WELCOME

Welcome to THE SKANES REPORT.  I hope everyone had a fantastic summer, especially with all the great weather we had.  Now for some winter home maintenance and don’t forget your Winter Tire discount!!  Also, a reminder about our Financial Services Division.

WINTER HOME MAINTENANCE

Your Heating System – Before Winter

  • Have your furnace or boiler checked and serviced at least once a year, preferably before the heating seasons begins.
  • Clean or replace the furnace filter on forced hot air systems.
  • Have your chimney checked and serviced at least once a year. Pay particular attention to having creosote build-up removed.

Your Heating System – During Winter

  • Have your fuel tanks filled and keep an eye on levels throughout the winter.
  • Set your heat no lower than 55 degrees.
  • open doors to unoccupied rooms to keep an even temperature throughout the house.
  • Maintain your wood-burning or pellet stoves.

Your Insulation

  •  Add extra insulation in the attic to guard against ice dams. If too much heat escapes into the attic, it can warm the ice and snow on the roof. When it refreezes, it can cause an ice dam, leading to water damage.
  • Add weather stripping around doors and caulk windows to guard against drafts and heat loss.
  • Remove screens from windows, and install storm windows.

Your Utilities

  • Check for water leaks and fix problems immediately; wrap water piping in UL-Listed heat tape and insulate if it is exposed in unheated areas such as garages, crawl spaces or attics.
  • Learn how to shut off your water and know where your pipes are located in case they do freeze; you may be able to prevent water damage.

Your Winter Safety Measures

  • Trim trees and remove dead branches so they do not damage your home or injure someone if they fall because of ice, snow or wind.
  • Keep gutters clear of leaves, sticks and other debris to ensure melting snow can drain properly.
  • Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
  • Repair steps and handrails to make them safer.

FINANCIAL SERVICES AVAILABLE

Our Financial Services are headed up by Andy MacDonald and some of the services available are outlined below.

  • Mortgages
  • Home Equity Line of Credits
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts
  • Registered Retirement Income Funds
  • Registered Education Savings Plans
  • Investment Accounts
5 Year Fixed Mortgage 2.49%
5 Year Variable Mortgage 2.15%
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or require any information on our new services.
Mortgages provided by Domus Financial Corporation.11067.
Investment products provided by Addington Financial Corporation.

MORTGAGE CALCULATOR

A MIXTURE OF HORSE SENSE AND COMMON SENSE!

Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will.
Weiler’s Law: Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.
Chisolm’s Law:  Anytime things appear to be going better, you  have overlooked something.
Finagle’s Law: Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it makes it worse.
Crane’s Law: There is no such thing as a free lunch.

WELCOME

Welcome to THE SKANES REPORT.  In this report I have a very exciting announcement to make about our organization and I will also be providing you with tips on spring home maintenance.

FINANCIAL SERVICES DIVISION

I am pleased to announce that we are expanding our organization to include a Financial Services Division.  With this new division we are now in a position to offer you a one stop solution for all your insurance and financial needs.  This division will be headed up by Andy MacDonald who I have personally known for over 30 years. 

I am pleased to announce that we are expanding our organization to include a Financial Services Division.  With this new division we are now in a position to offer you a one stop solution for all your insurance and financial needs.  This division will be headed up by Andy MacDonald who I have personally known for over 30 years. 

Andy brings with him more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry.  He began his career with a major Canadian financial institution, gaining working knowledge of all aspects of retail banking.  He later acted as director of the Independent Mortgage Brokers Association of Ontario and was the Principal Broker of his own mortgage brokerage firm for over a decade. 

Andy holds a BA in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, he is licensed by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario as a Mortgage Broker and he is a Licensed Financial Advisor.  Andy has written a regular column for MoneySense.ca and has been a contributor to the National Post, MoneySense Magazine and Readers Digest as a financial expert.  He has also appeared as an expert guest on Canada AM, Real Estate Television and CTV Newsnet. 

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Andy to head up this exciting new division. 

