Canadian Underwriter

On the scene

March 31, 2012   by

Print this page

Pat Van Bakel has been appointed chief operating officer at Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc., effective March 1.

Van Bakel has been with the company for more than 20 years, having most recently served as senior vice president, operations, insurer markets.

He began his career as an adjuster and has moved through a number of management and special assignments with increasing responsibilities that have positioned him well to take on this new role, the company reports.

Van Bakel is a member of many industry organizations, currently chairing and serving on several institute committees.

Committed to continuing education, he has invested his career through technical, leadership and executive training.

“Pat has been an invaluable member of our team for many years, and has shown great leadership skills and a strong dedication to our mission and values,” said John Sharoun, chief executive officer of Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc.


FirstOnSite Restoration has opened its newest branch in St. Catharines, Ontario. The St. Catharines branch, located at 207 St. Paul Street West, will be led by Tom Baldassarra, a project manager at FirstOnSite.

Baldassarra serves as a member of FirstOnSite’s infectious disease control team and has experience in trauma crime clean-up and large commercial losses. He holds certificates from Clean Trust (formerly IICRC) in water damage restoration, applied microbial remediation and applied structural drying. “This branch will allow us to provide a greater level of service to the Niagara Peninsula and to respond even faster in the event of disaster in the region,” said Warren Tom, senior vice president and managing director for Central Ontario.


RSA Canada has launched a mobile app that offers both home and auto claim reporting. The app is available on BlackBerry, iPhone and Android platforms. With it, RSA customers can report a home or auto claim, locate their broker, access product information, find auto repair shops and contact both emergency services and RSA.

“Research shows a significant trend towards the adoption of mobile technology with 33% of Canadians owning smart phones,” said Irene Bianchi, senior vice president of claims and corporate services. “In the event of a claim, our customers want a fast and simple way to access the information and assistance they need and it makes sense they would use their cell phones.”

The app is available through the iPhone App store, BlackBerry App World and Android Market.


The Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association’s (CIAA) Ontario region president Teresa (Teri) Mitchell, hosted a presentation for the Police Foundations program at Georgian College. The presentation was four sessions during Jan. 23 to 26, 2012 on Insurance Working Together With Police.

The presentation involved explaining what an independent adjuster is and does, and the circumstances where they may find ourselves working side-by-side with police, such as accident scenes, fires, and burglaries. Mitchell expressed the importance of officers keeping clean, clear, and accurate notes, and outlined the types of documentation independent adjusters may request from police.  Mitchell advised that independent adjusters and police need to work together, as both looking for the same thing: the facts and the truth. This is the first time CIAA Ontario has been invited to do a presentation within the community, and have already been invited to participate again in 2013.


Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. is launching

Crawford HealthWorks Advantage, an interview-based tool designed to speed the return to work for injured and ill workers and reduce costs for employers, across the Canadian marketplace.

Using dynamic decision support technology, Crawford HealthWorks Advantage can help detect and evaluate critical medical and psychosocial factors in workers’ compensation and non-occupational disability claims.

“The recommendations that HealthWorks ADVANTAGE produces are tailored for each claim and are based on specific responses in the interviews. They’re aimed at prompting specific actions or decisions by the adjuster,” said Heather Matthews, vice president, national claims management centre.

“This allows us to attack the ‘80/20’ rule on claims to achieve faster return to work outcomes, resulting in lower medical and indemnity costs for our customers.”


David Porter has joined Giffin Koerth’s Casualty Group. Porter holds a bachelor of engineering science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Western Ontario, as well as 10 years of relevant experience, a Giffin Koerth release says.

Also, Matthew Allen, Giffen Koerth’s practice leader for its Environmental, Health and Safety Group, is now a certified health and safety consultant (CHSC) under the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering.

The designation recognizes and promotes excellence in professional consulting within and to business and industry and government agencies at all levels.


Regional Spotlight: Nova Scotia

Pam Mills — second vice president

Grant King — president

Sarah LeBlanc — director of southwest Nova Scotia

Candice Colwell — secretary and treasurer

Carol Messervey — director of central Nova Scotia

Graham Campbell — first vice president.

