Employment insurance recipient list falls to lowest level since 1997

OTTAWA _ Statistics Canada says the number of people collecting employment insurance in April fell to the lowest level in at least 21 years.

The federal agency says 453,100 people received the regular wage insurance payments in April, down 100,200 or 18 per cent since April 2017, and the lowest number since comparable data became available in 1997.

The reduction in beneficiaries was reflected in every province and coincides with a reduction in the national unemployment rate from 6.5 per cent to a record low of 5.8 per cent over same 12-month period.

StatsCanada also points out there was real gross domestic product growth in every province in 2017 for the first time since 2011.

The agency says the sharpest year-over-year decline in EI recipients took place in Alberta, where the 56,300 people collecting benefits was down nearly 29 per cent from a year earlier.

Other provinces with big declines included Quebec, down 24 per cent; British Columbia, 22 per cent; and Ontario and New Brunswick, each down by 16 per cent.

Changes in the number of beneficiaries are affected by the number of new claims, recipients who go back to work and the number who have exhausted their benefits.

SSQ Insurance selects Acquia and launches its new website

QUEBEC CITYJune 18, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – SSQ Insurance launched its new website last week in collaboration with digital experience company Acquia. The ssq.ca website overhaul had two key components – replacing the content management software and revamping its look-and-feel.

The in-depth analysis of several market-leading solutions led SSQ Insurance to choose Acquia to handle the digital experience of the new website. Acquia provides an all-in-one Digital Experience Platform (DXP) that enables SSQ Insurance teams to focus on content, innovation and value-added services for its clients and members. Acquia works with Drupal, the most widely used content management system (CMS) in its category, because it offers innovative functionality, is committed to security and is compatible with third-party digital optimization tools.

The multiple components of the Acquia intelligent Platform and marketing tools will enable SSQ Insurance to manage, customize and improve its online customer experience at every touchpoint. The Drupal CMS, which is both modern and efficient, offers the functionality and agility required to support the complete execution of the company’s Customer Centre and various initiatives related to honing customer services.

Changing ssq.ca’s CMS to Acquia’s digital experience platform led SSQ Insurance to fully integrate its new brand identity into and update the look-and-feel of its website. The site’s architecture and navigation setup were entirely redesigned in order to enhance user experience on every type of device. The most popular user tasks are front and centre. The site is now even more relevant, from coast to coast, because it uses geolocation to provide specific information depending on province of residence.

“We want to make navigating the site as user-friendly as possible on all devices, especially smartphones. This is a priority because 30% of visitors use their smartphones or tablets to visit our website. Just like the attributes of SSQ Insurance’s brand identity, the new ssq.ca is positive, modern and supportive,” said SSQ Insurance’s Marketing and E-Business Vice-President Annie Lafond.

“With this launch, SSQ Insurance is making a strong digital shift and refocusing its efforts on customer experience optimization. With Acquia, SSQ Insurance now has the agility, flexibility and openness on which to build its positioning and continue to offer value-added services to its policyholders and customers,” said Acquia Vice-President Mathieu Weber.

About SSQ Insurance
Founded in 1944, SSQ Insurance is a mutualist company that puts community at the heart of insurance. With assets under management of $12 billion, SSQ Insurance is one of the largest companies in the industry. Working for a community of over three million customers, SSQ Insurance employs over 2,000 people. Leader in group insurance, the company also sets itself apart through its expertise in individual life and health insurance, general insurance and the investment sector. For more information, visit ssq.ca.

About Acquia
Acquia provides a cloud platform and data-driven journey technology to build, manage and activate digital experiences at scale. Thousands of organizations rely on Acquia’s digital factory to power customer experiences at every channel and touchpoint. Acquia liberates its customers by giving them the freedom to build tomorrow on their terms. To learn more, visit acquia.com.


SOURCE SSQ Insurance

Economical Insurance and Custom Software Announce Integration Project

Insurance brokers and their clients will enjoy accurate real-time quotes and faster, more efficient new business submission and policy issuance with a software integration project from Economical Insurance and Custom Software Solutions Inc. (CSSI). The real-time data exchange project will integrate Economical’s Vyne™ offering with CSSI’s vendor rating software IntelliQuote (IQ) and broker management system The Broker’s Workstation (TBW).

