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How this insurer detects distracted drivers Canadian Underwriter

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Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer is checking to see whether some of its auto insurance clients are using their phone while driving.

If your auto client is insured by Intact under its My Driving Discount program, Intact can detect mobile phone use, company officials told Canadian Underwriter.

“There are different levels of phone usage that we can monitor,” Julie Nolette, Intact’s vice president of personal lines, said in a recent interview.

My Driving Discount is a mobile app which was not created specifically to monitor people’s cell phone usage. Instead, it is used for telematics – to monitor driving behaviours such as the time the vehicle is driven, rapid acceleration hard braking and speeding. Cellphone is use one of the behaviours that My Driving Discount detects.

In Ontario and Alberta, insurers can base rates on telematics, though they may only give discounts for good behaviour rather than surcharges for risky behaviour.

Intact led the Canadian P&C market in 2017, with 17% market share and $8 billion in direct premiums written, according to Canadian Underwriter’s 2018 Statistical Guide. Aviva and Desjardins are in second and third place with premiums in 2017 of $5.1 billion and $4.3 billion respectively.

Intact started offering telematics in 2014. Intact’s My Driving Discount monitors how drivers use their phone when driving, such as hands-free calls, hand-held calls and active phone use -such as texting, tapping and swiping, an Intact spokesperson said Friday.

“We are monitoring distracted driving and sending notices or giving a score to drivers so they can improve on their driving behaviour and be rewarded for safe driving,” Nolette said in an interview.

She was commenting on distracted driving penalties that took effect Jan. 1 in Ontario.

Four years ago, the minimum fine for distracted driving in Ontario was $60 while the fine was $500.

The minimum fine for a first offence is now $500. Motorists in Ontario who are caught driving while distracted also face three-day licence suspensions.

“We really welcome the measures that the Government of Ontario has put in place as of January 1,” Nolette said. “The increase in penalties will, hopefully, make drivers think about their behaviour behind the wheel.”

The licence suspensions for distracted drivers “adds an extra element that wasn’t there before,” CAA SCO government relations manager Elliott Silverstein told Canadian Underwriter earlier.

Distracted drivers who are caught a second time face a one-week licence suspension and repeat offenders with more than two distracted driving charges face 30-day suspensions of their driver’s licences.

Maximum fines are now $1,000 for a first offence, $2,000 for a second offence and $3,000 for a third offence.

The Highway Traffic Act prohibits drivers from holding or using a device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages.

Ontario law also considers it distracted driving if the motorist is holding or using a hand-held electronic entertainment device if the primary use is unrelated to the safe operation of the vehicle.

There are exceptions, such as GPS devices and certain commercial vehicle delivery devices.

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The Best Credit Cards for Students in 2019

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The Best Credit Cards for Students 2019

If you’re a student in college or university, you understand that every penny counts. Tuition is high, textbooks are expensive, and it’s hard to maintain healthy eating habits while living off-campus when all you can afford are those packets of Sidekicks pasta for $1.

This is where a good rewards credit card can come in handy. Not only can you earn points, merchandise or cash-back for you purchases, but you’re also given the opportunity to start building your credit. And this is important if you’re a young adult who doesn’t have any credit to your name. If used responsibly, having a credit card will start you off on the right foot so you are eligible for other types of credit in the future, like personal loans or a mortgage. And there’s a great chance you’ll need one of these things eventually.

Rewards cards generally offer different amounts of points or cash-back for particular spending categories (gas, grocery, pharmacy purchases, etc.). Whether it’s rebating you in points, a statement credit, or cash-back in your bank account, a good rewards card maximizes on your everyday purchases and ultimately helps you save, and if you’re a student, you’re likely looking for a card with little-to-no annual fee.

But with so many options available, it may be hard to choose the exact credit card that’s right for you.

RateSupermarket.ca makes it easy with our card comparison tool. And with all things considered, from sign-up bonuses to earning rates, we used our Best of Finance methodology to rank the cards that provided the most cash value.

These are the best credit cards for students that offer rewards:

The Top 3 Credit Cards for Students in 2019


RSM-022_2018_Best_Of_Finance_2018_Campaign_BlogPost_800x180_BMO_Cashback_FINAL

Why it’s an awesome card

With no annual fee, the BMO®* CashBack Mastercard®* offers those with a limited budget a decent amount of cash-back if used to its full potential. The card offers 5% cash-back in the first three months of cardmembership up to $2,000 in spending, with no restrictions on where you can earn cash-back. So you’re already entitled to earn $100 in cash-back in just a few months. Eligibility requirements are also pretty low, which makes this card appealing for students with no or low income. After you’ve reached the $2,000 spending cap, you only receive 1% cash-back on your purchases, which is standard for a no-fee card.

Cash-back is applied to your account annually, and while it is detailed on your statement monthly, you’ll receive your cash-back in the form of a credit to your account in January of the following year.

Earning rate*

  • Other: 1% cash-back on all purchases.

Earning potential

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Sign-up bonus: 5% cash-back in the first three months of cardmembership (up to $2,000 in spending).
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: $373.51** 

RSM-022_2018_Best_Of_Finance_2018_Campaign_BlogPost_800x180_BMO_SPC_FINAL

Why it’s an awesome card

Identical to the BMO®* CashBack Mastercard®*, the BMO SPC®** CashBack® Mastercard®* yields a fair amount of cash-back for a no-fee card – 5% in the first three months of having a card (up to $2,000 in spending), and 1% thereafter. However, it also comes with the added benefits of a Student Price Card (SPC) membership, offering 10% to 15% off at hundreds of stores.

