The Impact of COVID-19 on Life and Health Insurance

By | FAQ, Individual Services, Life Insurance | No Comments

The COVID-19 crisis is impacting all of our lives, and at SC Insurance, we have been receiving questions about what it means for their own personal insurance.

The following is a review of some of the key areas, and the impact of the current crisis, along with comments or suggestions re what you should be doing to prepare.

Note: As this situation is changing rapidly, please check back for updates and changes to our information as we receive from our carriers and industry partners. Feel free to contact us anytime for clarification. Updated April 27, 2020

Life Insurance

Update:

Published April 15, 2020, Darren Abrahams shares interesting opportunities related to life insurance and the Coronavirus in this article.

Effective April 6th, 2020 some of Canada’s largest life insurance companies are temporarily relaxing some of their rules to allow Canadians to obtain the coverage they need. For a limited time, people can apply for as much as $2m of life insurance and $250K of Critical Illness without having to meet anyone in person and no medical testing.

What is it? – Life Insurance is a contract that pays a lump sum to a named beneficiary in the event of death. There are many different kinds of policies available, but most fall into one of 2 types – Term (i.e. 10 year, 20 year) or Permanent (Universal Life, Whole Life).

Am I covered? – Life Insurance policies do not have an exclusion for COVID-19. If you should pass away due to COVID-19, your existing life insurance coverage would not be denied due to COVID-19.

Can I still get new coverage? – While there may be limitations on certain amounts of coverage, we still have many solutions to provide as much as $2m or more of coverage without a medical, and from the comfort and safety of your own home. Guaranteed-issue products are still available at this time.

Tips & Considerations – This is an ideal time to review your existing coverage amounts, pricing, and even review beneficiaries to be sure everything is up-to-date. Contact us for your own personal review.

Disability Insurance

What is it? – Long-Term-Disability (LTD) is coverage that replaces your income if you are unable to work due to accident or illness. There is usually a waiting period of 90 or 120 days before benefits are paid out. Benefits are typically paid on a monthly basis, up to max age 65.

Am I Covered? – If you are actively covered by an LTD policy, and you are unable to work beyond the waiting period due to the symptoms associated with having COVID-19, then you should be eligible to submit a claim under most policies.

Can I still get new coverage? – For the time being, if you are actively working and anticipate maintaining stable income, this coverage may be available. But the insurers’ position on this is constantly changing, and could make it difficult to obtain these policies at this time.

Tips & Considerations – This is an area that is constantly changing, and you may wish to review your current coverage with us. For example, if you have coverage through a group benefit plan, and are on temporary layoff, your disability coverage may not cover you during this period of time.

Critical Illness Insurance

What is it? – These policies cover a list of serious conditions, such as Cancer, Heart Attack, Stroke, and many more. The benefit is paid out as a lump sum, whether you are working or not.

Am I covered? – Policies have a set of covered conditions, and COVID-19 is not one of the listed conditions.

Can I still get new coverage? – At the time of writing, this coverage is still available from most insurers in Canada. We have solutions to allow you to obtain coverage via electronic application, and some policies available without medical underwriting.

Tips & Considerations – We believe that this product should be included in most people’s personal financial plans. And with some of the potential challenges re LTD eligibility during this period, we believe this is a powerful solution to protect families from the financial impact of dealing with a serious illness.

Health Insurance – Group Plans

Update:

Effective April 17th, 2020 some of Canada’s largest life insurance companies are offering premium credits for April/May 2020 and ongoing on a month to month basis. Contact us to find out if your plan is eligible for these credits.

Most employee benefit plans include the following benefits:

  • Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment
  • Extended Health Care
  • Dental Care

Many plans also include:

  • Long Term Disability (LTD)
  • Critical Illness
  • Health Spending Accounts & Wellness Accounts
  • Employee Assistance Plans (EAP)
  • Virtual Medical Care

Am I covered? – As long as you are actively employed, your coverage should not be impacted, and coverage for COVID-related claims should be eligible. There are restrictions re travel insurance, which are constantly changing. You should look to take advantage of any EAPs, or if your plan has Virtual Medical Care, you can consult with a nurse or Dr from the comfort of your home.

Can I still get new coverage? – Companies looking for new or competitive plans can still obtain new coverage. Plans are available for companies with as few as 1 or 2 employees.

Tips & Considerations – Anyone who is losing Benefits due to layoff, termination or any other reason is eligible for a Conversion Health Plan. You must apply within 60 days of losing your group plan coverage.

If you are on temporary layoff, and concerned that LTD coverage may not be extended during this period, there are other solutions to help protect you and your family. One example is critical illness protection (below), or you may also be eligible to convert elements of your previous coverage.

Strategies to Reduce Premiums for Business Owners – For a limited period, some carriers are allowing group plans to pause their Dental Care coverage, just for a short period, while Dental clinics are closed. Most plans have coverage for Accidental Dental under the Health Care Portion of their plan, and can use Cost Plus or Health Care Spending Accounts for Emergency Dental Care that may not be covered in the interim.