FINANCIAL SERVICES AVAILABLE

Some of the services available are outlined below.
  • Mortgages
  • Home Equity Line of Credits
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts
  • Registered Retirement Income Funds
  • Registered Education Savings Plans
  • Investment Accounts
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or require any information on our new services.
Mortgages provided by Domus Financial Corporation.11067.
Investment products provided by Addington Financial Corporation.

SPRING HOME MAINTENANCE TIPS

INSIDE YOUR HOME

  • Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards, such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Make sure outlets, fuse boxes and extension cords are not overloaded.
  • Move your multi-purpose fire extinguisher to an accessible place, and make sure it is filled and ready for operation.
  • Have your air-conditioning system inspected by a professional as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Check your water heater for leaks and corrosion.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material.
  • Inspect your smoke detectors. Make sure there is one on each floor of your home. Test them monthly, and change the batteries annually or as needed.
  • Check the light bulbs in all your fixtures. Be sure they are the correct wattage as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Replace all high-intensity bulbs with fluorescent bulbs. Other types of bulbs, like incandescent, produce more heat than fluorescent bulbs.
OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
  • Check for damage to your roof.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating.
  • Remove dead trees in your yard.
  • Keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires.
  • Safely store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.
  • Repair cracked, broken or uneven driveways and walkways to provide a level walking surface.

A MIXTURE OF HORSE SENSE & COMMON SENSE

“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”  Lou Holtz

“The confidence one has in oneself chiefly creates the confidence one inspires in others.”  La Rochefoucauld

 

HOT TOPIC

Winter Tire Discount


As part of the Government of Ontario automobile rate reduction plan, all insurers are required to provide a Winter Tire Discount as of January 1, 2016 for private passenger vehicles.   It appears that this is happening!  To be eligible for the discount the following is generally required:

  • The vehicle must have four winter tires installed from at least December 1 to March 31.
  • The tires must be certified as winter tires by Transport Canada and have the Alpine symbol.

This discount provides approximately 2-5% in savings.  At this time, it appears that confirmation of installation will not be required to apply the discount.  However, I would suggest that in the event of a claim it may be prudent to have proof of installation.   The above may vary slightly depending on the insurer. So, if you think you qualify for this discount call your broker!


HOT TOPIC

UberX


What is UberX?  UberX is a mobile technology based ride sharing company.  Uber started as a company in March 2009 and by the end of 2015 its projected valuation is $50 Billion.  Uber passenger transport service is now available in 58 counties and 300 cities internationally.

There has been much controversy surrounding Uber, mainly because they have taken a bite into the market share of taxi services worldwide.


UberX and Insurance


Uber is a ride sharing service that matches riders with independent drivers who use their own personal vehicle to carry paying passengers.  Herein lies the problem.  At present, vehicles carrying passengers for compensation are underwritten on a commercial facility taxi policy.  This is because a private passenger automobile policy does not provide coverage for vehicles being used to carry passengers for compensation.
There are a number of myths in the media that suggest that if a Uber driver or passenger were involved in a collision, their insurance coverage would be recognized. The simple fact is, if the driver is working under a standard personal auto insurance policy and they have not informed their insurer or broker that they were using their vehicle for commercial purposes, coverage would not likely apply.  Insurers have said, specifically, that your personal auto coverage will be void if you use your vehicle to carry paying passengers in a ride sharing program.  The driver must have a commercial taxi policy to have adequate coverage.
Ride sharing is a new and innovative form of transportation and it does do not “fit” into the established rules and regulations.  Insurers and regulators are working diligently to find coverage solutions that specifically protect ride sharing programs.
As of September 22, 2015, most ride sharing drivers are not driving with adequate insurance.  It is estimated that upwards of 90% of Uber drivers are not upfront about ride sharing with their insurer.  This means that both drivers and passengers are not fully protected in the event of a collision.
Until the insurers and regulators develop a solution to adequately protect both driver and passenger you may want to think twice about becoming a Uber driver or Uber passenger!

