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Alberta strikes panel to review auto insurance, won’t bring back rate cap – Global News

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Alberta is reviewing auto insurance in the province to ensure that the industry can remain viable and drivers can get affordable coverage.

Finance Minister Travis Toews says Albertans are paying some of the highest rates in Canada but are having trouble getting critical protection such as comprehensive and collision coverage.

But a five per cent annual cap on rate increases, introduced by the former NDP government and abandoned by his United Conservatives, is not coming back, he says.

“The rate cap simply put a Band-Aid on a wound that was festering,” Toews said at the legislature Wednesday.

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“In the intermediate and long term it was no solution, and even in the short term it made a bad situation worse.”

READ MORE: 6 ways to cut your auto insurance rate in Alberta

Auto insurance rates in Alberta have been rising sharply in the last five years. It trend prompted the NDP government to cap global rate increases at five per cent annually for each insurer starting in 2017.

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3:04
Albertans brace for double-digit auto insurance rate hikes


Albertans brace for double-digit auto insurance rate hikes

The new UCP government did not renew the cap in August, and some drivers have since reported getting notices of steep rises in rates of 12 per cent or more.

Insurers have said that under the cap they were losing money in Alberta, given more payouts for car theft, injury claims, repairs and catastrophes such as the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.

Toews said the cap forced insurers to seek savings at the expense of drivers by, in some cases, refusing to offer critical protections.

In other cases, individual clients were still hit with steep increases as long as the overall hike by the insurer to all Alberta clients remained at five per cent.






2:07
Fears mount as more auto insurers raise rates in Alberta


Fears mount as more auto insurers raise rates in Alberta

“Under the cap, we had insurers getting squeezed … so Albertans were finding themselves with fewer and fewer insurance options,” said Toews.

“We ultimately need to deal with the challenges that are leading to increased premiums … and present a reformed insurance system in this province that can serve Albertans well.”

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READ MORE: Distracted driving could mean higher insurance rates for motorists

A three-member committee headed by Chris Daniels has been asked to research and recommend solutions that work for all parties within the existing privately delivered system.

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The committee is to report back in the spring. Toews said the government will take action as soon as possible after that.

LISTEN: Finance Minister Travis Toews joins Rob Breakenridge to discuss the advisory panel tasked with assessing Alberta’s auto insurance industry

Daniels, consumer representative on the Automobile Insurance Rate Board, said there is no single reason for rising costs, although technology has made what used to be minor damage no longer minor.

“The new cars have a tremendous amount of technology,” said Daniels.

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“A lot of the sensors of those new technologies are located in the windshield, so you have a windshield replacement that used to cost maybe $300 is now costing $1,500.”

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said it welcomes the review, particularly as it relates to injury claims.

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“Increases in payouts for minor injuries have led the average claim size to increase by nearly 10 per cent per year,” bureau vice-president Celyeste Power said in a statement.

“Alberta’s three million drivers have said they want more affordable premiums, more choice, and care they can count on when they need it.”

READ MORE: Cutting pink tape — Alberta auto insurance cards going digital

The three members of the committee:

  1. Consumer and insurance industry expert Chris Daniel, who is in his second term as the consumer representative on the Automobile Insurance Rate Board
  2. Legal expert Shelley Miller, a lawyer with specific expertise in auto insurance reform
  3. Medical expert Dr. Larry Ohlhauser, who is the chief medical advisor to the superintendent of insurance

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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Canada signs deal with VBI Vaccines to develop coronavirus candidate by 2022 – Global News

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VBI Vaccines Inc said on Monday it had entered into an agreement with Canada to develop a potential vaccine for COVID-19 by 2022 through mid-stage trials conducted exclusively in the country.

Canada will contribute around 75% of the U.S.-based company’s development costs and C$55.9 million ($42.2 million) for the project.

VBI Vaccines said last month that together with the National Research Council Canada it was investigating the vaccine candidate, VBI-2900, in preclinical trials.

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As per the agreement, signed last week, the company’s Ottawa-based unit is obligated to complete the vaccine development in or before the first quarter of 2022.






3:06
Ottawa signs 2 new COVID-19 vaccine deals for Canada


Ottawa signs 2 new COVID-19 vaccine deals for Canada

There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19, but around 38 vaccines are being tested in humans around the world.

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© 2020 Reuters

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Wall Street falls, S&P 500 down 1.2% as global markets swoon – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Stan Choe, Damian J. Troise And Alex Veiga, The Associated Press


Published Monday, September 21, 2020 3:03PM EDT


Last Updated Monday, September 21, 2020 11:23PM EDT

NEW YORK – Wall Street slumped Monday as markets tumbled worldwide on worries about the pandemic’s economic pain, though the S&P 500 had pared its losses by the end of the day.

