BATHURST, NB – The Chaleur region and Northern New Brunswickers are about to get a new and progressive choice for their home and auto insurance! Kent & White Insurance, a Northern NB based Insurance Brokerage, has been chosen as the first broker partner for CAA Insurance in the province.
With most Canadians continuing to trust a broker for their insurance needs, CAA has begun transitioning from a direct-only sales model for their insurance products, to working with select broker partners. After a successful launch into the broker channel in Ontario, and Nova Scotia, the company is continuing to expand into New Brunswick, with the appointment of Kent & White Insurance.
After a thorough review process that lasted months, CAA recognized the value of this progressive Broker partner. Kent & White’s President, Brian Schryer, says the team is excited to bring this offer to the region, “We’re thrilled that out of all potential brokers in New Brunswick that could have chosen as their first partner, CAA chose us.” He goes on to say, “It’s a great feeling to know they trust our team to uphold their customer service values and pass that on to New Brunswickers.”
CAA’s move into the broker channel in the New Brunswick insurance market is especially timely given the numerous question marks surrounding insurance rate increases in the province. Above and beyond providing highly competitive rates to Atlantic Canada, CAA stands out from the crowd thanks to their dedication to giving back – a quality that is closely aligned with the core values of Kent & White Insurance.
“CAA provides extremely competitive rates, excellent service, and very closely aligns with who Kent & White is at our core” says Schryer. “They’re a company that you can feel good about doing business with. They also provide significant group discounts for CAA members. CAA Insurance isn’t just for CAA members, but often the membership discounts are more than the cost of the membership, so it pays for itself.”
Kent & White, who began their operations in 1946, has grown to service thousands of personal and commercial clients throughout Atlantic Canada from one of its two locations in Bathurst and Edmundston. With a focus on comfort, the company continues to strive to provide the best customer service in the industry, as well as focuses on giving back to the communities in which they serve.
The Canadian Automobile Association, commonly known as CAA, is a non-profit federation, founded in 1913, of eight motor clubs across Canada, providing roadside assistance service, a range of auto touring and leisure travel services, insurance services, and member discounts.
How to make sure you’re properly covered for windstorms and how to minimize damages.
Wind storms can be nasty. Nastier still is the ambiguity surrounding who’s responsible for what when damages happen. Hopefully, this quick blog post can help you guys make sense of the grey areas.
A tree in your yard falls on your house – your homeowners policy will cover any damages sustained to your home, garage, shed, or any additional buildings on your property (after you pay your deductible). As is the case with any claim, you want to make sure the value of the damage caused is greater than your deductible, and that the value justifies potentially losing any claims free discount you are receiving on your policy.
Your tree falls on your neighbor’s house or vice versa – your policy would cover damages to your house, and your neighbor’s policy would cover damages to their house. Simple as that. Since brokers are not lawyers, we are not able to establish liability, however, in certain instances where the health of the tree comes into question (was it rotten, old, and/or weak?), you may be able to argue negligence on the part of your neighbor and have their personal liability insurance cover the damages to your home.Let’s say your tree falls on your neighbor’s house and causes minor damages. Although the damages are minor and do not warrant your neighbor opening up a claim, they are severe enough that they will set them back financially. You feel bad that they’re in this tough spot, but what can you do? Many homeowners’ policies have what’s called “voluntary property damage” coverage. Some companies will allow this to be used to pay for the damages caused to your neighbor’s home without counting as a claim on your homeowner’s policy. Unfortunately, other companies may choose to count the voluntary property damage use as a claim, and the limit of this coverage varies, so be sure to check your policy documents or check with your insurance provider before extending an offer to your neighbor.
A tree or other debris falls on your car – in situations such as this, your comprehensive coverage on your auto policy would cover damages (after you pay the deductible). Unfortunately, many people choose to forego comprehensive coverage on their policies if it is not mandatory (as with financed vehicles) in order to save on annual premium. Be sure to look over your policy to make sure that you’ve opted-in to comprehensive coverage.
To avoid finding yourself in one of the above situations, it’s important to stay on top of property maintenance. A few things you can do ahead of a windstorm to mitigate damages include: trimming your trees and shrubs; keeping an eye out for dead trees on your property; regularly checking your roof for loose or missing shingles; securing outdoor furniture or other loose items; and avoid parking directly under trees.
It’s time to be blunt about the legalization of recreational cannabis.
October 17th, 2018 went down in history as perhaps one of the happiest hump days recorded. October 18th, when many shops ran out of supplies, perhaps the most historic downer. The legalisation of recreational cannabis use has been long anticipated, and insurance companies have been finding creative ways to be ready. With Canada being the first developed country to completely legalise the recreational use of cannabis at the national level, Canadian insurance companies were faced with the monumental task of being the first to draft rules and coverages that no other country has implemented (granted, these updates vary from province to province).
