May 19, 2020

Key Insurance Tips for Canadian Homebuyers

Real estate
tips and advice
real estate advice
Homeowners
Bizclik Editor
3 min
Key Insurance Tips for Canadian Homebuyers

 

You just bought a home but before you think about paint colours and planning that house warming barbecue, there are some tips you should consider to prevent costly disasters.

“Buying a house is one of the most important investments you will ever make,” says Ian Wilson, Claims Innovation Director at RSA. “And although it's really easy to get caught up in the excitement, it's important to take the proper measures to keep that investment safe, particularly if you are buying an older home.”

Most people wouldn't consider buying a house without first having a home inspection done to uncover any hidden hazards or potential disasters lurking. But even a good inspection won't eliminate all risks.

RSA recommends the following tips:

• Replace all external locks –This should be an immediate action upon moving into your home. You never know who else has a spare key to your house.

• Oil tank maintenance- Oil tanks are very common in Atlantic Canada but less so elsewhere in the country. Oil tanks rust from the inside and the resulting damage can be extremely costly. As a homeowner you are responsible for the environmental clean-up of the soil and the water-course. Insurance companies generally won't insure a house with an external oil tank that is older than 10 years or an internal one that's much older than 15 years. It's wise to spend a few hundred dollars and install a fibreglass or plastic tank. Most of these have warranties of around 25 years.

• Check your roof and your eaves troughs- The home inspector will do this but if you bought the house while the roof was blanketed in a thick layer of snow, you may not get the full picture of its overall condition. Look out for curling shingles which may indicate an old and weathered roof that could leak. Make sure your gutters are secure and sloping toward the downspout without any dips or curves. All downspouts should also direct water away from your home's foundations. This will help prevent water from leaking into the basement.

• Mould- Often home inspectors can't access the attic or crawl spaces during the inspection, yet these areas can be sources of mould. Check your attic, crawl spaces and closets for mould. Signs include, a musty smell, water stains, swelling of the baseboards or white patches under carpets.

• Avoiding water damage - Sewer backups, burst pipes, and leaky foundations and roofs is a common cause of home insurance claims across Canada. Checking the state of your plumbing on a regular basis will help. Look at the water pipes and waste pipes which over time can wear out and need replacement. Consider installing a backwater valve in your basement. If your sewer unexpectedly backs up, it is designed to close automatically and helps you avoid a costly mess.

• Check your electrics - Look out for missing or faulty GFCI outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). GCFIs should be installed in external locations or internally where water is close by, such as in bathrooms and kitchens. They are equipped with a “test” button and they should trip, cutting off the electrical supply, when tested. If the GCFI doesn't trip, replace it. You could save a life.

-News Canada

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Jun 8, 2021

Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda

Tax
Compliance
financeleaders
Deloitte
Kate Birch
4 min
As businesses accelerate their transformation journeys, tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value. Deloitte reveals six tax trends

New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.

According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.

And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.

Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.

Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax

Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.

According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”

Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models

Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.

Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected

in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.

"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."

Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities

Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.

At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”

Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting

Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.

Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact 

Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements

Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.

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