 

A MIXTURE OF

HORSE SENSE AND COMMON SENSE!


“Everybody has got something greater in him than he ever knew.”  Norman Vincent Peale   “You may not remember what someone says or does, but you’ll never forget about how they made you feel.” Unknown   “Neither men nor women will ever win the battle of the sexes.  There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.” Unknown button

HOT TOPIC

Accident Benefits – Explained


 

 

The Accident Benefits section of your Ontario Automobile Policy deals with Bodily Injury you sustain due to an automobile accident. There are three classes of injury: (1) minor injury; (2) non-minor injury; (3) catastrophic injury. Generally speaking, minor injuries, include sprains and strains, cuts and bruises. Catastrophic injuries, include amputation of a limb, spinal cord injuries and severe brain damage. Non-minor/non-catastrophic injuries are everything in between. These “in between” injuries would include broken bones or some kinds of internal organ damage, such as a ruptured spleen.

We have a choice – we can accept the “Standard” mandatory Accident Benefits coverage as stated in Section 4 of the Automobile Policy or we can increase these coverages, for an additional premium.


 

INCOME REPLACEMENT BENEFIT


If you cannot work because of the injuries caused by a motor vehicle collision and if you are eligible, this benefit will partially compensate you for the loss of your income.

Standard Benefit: 70% of your gross income to a maximum of $400 a week.

Option: Increase this to $600, $800 or $1,000.

Recommendations:

Do you have an income continuation plan or collateral benefit sources from work? If you do not, the following is recommended.

(a) Do you earn more than $59,500 a year of $28.60 an hour? If yes, increase this benefit to $1,000 a week.

(b) Do you earn more than $44,600 a year or $21.45 an hour? If yes, increase this benefit to $800 a week.

(c) Do you earn more than $29,750 a year or $14.40 an hour? If yes, increase this benefit to $600 a week.


 

CAREGIVER BENEFIT


If you cannot continue as a primary caregiver and if you are eligible, this benefit will cover the expense of purchasing caregiver services.

Standard Benefit: Catastrophic Injury only – $250 a week for the first dependant plus $50 for each additional dependent.

Option: To include non catastrophic injury whereby you are unable to perform your caregiver activities

Recommendations:

(a) Do you have any children under the age of 16 residing in your home for whom you are a primary caregiver? If yes, purchase this option.

(b) Do you take care of a disabled child over the age of 16 or a person residing in your household who has a disability or is infirm? If yes, purchase this option.

(c) Do you have family support in close proximity to your residence? If no, purchase this option.


 

DEPENDANT CARE BENEFIT


This covers expenses for caring for your dependents if you are injured in a motor vehicle collision, employed at the time of the collision and not receiving the Caregiver Benefit.

Standard Benefit: None

Option: Up to $75/week for the first dependant and $25/week for each additional dependant to a maximum of $150/week.

Recommendation: Same as the Caregiver Benefit


MEDICAL AND REHABILITATION BENEFIT


 

This benefit will pay for reasonable and necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses that are not covered by a government health plan or a private health plan that you may have through work or your spouse.

Standard Benefit: $50,000 non-catastrophic injury and $1,000,000 catastrophic injury

Option: $100,000 non-catastrophic injury and $1,100,000 catastrophic injury

Recommendations:

(a) Are you self-employed? If yes, purchase the this option.

(b) Do you have any collateral sources through your business or through your employer to offset any cost of medical, rehabilitation or prescription medication. If no, purchase this option.

(c) Do you have any pre-existing conditions or injuries that may delay your recovery from an injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident? If yes, purchase this option.

Note: All medical/rehabilitation and assessment/examination expenses for minor injuries are capped at $3,500.


 

ATTENDANT CARE BENEFIT


 

If you are unable to carry out certain personal care activities (such as bathing, toileting, dressing or feeding yourself) as a result of severe injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision and if you are eligible, this benefit will pay reasonable and necessary expenses for an aide, attendant or long-term care facility.

