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Home insurance: are you well insured?

lun, 08/28/2017 - 07:37

Whether you are a renter, a co-owner or an owner, getting home insurance is a must. When you are a renter, it’s up to you to establish the required amount to cover all your belongings. Don’t be tempted to think that you don’t own much and that all you need is the minimum amount of coverage.

Today, I will be presenting the real numbers to you, those from a tenant’s insurance policy of renters who lost everything in a fire.

On a cold winter evening, a family with two kids found themselves on the streets after an electrical fire erupted in the old apartment building where they lived. As luck would have it, they were insured! However, the bad news was that their insurance limit to cover their content was insufficient! Too often, when requesting a quote for tenant’s insurance, clients think that $10,000 is more than enough coverage! But unless minimally, a $10,000 limit for content is quite low. Even if you live alone!

These clients who lost everything in the fire had close to $40,000 of insurable property, but the limit on their contract was a little under $30,000. Here’s an overview of their contents list: furniture, TV, appliances, vacuum, blinds, bedding and drapes, toaster, shaver, mattress, towels, brooms, coffee machine, pots and pans, clothes, animals, sporting and camping equipment, tableware, Xbox, DVD player and many DVDs, food, toys, jewelry, cosmetics… The list goes on and on, but it’s nothing outrageous either. One can presumably say that most dwellings contain the same contents.

To give you a better idea of what $40,000 worth of property represents, here are some figures of the final tally:  

  • Furnishings (living room/kitchen/rooms): $7,000
  • Electronics and appliances $7,000
  • Other furniture: $4,000
  • Food:  $500
  • Clothes: $8,000
  • Decorative items: $1,500
  • Other items (sports, activities, jewelry, cosmetics, etc.): $7,000
  • Kitchen items (cooking and tableware) $1,500
  • Pets: $1,000
  • Tools: $1,000

Try the same exercise at home, make up a list adding one item at a time, and you’ll be surprised by the final amount.

Moreover, did you know that when you are the victim of a loss, you also receive a living expense indemnity? This means that the additional amount that it costs you for accommodation, meals, transportation and entertainment while you are relocated up to the limit indicated in your contract.

To make sure you don’t forget anything when you are calculating the value of your property, we have prepared a document that will help you make an itemized checklist of what you are likely to have. All you need to do is calculate the value of each item. Do not hesitate to ask your broker to send you this document! It will also help you establish the limit you need for property insurance when purchasing home insurance.

Your Lareau broker can provide you with a quote in a few short minutes. The premiums for tenant’s insurance is between $15 and $30 monthly. This is small amount to pay in comparison to the value of what you may lose in the event of a fire if you don’t have insurance. Bear in mind that it is never too late to get your first home insurance!

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Registering your new “right-hand drive” vehicle: impossible in Quebec!

mar, 08/08/2017 - 09:56

In my last blog, I explained why it’s so difficult to insure a “right-had drive” vehicle, commonly called RHD (Right Hand Drive). However, did you know that since 2009, registering new RHD vehicles is forbidden in Quebec?

Don’t worry! New cars of this type can’t be imported but those that are already on the Quebec territory can continue to circulate, except under certain conditions. Following this interdiction, RHD vehicles that can already be found in Quebec and that have been well maintained have increased in value and have somewhat become collectibles. It is therefore strongly recommended that these cars be evaluated for its value, which will allow the client and the insurer to agree on the maximum price to be paid in the event of a loss.

Here are the right-hand drive vehicles that are allowed to circulate in Quebec:
  • Vehicle registered outside of Quebec (that are “visiting” in Quebec)
  • Vehicle built 25 years ago or more before the network access request date
  • Vehicle purchased before April 29, 2009, and registered before March 31, 2011
  • Heavy vehicle (must meet certain criteria)
  • Utility vehicle (must meet certain criteria) and vehicle called to make repetitive stops along a road to perform a public service
  • Vehicle belonging to a driving school
Who are the RHD vehicle fans?

This type of vehicle primarily attracts men under the age of 35 who are seeking a high-performance, reliable and affordable car. The engine of these types of cars are often very powerful and can, with some modifications, be mechanically enhanced substantially.

Do we insure this type of vehicle?

Even though it can be difficult to insure this type of vehicle, your Lareau broker has been a leader in RHD insurance. An exclusive program has been created for this type of car to make your life easier. Do not hesitate to contact one of our experts on this matter or to obtain a quote for your car before you hit the road!