Health Insurance – Individual Plans

There are 3 types of plans that are available for those without employee benefit coverage:

  1. Conversion Plans: for those who lost group coverage within 60 days.
  2. Traditional Plans: Available with limited or no medical questions.
  3. Independent Contractor Plan: unique solution custom-tailored for contract workers.

Am I covered? – Existing Plans should not be impacted, and coverage for COVID-related claims should be eligible. There are restrictions re travel insurance, which are constantly changing.

Can I still get new coverage? – All 3 types of individual plans are currently still available.

Tips & Considerations – Whether you lost group benefit coverage, or are not eligible for group plans, there are solutions available for everyone. Independent Contractors have historically not been eligible for benefit plans. Our custom-tailored solution is available for those working on a contract basis. No medical questions, and comprehensive options including Health, Dental, Life, CI, LTD and more. If you are self-employed, or own your own business, we have solutions tailored for you.

Travel Insurance

Am I covered? – Currently Canada has imposed a ban on all non-essential travel. This means you may not leave the country until further notice unless otherwise authorized to do so. If you are currently out of the country and purchased travel insurance prior to the Canadian travel ban, your coverage will still respond to claims. We highly recommend that no Canadian travel outside of Canada until the travel ban has lifted and the borders re-open. Travel insurance is subject to change without notice, so anyone outside of Canada currently is recommended to return home as soon as possible.

Can I still get new coverage? – Travel Insurance is no longer available for COVID-19, but if you must leave the country, you can get coverage for other illnesses or accidents. If you are currently out of the country and need an extension to your current travel plan there may be options available. Your first contact should be your current travel insurance provider, either under a group or individual plan. Visitors to Canada can apply for emergency medical coverage however if they are in Canada currently there is a 48-hour waiting period for sickness. There is no coverage for COVID-19 or pre-existing conditions if unstable 180 days prior to your visit. Accident is covered at time of purchase.

Tips & Considerations – You should avoid all travel until further notice and as directed by the Canadian Government. If you find yourself out of the country currently and need an extension on your group plan or individual travel insurance, it is best to contact our office or your carrier to discuss options for coverage extensions.

Retirement Income Programs

What has changed as a result of COVID-19?

The Government announced a set of economic measures as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. That statement included proposed changes to the calculation of the 2020 required RRIF minimum withdrawal for registered retirement income funds (RRIF).
The RRIF minimum amount that must be withdrawn will be reduced by 25% for 2020. For example, if the 2020 RRIF minimum amount would have been $10,000, the reduced RRIF minimum amount will be $7,500.
There are no provisions to allow clients to recontribute amounts already withdrawn.

Can I still invest in these products?

Yes. While we don’t recommend making drastic decisions as a result of market fluctuations, times like these point to the value of having guaranteed investments. Many of the insured solutions we provide offer guaranteed income, regardless of market conditions. As of the time of this writing, these plans are still available for new clients and new deposits.

Travel Insurance 2020 – Be Prepared

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OHIP No Longer Providing Out-of-Country Medical Coverage.

Effective January 1, 2020, the Government has made significant changes to OHIP’s Out-of-Country medical coverage. The provincial government is no longer providing emergency medical coverage, shifting 100% of the risk on to Ontarians. Protecting yourself with the right Travel Insurance has never been more critical.

Below is an example of some of the costs that could be associated with a broken leg while travelling in the USA:

  • $2,500 – Cast and Fracture Clinic Fees
  • $17,000 – $35,000 – Surgical treatment for setting of bones
  • $2,000 – Additional surgeon fees
  • TOTAL: $21,5000 – $39,500

For most Canadians, a medical emergency while abroad represents a significant financial risk. A typical U.S. hospital stay often exceeds several thousand dollars, and it is common to see claims for certain situations run into the hundreds of thousands, and beyond.

Understanding your options when it comes to travel insurance can be very complex and often frustrating. Searching online for travel insurance leads to an overwhelming number of options and policies, each with its own specific conditions, rates and requirements. Many people also have existing coverage provided by their Credit Cards, Group Benefit Plans, Associations or other affiliated programs.

At SC Insurance, Travel Insurance Specialist Lori Field, helps clients understand their own situation, and helps them find the right solution.

Clients can no longer rely on OHIP, so we are advising everyone more than ever to be proactive in insuring their travel.

Lori Field, Travel Insurance Specialist

Here are Lori’s top 3 tips for how you can find the right travel coverage:

1. Review Existing Coverage

Review the details of your health plan at work, or any plan associated with your credit card and identify the coverage details. Determine any gaps you need to fill with a private policy.

Many Premium Credit Cards and Group Benefit Plans provide coverage; however, you need to understand the limitations and maximums that exist and how they might impact you.

2. Identify the limitations and restrictions

Whether you have existing coverage or need to buy additional insurance, it is important to understand the impact of pre-existing conditions and stability of health and how they impact your coverage. Below are some of the key terms included in most policies. These can vary between policies, and misinterpretation of them is the primary reason for most denied medical claims.

