Canadian Underwriter

Frank Cowan to offer weather monitoring platform to municipalities

October 1, 2013   by Canadian Underwriter

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Frank Cowan Company, a provider of specialized insurance programs, will now offer its clients a web-based weather monitoring and operations management platform designed for municipalities across Canada.

The platform, called Snowman, is being offered as part of a partnership between Frank Cowan and Baseline Telematics, a supplier of telematics-based solutions for the insurance industry.

The offering was designed by Operasoft Inc. and was built specifically to automate to operations of any organization working within the snow and ice management industry, Frank Cowan noted.

It currently has about 100 private and public sector clients across Canada and the United States. Users can plan and manage their operations, human resources, vehicle GPS tracking, routing, and more, according to Frank Cowan.

“Various weather monitoring measures are currently being used by municipalities,” noted Barb Szychta, director of risk management with Frank Cowan. “We’ve worked closely with Baseline to adapt Snowman into a comprehensive weather solution to help our clients automate weather verification, and documentation, thus simplifying compliance to the MMS weather verification requirements.”

Snowman is designed to help municipalities, specifically in Ontario, meet legal requirements under the Minimum Maintenance Standards (MMS) legislation.

Its requirements changed last January, and now sets out that municipalities must “monitor the weather, both current and forecast to occur in the next 24 hours, once every shift or three times per calendar day, whichever is more frequent.”

Municipalities can be held accountable for tens of millions of dollars in award costs should they be found 1% negligent and the other named defendants can’t fund the judgement, Frank Cowan noted. The MMS is meant to help municipalities defend their actions in court, it said.

“We have seen the frequency and severity of road liability claims escalate significantly,” noted Derek Sarluis, vice president of claims with Frank Cowan. “Snowman, combined with our risk and claims management programs, is another tool municipalities can use in their arsenal when it comes to providing evidence to defend against claims.”

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