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Right-hand drive vehicles: are you having trouble finding an insurer?

mar, 08/08/2017 - 09:52

Nissan Skyline, Toyota Supra, Mazda RX7… You’ve been shopping for this new ride for a few months already, you meticulously go over the classifieds searching for the real gem, you’ve already even found the space to store it this winter. You’re ready!

So, you decide to call your insurer but, to your great surprise, he tells you that this type of vehicle can’t be insured. You ask yourself this question — but why?

Why do most insurance companies not offer insurance for this type of vehicle? To understand the full picture, let’s start by explaining the basics.

First of all, what is a Mazda RX7?

A right-hand drive vehicle or RHD (Right Hand Drive) is a car that was imported from another country, most often from a country colonized by the British who, like approximately a quarter of the world’s population, drive on the left-hand side of the road, which means the steering wheel is on the right-hand side.

Here, in Quebec, we drive on the right-hand side of the road and the wheel is located to the left of the car, which means that our roads and driving laws are adapted to our way of driving.

Significant increased risks…

A study carried out by the SAAQ on accidents that happened in 2007 and 2008 revealed that ride-hand drive vehicles were involved in 30% more accidents than vehicles with a steering wheel on the opposite side. In the eyes insurers, this is a significant risk factor.

This can be explained by the fact that RHD vehicles are not adapted for the Quebec roadway system.

A maneuver as simple as a passing can become problematic: You are on a two-way road and you are about to pass a car. From your driver’s side vantage point, you are generally able to see what is in front of the car ahead of you. However, this is not the case if you are sitting to the right side of the car, which drastically increases the risk of an accident.

This situation is so problematic in a RHD vehicle that a special rear view mirror exists to correct such obstruction. It’s called a double mirror. One mirror points towards the front of the vehicle whereas the other points towards the inside. It mimics the principle of a periscope since the reflected image allows the driver to see if a car is approaching from the opposite direction. The rear view mirror is installed on the windshield inside the car above the dashboard, in the left corner. Its use is similar to the outside rear view mirrors on the doors. Their dimensions are fairly small, which means that they don’t block the driver’s field of vision.

In short, the different characteristics of these vehicles as well as the added risks that they pose can make finding an insurer for your right-hand drive vehicle more complex. It’s precisely for this reason that Lareau has decided to develop an exclusive program for this type of vehicle.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

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Dairy farming, not just about milk you buy in store!

mer, 07/26/2017 - 11:29

The side of dairy farming people may or may not know about. Milk production in Canada is a very important industry for our economy. However, it’s not just about milking cows and making cheese. Each time I speak about it people are amazed by how much more there is to dairy farming.

There is actually a whole business side to dairy farming. Can anyone guess the value of the highest cow ever bought at an auction? After researching myself, the highest I found was 1.2 million dollars. Why would anyone ever pay 1.2 million dollars for a cow? I can tell you right now it is not just because she gives a lot of milk.

I grew up on a dairy farm. Kellcrest Farms ltd., a small family farm just outside of Howick QC.  At the time, I never thought twice about where our income was coming from. Yes most of it was from selling our milk, but there was a lot that came from the other side of farming.

Genetics

Genetics, also the reason why someone would pay 1.2 million dollars for a cow. They invested in the pedigree. They knew they would be able to get their money back in selling embryos, selling the female offspring’s for reproduction, and selling the male offspring’s to companies like SEMEX for them to withdraw semen and then sell it all over the world.

I was able to witness this side of dairy farming first hand. I was fortunate to have grown up on one of the most known Ayrshire farms in the world. Winner of the Master Breeder award in 1986, 1996, and 2006. You can only win this award every 10 years. Along with uncountable milk production awards, cow show trophies, in 2009, Ayrshire Canada started a cow of the year award. It was the voted on by the Ayrshire farmers of Canada. One of our own won this award. Since Canada has the highest genetics for Ayrshire’s in the whole world. You can imagine how much of an honor this was.

Kellcrest Farms ltd

Because of all these accomplishments, we were not just selling milk. We were selling embryos all over the world to countries like Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, Columbia and many other countries. Ayrshire farmers all over the world were buying our embryos to try and improve their farms with genetics from our farm. We have sold many bulls to companies like SEMEX so they could sell semen from our bulls and sell that all over the world as well.

