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Aboriginal Insurance Services

Protect property from snow and ice damage

As we head into the winter months, many parts of this country will be covered and affected by snow and ice. It is important to be fully prepared in case of any winter disasters such as hail storms or flooding due to melting ice, to alleviate any stresses to yourself as a homeowner. A typical homeowner’s insurance policy will include protection due to ice-related damage, however there are things as a homeowner that you should keep in mind to protect your home. Some key protection factors that are important to remember are:


Hail can be seriously damaging to the roof and windows of your home. Most insurance policies include dwelling coverage, which may help protect your home against hail or other ice related incidences. However, hail can also cause damage to other parts of your property such as an unattached garage or shed. As these weather situations can occur at any time, it is a good idea to check with your insurance company as to what your policy entails before it happens.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Hail Damage

Hail can also seriously damage your vehicle. This is a good time of year to get rid of anything unwanted and clear your garage of clutter so that you are able to park your vehicle inside.

Not only will you be certain that your vehicle will be safe and free of hail damage should a storm occur, but you will also get into a car free of snow and ice, making it easier on you.

Roof Collapse

During the coldest months of the year, ice can form and build up on your roof which can cause damaging problems. A roof collapse can occur when the roof can no longer bear the weight of the ice and snow on it. You may be able to prevent a roof collapse from happening by taking some preventative measures as a homeowner such as keeping your gutters clean and free of debris as well as snow and ice and removing snow and ice from your roof as needed. You could also hire a professional to clean the gutters and roof for you to ensure it is safe and that no damage will be caused to your home.

Ice Dams

An ice dam can occur when ice forms on the edge of a roof and prevents any melting water from running off. When water gets blocked up against the ice dam, it may start to leak through the roof and cause water damage. However, some routine maintenance on your home can help prevent this kind damage.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - winter property tips - ice dam

Keeping your gutters clean and checking for any already possible ice dams so that water can flow freely, will help in preventing any destruction from an ice dam. Also ensuring that your attic is properly insulated and ventilated will prevent heat from inside the home escaping into the attic and causing the snow and ice on the roof to melt.

A roofing contractor will be able to provide these services to you.

Frozen and Burst Pipes

The risk of your pipes freezing and bursting increases when temperatures drop below freezing. At a temperature of 0 degrees, even for a short period, you run the risk of a pipe fracture or worse. To ensure your pipes do not freeze, it is important to properly maintain the temperature inside the house. A routine check of the pipes in the house is also a good way to ensure there is no potential for damage. Anywhere cold air blows on a pipe, it creates the ability for freezing. To make sure your pipes stay well insulated, close crawl space vents and stuff insulation over the openings. Be sure to fill in all cracks, as even a tiny hole can allow for a lot of cold air to blow in.

Ice Related Injuries

Ice on the ground can sometimes be difficult to see and can result in injury. Take preventative caution by keeping a bucket of salt or sand near any walkways, driveways and outdoor stairwells. Easy accessibility to these items will ensure that they get used. Salt melts the ice whereas sand does not. Sand is an abrasive material and therefore is usually applied to icy roads to provide traction at any temperature. Salt is not as effective in extreme cold, but sand is only effective if it is on the surface of the ice. Excessive amounts of these materials may end up collecting into the drainage areas, so a good clean up of sand and salt after a storm is important or you may have a problem when spring arrives. When it comes down to it, the best way to prevent ice building up is to keep the snow off your driveway or walkway so that it won’t compact and freeze. Be sure to keep a shovel nearby to use early and often.

Liability coverage typically comes with homeowners insurance. This type of insurance is beneficial if you are found legally responsible after someone has injured themselves on your property. As you prepare for another cold and sometimes nasty winter, take the time to call your insurance company and discuss the information regarding your insurance policy. This will help you to better understand your policy as well as make any changes you may need. You will have a better peace of mind throughout the season knowing these protections are in place.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Towing a Trailer in Canada

Towing Recreational Trailers in Canada

Summer is definitely the time for trips, travel, and towing.

Whether your trailer is a recreational camper, a pop-up sleeper, an equipment trailer or just for hauling loads to the dump, you need to know the rules, regulations, and requirements for your province or territory.

There are many different types of recreational trailers that could be towed by a vehicle:

  • Travel trailer
  • 5th wheel
  • Campers
  • Tent trailer
  • Toy hauler (for things like ATVs, snowmobiles and dirt bikes)
  • Park model
  • Boat trailer

Trailers must be registered and licensed before they can be used on the road.

In Canada, regulations for towing trailers differ across the country, from province to territory. The only common ground that is agreed upon across the nation is that trailers cannot be more than 8 feet, 5 inches wide (2.4 metres), and that trailers require working tail lights, brake lights, reflectors, and turn signals.