Pre-Existing Condition
Typically defined as any sickness, injury or medical condition for which you consulted a physician, had symptoms, were hospitalized or prescribed medications within a certain period prior to the effective date of coverage. The period may vary from weeks, months and beyond.

Stability
Some plans can cover a Pre-Existing Condition if it is considered “Stable” for a certain period before your trip. To be considered Stable, there can be no change in medication, no outstanding tests or results, no new or worsening symptoms, and no new diagnosis.

Stability Period
This refers to the timeframe when the above changes took place. It is typical to see this period look back several months, and even as far back as one year. However, there are specialized products that offer a shorter stability period, even as little as 7 days.

3. Be Honest!

When applying for coverage, or asking for a coverage opinion, be sure to disclose any pre-existing conditions and medications. Otherwise, your coverage may not be valid. When in doubt, speak with your doctor on how to answer medical application questions.

The changes to OHIP’s out-of-country coverage should open everyone’s eyes to the importance of understanding your coverage and your own risks. It has never been more important to find the right protection.

SC Insurance provides clients with personalized support and assessments from our experienced team.

Contact us to discuss your travel insurance needs

travel@scinsurance.ca

Press Release: SC Insurance and RRJ Benefits Inc. Announce Exciting Venture

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Effective January 1, 2020, SC Insurance and RRJ Benefits Inc. are joining forces for continued growth and innovation in the benefits and life insurance industry.

This new venture will provide access to innovative resources and cutting-edge proprietary tools. Clients will have access to the SC Hub: a digital administration tool to manage their benefit plans on a paperless platform, as well as A.I. driven solutions to simplify the life insurance application and underwriting process.

This venture between our organizations will serve as a catalyst to expand our offering in a strategic manner. More importantly, it presents greater opportunities for all our clients and our staff, as we leverage the knowledge, experience and tools that the SC team has built, to enhance the experience for our clients and save them money at the same time.

Abraham Baboujian, Chairman and CEO of RRJ Benefits Inc.

As a result of this venture, we are delighted to be able to offer our clients best-in-class solutions across the entire insurance and risk-management landscape. SC Clients will have access to one of the most recognizable and trusted Agencies in Ontario for their commercial, home and auto insurance.

Darren Abrahams, President, SC Insurance

Jessica Bowler (née Cassano), who manages RRJ Benefits will be joining the SC Insurance as Senior Manager of Sales providing continuity to clients and the rest of the team.

For additional information contact:

Darren Abrahams at (416)259-1166   darren@scinsurance.ca

Abraham Baboujian at (416) 636-4544  abraham@krg.com

About SC Insurance

Originally founded in 1979 as Steven Cohen Insurance Agency Inc, SC Insurance has consistently remained among the most highly respected Life & Benefits agencies in the Toronto area. Current President, Darren Abrahams, has been with SC since 2004, and under his stewardship the firm has forged an exciting path, leveraging the same high-touch level of service and advice, while embracing innovation and technology to streamline and enhance each stage of the client experience.

About RRJ Benefits Inc. (RRJ Insurance Group Limited)

As one of Canada’s largest independent brokerages, RRJ has been providing Property & Casualty insurance solutions to thousands of clients across Ontario for over 110 years. RRJ has 7 offices (Toronto, Oshawa, Peterborough, Lindsay, Orillia, Bracebridge and Kitchener) and nearly 200 staff. In 2012, RRJ Benefits was introduced, providing Life Insurance and Group Benefits solutions to client within the organization.  In 2020 RRJ’s property & casualty insurance operations will be re-organized under a single brand to be called “KRGinsure”.

Vs

Critical Illness vs. Long-Term Disability

By | FAQ, Individual Health Plans, Individual Services, Living Benefits | No Comments
Which coverage is right for you?
A great career, a happy family, a beautiful home —  everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve, as well as your ability to enjoy it, depends upon your health.

Despite the many measures you may take to ensure your wellness, life can be unpredictable. Recent statistics from Canadian Cancer Society indicate that:

  • 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime
  • 60% of people diagnosed with cancer survive at least 5 years

And according to Stats Canada:

  • a 35-year-old has a 50% chance of being disabled for 3 months or longer
  • and a 38% chance of having a disability lasting longer than five years

Clearly, the chances of being diagnosed with a life-altering illness or injury are higher than ever. However, people are surviving and living through these challenging situations with greater frequency and for longer than ever before. The impact can be devastating, both financially and emotionally.

Aside from living a healthy lifestyle, what is the best way to protect your income and the life you have built with it? Both Long-Term Disability and Critical Illness insurance are solutions that can help. However, there is often confusion about these 2 unique types of protection.

So what’s the difference?

First and foremost, the payouts are quite different:
Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance offers a regular monthly payout after a waiting period of typically 90 or 120 days, payable to age 65, while

Critical Illness (CI) Insurance offers a one time lump sum payout of the entire CI benefit 30 days after diagnosis

No two situations are the same, and as a result, there is no one perfect solution.
An LTD claim can last for decades, and pay out millions of dollars for a long-lasting illness or injury, but is typically paid in monthly increments after the waiting period, and while you are unable to work. CI claims are paid out in full 30 days after diagnosis of one of the covered conditions, whether you are working or have a loss of income or not.