Every dairy farmer who is involved in the genetics side must understand the science behind improving their farm generation after generation. Every dairy farmer has the opportunity to improve their herd by matching the right bull with the right cow. This is one point my family was good at. They were able to pick the right bull to improve a certain bloodline and turn it into a winner.

Anyone can witness the other side of faming if you choose to. There are many Agricultural fairs during the year in pretty much every area of Quebec. I have been to many of these growing up and have always been happy to answer questions people had. You can also see all the hard work farmers do to advertise their cattle. They are not just there to try and win 1st place. They are there to sell their own genetics to other farmers. They are there to profit from the other side of farming.

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The list of most stolen cars

lun, 07/24/2017 - 08:49

This summer’s gloomy weather has indeed ruined the vacation of many Quebecers. In fact, the American tourism industry has seen a noticeable increase in the number of Quebecers who have chosen Maine and New Jersey as vacation destinations this summer, and this is despite the low Canadian dollar, the election of Donald Trump and the festivities surrounding the 375th anniversary of Montreal and the 150th anniversary of Canada.

Are you part of those vacationers who will be leaving towards American soil? If so, you would be interested in the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) that has just been released. As every year, the NICB compiles a list of the top 10 most stolen cars in the United States. For the record, this list does not change much from one year to the next and the same most stolen cars reappear. For the fourth straight year, the Honda Accord has taken the number one spot.

Below is the list of the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States in 2016:

10th position: Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

Number of cars stolen: 9245

Most sought after year: 2000

9th position: Chevrolet Impala

Number of cars stolen: 9749

Most sought after year: 2008

8th position: Toyota Corolla

Number of cars stolen: 11,989

Most sought after year: 2015

7th position: Ram and Dodge Ram

Number of cars stolen: 12,128

Most sought after year: 2001

6th position: Nissan Altima

Number of cars stolen: 12,221

Most sought after year: 2015

5th position: Toyota Camry

Number of cars stolen: 16,732

Most sought after year: 2016

4th position: Chevrolet Silverado

Number of cars stolen: 31,238

Most sought after year: 2004

3rd position: Ford F-Series

Number of cars stolen: 32,721

Most sought after year: 2006

2nd position: Honda Civic

Number of cars stolen: 49,547

Most sought after year: 1998

1st position: Honda Accord

Number of cars stolen: 50,427

Most sought after year: 19973

Be aware that thieves in the States don’t have the same taste as the ones in Quebec. Therefore, the top 10 list of our American neighbours doesn’t quite look the same as the one here. As published by the Insurance Bureau of Canada at the beginning of the year, the most stolen vehicles here are:

  • Toyota 4Runner 2015
  • Toyota 4Runner 2014
  • Lexus RX350 2013
  • Lexus RX350 2015
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser 2011
  • Infiniti QX60 2015
  • BMW 335xi 2008
  • Toyota 4Runner 2013
  • Lexus RX350 2014
  • Lexus IS 300 2002

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Phone scams: don’t fall for them!

lun, 07/10/2017 - 15:53

Have you been getting phone calls lately from unknown numbers or unusual places? There’s a new, quickly spreading phone scam that’s been very costly for victims. The scam is known as Wangiri, which is Japanese for “ring tone.” If you’ve had a call from 678-559-4636 in Vanuatu, you’ve probably been targeted by scammers. They call and let the phone ring once or twice and hang up. If you’re at all curious about whose call you missed, you may be tempted to dial the number. If you do, you are charged huge rates for every minute you spend on the call. Naturally, the scammer tries by all means to keep you on the line for as long as possible.

What to do about this phone scam

Above all, don’t call back! If you’ve already done so, immediately contact your telephone service provider and explain the situation. They’ll be able to advise you. Your phone company can block calls from scammers and notify the appropriate authorities. If you believe you’ve been the victim of scam, feel free to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Phone scams have been around for many years. Over time, we’ve noticed that they occur in waves, so the best way to protect yourself is to spread the word and stay informed. Naturally, we don’t want to live in constant fear. Instead, our goal is to be more alert so as not to fall for scams!

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Protect your business from cyberattacks!

ven, 07/07/2017 - 12:19

 

Recently, malware of a type known as “ransomware” has been spreading quickly. As you may know, two examples of ransomware, “Petya” and “WannaCry,” have caused serious problems all over the world!

What is ransomware?

