Northbridge Insurance introduces new ridesharing policy for RideCo drivers in Ontario

Northbridge Insurance is proud to announce today that it will provide drivers of one of Canada’s fastest-growing ridesharing companies, RideCo, with an insurance solution that’s tailored to their needs.

Unlike a personal auto insurance policy, Northbridge Insurance’s new commercial ridesharing policy will cover drivers from the moment they are available to accept a ride request, up to the moment their passenger leaves their vehicle.

“We worked with RideCo to design coverage that would meet the needs of their drivers and passengers, and be simple and easy to use,” said Ilda Dinis, VP of Customer Experience and Marketing. “We’re excited to partner with an innovative Canadian company that’s focused on ridesharing.”

“Shared rides in dynamically routed vehicles is key to making microtransit successful, and filling in the gaps where traditional transit solutions are inconvenient or inefficient,” added Prem Gururajan, RideCo Founder and CEO. “Northbridge Insurance’s new insurance policy makes it easy for rideshare drivers to participate in the growth of microtransit services, thus making our cities more connected.”

Currently operating in the Waterloo region, passengers on the RideCo platform can easily book a trip door-to-door or hub-to-hub using the RideCo app. RideCo’s technology matches customers based on their route and facilitates shared trips, which often means passengers save money. Unlike other shared-ride solutions that are only offered in high density downtown cores such as Toronto, the RideCo solution provides great sharing in high density as well as lower density cities and suburb-to-city scenarios.

RideCo’s platform was recently utilized for a one-year microtransit pilot in Milton, through a partnership with Metrolinx and Milton Transit.

About RideCo:

Based in Waterloo, RideCo has created the next generation logistics and shared-mobility platform. Our technology enables door-to-door and hub-to-hub shared rides everywhere, including lower density regions currently unserved by existing solutions. RideCo is forging the future for shared mobility and microtransit. Visit rideco.com for more information.

About Northbridge Insurance:

Northbridge Insurance is a leading Canadian commercial insurer. Working with our broker partners, we focus on understanding the needs of our customers and on creating solutions that make a difference to their success.

Ridesharing policy underwritten by Northbridge General Insurance Corporation.

How to protect your property from a wildfire

Comment protéger vos biens contre les feux de friches

The dry, hot weather means an increasing danger of wildfires. These can make your business vulnerable to damage, as we saw recently in Fort McMurray.

As a property owner, you can take steps to help protect yourself from a wildfire spreading to your land or buildings. Below are five suggestions to help you prepare and reduce the risk of damage from a wildfire.

Stay informed

Having the right information at the right time can make all the difference in helping you react before it’s too late. Monitor your local news radio and TV stations and stay up to date on weather developments. Go online and find out what weather alerts are available in your area and check them frequently. If you have a Twitter account, “follow” your local weather stations to get the latest updates sent to your mobile phone.

Create a defensible safety zone

Trees, grass and shrubbery are all fuel for wildfires. Minimizing the amount of vegetation surrounding your property can help lessen the risk of a fire reaching and damaging your property and possessions. Inspect the land surrounding your property and remove highly flammable vegetation such as pine and fir trees, and keep lawns green and mowed. Move landscaping plants and vines away from the sides of your property.

Be visible to emergency services and be evacuation-ready

Is your office building visible to emergency crews in the event there is a fire and you call 9-1-1? If not, make sure the address is clearly visible from the road to passersby, and your street sign is fireproof. Furthermore, plan access and evacuation routes. Driveways should be at least 5 meters in width to allow for easy entrance of fire trucks. Lastly, plan a safe escape route for you and your employees, and ensure everyone knows the plan. Put up signs at every exit showing the evacuation route for that particular area.

Plan your transportation and find a place to stay

Once you’ve figured out your evacuation plan, decide on your means of transportation. If you plan on evacuating by car, keep your car fueled and in good condition. Keep an emergency kit in your car that includes supplies, food and change of clothes. If you need to share transportation, make those arrangements in advance, and research public transportation schedules to make sure everyone in your company gets home safely. In the event that you need to relocate for a period of time, identify a place you and your employees could go to.

Safeguard your valuables

A wildfire can happen at any time and as a result you may need to evacuate your premises at a moment’s notice. To be prepared, keep all of you important documents such as insurance forms, bank information, contact information and client lists in one place.  Best practices are to keep these documents in a fire proof safe or cabinet.

If you own vehicles, make sure they’re insured and, if you have time, transport them to a safe location in the event of a wildfire. Also, ensure you have a reliable external water supply to help protect your structure and natural areas from fires.

Ensure your disaster recovery plan and insurance policy are up to date

Statistics show that one in four businesses do not re-open after disaster strikes, and many that do re-open struggle to stay in business. Preparing ahead of time can help increase your business’ chances of surviving and resuming operations after an incident. For this reason, part of your Risk Management program should be dedicated to ensuring business continuity and resumption of normal operations as quickly as possible. Regularly review and update your disaster recovery plan.

Also, check in with your insurance provider often to find out exactly what is covered under your business insurance policy. If you have multiple office locations, check all insurance policies to ensure that you have sufficient liability protection against damages.