Let’s look at a quick breakdown of some other key differences.

Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance

Essentially, LTD assures that you will continue to receive a portion of your income in the event that you are unable to work due to injury or illness. Your ability to work is your greatest asset, and LTD is the most effective way to protect it.

HOW MUCH ARE YOU WORTH?

Based on current annual income, here are two examples of potential earnings to age 65, assuming a 5% increase per year. This is the risk that LTD Coverage looks to protect.

At Age 35:

$60,000 = $3,986,331

$96,000 = $6,378,129

$180,000 = $11,958,993

At Age 45:

$60,000 =$1,983,957

$96,000 =  $3,174,332

$180,000 = $5,951,872

What qualifies as a disability?

Disability insurance covers illnesses or injuries that impact your ability to work. Some of the most common causes of LTD claims are mental health disorders, musculoskeletal (back pain, arthritic conditions), cancer, heart disease, and injury as a result of accidents.

It is important to understand that different types of policies provide varying definitions of Disability, and the better the policy, the more reasonable the definition is to satisfy in order to satisfy and thus receive a disability benefit.

How is it purchased?

There are three common ways that people obtain Long-Term Disability Insurance:

  1. Coverage provided through your employee benefit plan
  2. Purchasing a stand-alone individual policy
  3. Supplementing an existing group or other disability plan, which may have inferior definitions, or limited coverage amounts

For example, an executive earning $250,000 might be eligible for as much as $10,000/month of disability income protection. However, their group plan may provide coverage that is limited to $5,000, as an example. In this case, the executive is well under-insured, and may be eligible for a discounted “top-up” policy to get to the appropriate level of coverage based on their income.

Individual disability policies can include Riders that provide additional benefits, including:

  • Increasing disability benefit to keep pace with the cost of living
  • Guaranteed option to increase insurance in the future without medical evidence
  • Occupational HIV protection for health professionals
  • Potential for a Refund of Premiums if you never have a claim

Individual policies are also fully portable. If you lose your job or have stopped working for a period before age 65, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits even if you did not have employment income at the time.

Critical Illness Insurance (CI)

Critical Illness insurance is designed specifically to help with the financial needs associated with recovering from a serious illness.

The benefit can be used in any way you choose:

  • Replace lost income for self and spouse/caregiver
  • Repay your mortgage and other debts
  • Gain access to private medical services or treatment outside Canada
  • Private nursing, home care and childcare services
  • Take an extended vacation
  • Make modifications to your home and/or vehicle
  • Maintain your lifestyle and retirement planning
How is Critical Illness insurance purchased?

Critical Illness is not included in as many employee benefit plans, so it is up to each individual to consider their own needs and seek out this valuable protection. Policies can be obtained on an individual basis, in a similar fashion to life insurance, where premiums can be fixed for a level term like 10 or 20 years, or on a permanent basis.

Coverage is not tied to your ability to work or earn an income, and benefits can be used for any purpose you desire. Since LTD benefits are tied to earned income reported on tax returns, CI is often used to bridge the gap for people who may not take significant income, but still have a lot at risk if they had to step away to deal with an illness. It is also used often to protect a non-income earning spouse, since the working spouse’s income would likely be impacted if they family were dealing with a serious illness.

Benefits of CI:

Benefits are paid out as a tax-free lump sum, 30 days after diagnosis of a covered condition. This provides a quick solution to replace lost income, pay for excess care, eliminate debt, or simply provide peace of mind and reduce financial stress.

CI Policies can be structured to include some of the following benefits:

  • Term Policies can be Convertible, without medical questions, to Permanent coverage
  • Some policies provide a full Refund of 100% of all Premiums paid if you never have a CI claim
  • Many policies also include ancillary benefits to help get a Second Medical Opinion to be confirm a diagnosis or treatment plan, or to help access specialized care tailored for your condition

Both CI and LTD can serve as valuable solutions, depending upon your specific situation. Nobody knows what the future holds, but when we have protection for both the short term, while also covering the long-term risks as well, we have a solid foundation for financial well-being.

Our team at SC Insurance is always happy to answer your questions specific to your own situation. We’re here to help protect your wealth by protecting your health.

What qualifies as a Critical Illness?

There are Basic Plans that cover cancer, heart attack and stroke, and Comprehensive Plans that cover a longer list of illnesses. The majority of claims under all plans are for cancer, which make up approximately 70% of all CI claims in Canada.

Below is a list of conditions included in many Comprehensive CI Plans.

Some plans may vary, and the definitions of each condition are available for review. Most plans also include additional conditions which are eligible for a partial benefit payout, when one of the following conditions is not met.