This type of malware primarily targets businesses. It gets into computers and blocks access to the victims’ data by encrypting them. Hackers then request payment to decrypt the files and allow the victims to access their computer system once again. However, even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that the victims’ access to all of their computer files will be restored.

A few tips to prevent worst-case scenarios!

We know that you dedicate enormous time and effort to building your business. We also know that the data on your computer system, including customer, supplier, product, and financial information, are critical to your operations and success. That is why we have prepared a list of precautions designed to minimize your business’s vulnerability to cyberattacks.

  1. Update your software and Windows operating system (Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 10, for example) on all of your workstations;
  1. Be sure to use an up-to-date anti-virus software program. Also be sure to run virus scans regularly to detect and remove potential malware;
  1. Be alert and do not open e-mail from unknown sources. Most ransomware gets into computers through attachments to phishing e-mails or through hyperlinks;
  2. Save your critical files on a back-up storage device on a regular basis. This is the only sure way to recover your data fully in the event of a cyberattack;
  3. Ask your broker to add Cyber risk protection to your business insurance contract to protect yourself against hacking and cyber-extortion.

Be alert! Don’t let this happen to you!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your broker!

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Motorcycle Insurance: The Café Racer

mer, 07/05/2017 - 14:31

Whether in fashion, interior design, or architecture, there has been a recent comeback of the vintage look, and now even motorcyclists­ are following the trend. Indeed, you can see more and more café racers on the road.

Café racers got their name from the 1950s–1960s British rock scene, where young people were on the lookout for a fast motorcycle that would stand out when travelling between different cafés in England. Generally speaking, this type of motorcycle overlooks comfort in the name of manoeuvrability and handling.

The main features distinguishing this motorcycle from others is seen in its lack of fairing, its single-seat saddle, its low-mounted handlebars, and its minimalist paint job.

New and used models are equally popular, such as the famous Triumph Bonneville or the Thruxton, which have always maintained their original look. Other models are also commonly converted into café racers, such as the Honda CX500 from the late 1970s and early 1980s, or the Kawasaki KZ1000, which is very popular due to the model’s availability and the fact that it requires few modifications to achieve the desired results.

In the same vein, many specialized workshops have surfaced in Québec to fill the growing demand for this type of motorcycle, each adding their own special touch to revive these antiques that are turning heads.

Insuring a Café Racer: How Much Does It Cost?

Clearly, the costs can vary greatly between an old motorcycle that has minor fixes, a classic model that is completely restored, and a brand-new model of the year. The value of a new motorcycle, with included or additional accessories, is often easier to evaluate than the classic restored motorcycle, which has all its original rare parts. It is therefore preferable, or even necessary, to obtain a professional assessment for older motorcycles that have been redone, or for motorcycles where major modifications were made. Indeed, an assessment will allow owners to properly insure their motorcycles without unnecessary depreciation, while also obtaining a fairer compensation value and dealer estimation of the frame.

There remains specific kinds of motorcycles and modifications that are harder to insure, and therefore require a greater expertise. For example, a motorcycle designed for riding tracks or special events will have very strict conditions in terms of insurance levels, since fewer insurers will be inclined to offer protections. Contrary to this, a classic model that was simply restored will have better conditions and rates.

Do not hesitate to contact us to assess your motorcycle insurance needs. We can offer you a solution that will put you on the right track!

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Statutory conditions

lun, 06/05/2017 - 10:45

After a large claim that is covered, a fire for example, it is not uncommon for the insured to be faced with the issue of rebuilding his home according to the new building standards required by the Régie du bâtiment or the municipality. These new standards are also called statutory conditions, zoning by-laws, or by-laws.

So, if a loss were to occur and you had to rebuild a section of your building, who will pay for the part that isn’t damaged if the city requires it to be demolished because the building no longer respects the mandatory distances?

Who will pay to tear down this part?

And finally, who will pay for the difference between the initial estimated costs and the costs under the new standards?

You’ve guessed correctly… it’s the client!

In terms of insurance

In order to benefit from the replacement cost coverage of a new building, you must respect the following conditions during reconstruction:

– The building must be rebuilt at the same location or an adjacent location;

– The reconstruction timeline must be reasonable;

– The new building must have the same purpose has the previous one;

– The materials used must be the same or be of equivalent quality

Be aware that your indemnity amount could be reduced if there’s a statutory condition that prevents you from respecting any one of the conditions stated above.