It’s an exciting time to be a part of the insurance community that’s leading the way in shaping policy wordings for this budding industry. Barinder Rasode, president and CEO of NICHE Canada, has applauded the insurance industry on being ahead of the game when it comes to legalisation, and suspects that a large part of the cannabis industry’s success in transitioning to legalisation will be as a result of the insurance industry’s preparedness1. Cannabis and hemp have been untapped resources in Canada for far too long, and we are eager to see the domino effects of legalisation.
Once legalized, Canadians of legal age will be able to purchase, consume, and grow cannabis. The personal possession limit is approximately 30g of dried cannabis per person, and four plants per household2. According to Stats Canada, our province is on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to recreational cannabis use, sitting at 14%. This is low in comparison to Nova Scotia, which topped the list at 23%. Regardless of whether you find yourself in the 14%3, legalisation will bring about changes in everyone’s insurance policies.
On the property side, many companies are changing their wording to include special limits on cannabis-related losses. These limits are specific to each company and are often subject to a deductible. So if you plan on growing or possessing cannabis plants, be sure to take note of the following:
The special limits of insurance for cannabis related losses and whether or not this can be applied to plants in your possession (grown indoors vs. outdoors); and
The deductible to which this special limit is subject.
It is important to note that many “Outdoor Trees, Shrubs, Plants, and Lawns” coverage extensions have been updated to exclude outdoor cannabis plants. Also, depending on the type of property policy you have (homeowners vs. tenant’s, vs. condominium), coverages may vary drastically.
In terms of auto insurance, there has been no indication that legalisation will affect auto rates. Studies conducted in the United States recorded a 3% increase in accident claims after cannabis was legalised in Colorado and Washington4 , but also found that there was no increase in fatal crashes associated with legalisation5. That is not to say that driving while under the influence of cannabis should be seen as a low-level threat. The Federal government has introduced three new impaired driving conditions, and many insurance companies will rate drug-impaired convictions the same as they do alcohol-related convictions. On top of that, if it is found that the driver of a vehicle was under the influence of cannabis at the time an accident occurred, that is grounds for the insurance company to deny a claim, should one be opened.
Although common discourse surrounding cannabis use has often portrayed it as the “safer” inebriant when compared to excessive alcohol consumption or the recreational use of harder hitting drugs, it is important to remember that all impaired driving is regarded as equal. Please respect yourselves and others by not driving under the influence.
Expert advice on how to manage your insurance portfolio during years of insurance industry rate increases.
Atlantic Canada, well realistically the entire world, is entering what the insurance industry refers to as a “hard market”. And it really is that, It’s hard. It is difficult, and hard to talk about. General gist, it means that rates are going up.
We’ve tacked this subject in a previous post about auto rates in the province of NB, but we need to talk about it again. The reality is, rates are continuing to increase on all types of insurance, and no one knows how long this will last.
Hard Market vs. Soft Market: Some History
As with many industries, the insurance industry goes through cycles of hard and soft markets. The industry loves a soft market. During the last one, from 2006 to 2016, insurance rates were low, and competition was fierce. We were able to source fantastic rates for our customers. Life was good.
Unfortunately, the tides began to change in 2016, and we started seeing the market lose some of its softness. Insurance companies began to pay out more and more in losses, and reached a point where many were paying out more in claims than they were collecting in premiums. Most people in the industry agree that the increase in repair costs and the staggering number of claims due to major weather incidents are two of the biggest contributing factors.
How to Handle the Hard Market
Until insurance companies return to a point of profitability, we will see rates going up on both home and auto insurance. Important to remember, however, the insurance industry is open, and still quite competitive. Your hands are not tied in making sure that your insurance portfolio is well managed. We’ve compiled our top four tips to adapt to the current market situation.
Call your broker. There is absolutely no better time to be with an insurance broker than now. With the direct providers, like the banks, you are stuck to their product, and their rate. You are not provided with options. Your insurance broker, on the other hand, can take the time to remarket your insurance portfolio. At Kent & White, we represent some of the largest insurance providers in the country, and always have an option to move your portfolio to another provider. If you are a current customer, call us. We are happy to help you with this! We have an excellent view of the market and can check with almost 10 different companies with one application.
If you are not with a broker, find a good one! We fully admit that this is self-serving, but the advice is good never-the-less. Whether you choose us in Atlantic Canada or would like for us to recommend a fantastic broker in another province, an insurance broker will get you through this market. They will work with you to find the best possible balance between coverage and price, and they can shop your rate for you anytime that you like.