Wildfires can occur anywhere and at any time. By taking preventative measures early on and preparing for an emergency, you can act quickly to help protect your property from a wildfire when disaster hits.

 

This article is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.

Northbridge General Insurance Corporation is the insurer of Northbridge Insurance policies.

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7 tips to reduce and manage stress at work

7 tips to reduce and manage stress at work

Learning to effectively manage stress in the workplace has become a popular topic lately. Work environments can put physical and emotional stress causing short- and long-term effects on a person’s well-being . According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. It’s a state of well-being.” Long-haul driving, layoffs, workplace injury, and budget cuts can make workplaces an increasingly stressful environment.

Learning how to manage stress in the workplace is a skill that gets better with use. By educating yourself on the triggers and how to cope with stressful situations, you’ll be able to focus on the work at hand without getting overwhelmed and jeopardizing your health.

Below are warning signs to watch out for, and some effective ways to cope with workplace stress.

Signs and symptoms of excessive job and workplace stress

  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Apathy, loss of interest in work
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Substance abuse

Tips to cope with stress in the workplace

1. Don’t overcommit yourself: Avoid scheduling meetings back-to-back. Set aside a day of the week that is free of meetings. If you’ve got too much on your plate, consider delegating tasks to your team members.

2. Schedule regular breaks: Sitting at your desk all day can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being. Set aside time in your calendar to get up from your seat and step away from your work to briefly recharge with a walk or a coffee break. You’ll return to your seat reenergized and more productive – and be thankful for the break!

3. Get moving (exercise): A healthy body results in a health mind. Physical exercise has shown to improve the chemical imbalances in your brain, specifically by producing endorphins – chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. They not only reduce stress, but also improve your ability to sleep.

4. Sleep seven hours a night: Too much stress can make us anxious and cause sleep deprivation, which can lead to other illnesses such as depression or sleep apnea. Research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep have more difficulty concentrating and more mood swings than people who sleep seven to nine hours a night. Similar to children, set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it!

5. Break projects into manageable steps: Managing what appears to be a never-ending flow of work can get exhausting. If you have a large project or several large projects on the go, create a step-by-step plan or a work-back schedule and focus on one manageable step at a time.

6. Practise meditation: If we only thought as far as the present moment, we’d probably have less stress in our lives. Meditation can help to cultivate that mindset by clearing away the information overload that builds up on a daily basis adding to your stress. Allocate a few minutes every day to decompressing and let go of the clutter in your head. Check out these meditation tips to help you get started.

7. Laugh often: If you can’t find humour in every situation, then you’re taking life way too seriously. Develop a capacity to meet challenges with humour. Laughter not only makes you feel good, but releases a cocktail of happy chemicals (serotonin, endorphins, natural killer cells) that boost your immune responses, which act as a natural antidote to many of the illness-causing effects of stress.

You can’t control everything in your work environment, but with the right education and preparation, you can control how you manage stress in the workplace. If you make a claim due to suffering a traumatic loss, confidential counselling services are available on a 24-hour basis through Trauma Assist at no additional charge to all Northbridge Insurance Business Choice customers.

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Top 4 challenges facing tire dealers

Top 4 challenges facing tire dealers

The top challenges facing tire dealers aren’t new. Recruitment, regulations and margins are all challenges of the past, present and future. If you’re a tire dealer, being informed about these issues can help you better manage your operations. Here are some of the top challenges facing tire dealers right now:

Recruiting and retaining talent

Employee recruitment continues to be a challenge for tire dealers, particularly fresh young talent. Cars are still of interest to many, but high schools are ushering students toward college and away from hands-on work. Lack of qualified applicants keeps tire dealers from hiring ideal applicants. And those who do get recruited end up leaving for a higher paying job.

Vehicle age keeps climbing

Today, the average age of passenger cars and light trucks on the road is 11.4 years combined. The number of vehicles in operation (VIO) is estimated to grow by 5% to 260 million by 2018. The changing ages of vehicles on the road will impact the type of repairs facing the aftermarket. According to Mark Seng, vice president, global aftermarket practice leader at HIS/Polk, there will be more do-it-for-me (DIFM) repairs for vehicles 6 to 11 years old, and more do-it-yourself (DIY) repairs and maintenance for vehicles older than 12 years. Four-cylinder engines providing consumers with desired power and fuel-efficiency are becoming more popular, lessening the demand for large vehicles, with the exception of large pickups.

Margin pressures

Sticking price as the value for tires continues to be a challenge for tire dealers as consumers seek out cheaper products. Internet pricing is killing margins for tire dealers, who have trouble selling tires at the average margin due to customers finding cheaper tires elsewhere. Maintaining responsibility and ethics in the manufacturing of quality tires at a reasonable price for consumers continues to be a priority for tire dealers.

Casing supply

Tough economic times have caused supply shortages for used casing distributors. More commercial fleets are running their tires longer to cut costs, causing shipment of used tires to developing countries to drop. This has also affected imports; there’s been a scarcity in casings being imported for certain truck sizes. Large retreaders, however, haven’t been affected by this supply decline since the casings are still suitable for retreading despite the tread being nearly gone.

By recognizing these trends early on and planning for the future, tire dealers can come up with innovative ways to combat challenges and stay in business.

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