The drops began in Asia as soon as trading opened for the week, and they accelerated in Europe on worries about the possibility of tougher restrictions there to stem rising coronavirus counts. In the U.S., stocks and Treasury yields weakened, while prices sank for oil and other commodities that a healthy economy would demand.

The S&P 500 fell 38.41 points, or 1.2%, to 3,281.06. It extends the index’s losing streak to four days, its longest since stocks were selling off in February on recession worries. But a last-hour recovery helped the index more than halve its loss of 2.7% from earlier in the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 509.72, or 1.8%, to 27,147.70 after coming back from an earlier 942 point slide. The Nasdaq composite slipped 14.48, or 0.1%, to 10,778.80 after recovering from a 2.5% drop.

Wall Street has been shaky this month, and the S&P 500 has dropped 8.4% since hitting a record Sept. 2 amid a long list of worries for investors. Chief among them is fear that stocks got too expensive when coronavirus counts are still worsening, Congress is unable to deliver more aid for the economy, U.S.-China tensions are rising and a contentious U.S. election is approaching.

Investors should expect the stock market to stay volatile, perhaps through the November elections, as they wait for these questions to shake out, said Jason Draho, head of asset allocation for the Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management.

Monday’s selling was exacerbated by worries about the possibility of more business restrictions in Europe, particularly as the United States heads into flu season, Draho said, and “some investors may be stepping aside.”

David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial, noted how Monday’s sharpest drops were concentrated in areas of the market most closely tied to the economy’s strength, such as energy companies and raw-material producers.

“It seems to be a broader expression of worry about the economy,” he said.

Bank stocks took sharp losses after a report alleged that several continue to profit from illicit dealings with criminal networks despite U.S. crackdowns on money laundering.

Shares of electric and hydrogen-powered truck startup Nikola plunged 19.3% after its founder resigned as executive chairman and left its board amid allegations of fraud. The company has called the allegations false and misleading.

General Motors, which recently signed a partnership deal where it would take an ownership stake in Nikola, fell 4.8%.

Investors are also worried about the diminishing prospects that Congress may soon deliver more aid to the economy. Many investors call such support crucial after extra weekly unemployment benefits and other stimulus expired. But partisan disagreements have held up any renewal of what’s known as the CARES Act.

“The stimulus money from the CARES Act, the impact of that, is running off and there doesn’t seem to be any urgency in Washington to get another package together,” said Joy of Ameriprise Financial..

Partisan rancour is only continuing to rise, deflating hopes further. The sudden vacancy on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the latest flashpoint dividing the country.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies are also weighing on markets. President Donald Trump has targeted Chinese tech companies in particular, and the Department of Commerce on Friday announced a list of prohibitions that could eventually cripple U.S. operations of Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat. The government cited national security and data privacy concerns.

That raises the threat of Chinese retaliation against U.S. companies.

A U.S. judge over the weekend ordered a delay to the restrictions on WeChat, a communications app popular with Chinese-speaking Americans, on First Amendment grounds.

Trump also said on Saturday he gave his blessing to a proposed deal between TikTok, Oracle and Walmart to create a new company that would likely be based in Texas.

Layered on top of all those concerns for the market is the continuing coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the global economy.

On Sunday, the British government reported 4,422 new coronavirus infections, its biggest daily rise since early May. An official estimate shows new cases and hospital admissions are doubling every week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson later this week is expected to announce a slate of short-term restrictions that will act as a “circuit breaker” to slow the spread of the disease. The number of cases has been rising quickly in many European countries and while authorities don’t seem ready to return to the tough restrictions on public life that they imposed in the spring, the new wave of the pandemic threatens the economic outlook.

The FTSE 100 in London dropped 3.4%. Other European markets were similarly weak. The German DAX lost 4.4%, and the French CAC 40 fell 3.7%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 2.1%, South Korea’s Kospi fell 1% and stocks in Shanghai lost 0.6%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.66% from 0.69% late Friday.

September’s losses for markets are reversing months of remarkable gains. Beginning in late March, when the Federal Reserve and Congress pledged massive amounts of support for the economy, the S&P 500 erased its nearly 34% in losses caused by the pandemic. Signs of budding economic improvements accelerated the gains, but growth has slowed recently.

AP Business Writer Joe McDonald contributed.