Acquired brain injury

Aortic surgery

Aplastic anemia

Benign brain tumour

Bacterial meningitis

Blindness

Cancer (life-threatening)

Coma

Coronary artery bypass surgery

Deafness

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease

Heart attack

Heart valve replacement or repair

Kidney failure

Loss of independent existence

Loss of limbs

Loss of speech

Major organ transplant

Major organ failure on waiting list

Motor neuron disease

Multiple sclerosis

Occupational HIV infection

Paralysis

Parkinson’s disease and specified atypical parkinsonian disorders

Severe burns

Stroke

Note: This list is subject to change, and intended as a summary of coverage provided by many Comprehensive CI plans. The list of covered conditions and definitions for any policy or insurance company can be provided upon request.

The SC Hub: Your Benefits Administration Portal

By | Business Services, Employee Benefit Plans, Group Services | No Comments

Rapid change has become a theme in Group Benefits in recent years, and as an employer, it can be difficult to keep up with all the advances in new policies and products, as well as changing legislation and regulations. Despite all the change and innovation, one of the key themes that our clients have expressed is the hassle of dealing with enrolments, changes, and the endless paperwork that is still required by insurance companies.

Our role as advisors is to help you navigate through the confusion related to selecting and managing your benefit plan. In addition to maximizing the value for your benefits spend, we are always looking for ways to make the experience as simple and efficient as possible for employees and administrators. That is why SC Insurance has invested in a powerful new resource that will empower our clients to manage their plans more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever — all while keeping employee health and wellness top of mind.

Our SC Hub and Benefits Administration Portal will streamline your plan administration and new enrolments, providing a streamlined paperless process. At the same time leveraging technology to bring you and your employees access to the newest advances that allow them to engage and maximize the value of your benefits program.

The SC Hub will make your benefits program a positive part of your employee experience, a differentiator in attracting and retaining talent.

Old School meets New School

Insurance is an old industry still hampered with endless stacks of paper.

Paper and manual record keeping means accuracy decreases and errors add up, which can be quite a challenge for plan administrators — and the last thing you need is added complexities to further add stress to your days.

We’re marrying benefits in the industry with the current generation of technology, where the new school model can have the entire process initiated with one email, linking to all carriers and plans, and even the ability to integrate with HR software and payroll systems.

As a client, you want to know that your needs are being taken care of, and that your advisors are up-to-date on the latest — but you don’t want progress to be a burden on you when it comes to managing your benefits program.

That’s why it’s not about completely changing the way we do business, it’s about readjusting to the times and finding innovative ways to translate this value onto you.

Introducing the SC Hub – Paperless. Seamless. No cost.

Our customer-centric approach means we focus on your overall experience by making your life easier. The Benefits Admin Portal is available to all SC clients at no cost and integrates your existing benefits plan.

In addition, we have negotiated special pricing for a selection of additional resources in the SC Toolkit. This is a collection of resources and solutions that is constantly being cultivated, and can be bundled into your program, integrating seamlessly with your companies’ own Portal.

By unlocking your SC Hub, you can provide your new employees with an innovative and impressive introduction to your company — all bundled into a convenient, paperless, all-in-one platform.

How Digital Enrollment works:
  1. Plan Administrator enters basic info about new employee(s), initiating an email inviting them to enroll in your benefits program
  2. New employee(s) receives a link via email to complete their enrollment online. Automated follow-ups are sent as needed to guarantee accuracy and timeliness
  3. The SC Hub will sync their data with all of your plans, ensuring seamless enrollment and 100% accuracy

The SC Hub provides information and access to all elements of your Benefit program with live assistance only a click away!

Leveraging technology to make your life easier

What the benefit to your business looks like:

Convenience: The portal becomes your own admin team, regardless of your plan or carrier. Whether you have one insurer, or several plans, or if your needs evolve and we need to switch carriers, everything is done behind the scenes – with NO new forms or paperwork!
Accuracy: The process of filling out forms, and scanning and faxing documents is still fraught with errors. Leveraging this new technology will reduce errors, redundancies, timing issues, and other hassles. Automating plan updates, coverage increases and notifications will reduce your workload and the risk to your organization.
Paperless enrollment and administration: Eliminate the headaches of messy paper forms, issues when people work remotely or in different offices. Say goodbye to all the excess forms and paperwork for good!
Simplifying the clutter: Enhance the profile of your company and your benefit program by creating a smoother on-boarding process for new hires. Engage your employees with a clear and simple online experience that maximizes the investment you have made in your benefits program.

SC Toolkit: A full suite of Optional Resources

We are continually identifying and cultivating a list of services and solutions that you can implement as part of your program. We have negotiated preferred pricing for our clients on the services listed below:

HR Software

Your SC Hub already contains an employee profile. Take the next step, and let this populate your own HR Software, complete with the following benefits:

> New hire management and digital on-boarding
> Time off tracking
> Employee records
> Recruiting platform
> Performance management
> Complete digital records

Payroll Integration

Whether you need full payroll management, or simply want the SC Hub to integrate with your existing payroll system provider, maximize efficiency while minimizing errors, double entries and stay compliant!

