Merger of mutual insurance companies creates Salus Mutual Insurance Company

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Two century-old mutual insurance companies have merged to become the Salus Mutual Insurance Company. The merger involving Howard Mutual and West Elgin Mutual was effective Jan. 1.

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The Salus name has Greek and Roman roots, being the ancient goddess of protection, health and prosperity, a theme that appealed to the planners.

Howard Mutual was created in 1892 when farmers from nearby Howard Township discussed the need for insuring their barns and homes, and decided to create the company for their own mutual protection and interests.

West Elgin Mutual Fire Insurance Company, meanwhile, was organized when Dunwich Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company (established in 1880) and Southwold Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company (established in 1878) amalgamated in 1978. The name was made more inclusive in 1989 when it was changed to West Elgin Mutual Insurance Company.

Salus will retain the six previous locations – in Aylmer, Blenheim, Dutton, Ridgetown, Rodney and Shedden.

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The corporate head office is at 29584 Pioneer Line, Dutton.

Salus has 79 employees. Their roles include sales agents, adjusters, various office staff, accountants and executives. There are currently 13 directors of the corporation.

Jodi Rich is the chief executive officer. The chief integration officer is Brian Downie, and Lee-Ann Vansteenkiste is the chief operating officer.

Spokespeople say the reason for the amalgamation is to allow for the opportunity to spread the insurance risk over a broader geographic area. That should reduce risk owing to rising reinsurance costs, create an improved surplus and capital position, and make the most of the strengths of the management team.

It is

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Grey County claims ‘no legal obligation’ regarding Walters Falls bridges

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Grey County has decided to take no action in relation to a long-running disagreement over two bridges on a closed section of the Holland Sydenham Townline near Walters Falls.

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At its committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, Grey County council received for information a report on the bridges, known as Structures 21 and 22, which are located on a deviation of a boundary road between the municipalities of Meaford and Chatsworth.

Director of transportation services Pat Hoy, who presented the report, said they had found no past references to one of the bridges being a county structure or history of the county maintaining or controlling it.

“In our opinion there is no legal obligation to the county in respect to Structure 22,” said Hoy.

According to a timeline provided with the report, the section of the Holland Sydenham Townline the bridges are on was closed by the Municipality of Meaford in 2016 after structural deficiencies were identified on the bridges.

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In 2017, Meaford completed a municipal class environmental assessment, with the recommended preferred solution being permanent closure by removing the bridges, naturalizing the area and closing the road to through traffic.

But Meaford has expressed a desire to replace the bridges to reopen the road to through traffic, in order to accommodate the agricultural community and others in the area who

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Autonomous cars are on their way, and insurance companies aren’t ready

“Level 4 AV technology might be ready before Level 3 insurance regulation amendments are ready”

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Our future is automated self-driving cars, we’re told. Much of the technology is far beyond infancy, honed near perfection and already used in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) like lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. In Ontario and some American states, they can even be driven among us. While frontrunners like Tesla duke it out with the not-far-behind legacy manufacturers (and Mercedes just one-upped the upstart in Germany), one thing is clearly emerging: having the vehicles is only one piece of the puzzle.

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Just ask the auto insurance industry.

Canada is not ready to insure even partially automated vehicles (AVs), but the move towards fully-automated vehicles could be here by as early as 2026,” warns this article from Canadian Underwriter. With Canada’s patchwork of provincial insurance legislation, it promises a tangled path forward. “Current legislation does not adequately consider accidents involving Level 3 automation, and will likely fail to address considerations around even higher levels of autonomy.”

You’re probably familiar by now with the designations of autonomous vehicles: Level 0, no autonomous features; Level 5, fully automated and requiring no drivers. In practical applications, we are currently mucking about between levels 2 and 3, both of which still require a driver to be ready and able to take control of the car.

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Level 3 vehicles are not currently legal on

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