For more than five years, Frank Hunt’s moving company has been a pillar of his community in Barrie, Ont., but he says his award-winning business is now on its knees — and he blames his insurance company. 

“They’re killing us. They’re literally shutting down the business,” he told CBC News. He says onerous demands from his insurer have led to a loss of about 75 per cent of his revenue.

Hunt, 73, says his company pays about $10,000 for commercial vehicle insurance each year. He says there have been no claims or accidents. “Not even a broken windshield,” he said.

His problems began in May, when his insurer suddenly demanded his drivers upgrade their licences to beyond what Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation requires. He and his drivers are legally allowed to drive the company’s five-ton moving trucks with a basic G licence.

“This year, the insurance company comes up with, ‘Oh, you’ve got to have a different licence, a D licence, or you can’t drive.’ I only have a G licence, so I can’t even drive my own vehicles anymore,” Hunt told CBC News.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says if small business owners want to know why their policy requirements are getting tighter and their premiums are getting higher, they should look no further than COVID-19. The bureau says insurers “have been confronted with increased costs” due to the pandemic.

But that’s little consolation to Hunt and his wife Karina Shaak, 65. They tried to switch insurance companies. They were told they couldn’t, unless they agreed to pay much higher premiums — as much as $25,000, more than double what they previously paid.

So the couple hired new drivers with D licences, or higher. Their insurer refused to cover them, though, claiming the new hires didn’t have three years

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – A measure of Australian business conditions rose in September to levels not seen since the coronavirus pandemic forced a nationwide lockdown, though overall levels were still the below long-run average, survey results showed on Monday.



a group of people walking down the street: Shoppers walk along a street in the central business district of Sydney


© Reuters/DAVID GRAY
Shoppers walk along a street in the central business district of Sydney


National Australia Bank’s index of business conditions rose 6 points to 0 from -6 in August.

The index has come a long way since hitting a trough of -34 in April at the height of the pandemic though it is still nowhere close to the long-run average of +6.

The survey’s measure of business confidence picked up too, but stayed in negative territory, climbing to -4 from -8 in August.

The improvement in conditions was driven by a rise in all three sub-components with trading and profitability in positive territory, likely reflecting improving activity as the economy opens up.

The employment index stayed negative, suggesting businesses were not yet ready to add new positions.

Forward orders rose to -7 while capacity utilisation edged up to 76.9%. This, in addition to still negative confidence, has seen capex stay in negative territory, NAB noted.

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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