Choose from the following payroll services:

> Sync benefits and HR data with your payroll provider
> Payroll processing by a CPA certified expert
> Taxable benefits and pension reports
> CRA/WSIB remittances and calculations
> Year-End T4s,T4As & R-L1s and Record of Employment (ROEs)

Virtual Care providers

One of the hottest new trends in Canada and around the world, Virtual care provides affordable, on-demand access to medical professionals via smartphone or computer for your employees and their families. Get more out of your health and wellness spend and reduce time away from the office with this very convenient solution.

> On-demand chat with Doctors, nurses or care co-ordinators
> Consultations via text, video or phone at your convenience
> Care navigation and seamless specialist referrals
> Prescriptions, renewals, and medication delivery

HR and Employment Support 

One of the fastest growing new sectors in Human Resources is unlimited access to HR professionals and even legal support, for HR and Employment matters. For a reasonable fixed fee, you receive unlimited access to a team of professionals.

We have established strong relationships with leaders in this field, negotiating preferred rates for our clients, and VIP treatment and support for SC Clients. Protect your business and effectively manage your employee relations, HR and legal costs with this valuable new resource.

Services include:

> Unlimited 24-hour professional HR Consulting & Representation
> On-Site Consultation
> Employee Contracts & Employer Documents
> Health & Safety Training, Documentation, and Protection
> Unique Insurance Protection in case of disputes or claims

Making your life easier with the next level of support and advocacy

Change is inevitable in all facets of life.

As advisors, it’s our job to be able to adapt and anticipate these changes that play out in the market to better predict your needs, personalize the entire experience, and simplify life for you so that you can focus on your business.

Welcome to the new world of benefits and HR management.

To receive more information and talk to an advisor please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day.

Preparing for Medical

Preparing for your Insurance Medical

By | FAQ, Individual Services, Life Insurance | No Comments

If you have applied for new insurance, a medical exam may be required. Most exams usually take approximately 30 minutes, and can be completed at your convenience in your home, office at a medical clinic. We will let you know what testing is required, and a Nurse or Doctor will contact you to schedule the appointment. If the person contacting you cannot accommodate your requested schedule, please DO NOT book with them, and let us know so we can find someone else who can work with your schedule.

We always suggest booking your appointment in the morning, which makes it easier to fast, and also typically is when our results are at their best. Below are some tips to help you look your best.

The Basics
  • Be well rested
  • Avoid heavy exercise 24 hours before any exam
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages for 24-48 hours, if possible.
  • Try to avoid or minimize caffeine, or excessively fatty or fried foods 24 hours prior.
  • If they will be doing blood work: wear short sleeves, or sleeves that can easily be rolled up. If possible, fast for 12 hours, with the exception of drinking water.
  • Refrain from using non-prescription and herbal supplements or non-prescribed medications for at least 24 hours.
  • Prescription medications may be continued as prescribed. Be sure to provide any prescription medication details to the nurse.
IF YOU ARE FEELING ILL, SUFFERING FROM NEW PAINS OR SYMPTOMS, OR ARE UNDER SEVERE STRESS ON EXAM DAY, YOU SHOULD RESCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT.

Your appointment may also include a Paramedical Exam.

This is an interview with where the practitioner will gather information about your medical history, and typically includes obtaining your height, weight, and blood pressure. Try to prepare details of any Doctors or Clinics visited, medical consultations, tests, follow-up appointments and results where possible.

Next Steps

The results of your exam are sent to a laboratory, with the details then sent to the insurance company, where an underwriter will review them along with the information on your initial application. If you would like to have the results of any testing for your records, please let us know. We will have the insurance company share their findings with your Doctor.

Any Questions?

If you ever have any questions or concerns at all, please contact our office ASAP. Someone is always available to help you during business hours at 416.259.1166, or if it is after hours, contact Darren or Steve directly.

To receive a customized quote and talk to an advisor please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day.

Vitality Life Insurance from Manulife

By | Individual Services, Life Insurance | No Comments

A New Approach to Life Insurance

Do you live a healthy, active lifestyle? Shouldn’t your life insurance premiums reflect your efforts to lead a healthier life?

As a society we have more information than ever available on how to remain healthy and active well into what we traditionally called “old age”. The health and benefits industry has more data on how healthy lifestyles impact life expectancy and heath. And thanks to ongoing innovations in wearable technology, we have more ways than ever to track and share information on our own health and wellness.

It was only a matter of time until all of this information came together and life insurance premiums were positively impacted.

Manulife Brings innovation to Life Insurance

The new Vitality life insurance plan from Manulife is an innovative new rewards program available to clients who purchase a Manulife Vitality Life Insurance policy. Once approved, you receive an offer for a Free Garmin device, or the newest Apple Watch to help track your activities. As you work to improve your health, you earn Vitality Points and receive gift cards, savings on other purchases through their extensive partners, including Amazon.com, Hotels.com and GoodLife Fitness. You can also enjoy further reductions on your life insurance premiums.

Perhaps more importantly, you can also enjoy further reductions on your life insurance premiums. On each policy anniversary, your premiums are eligible to be reduced based on the number of points earned in the previous year.