Maximum weight for trailers without brakes differs across the country, as do the rules on maximum heights allowed for a trailer. Safety chains are required across the country except in the Northwest Territories.

Know your vehicle before you tow

Before you tow any type of trailer, recreational or other, be sure to consider the condition of your vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you are towing a fifth-wheel, or a pop-up camper, you need to ensure your vehicle is capable of towing the trailer and the load within the trailer. While most mid-sized vehicles (cars, mini-vans, and light-duty pickup trucks) can pull a trailer, they cannot pull ALL trailers.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Tips for Towing a Trailer in Canada

Towing a trailer that is heavier than the recommended weight provided by the car manufacturer can seriously damage your vehicle, and even void your warranty. Always check the manufacturers GCWR (gross combined weight rating) before towing anything.

You also need to make sure you have the right type of towing hitch. When purchasing a hitch, you need to know details such as the height and weight of the trailer, and the type of brakes the trailer has.

Always secure the load, and remember to balance the weight.

It is also important to remember load balancing when it comes to trailers. Always store heavy items low, and lightweight items high. Keeping the center of gravity low helps to minimize sway and wobble in a trailer. Make sure that all heavy items cannot slide around. Balance the weight of the load in the center between the two sides of the trailer, and place the heaviest items towards the front. A good rule of thumb is to keep 60% of the weight of the cargo in the front half of the trailer, but no more than 10% of the weight over the tongue.

For trailers up to 2,000lbs, no more than 200 pounds over the tongue
For trailers over 2,000lbs, tongue load should be only 10-15 percent
For fifth-wheel trailers, tongue load should be no more than 25%

Check and recheck your load is balanced and secure frequently throughout your trip. This is especially necessary for long drives or bumpy road conditions where items may shift or become loose.

Practice, practice, practice!

Towing a trailer also requires knowhow and skill. Almost half of the reported collisions from drivers towing a trailer are single-vehicle accidents, not caused by other drivers, but by the driver towing the trailer themselves. Another 20% were rear-end collisions because vehicles towing trailers require a greater distance to stop. In cases where it was determined that the driver was at fault, 30% of the accidents happened because the driver “lost control” of the vehicle.

Before driving off with a trailer in tow, practice in a safe area. Do a circle check to make sure all the lights, brake lights, and turn signals are working. Adjust your mirrors. And practice turning and backing up in a nice wide-open safe area. Remember, backing up is the most difficult part of maneuvering a trailer.

Towing also requires more time to accelerate, merge, brake, and turn.

Trailers and Insurance

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Towing a Trailer in CanadaTruck campers, pop-up tent trailers, equipment trailers, and any other type of trailer that is not drivable on its own (requires towing by a truck or other vehicle) can be insured by your auto insurance policy. However, there are limitations so be sure to check with your insurance company before you tow them. Many policies will automatically cover damage done by your trailer (liability), but they do not cover damage done to your trailer without an additional coverage option. These added coverages can be as low as a few dollars a month.

Contents of your trailer are normally covered under your home or renter’s insurance policy, which should provide for your belongings (no matter where they are located). There may be limits to the value of the coverage when it comes to towing, so be sure to check with your insurance company.

Larger travel trailers are a big investment, and should be considered for their own insurance policy. They can be added to your automobile policy, but with limitations.

A motor home or RV is not the same as a travel trailer. Because a motor home can be driven on its own (independently of other vehicles) it requires its own insurance policy.

With boat trailers, the trailer should be covered under your auto insurance. Some insurance policies do automatically cover boats up to a certain length.

Recreational Trailer Resource Links

Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada
RV Regulations for Maximum Dimensions, Towing, and Safety
Brake Requirements
License Regulations

Transport Canada
Lighting equipment list and location requirements(downloadable PDF)

Camping Canada
Recreational Towing Regulations by Province or Territory

Aboriginal Insurance Services - credit protection coverage

The importance of Credit Protection Insurance

When sickness or injury prevents you from being able to perform the duties of your job, or if you lose your job completely, finding the money to continue to pay your mortgage, loans, credit cards, or line of credit can be extremely overwhelming for you or your family.

Credit protection insurance is a coverage program that helps you or your family make sure these loan payments are made. These insurance programs are very flexible, easy to obtain, and can be custom tailored to any type of financing.

Most financial institutions, banks, credit unions, and insurance companies offer this form of financial insurance to cover:

  • Personal lines of credit
  • Mortgage loans, and mortgage lines of credit
  • Personal loans
  • Commercial mortgage loans
  • Farm loans
  • Credit card balances

Credit Protection is open to Canadian residents between the ages of 18 and 65. You can choose one or more of the coverage options, depending on your circumstances and your unique needs.

