Insurers help protect property and prepare for emergencies

Be Smart. Be Safe. Atlantic tour 2010 Launch

CHARLOTTETOWN, May 25 /CNW/ - Be Smart. Be Safe. Atlantic tour 2010 was officially launched today at Founders' Hall. The interactive tour features displays on injury prevention. With messages and tips to protect your home against severe weather events; to offering distracted drivers an eye opening experience, participants always leave with a new perspective on safety.

This summer, Insurance Bureau of Canada's (IBC's) award-winning community outreach program will go to great lengths - more than 16,000 kilometres - to show Atlantic Canadians how to lead safer lives and protect their property.

A team of four Be Smart. Be Safe. student ambassadors, fresh from an intense 10-day training camp, will hit the road with a 20-foot trailer filled with interactive displays and exhibits. During the summer months, they will visit more than 30 fairs and festivals to talk about road safety, injury prevention, how to protect your property and how to better prepare for natural disasters.

"It is a pleasure to launch in PEI our sixth consecutive Be Smart. Be Safe. tour, and we look forward to being at fairs and festivals here this summer," said Bill Adams, IBC's Vice-President for Atlantic. "IBC has a long history of working with governments and safety organizations to make Canadian communities safer, and this tour is a natural evolution of that tradition," he added.

"IBAPEI is pleased that IBC chose PEI for the launch of their summer tour. It is exciting that Islanders will have the opportunity to benefit from this initiative," said Blake Craig, President of the Brokers Association of PEI. "Consumer education and public awareness are key factors in reducing risk. We look forward to seeing the Be Smart. Be Safe. display at PEI community events this summer sharing information, in an entertaining way, to help Islanders stay safe in their home, on the road and while at play," he added.

The star of the tour again this year is the ever-popular DUMB Car 2.0. IBC's driving simulator demonstrates the dangers of driving while distracted by talking on a cellphone or text messaging. The DUMB Car 2.0 also allows drivers to brush up on their skills in a number of situations including driving in adverse weather conditions, avoiding road hazards and identifying the point-of-no-return at traffic lights. In addition, an eco-driving segment teaches drivers how to improve fuel efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints.

"IBC started discussing distracted driving when we introduced the DUMB Car simulator back in 2007 - long before Oprah started her powerful campaign in the U.S., I might add," said Adams. "In Canada, a number of provinces have introduced legislation that makes it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using a hand-held device. But we want to remind drivers that 'hands free' doesn't mean you're 'home free.' Research confirms that even when drivers talk on a cell phone using a hands-free device, they are still four times more likely to have a collision. Even the United Nations said just last week that within two decades distracted driving will be more deadly than wars, AIDS or cancer," he added.

"The tour also helps us show homeowners how to protect their property and make sure their homes can withstand the more severe weather that has become the norm," said Adams. "Currently, our industry pays out 20 times more every year in natural disaster claims than we did 30 years ago. We want to help Canadians learn relatively easy techniques that they can employ to protect their most valuable assets - their homes."

To address this issue, three displays - the Rain Cycle, the Rain Barrel and the Survivor 72 game - offer advice about practical things people can do to deal with the effects of climate change. The Rain Cycle, for example, demonstrates how changing the lot grading or installing backflow valves can help keep basements dry by preventing sewer backups.

This summer, the Be Smart. Be Safe. Tour will travel to Charlottetown, Kensington and Summerside in PEI as well as to events in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C industry employs over 110,000 Canadians, pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $39 billion.

Note to editors: To view a short video on the Be Smart. Be Safe. Atlantic Tour click on the link below. This footage is provided for the free and unrestricted use of media outlets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLFNmQeLNqI

SOURCE BE SMART. BE SAFE.

For further information: For further information: Ellen Woodger: (416) 483-2358; Pete Karageorgos: (416) 362-2031 ext. 4329

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