Joining the program doesn’t mean that you have to become a hardcore gym rat; everyday activities generate points, and count towards earning gift cards, rewards and savings on your premiums.

Live Well, Save Money, Earn Rewards with Vitality:

Vitality rewards you for the things you do every day to stay healthy:

  • Vitality Points: earn Vitality Points by completing healthy related activities
  • Vitality Status: each year, the number of points you earn determines your Vitality Status (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum)
  • Savings and Rewards: the higher your Vitality Status, the more you can earn towards potential savings and partner rewards (outlined below)

Best of all, Manulife has reduced their rates to make Vitality one of the lowest priced options in the life insurance industry. Click here to receive a personalized quote.

Reap the Benefits of Vitality Life Insurance

The main benefits of Manulife’s Vitality program are, of course, your own health and wellness; the peace of mind of a high quality life insurance policy; and great rates, made even better by your active lifestyle.

Beyond those, however, Vitality from Manulife offers some great rewards:

APPLE WATCH OR FREE GARMIN DEVICE – Get an Apple Watch 4 for little or no cost. Or choose a Free Garmin vívofit® 4, and start saving today!
HOTELS.COM EXCLUSIVE MEMBER DISCOUNT – Getting away is part of a healthy lifestyle. With Hotels.com you can earn up to 50% off a hotel stay based on your Vitality Rewards Status.
EXAM ONE® – Better understand your health when you choose a free annual wellness screening with a personalized report.
AMAZON.CA GIFT CARDS – Achieve weekly activity targets and spin the Vitality wheel each week for a chance to win an Amazon.ca Gift Card. For a limited time, receive an Amazon.ca Gift Card each time a higher Vitality Status is earned.
FITNESS CLUB DISCOUNT – Save 55% on an individual one-year membership at either GoodLife Fitness or Énergie Cardio fitness clubs.
Take Advantage of Vitality from Manulife

As technology and information continue to become commoditized, more and more insurance providers will create the link between premiums and healthy lifestyle measures. If you are interested in living a healthy lifestyle, want to enjoy the peace of mind of a high quality insurance policy and seeing some extra perks as well, why not take advantage of Vitality from Manulife today?

To receive a customized quote and talk to an advisor please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day.

Estate Planning

Your Estate Plan: Creating a Legacy, While Preserving Your Wealth

By | FAQ, Group Retirement Programs, Group Services, Retirement Income Solutions | No Comments

Many of our clients are reaching a new phase in their lives where they are thinking about their own estate plans. The reality is that many of us will live as long in retirement as we’ve spent in our working lives. Even for those considering semi-retirement, this can have a direct impact on your retirement income and lifestyle, and what you leave as a legacy for your children and grandchildren.

Based on recent statistics, living to age 100 is more likely than you might have expected.

Is 100 the new 85?
Probability at 65 of living to the following ages:

80 Yrs Old

91%

85 Yrs Old

77%

90 Yrs Old

53%

95 Yrs Old

24%

Retirement today is different from the traditional ideas of retirement in the past. There has been a shift away from Defined Benefit Pension Plans, and reductions to Government Programs. The burden has shifted back to individuals to generate their own income in retirement. Even if you are prudent enough to have saved over the years, traditional investing does not allow you the certainty that your money will last, and there will be something left for future generations.

How would you like to spend all of your assets in retirement and still leave a legacy to the next generation?

An ideal retirement plan is one that allows you to maximize your retirement income and still provide the legacy that you hope to leave for your loved ones. A simple strategy that is often overlooked is the use of permanent life insurance. Life insurance can act as ‘Retirement Insurance’, allowing you the flexibility to maximize your retirement income during the living years, with the comfort of knowing that a guaranteed benefit is always there to complete your estate plan.

Consider this: A healthy couple aged 60 could allocate less than $14,000 per year from their estate or other assets in order to guarantee a legacy of $1,000,000 tax-free to their heirs. You can also allocate a larger amount over a fixed period of 10 or 20 years, with a guaranteed benefit locked in and assured to be there for your family.

What is your tolerance for outliving your money?

To secure your plan even further, many people are allocating a portion of their retirement assets into an Annuity, or an investment fund that provides a guaranteed income for life. These solutions can provide a tax-efficient, guaranteed lifetime income, with the potential for growth if the investment markets perform well. Combined with life insurance, this combination allows you to enjoy your retirement knowing that you will never outlive your money, and there will always be a significant estate for your loved ones.

Contact us to find out how we can help you to create an estate plan that is designed to meet the needs of your family, your heirs, your business interests as well as any philanthropic considerations.

Mortgage

Why you need Our Personal and Financial Organizer

By | Individual Services | No Comments

As insurance advisors, we often require our clients’ financial and medical information to ensure their plans get set up quickly and smoothly. And in many cases, we see that their financial, medical details – account numbers, contact info, important histories – are scattered and disorganized.

It is human nature. Even though these details can be incredibly important, we don’t often think of them until we need them – which, unfortunately, is often during a moment of crisis.