Janet Lee — director of eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.


Canadian Insurance Claims Managers Association’s Executive

John Mendezcuria — arbitration                

Dan Langer — treasurer

Sharon Clark — communication

Jo-Ann Eccleston – president

Cathy Wismer — secretary

Teresa Drijber — program and general meeting director

Kevin Chasty — qualifications

Keith Dyson — membership

Alex Walker — vice-President

Mavis Haws — past-President


Winmar Franchise Corp. is pleased to announce the opening of its newest location in Yorkton, Sask.

The location is owned by Doug Maes and Jason Thibodeau.

Maes has been successfully operating Winmar Moose Jaw for the past two years.

The office is located at 357B 7th Avenue North, PO Box 370, S3N 2W1.


L’Association des Experts En Sinistre Independants du Québec Inc (AESIQ) hosted the eighth annual Cabane à sucre event on Feb. 23. The event was held at the Cabane à Sucre Constantin in Saint-Eustache, Quebec. Greg Merrithew, president of the Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association attended the event, along with more than 350 insurance personnel.


Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. has announced three new appointments in it operations.

Randy LaBrash is now director of GTS in western Canada. He will focus primarily on commercial large loss files handling within the region, as well as assume responsibility for growing the GTS product line in western Canada.

Shelley Upton-Landry has joined the company as director of operations for the Atlantic region. She is a bilingual claims insurance professional who has worked as a telephone and road adjuster and held various roles such as team lead and director of claims.

Jules Giasson is now the branch manager for the Winnipeg, Brandon, Regina and Saskatoon offices.


CARSTAR Automotive Canada Inc. has been selected one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for 2011.

The honour is awarded by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post and Queen’s School of Business. It recognizes Canadian-owned and run companies that excel in overall business strategies and sustained growth.

uo;CARSTAR has helped transform an entire industry by creating systems, standards and professionalism, and we are pleased to say that CARSTAR is one of this year’s recipients,” said John Hughes, partner of private services at Deloitte. “They have a relentless commitment to their vision, mission and values which are very strategic in the development of their business.”

CARSTAR’s 50 Best Managed Companies application revolved around its BRIDGE strategy. This includes:

• Building of the brand;

• Renewal of leadership;

• Integration through their Care Centre and information technology;

• Diversifying products and services;

• Growth; and

• Enhanced value propositions to their customers and partners.

“We are very honoured to receive this award and the timing is impeccable, as we are on a company-wide and nationwide mission to be best-in-class in all that we do,” says Sam Mercanti, president and CEO of CARSTAR.

“Thank you to our franchise, insurance and vendor partners for their involvement in helping us achieve this milestone, and for their ongoing contribution in the improvement of our business.”


CARSTAR Automotive Canada Inc. has added two new Ontario locations: CARSTAR Milton Service Centre and CARSTAR Newmarket — both part of the LC Group of CARSTAR Collision Centres.

The LC Group of CARSTAR Collision Centres includes partners Ian Ladd and Peter Chavez and managing partners, Robin Juns and Tony Taj. Each of them has been in business with CARSTAR for more than 10 years.

CARSTAR Milton Service Centre is located at 1245 Steeles Avenue East in Milton, Ontario. CARSTAR Newmarket is located at 180 Deerfield Road in Newmarket, Ontario.

CARSTAR Milton Service Centre runs within the service drive-through at Milton Toyota, with vehicle repairs taking place minutes away at the LC Groups’ CARSTAR Mississauga 401 location. In addition to co-owing the location, Juns will be managing CARSTAR Milton Service Centre.

Operated by Taj, CARSTAR Newmarket is equipped with a variety of specialty equipment and is formerly Steve’s Auto Body, a well-established Newmarket area business run by Steve and Rose Sewell. “We look forward to running this business as a well-presented, high quality enterprise that Steve and Rose began over 40 years ago,” says Taj.