The over 450 participating stores include Adidas, Taco Bell, Koodo Mobile, Forever 21, and Victoria Secret – providing you with deals on everything from shoes to tacos to your phone plan – and the SPC membership renews automatically every year.

This card won Best Card for Students in the past at our Best of Finance Awards, as its designed specifically for students and their specific needs – qualification is based on lower earning requirements, and a third-party or parental authorization isn’t needed to sign up.

Cash-back accumulated over the year is awarded to your account as a credit every January, after which your cash-back balance reverts to $0.

Earning rate*

  • Other: 1% cash-back on all purchases.

Earning potential

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Sign-up bonus: 5% cash-back in the first three months of cardmembership (up to $2,000 in spending).
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: $373.51**

RSM-022_2018_Best_Of_Finance_2018_Campaign_BlogPost_800x180_SB_Scene_FINAL

Why it’s an awesome card

This credit card is a cool option if dining out and movies are your thing, as you earn SCENE points for purchases. SCENE points can be redeemed for free movie tickets, discounts on concessions, or discounts at some popular Canadian restaurants (Kelsey’s, Swiss Chalet, Milestones, and East Side Mario’s, to name a few). And since SCENE points are applied to your account automatically, you can use them anytime – great for those Friday night hangouts.

Not only does the SCENE®* Visa* Card reward you for your pastimes, but it helps build your credit score and you don’t have to pay an annual fee. It was also the winner of the Best Card for Students award at our last Best of Finance Awards.

Earning rate*

  • Entertainment: 5 SCENE points per $1 spent at participating Cineplex Entertainment theatres or online at cineplex.com.
  • Restaurants: 1 SCENE point per $3 spent at CARA restaurants, with some exceptions.
  • Other: 1 SCENE point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Sign-up bonus: 2,000 SCENE points (if you charge $500 to the account within the first three months of cardmembership).
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: 36,151.04 SCENE points
  • Monetary worth: $361.51

 


Notes: 

*Earning rate up to card’s annual spending cap, if applicable.

**Assuming $1,222.96 is spent on the card monthly at eligible retailers, in the following categories: Pharmacy ($55.33), Food ($758.53), Gas: $155.72, Travel ($151.21), Other ($102.17).

The post The Best Credit Cards for Students in 2019 appeared first on MoneyWise.

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This area could get half a metre of snow Canadian Underwriter

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FREDERICTON – An intense winter storm is forecast to descend on the Maritimes on Sunday, and the New Brunswick government is warning residents to prepare for power outages.

Environment Canada says a low-pressure system approaching from the southwest will track across the Bay of Fundy, dumping between 20 and 60 centimetres of snow across much of the province.

In Nova Scotia, between 10 and 20 centimetres of snow is in the forecast for much of the province, with the higher amounts expected in northern Nova Scotia.

Residents of Prince Edward Island are being told to brace for between 20 and 40 centimetres of snow and rainfall amounts reaching 40 millimetres.

The storm is also expected to deliver strong winds and freezing rain, particularly in southern New Brunswick and along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast.

New Brunswick’s Department of Public Safety says residents should have well-stocked, 72-hour emergency kits in their homes and vehicles.

The kits should include food, water, batteries, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, first-aid supplies, cash in small bills in case ATMs are unavailable, prescriptions, infant formula and equipment for people with disabilities.

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Why Canada’s largest mutual insurer is not demutualizing Canadian Underwriter

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Unlike Economical Insurance, Canada’s largest mutual insurer plans to stay that way.

“Everybody says, ‘Because of what Economical is doing, are you going to demutualize?’ No,” Carol Jardine, president of the Canadian property and casualty operations of Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, said Thursday during a luncheon hosted by the Insurance Brokers of Toronto Region (IBTR).

Wawanesa, which was founded in the Manitoba community of the same name, is Canada’s largest mutual P&C insurer. Among Canadian P&C carriers, Winnipeg-based Wawanesa and Waterloo, Ont.-based Economical rank fifth and seventh respectively by premiums written in 2017.

Economical Insurance submitted a proposal this past June to the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions that would convert the mutual insurer to a stock company. If successful, Economical would become publicly traded. Several more hurdles remain to be cleared before Economical can demutualize.

One reason Economical officials want to demutualize is to raise money from capital markets to help pay for mergers or acquisitions.

Wawanesa has previously indicated that it has no demutualization plans, but Jardine gave brokers some insight into why on Thursday. Put simply, a mutual insurer has a different mandate than a publicly-traded insurer.

“There are very successful mutuals in the United States and we think that is the best offering for Canadians and their community,” Jardine said, citing State Farm and Liberty Mutual as examples. “We don’t have shareholders. We just have ourselves, and we are kind of a break-even insurance company. We are very happy with [a] 100[%] combined [ratio].”

In contrast, publicly-traded insurers may be hard-pressed to keep their combined ratio around 93% so they can give their shareholders a return on their investment.

Canada has seven federally-regulated property and casualty mutual insurers. Four life insurers (Manulife, Clarica, Sun and Canada Life) demutualized nearly 20 years ago. In 2015, Canada passed regulations allowing federally-regulated P&C mutuals to demutualize. The only one to start the process has been Economical.

Economical’s proposal, sent to OSFI in June 2018, includes a recommendation on how to allocate financial benefits resulting from demutualization, as well as opinions from actuarial and financial experts. OSFI “will be diligent and they will be thorough” in reviewing Economical’s conversion proposal, Economical chairman John Bowey said in May 2018 at the insurer’s annual general meeting. “We expect this to be a lengthy review.”

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