Find a GOOD one! Yes, this is slightly repetitive to our second point, but we cannot stress it enough. Not all brokers are created equal. In our office, one of our core values is around continuous learning. Many brokerages invest in the minimum education requirements for their staff. Kent & White invests heavily in training our people (as do a number of others!). Our team invests in education directly with the insurers, ongoing broker training, and multiple communication tools to assist our brokers in sharing knowledge.
GROUP PROGRAMS! Maybe this should have been our first point, but group programs provide an extremely high level of value! At Kent & White, we have group programs for the Chaleur, Edmundston, and Haut-Madawaska Chambers of Commerce, as well as United Steel Workers (USW) and SOAR. All employee who works for a member company of the Chamber plans mentioned above, or any USW union member, or retiree have access to some of the best rates in the country for them and their family. Many of our new clients are thrilled to find out that they end up qualifying for one of our group programs.
The insurance market will soften again, but our guidance for managing your insurance will remain sound. A good broker will always be your greatest advocate in the industry. We shop the best rates across the country with one application, and we are not limited to one product, or one rate like the direct providers. We are completely independent from your insurance provider, and mandated to represent our clients, NOT the insurer.
As always, we will continue to provide our customers with information that we feel is relevant. Here is a link to some additional reading that may help to explain the current insurance market:
Kent & White Insurance is one of the largest insurance brokers in Northern NB. With our unwavering commitment to the community, and building a comfortable environment for our customers, staff, and our community, we have been ones of the fastest growing brokerages in Atlantic Canada. We are excited to keep growing and looking for the best darn Personal Lines Account Manager to join or team!
As a Personal Lines Account Manager, your job is to promote the core values of Kent & White Insurance with our existing client base. With a focus on instilling comfort, you will provide insight and guidance for our personal lines clients when making policy changes, asking for advice, inquiring about claims, or in making the decision to re-market their insurance portfolio.
Our Ideal Candidate
We are more concerned with your character than current skill sets. We believe that skills can be taught, character cannot be.
As our ideal candidate, you are:
Frankly, awesome: you are a nice, hard-working person who is looking to feel more like part of the family than an employee. You’re easy to get along with, and a pleasure for or team and clients to deal with; Community focused: you are a person who likes to get involved in the community and takes pride in a company who feels the same;
Able to speak up when it counts: You work for your clients. Sometimes that means being an advocate for your client with our insurers. You aren’t afraid to pick up the phone, or exert your influence to make sure that happens;
Fluent in our two beautiful languages: You can easily switch between French and English to ensure that our customers are served in the language of their choosing;
Pretty bright: You pick up new concepts quickly and are able to apply your knowledge in order to problem solve;
Adaptable: You understand that change is a constant and can see the big picture when new processes, or technologies are introduced;
Our “Nice to Haves”
Familiar with Microsoft Office suite of products;
College or University degree;
Two or more years work experience in an office environment.
Our Work Environment:
We value hard work, and commitment. We look for people who are looking for a long-term career, with the potential for upward mobility;
Our working hours are 8:30 to 4:30 with occasional extended hours during busy season, or to accommodate a client;
We are a professional, but friendly office that strives to create an extremely comfortable atmosphere;
We are dedicated to ongoing learning, and pay for all Insurance CAIB designations, and additional training;
We offer a benefits package, optional RRSP matching, paid volunteer days, and paid vacation.
April showers bring May flowers, as well as a ton of worries! Here in Northern New Brunswick, we’re no strangers to difficult winters, but what about the difficulties that come along with spring? No, we’re not talking about pot holes.
Important to note: this information is based on the interpretation of insurance company manuals by Kent & White Insurance brokers. Certain underwriting conditions and/or restrictions may apply.
This winter has been particularly tough. The massive amount of snow we received has decided to stick around a little longer than usual, but that hasn’t stopped Mother Nature’s scheduled rain fall. Usually welcomed to speed up the snow melting process, this year, excessive amounts of rain fall are weighing heavy on people’s minds due to higher chances of flooding. Are you sure you’re protected?
Our brokers at Kent & White Insurance dug deep into the manuals of our insurance partners, and here’s what we’ve found. Our partner companies offer something called endorsements. In the instance of overland water, they are add-ons to your home policy (for an additional premium) that can broaden coverages for water damage. Although the names of the endorsements vary from policy to policy, overland water endorsements were designed with springs like ours in mind. When you add this package to your home policy, you’re ensuring that any sudden and accidental escape of water from a sewer, sump, septic system, or other entry points due to spring conditions are covered. Here are the top five main differences to look out for from company to company:
Some insurance companies determine eligibility based on specific zones, territories or even distance from a body of water. Make sure to verify that you are meeting the specific eligibility requirements of your insurance company for overland water coverage.