Four Major Types of Credit Protection Insurance

Critical Illness
If you have been diagnosed with a critical illness, this coverage can pay the outstanding balance on your lines of credit or loans. This is usually done by a lump sum payment. The cost of critical illness insurance is determined by factors such as your age, the balance of the loan you are covering, and whether or not you need single, joint, or multiple coverage.

With Critical Illness insurance, your monthly expenses like mortgage payments and line of credit payments are taken care of, allowing you to use your money for any other health related expenses you may need to assist you.

Applying for critical illness coverage usually involves answering a few basic health questions. In most cases, no medical examination is required.

In the event of your death, this insurance can pay the outstanding balance on the loans or mortgages you have covered, freeing the people you love and care about from having to pay off these debts. The cost of life coverage is determined by factors such as your age, the balance of the loan you are covering, and whether or not you need single, joint, or multiple coverage.

If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness that is expected to cause your death within one year, many policies will provide an early payout.
Applying for life coverage usually involves answering a few basic health questions. In most cases, no medical examination is required.

If you become disabled and unable to work, disability coverage will make your minimum monthly payments on the insured loans. Most policies cover your monthly payments as well as providing a maximum monthly benefit amount for up to 2 years. Many policies can be approved without a medical questionnaire or examination.

Premiums for disability coverage are based on the amount of the loans during the billing period so you only pay for the coverage you need. For example, if your line of credit is at zero, there is no premium charged, but the coverage remains in place for when you do have a balance.

Disability insurance can be applied to self-employed workers in certain cases.

Job Loss
If you lose your job involuntarily, job loss insurance can cover your minimum monthly payment on your insured loans. The payments will be made on the loan’s due dates, so your credit rating is not affected.

With job loss insurance, the payments are made directly to your financial institution on your behalf.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - forestry and wood products industry coverage

Funding for First Nation Forestry Iniatives

The Indigenous Forestry Initiative is a funding program for Aboriginal communities and their economic development projects, especially those in the forestry sector.

To be accepted for funding, projects must qualify in the following areas:

1. Clean technology and participation in the forest bioeconomy
Example: a project promoting the use of biomass for heat and power to reduce reliance on diesel fuel

2. Environmental stewardship
Example: a project that focuses, on climate change mitigation and adaptation, land reclamation, or environmental/ecological services

3. Use and management of forest resources
Example: a project that gives people in the community training in forest management

Eligible projects also need to have at least one partner—such as the federal or provincial government, a research organization, or other industry—who are contributing financially or with goods and services that are in-kind.

Who can apply for funding?

  • Indigenous communities and governments
      – band and tribal councils
      – governments of self-governing First Nations
      – local governments of Inuit communities
      – Métis organizations
      – economic development corporations
  • for-profit and not-for-profit corporations, partnerships, joint ventures, associations, co-operatives and institutions that are Indigenous or majority-owned and controlled by Indigenous people or fully endorsed by an Indigenous partner organization or community
  • provincial, territorial, municipal and regional governments working with an Indigenous partner organization
  • academic institutions and research associations working with an Indigenous partner organization

For more information on the program, or information on how to apply, visit Natural Resources Canada.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - First Nation community police services coverage

First Nations police services receive Parity

In Ontario, despite having the same training and job functions, First Nations police services have not been paid on parity with the rest of the province’s official police services. Earlier this month, the province of Ontario committed to providing $20.7 million in initial funding for all uniform employees of First Nations police services to ensure they receive the same wages as their provincial counterparts.

*Announced by APTN News, April 3, 2017, by Willow Fiddler

For more information, check out the full article at APTN News.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Construction Insurance coverage for contractors, developers, handymen

Construction insurance is integral to the job

The art of construction can be an expensive undertaking. It can involve large financial investments, manpower, and support. Workers may need to use expensive and dangerous tools, equipment or materials. Any accident or delay in construction can be dangerous and expensive.

Construction insurance needs to be flexible. It has to cover many different risks and areas throughout the entire process (start to finish) and cover everyone from building owners down to contractors and part-time workers.

Construction insurance covers the financial costs that could occur in the event of an accident or injury to people, property, equipment, or the environment while connected to the job site. It will not only protect the company owner, but the workers, employees, sub-contractors, tenants, and even business partners, managers, and sole-proprietors.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Construction Insurance

Job sites and construction areas can be extremely dangerous. Employers are liable (financially responsible) for the health and safety of everyone within the construction area. If a worker is injured, the contractor or business owner may be required to pay for the medical treatment costs. The death of a worker on-site could result in needing to pay financial compensation to the family. In the event of poor construction, the business owner could be held financially accountable for repairs or remodeling.

With construction insurance, the financial assistance comes from the insurance company, and not your own pocket.

This type of insurance package also covers equipment or goods stored on or off premises, or being transported to or from the job site, and commercial vehicle coverage for trucks and other company vehicles should an employee have an accident while driving one, or if driving their own vehicle on company time.