Standard Benefit: $36,000 non-catastrophic injury and $1,000,000 catastrophic injury

Option: $72,000 non-catastrophic injury and $1,072,000 catastrophic injury

Recommendations:

(a) Do you have a pre-existing condition? If yes, purchase this option.

(b) Do you live alone with little/minimal family support close to you? If yes, purchase this option.

(c) If you live with family, would they be able to support you with personal care during your recovery? If no, purchase this option.


 

HOUSEKEEPING & HOME MAINTENANCE BENEFIT


 

If you are unable to maintain housekeeping and home maintenance that you normally performed prior to the motor vehicle collision, this benefit will pay reasonable and necessary expenses.

Standard Benefit: $100 a week for catastrophic injury only.

Option: To include non-catastrophic injury whereby you are unable to perform these tasks.

Recommendations:

(a) Do you live alone? If yes, purchase this option.

(b) Do you attend to your own housekeeping/home maintenance duties? If yes, purchase this option.
The above is intended to be a guide only. Consult with your broker.


ONTARIO BUDGET 2015


The provincial government has proposed numerous changes to the above in their 2015 budget. Stay tuned for if/when these changes come into effect.


A MIXTURE OF

HORSE SENSE AND COMMON SENSE!


 

“Nothing makes a long story short like the arrival of whomever you happen to be talking about.” Unknown

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, but others judge us by what we have already don.” Longfellow

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santa-31283_640

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.  Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave a lustre of midday to objects below, When what to my wondering eyes did appear, But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer, With a little old driver so lively and quick, I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:  “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!” As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; So up to the housetop the coursers they flew with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too-

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2015! 

All the best from the Axion-Skanes team.


A MIXTURE OF

HORSE SENSE AND COMMON SENSE!


Why is it
I have no words
When words
Might save the day
But later
When there is no call
I have
So much to say

– Margaret McGowan

 

It is the pleasure of reward rather than the pain of punishment that motivates people.  Unknown

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HOT TOPIC

Sewer Back-Up &Water Damage


 

Sewer Back-Up and Water Damage losses seem to be a pretty hot topic these days within the insurance industry – and rightly so!  Water damage, after all, has now surpassed fire as the leading cause of personal property claims in Canada. In nine years water damage claims have risen from 20% of the total claims across Canada to 50%. Weather events that used to occur every 40 years now happen every six years. In 2013 the Alberta floods caused in excess of $1.7 billion in insured property damage and the GTA heavy rains caused $944 million.

How does this affect us, the insurance consumer? I know, your first thought is rising insurance premiums!  Insurers are taking various approaches to mitigate these results. Everything from increased deductibles, to lowering the limit, to charging for a coverage that was once “included” and identifying areas that are more prone to these losses.   

When I began in the industry, one of the first things I was taught was that the premiums of the many paid the losses of the few. It made perfect sense to me at the time, everyone paid a premium and then when a house burned down the money was there to rebuild. However, when the losses of the few increasingly become the losses of the many due to the rising frequency and severity of extreme weather events it makes me wonder how the premiums of the many can pay for the losses of the many.  Yet, as we watch our coverage possibly decrease and our premiums likley increase our natural tendency is to cast some sort of blame on the insurance companies.

 What can we do?  We can prevent the damage before the rain! I would suggest this is common sense but my mother once told me that common sense was anything but common! I would  like to be able to tell you, as an industry professional, that I take all the necessary steps to stop the damage before it rains, but I don’t – I should do more.

Water Damage Checklist

Can we lower our premium? Yes, with a little common sense. Although insurers may be making changes that we feel affect us adversely, some are also making changes to reward those individuals who are pro-active in loss prevention.  For example, credits may be given for sump pumps, unfinished basements and back water valves (water is one thing but do you really want sewage in your home!) 

As always, please feel free to call me anytime to review your policy documents to ensure you have the coverages you need at the most affordable price.


A MIXTURE OF

HORSE SENSE AND COMMON SENSE!


“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”  George Washington

“If it weren’t for people, leadership would be easy.” Unknown

 

 

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