Aviva Data Shows that Auto Insurance Claims Spike After First Snow Fall

Company Urges Canadian Motorists to Drive Smart This Season

TORONTO, Nov. 17 /CNW/ - Driving in poor weather conditions poses a number of challenges for vehicle owners in Canada and as the country prepares for another blast of winter, Aviva Canada Inc., one of the country's leading insurance providers, is reminding drivers to exercise caution on the roadways.

According to historical data, Aviva sees an average increase of over 38 per cent(1) in customer claims during the winter months compared to the rest of the year. A result of weather-related incidents, slippery roadways and white-out conditions accounted for over $38.5 million in auto-collision claim payments for Aviva Canada between December 2007 and February 2008. The first snowfall of the year historically accounts for the highest instance of collisions.

"While Canadians are traditionally very experienced winter drivers, the first snowfall of the year can be extremely challenging even for the most apt motorist," said Jim Haskins, Executive Vice President of Claims and Procurement, Aviva Canada. "Icy road conditions result in vehicle sliding and skidding, which are the most common cause of collisions particularly at the start of the season."

Results also show that of those insured, an average of 5.6 per cent file claims in winter compared to 4.1 per cent filing claims during the rest of the year. Snow, sleet and black ice oftentimes force drivers to focus on the road straight ahead. With drivers being less conscious of their surroundings to the left and right, vehicle collisions and fender benders are far more prevalent.

Here are some helpful tips from Aviva on what Canadian drivers can do to protect themselves and minimize the cost of possible damages incurred in the event of an accident:

    
    -   Don't take any chances. If you don't need to be on the roads, stay at
        home
    -   Invest in snow tires and new windshield wipers. Snow tires allow
        drivers to stop up to 40 per cent faster than all-season tires
    -   Pack an emergency kit at the start of the season and stow it in your
        trunk. Kit should include a flashlight, blanket, snow shovel, extra
        windshield washer fluid and anti-freeze, hazard flares and booster
        cables
    -   Drive slowly and keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of
        you
    -   Check the road conditions before getting behind the wheel
    -   Program the number for a tow-truck company into your cell phone
        before the first snow fall
    

"No matter the season, Aviva offers a single point of contact to ensure the claims process runs as smoothly as possible," continued Haskins. "Through our 24/7 toll-free claims line 1 866 MY AVIVA, an Aviva Claims Care Advisor is available to ensure fast, reliable and personal support and service."

Canadians can also visit changeinsurance.ca to get 'straight answers' to questions they are too afraid to ask their insurance company for fear that their premiums will increase. Aviva is on a mission to change insurance and is committed to offering the right insurance to cover its customers' needs. For more information on car insurance visit avivacanada.com.

    
    About Aviva Canada
    ------------------
    

Aviva Canada Inc. is one of the leading Property and Casualty insurance groups in Canada, providing home, automobile and business insurance to more than three million customers. Our group of companies has more than 3,300 employees, 40 locations and more than 3,000 independent broker partners. Aviva Canada products and services are delivered across the country under the following brands: Aviva, Aviva Pilot, Aviva Traders, Aviva Elite, Aviva Scottish & York and through S&Y Insurance Company. Aviva Canada Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the world's fifth largest insurance group. Please visit our web site at avivacanada.com and our innovative web tool at changeinsurance.ca.

    
    ----------------------------
    (1) Number of claims divided by number of cars insured (risk/exposure).
    

SOURCE AVIVA CANADA LTD.

For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Sarah Van Lange, Fleishman-Hillard, Senior Consultant, Desk: (416) 645-8173, sarah.vanlange@fleishman.ca; Glenn Cooper, Senior Manager, Public Relations, Aviva Canada Inc., Desk: (416) 288-2685, Mobile: (416) 523-3225, glenn_cooper@avivacanada.com

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AVIVA CANADA LTD.

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