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Many Canadian firms do not have cyber security insurance

More than a third of surveyed Canadian firms do not have cyber security insurance. This is a concerning situation that has been made worse by a lack of understanding on how premiums are priced and failure to do everything possible to guard against breaches. As a result, businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable to cyber threats that could affect both the company and consumers.

The percentage of Canadian businesses with cyber security insurance is lower than the 50% of surveyed respondents in the U.S. and the 40% for respondents globally.

It is important for businesses to assess the strength of their cyber security defences and to make sure they are covered if they are faced with a data breach. The ripple effect of a breach can be felt throughout the organization for a very long time, especially now that Canada’s Digital Privacy Act will require organizations to report any breaches to regulators and customers.

Contact your broker or company agent today to protect your business from cyber threats.


Spring showers led to damaging storms in Canada

Several low-pressure systems that brought heavy rainfall to portions of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes this spring caused hundreds of millions in dollars, while damaging more than 5,200 homes.

Two people were killed in Quebec, where nearly 2,000 residents were evacuated. Significant flooding was also experienced across Ontario and in portions of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Also in Canada, throughout April, southern portions of British Columbia experienced prolonged periods of rainfall, leaving several rivers well above normal for the time of year.

South of the border, the U.S. economy took a US$4 billion hit from severe weather in May, with insurance payouts approaching US$3 billion.

As severe weather occurrences continue to rise throughout the world, it is in your best interests to ensure that you are protected, by protecting your home with home insurance. Contact your broker or company agent for more information.


The City of Edmonton looks to flood mitigation options

Staff from the City of Edmonton are scheduled to look at flood mitigation options for the city as the next step in its examination of upgrades to drainage infrastructure.

Cities need to invest to protect residents, home and businesses in preparation for changing weather patterns. Edmonton’s city council is considering four options based on an analysis of extensive infrastructure and rainfall studies.

Options presented balance risk, cost and the likelihood of major rainstorms. Next steps including working with water services company EPCOR to examine the impact of the citywide flood mitigation strategy on the drainage utility rates and public engagement results to date.

Options for flood mitigation could also impact solutions for underpass flooding, as upgrading the system will increase capacity to absorb rainfall that might otherwise flood roadways.

For more information on your policy’s flood insurance options, contact your broker or company agent.


Drug screening devices: a new method to protect against impaired driving

Results from the federal government’s oral fluid drug screening device pilot project suggest the devices can be successfully used in Canada to identify drivers who test positive for certain drugs in various conditions.

A total of 53 police officers from seven jurisdictions across Canada collected over 1,140 samples between Dec. 18, 2016 and March 6, 2017 with two oral fluid screening devices that were selected for the pilot project.

Oral fluid screening devices can detect the recent presence of several drugs, including THC from cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamines, opioids, benzodiazepines and amphetamines.

Feedback from officers involved in the pilot project was largely positive. Officers reported that the devices were easy to use at the roadside with some standard operating procedures.

Drug impaired driving is a serious problem and giving law enforcement more tools to detect and deter drug-impaired driving will better protect communities.


Safety-first is essential with the anticipated increase in drone activity

New risks emerge for underwriters to assess in connection with increase in use of drones.

Sales of drones for private use have increased substantially in the last few years but now commercial drone activity is growing at an alarming rate. Current uses of drones include disaster relief, inspecting and exploring inaccessible places, precision agriculture, claims handling and logistics.

To improve air traffic at a low altitude, authorities and drone manufactures need to respond to changes due to the rapid development of technology and its capabilities.

Insurers have taken a proactive approach to fill the gaps in knowledge and to offer a comprehensive cover for all stakeholders. Since drone-related accidents involving bodily injury and/or property could provoke legal action, drones for both private and commercial use should have legal liability insurance to cover third-party damage.

With no uniform regulation currently existing for drones, insurance has to be tailored around diverse national regulations, in addition to being flexible enough to adapt to the frequent changes made.

We will continue to monitor the use of drones and their development, along with how drone insurance is affected next year. If you have any concerns, make sure to speak to your broker or company agent.