Primary types of risk construction companies face:

  • Employee injuries (injuries to employees on the job or job-related, illnesses or death)
  • Property Damage (damages to company tools, equipment, or property)
  • Income Loss (loss of income from events that cause the work to stop such as a fire or storm damage)
  • Liability Risks (injuries or property damage caused to someone outside the company or not part of the crew)

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Construction insurance for contractors, handymen, developersConstruction insurance is not just for big companies and business owners. Any person working in the construction industry or trades should have insurance, including electricians, plumbers, drywallers, handymen, carpenters, and more.

Construction insurance does not exempt you from keeping a safe and secure workplace. Many policies require a strict set of health and safety guidelines are followed.

Aboriginal Insurance Services works directly with community contractors, workers, and business owners to train and empower community members in work safety. Our program continues to work for you even after the job is done, protecting you from any faults or accidents that may occur after you’ve moved on to the next project or job site.

Aboriginal Insurance Services Tenant's Insurance for First Nations

Why Tenant’s Insurance is so Important

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, half of all renter’s don’t have tenant’s insurance.

This is especially true for Aboriginal communities.

Of those who do have insurance, many undervalue their clothing and personal belongings.

Tenant’s insurance will not only replace your belongings in cases of damage like fire or flood, or if you have a break-in, it will also protect you from liability (being responsible for something by law) if something should happen in your unit. For example, if a cooking fire were to cause a fire that in the end effects other units in the building, or if you leave a tap on that causes water damage, then the building owner could charge you for the cost of the damage. If a person were to slip and fall while in your apartment, you could be held financially responsible for their medical bills as well as compensation for their pain and suffering.

Without insurance, the money will come out of your pocket.

Aboriginal Insurance Services housing insurance for First Nations communities across Canada

What is Liability Insurance? A typical insurance policy provides coverage, up to a specified limit, for the amount of money you would have to pay someone who successfully sues you. This is known as “Liability Coverage” or “Liability Insurance”. The insurance policy will also cover the legal costs of defending the lawsuit. Some leases may require that you keep up-to-date liability insurance.

Tenants insurance can also provide for additional living expenses. If there was a fire and you had to leave the building while repairs were completed, where would you go? Could you afford to eat out every night? Tenants insurance covers the necessary expenses while your unit is being repaired like hotel bills, restaurant meals, and the cost of moving and storage.

Tenants insurance doesn’t just cover the big things like your clothes, furniture, and technology. It also covers the little things you need and use every day, like dishes, children’s toys, and household items. Compared to the costs of what you could lose financially if you don’t have tenant’s insurance, the premium price for the coverage is minimal.

The Cost of Tenant’s Insurance

The premium price of tenant’s insurance depends on many things, including the value of your contents, the amount of coverage you choose, the location of your unit, and the type of construction materials used in the building. But most importantly, the price of the premium depends on the insurance company you choose.

Aboriginal Insurance Services for First Nations in CanadaBecause of the remote location of many Aboriginal communities, most insurance companies fail to provide proper coverage options, or they rank the premiums so high that tenant’s insurance becomes impossible for community residents to afford. They also fail to see the proper value in culturally sensitive items by undervaluing them, or not covering them at all.

At Aboriginal Insurance Services, our coverage is not only unique to your culture and community, it is priced affordably to provide you with the best possible coverage options for all your belongings.

We also offer bundled coverage discounts if you have a vehicle or other insurable item, and our coverage includes all of Canada, including remote northern locations.

Aboriginal Insurance Services

Introducing Aboriginal Insurance Services

Aboriginal Insurance Services helps you understand the big picture, so you can feel good about the action you’re taking to protect yourself, key people, important assets, and your community. As a Managing General Agency, we work closely with brokers and insurers to find the best deal for clients. We are a majority Aboriginally owned company and are personally invested in empowering the communities we serve. We employ within the community, and offer first right of refusal for local suppliers and contractors.

Aboriginal Insurance Services

Knowing how a Risk Assessment Works

Every organization, business, and community needs to know and understand the risks they face. These risks can cause damage to buildings, business, finances, the environment, and even cause loss of life or injury to customers and staff. A Risk Assessment helps you find out exactly what risks you are facing, which in turn can help you mitigate them.

Aboriginal Insurance Services

Risk Assessment vs Risk Management

Risk Management and Risk Assessment are often confused. Sometimes they are interchanged, other times one is left behind. It is key to remember that Risk Management and Risk Assessment are partners. While both refer to different parts of the process, they belong together.

Risk Assessment is the information.

Risk Management is the plan.

While some risks can be easy to predict, others are beyond control. Without a Risk Assessment, you will not know what each of the hazards and risks are, or their harmful potential. Without a Risk Management plan, you won’t know how to deal with the risk when it happens.