That’s why taking a few simple steps today can help you save time and stress tomorrow.

What is the SC Insurance personal & financial organizer?

Seeing this as a need for our clients, we created a personal financial organizer that serves as a great resource for getting your household organized. It provides you with one singular place to keep key information that you may need to call upon at important times. While it doesn’t replace proper planning, such as a Will and Power of Attorney, it can act as a very valuable resource for you, your family and those responsible for your estate.

To download your copy click here

It keeps the following information together in one handy location:
  • Driver’s license, Passport, Health Card, SIN numbers
  • Employer and school contact info
  • Physician and dentist contact info
  • Insurance coverage details, policy numbers and contact info
  • Banking and investment account information
  • Key Dates for renewals, expiry dates, follow-up’s
Why do you need a personal and financial organizer?

Keeping up with your finances, medical contacts, bank accounts, insurance policies and other important documents for you, your spouse and children can be overwhelming.

Often one member of the family takes on this onerous task or the duties are divided. But, do all key members of the household know all this valuable information, or even where to find it? What about the person responsible for your estate? And because the need for info like doctor or insurance details can come at already-stressful times, a personal and financial organizer can give you peace of mind and help you sleep easier.

Five ways a personal and financial organizer can help make your life easier
  1. Need to know your passport number so you can book a trip?
  2. Can’t find the insurance info to pay for the Dentist?
  3. If you couldn’t ask them, do you know the details of all of your partners’ bank accounts, credit cards, loan details, etc.?
  4. Applying for a loan and need the value of your other assets, loans and obligations?
  5. Need to find the phone number or date you took your child to see a specialist?
How to use the personal and financial organizer
The organizer serves as a resource for your own personal use, it should not be provided to us, or any outside party.
Include important details about your investments, insurance policies, wills, loans as well as important doctor’s contact info, passport numbers and so on.
Keep the organizer in a safe place, and make sure key family members know where it is. Review with your advisor, or when there has been a life event, such as new child, new job or new home.
Set reminders for when insurance policies or investments are renewing, or need to be revisited. And don’t forget to keep it up to date.

Be PREPARED and ORGANIZED as you never know what the next day will bring.

YOUR FAMILY. YOUR BUSINESS. WHAT MATTERS.

To talk to an advisor or request a paper copy of the organizer please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day. To download a fillable electronic form on our website click here.

PPP – Personal Pension Plan

By | Business Services, Retirement Income Solutions | No Comments

Personal Pension Plan (PPP) – The best-kept secret in retirement planning?

Historically, owners, senior executives & many government employees were provided generous pensions that guaranteed lifetime retirement income. Their companies would make significant deductible contributions every year in order to fund a pension plan to guarantee a certain amount of income in retirement.

Did you know that your small business or professional corporation could do the same thing for you?

A PPP offers a solution for small business owners to create their own defined benefit pension so that while you are focused on your income today, you know you will be set for your future retirement.

Below is a summary of this powerful tool, including how it works, who it is right for, and the various tax and other benefits.

WHAT IS A PPP AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
  • PPP is a personal pension plan that allows you to save more than a traditional RRSP
  • PPP allows a business owner to fund their own pension plan through their business
  • All contributions are deductible business expenses as are any costs associated with the pension plan (ie. Actuarial fees, management fees etc)
  • PPP is similar to an IPP (Individual Pension Plan) but allows greater contribution flexibility
AM I A CANDIDATE FOR A PPP?
  • Do you own a professional corporation or other business?
  • Are you currently maximizing your annual RRSP contributions?
  • Are you looking for ways to save additional monies on a tax-deferred basis for your retirement?
  • Does your annual T4 income exceed $120,000?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then you are a candidate for a PPP

KEY BENEFITS OF A PPP
  • Increase in contributions that can be made into a retirement fund to grow on a tax-deferred basis
  • Ability to make a catch-up payment for an increased room in the first year of setting up of PPP, generating a large corporate deduction and a bump in asset base for tax-deferred growth
  • Deductibility of fees and expenses related to PPP at a business level
  • Terminal funding amount that can generate additional corporate deduction while providing significant funds for retirement
  • PPP can be terminated and pension income initiated, prior to actual retirement
  • Transferability of PPP if the company is sold without a hassle
  • The flexibility of annual contributions in the event cash flow is limited in certain years
  • Assets inside a PPP can pass from generation to generation without triggering a deemed disposition
  • Assets inside a PPP are trade-creditor protected

To receive a customized quote and talk to an advisor please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day.

COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty, but as always, we are here for our clients!

Our priority is ensuring that our clients know that we are available to help with recent developments as they pertain to your insurance needs. In order to ensure the safety and comfort of our staff, effective March 23rd all staff will be working remotely but we are always just a phone call or email away. We want you to know that we have measures in place at this time to ensure minimal business disruption and we are working with all insurance companies to understand the full effect on group and personal insurance plans.

Please click here for some additional information as it pertains to COVID-19 and Life & Health Insurance.

 

Be safe and healthy and reach out anytime.