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S&P 500 sinks more than 2% as markets tumble worldwide – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Stan Choe, Damian J. Troise And Alex Veiga, The Associated Press


Published Monday, September 21, 2020 3:03PM EDT


Last Updated Monday, September 21, 2020 11:23PM EDT

NEW YORK – Wall Street slumped Monday as markets tumbled worldwide on worries about the pandemic’s economic pain, though the S&P 500 had pared its losses by the end of the day.

The drops began in Asia as soon as trading opened for the week, and they accelerated in Europe on worries about the possibility of tougher restrictions there to stem rising coronavirus counts. In the U.S., stocks and Treasury yields weakened, while prices sank for oil and other commodities that a healthy economy would demand.

The S&P 500 fell 38.41 points, or 1.2%, to 3,281.06. It extends the index’s losing streak to four days, its longest since stocks were selling off in February on recession worries. But a last-hour recovery helped the index more than halve its loss of 2.7% from earlier in the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 509.72, or 1.8%, to 27,147.70 after coming back from an earlier 942 point slide. The Nasdaq composite slipped 14.48, or 0.1%, to 10,778.80 after recovering from a 2.5% drop.

Wall Street has been shaky this month, and the S&P 500 has dropped 8.4% since hitting a record Sept. 2 amid a long list of worries for investors. Chief among them is fear that stocks got too expensive when coronavirus counts are still worsening, Congress is unable to deliver more aid for the economy, U.S.-China tensions are rising and a contentious U.S. election is approaching.

Investors should expect the stock market to stay volatile, perhaps through the November elections, as they wait for these questions to shake out, said Jason Draho, head of asset allocation for the Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management.

Monday’s selling was exacerbated by worries about the possibility of more business restrictions in Europe, particularly as the United States heads into flu season, Draho said, and “some investors may be stepping aside.”

David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial, noted how Monday’s sharpest drops were concentrated in areas of the market most closely tied to the economy’s strength, such as energy companies and raw-material producers.

“It seems to be a broader expression of worry about the economy,” he said.

Bank stocks took sharp losses after a report alleged that several continue to profit from illicit dealings with criminal networks despite U.S. crackdowns on money laundering.

Shares of electric and hydrogen-powered truck startup Nikola plunged 19.3% after its founder resigned as executive chairman and left its board amid allegations of fraud. The company has called the allegations false and misleading.

General Motors, which recently signed a partnership deal where it would take an ownership stake in Nikola, fell 4.8%.

Investors are also worried about the diminishing prospects that Congress may soon deliver more aid to the economy. Many investors call such support crucial after extra weekly unemployment benefits and other stimulus expired. But partisan disagreements have held up any renewal of what’s known as the CARES Act.

“The stimulus money from the CARES Act, the impact of that, is running off and there doesn’t seem to be any urgency in Washington to get another package together,” said Joy of Ameriprise Financial..

Partisan rancour is only continuing to rise, deflating hopes further. The sudden vacancy on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the latest flashpoint dividing the country.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies are also weighing on markets. President Donald Trump has targeted Chinese tech companies in particular, and the Department of Commerce on Friday announced a list of prohibitions that could eventually cripple U.S. operations of Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat. The government cited national security and data privacy concerns.

That raises the threat of Chinese retaliation against U.S. companies.

A U.S. judge over the weekend ordered a delay to the restrictions on WeChat, a communications app popular with Chinese-speaking Americans, on First Amendment grounds.

Trump also said on Saturday he gave his blessing to a proposed deal between TikTok, Oracle and Walmart to create a new company that would likely be based in Texas.

Layered on top of all those concerns for the market is the continuing coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the global economy.

On Sunday, the British government reported 4,422 new coronavirus infections, its biggest daily rise since early May. An official estimate shows new cases and hospital admissions are doubling every week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson later this week is expected to announce a slate of short-term restrictions that will act as a “circuit breaker” to slow the spread of the disease. The number of cases has been rising quickly in many European countries and while authorities don’t seem ready to return to the tough restrictions on public life that they imposed in the spring, the new wave of the pandemic threatens the economic outlook.

The FTSE 100 in London dropped 3.4%. Other European markets were similarly weak. The German DAX lost 4.4%, and the French CAC 40 fell 3.7%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 2.1%, South Korea’s Kospi fell 1% and stocks in Shanghai lost 0.6%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.66% from 0.69% late Friday.

September’s losses for markets are reversing months of remarkable gains. Beginning in late March, when the Federal Reserve and Congress pledged massive amounts of support for the economy, the S&P 500 erased its nearly 34% in losses caused by the pandemic. Signs of budding economic improvements accelerated the gains, but growth has slowed recently.

AP Business Writer Joe McDonald contributed.

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