Insurance needs to adapt to new technology

Technology-focused investments are pushing business model changes across industries. With the continuous development of technology and its applications crossing traditional boundaries, insurance policies need to adapt to rising pressures of meeting new demands.

Insurance policies within the personal lines insurance value chain, including product development, client acquisition, underwriting, and claims are being challenged to update their policies as technology changes. Digital capabilities and the arrival of new competitors carving off pieces of the insurance value chain may well drive a significant restructuring of the industry.

New innovative technologies are rooted in mobile and digital but include a wide range of categories, with fundamental changes in communication, data availability and computation. Underlying these changes are several critical enabling technologies, from connectivity to analytics to artificial intelligence.

Insurance needs to continue to adapt as technology advances. We will continue to provide information regarding technology and its relation to insurance developments.


Cyber security risk: malware designed to perform attacks on power supply infrastructure

ESET Canada Inc., an IT security company, reported that its researchers have been analyzing samples of dangerous malware capable of performing an attack on power supply infrastructure.

They have named this malware Industroyer and state that is was most likely involved in the December 2016 cyber attack on Ukraine’s power grid. This attack resulted in power outages for over an hour in the capital of Kiev.

This newly discovered malware is capable of directly controlling electricity substation switches and circuit breakers. It uses industrial communication protocols used worldwide in power supply infrastructure, transportation control systems and other critical infrastructure.

The potential impact may range from simply turning off power distribution, triggering a cascade of failures, to more serious damage of equipment.

Kiev’s cyber attack is a prime example that cyber insurance should be at the forefront of your business’ budget to protect you from harm.


An increased risk of flooding for Canadian homes

The Canadian landscape is changing when it comes to floods. Climate change and society’s constantly transitioning land infrastructure are contributing to an increased risk of flooding in Canada.

We are seeing a transformation in land, which changes the impact of weather. From lush green landscapes to city grey infrastructures, we are altering the means of receiving and balancing rainfall and need to create new systems to account for both man-made changes and environmental developments.

Weather systems are slowing down and as a result leaving a more damaging effect. Canada is experiencing a new form of lingering weather with heavy doses of rain resulting in such historic floods as Manitoba’s major flood in 2011 and Calgary’s catastrophic flood in 2013.

It is important for consumers to be educated about floods to help them take precautionary steps to address the risk. Consumer awareness is fundamental to the success of avoiding disastrous conditions.

For more information on your policy’s flood insurance options, contact your broker or company agent.


Ford makes self-driving vehicles a reality with artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems capable of performing tasks that normally require human intelligence. Ford Motor Company has announced its US$1 billion investment in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company, to develop a virtual driving system for their autonomous vehicle launching in 2021.

Ford is expanding into an auto and a mobility company. They believe that investing in Argo AI will create significant value for their shareholders by strengthening the company’s leadership position in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term and creating technology that could be licensed to others in the future.

The partnership aims to deliver the virtual driver system for Ford’s SAE level 4 self-driving vehicles. Argo AI plans to join forces with Ford’s autonomous vehicle software development effort to strengthen the commercialization of self-driving vehicles.

The successful deployment of self-driving cars will fundamentally change how people and goods move. This partnership will enable self-driving cars to be commercialized and deployed at large, extending affordable mobility to all.

We will continue to monitor the use of artificial intelligence and its development. Because the journey into the use of artificial intelligence is just beginning, there is excitement to see what the future holds.


Yoga insurance and its growing need

As fitness continues to rise in demand for both trendsetters and health enthusiasts, so does the need for its insurance. In addition to the fitness and balance benefits that yoga provides, it is also used as a method to treat PTSD, whiplash, depression and marital issues.

The yoga industry and the demand for insuring it are growing at an accelerated rate. The trends are constantly changing and at times this change occurs faster than the insurance can react. Being involved in this segment takes constantly refreshing oneself on the industry and the growing demands that are changing and developing by the minute.

As this area of insurance begins to be explored and defined it will be interesting to see the path it takes. We will continue to monitor how yoga insurance is affected next year. If you have any concerns, make sure to speak to your broker or company agent.