Insurance coverage limits and options can vary quite significantly from company to company. Limits can range from $10,000 to full policy limits. Ask you insurance broker to verify that your limit is adequate for your needs.
Many insurance companies exclude coverage for flood water from bodies of salt water or from coastal waters. Make sure to consider this if you have an existing home, or if you are building a home, near a shoreline.
Some insurance companies will contribute extra funds for you to install a remedial device (such as a backflow valve) in the event of a claim. If you do end up with a water damage claim, check to see if your company contributes with funds for this added benefit
Overland water coverage is sometimes included with sewer backup coverage, or it can be a separate coverage on its own depending on the insurance company. Having sewer backup coverage does not necessarily mean you have overland water coverage. This is something that can be verified with a quick call to your insurance broker.
Here at Kent & White, we know that your property is more than just a location on a map; it’s home-sweet-home. Whether you’re a current client of Kent & White Insurance, or a future client wanting to make sure your property is protected, give us a call or come in to speak with one of our dedicated brokers. We’ll make sure everything in your policy is right as rain!
If you live in New Brunswick, your auto insurance rates are probably going up. Potentially a lot. Biggest jump in the past decade sort-of a lot.
Important to note: Posted increases are approved overall average rate changes for private passenger vehicles by insurance company. Your specific policy increase may be higher, or lower than the posted rates.
Every person in our office shares that collective sigh of frustration. We are all clients too.
The silver lining is that consumers are not left powerless. We all have choice.
Our brokers at Kent & White Insurance can help you in this process. Whether you are a current client looking to review your latest renewal, or a future client who would like to benefit from our approach, we are experts at finding that delicate balance between the best coverage and available rates. Unlike the direct insurers, our brokerage has the advantage of shopping your policy with multiple insurance companies, many of which are offering some of the best rates in Atlantic Canada today.
As the dedicated broker for the Chamber of Commerce group home and auto plans for Chaleur(formerly Greater Bathurst), Edmundston, and Haut-Madawaska, we are especially fortunate to see our primary group partner, Travelers, taking one of the lowest rate increases in the province. This is huge for us (and you)! We can continue to offer significant group discounts to most people working for local companies in the above-mentioned regions. You may in fact work for a Chamber member and not even realize it (click here to see if your employer is a member of a Chamber of Commerce: Chaleur | Edmundston | Haut-Madawaska).
For our existing clients, we will continue to do what we do; review your renewals to ensure the best coverage and contact you with any inconsistencies. It is important to review your own renewals as well. If you are not satisfied with your renewal, we will gladly revisit your policy with you to find the best fit.
If there is any danger or on-going damage occurring, your first priority should be to ensure your safety and limit the damage to your property. At that point, you should take care to act quickly and with the right information.
Keep phone numbers available
Alert the police of any theft or break-in
Alert us of an insured loss as soon as your situation permits.
We can advise you as to whether or not you should make a claim. Your loss might not be covered or even if it is covered, you might still not want to make a claim if your premiums will increase as a result
Do not alter evidence of the loss
For example, by starting to clean up after a pipe bursts or altering the scene of a break-in. If you absolutely must alter anything take detailed pictures of the damage first
Work with us as well as the claims adjuster
Once your claim has been made, the insurance company may appoint an adjuster to get a clear picture of the circumstances and extent of the loss. They may assist in securing repairs and can help with arrangements for accommodations. They might also decide to limit the amount of a payment or to not pay at all – depending on the situation. If you are unsure about the role of your adjuster and the information they are using, be sure to contact us and we will help bring clarity to the situation.
Of course! We will assist you with your claim and serve as your advocate in dealing with the insurance company. If you bought your insurance directly from an insurance company, however, you must deal directly with that company’s claims department.
Low return on investment – During the last three decades, investment income, when added to premiums, covered the cost of claims. However, as we all know, investment returns have declined dramatically since the late 90’s. As a result, insurance companies now have far less investment income to offset underwriting losses.
Claims – Although the number of automobile accidents has not changed in recent years, the number and cost of injuries have dramatically increased.
Fraud – When others cheat, we all must pay. The Canadian Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that 15 to 22% of personal injury claims are fraudulent – costing the industry $500 million a year.
Global catastrophes such as the 1998 Québec-Ontario Ice Storm, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the severe flooding in Europe in 2002, resulted in major claims payments.
However, we have all the best tools and knowledge to “shop around” on your behalf in order to obtain the best coverage at the best possible price.