check with us to see if your stuff is covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Some policies will extend coverage to college students temporarily living away from home to attend CEGEP or university full time.
Here are some preventive measures and things to consider:
- If a student is living off campus, renter’s insurance is a good investment to consider. As a parent, your homeowners policy may extend coverage to a student living in a dorm or on-campus apartment
- Once your student moves into housing unaffiliated with the school, he or she likely needs separate coverage.
- Create an inventory. Record the value of all personal property to determine the right amount of coverage needed in the event of a loss.
- Secure valuable electronics, like TVs and laptops, to stable fixtures with locking mounts in your room so they can’t be easily removed. Also, protect personal electronics with passwords to guard accessibility and discourage theft. The best way to prevent theft is to implement security measures.
- Since identity theft occurs at a greater rate for young adults, ages 16-24 years-old, it’s worth exploring identity theft coverage.
- Even if the student isn’t bringing a car to campus, parents should opt to keep their student as a driver on their policy.
- If your student drives a friend’s car and has an accident, you’ll want to make sure he or she is covered.
- If you do take the student off the policy, it’s important to add them back onto the policy upon their return home, before they operate the vehicle, even if it’s just for a weekend visit.
- Another factor to consider is that if your college student isn’t driving, canceling their car insurance means they’ll have a coverage gap. And that could affect their future insurance rates.
- If your child owns a car or uses yours during his studies, it’s important that you let us know about this change. In fact, the place of residence and use of the car are key factors in establishing the insurance premium.
College students, and their parents, have enough on their minds. With the right decisions around property and auto insurance, you can eliminate the worrying about paying for that dinged-up front bumper or stolen laptop.
Be sure to talk to us about your new family situation so that we can advise you about the best coverage for your circumstances.