Here’s an example:

Following a fire, our client has informed us that he must add a concrete wall that extends beyond the wall between his neighbour and him, even though the initial construction met the standards set out just 15 years ago. The additional cost to erect this wall respecting the new construction standard is $15,000. It was a good thing that we had advised the client to add the statutory conditions clause.

Food for thought:

  1. Does your building meet the new reconstruction by-laws?
  2. Are you protected by a grandfather clause?
  3. Do you know exactly how much additional cost to expect?
  4. Has the zoning changed?

There are endorsements you can add to your insurance contract that will help you mitigate this problem. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

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I’ve never had to file a claim, therefore I will never have to.

lun, 05/29/2017 - 13:05

My Cegep philosophy classes are long behind me. Most of what I had learned back then is a complete blur. Thankfully, I remember bits and pieces of it once in a while. We had studied sophisms, a concept that is pretty vague when you’re 17 years old. But with time, the concept became clearer. To refresh your memory, sophisms are false arguments, a confusing or slightly incorrect argument used for deceiving someone. We’ve all had this kind of reasoning, including myself. However, that type of thought process should be avoided. Today, I will be doing a risky exercise to tie philosophy and insurance together.

“Because it has always been this way, it will always remain this way” is a sophism. A sophism takes into account the past by affirming that something that had always yielded a positive result in the past will always generate the same result going forward. In the insurance industry, such reasoning is rather risky. As an insured, you should never rely on the past to forecast the future — the past is not always an indication of what the future holds. Some insurers will base their insurance decisions on past history, which I strongly advise against. Here are a few mistakes to avoid in order to stay away from useless claims.

“My last water heater hasn’t leaked in 25 years, which means I won’t have to replace my next one before the 25-year mark…” Unfortunately, things are not made as solidly as before. What’s more, the quality of the water is variable from one region to the next and the effect of corrosion can act faster from one environment to another.

“In 15 years, I’ve never had sewer back-up so it doesn’t scare me.” It is important to know that rainfall has been heavier than in the past; we’ve all witnessed it in the past few weeks… And the city’s sewer system may have overspilled because of a new real estate development project.

“I’ve never had an accident in my life so please remove as many coverages as possible” And what if… Because you must always plan for the worst… What if you were in an accident and your car was a total loss? You mustn’t forget to calculate the actual impact of having to replace your car on your finances rather than paying a low premium that you’d be able to afford annually.

“My roof comes with a lifetime warranty and I’m not worried about water damage”… But as all warranties go, there are exclusions and contingencies! The manufacturer is not guaranteed to be in business for as long as his product will last and the warranty does not necessarily cover wear and tear, wind damage, shingles laying, etc.

“It’s okay, it can be dealt with next week. I doubt that there will be a fire this weekend…” Bear in mind that a fire will not warn its victims before striking!

What now?

 Statistics show 1 in 10 or 20 clients will need to file a claim each year. Undoubtedly, your turn will not come every year, just like it would be abnormal for it to come too often. Ken Scott, a Quebec director, played a role a few years back in which his character said these words that ring very true: “The longer things have been going wrong, the closer you are to things going well.” Tell yourself the opposite — the longer things have been “going well”, the closer you are perhaps to “things going wrong”. Once you experience a loss, you will be happy to have been adequately covered even if at the time of purchasing the insurance you had told yourself that the chances of it happening were slim…

 

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Equipment Breakage Insurance

mar, 05/23/2017 - 13:34

The additional Endorsement for Equipment Breakage can supplement your basic insurance coverage, which may exclude boiler explosions, electric arcs and compressor failure, among others.

In addition to covering pressure devices (e.g., boilers), mechanical equipment (e.g., compressors) and electrical equipment, this protection may also be extended to production machines and electronic devices.

It can even be extended to cover your perishable goods in the case of an accident involving the assets mentioned above.

Why would I need such a protection?

After a compressor failure, your stored vegetables may suffer serious damage from this sudden rise in temperature. The Equipment Breakage protection would then allow you to be compensated not only for the faulty compressor, but also for the value of the vegetables you have lost. Ultimately, it would also cover losses resulting from business interruption. It is important to know that normal wear and tear is not a risk that can be covered by your insurance. Therefore, for your loss to be admissible, the failure or fault must be sudden and accidental.

Whether you own a manufacturing company, a convenience store, an agricultural business or an income property, chances are that you will find this protection to be quite suited to your situation.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to receive any further information on this endorsement!

 

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