“We share Economical’s commitment to improving the broker channel through technological innovation,” said Scott Andrew, CEO of CSSI. “This new real-time connectivity, which adheres to CSIO standards, enables our CSSI brokers to provide a better quoting experience and faster new business policy turnaround for their customers.”

“Incorporating CSSI software into our Vyne offering has allowed Economical to deliver an enhanced experience to our broker partners,” said Alice Keung, SVP and Chief Transformation Officer, Economical Insurance. “This real-time data exchange provides a streamlined workflow that allows both Economical and brokers to deliver faster and better service for our customers.”

Shifting customer expectations means brokers increasingly need new tools. Economical and CSSI recognize the opportunity to improve the quoting and policy issuance process by implementing new technology. The integration project will enhance broker quoting capabilities for new business in personal auto, personal property, and individually rated commercial auto (IRCA). Immediate benefits to the broker are improved rating accuracy, real-time rate updates, and rate maintenance efficiencies. A quote can quickly be turned into a new business submission in one customer interaction. If no underwriter intervention is required, a policy will be issued in real-time and an eDoc download will be available within minutes.

IntelliQuote and TBW integrated rating and new business issuance with Vyne will roll out regionally beginning June 2018.

About Economical Insurance

Founded in 1871, Economical is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with more than $2.2 billion in annualized premium volume and more than $5.4 billion in assets as at March 31, 2018. Headquartered in Waterloo, ON, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Sonnet, Petsecure, Economical Financial, and Family Insurance Solutions.

About Custom Software Solutions

Custom Software Solutions Inc. (CSSI) was founded in 1991 and is a leader in the development and delivery of real-time digital solutions and business process automation systems for Insurance Brokers, Companies and MGAs in Canada. Our proven Broker products, The Broker’s Workstation, IntelliQuote, The Underwriter’s Workstation and I-Client, and Insurance Company Products, I-Company, I-Broker, and I-Biz, are today providing significant efficiency gains leading to increased productivity and decreased operating expenses for both Broker and Company users. CSSI boasts a team of highly experienced programmers, insurance industry professionals, and certified computer technologists. CSSI services its growing clientele of Brokers and Insurance Companies from its offices in Virden, MB. For more information, visit our website at www.cssionline.com.

Insurance-Canada.ca announces highlights of its 2018 Insurance Technology Conference

Source: Insurance-Canada.ca

For its 16thAnnual Technology Conference (ICTC 2018) Insurance-Canada.ca is focusing on the opportunities and challenges provided by new technology in use by Canadian insurers and brokers.

Artificial Intelligence is becoming a reality for Canadian insurance. Since the origin of electronic computing, “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) has been a goal for programmers and fodder for science fiction. These two groups are now coming together as reality emerges. AI and its counterparts – machine learning and advanced analytics – are coming into play in insurance companies and larger brokerages. Early implementations are demonstrating the use of AI in claims settlements, providing more accurate insurance product pricing and allowing customers ease of access to a variety of coverages.

From the buyers’ perspective, insurers and brokers are finding that Customer Experience is a critical success factor for attracting consumers while utilizing advanced technologies. Kanetix Ltd will discuss some of the challenges for customer-facing insurance providers as they optimize the customer experience, and techniques – including AI – to better address human behaviours.

Other sessions at ICTC 2018 will cover a larger landscape.  Experts from the analyst, insurer and technology supplier communities are preparing sessions focused on Blockchain, IoT (Internet of Things) and Digital insurance technologies. These include:

  • New risks and developing insurance products
  • De-risking strategies through climate adaptation
  • The impact of autonomous vehicles on the automotive insurance product
  • Customer experience technologies on the business of insurance.

Taking a user’s angle on the insurance industry and its technologies, David Coletto, CEO at Abacus Data, will provide the keynote address. Based on more than seven years of research, Coletto’s presentation will describe the context around all the technologies, and will offer a Canadian perspective on generational change (Millennials and Gen Z) and the disruptive forces at work in both consumer and insurance markets.

The 2018 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference, entitled Insurance Vectors in Play, will be held on February 27-28, 2018 at the Beanfield Centre in Toronto.  Details on the location, agenda, and registration can be found here. (www.insurance-canada.ca/ictc)

Manulife’s new CEO says insurance industry still in dark ages


TORONTO – Incoming Manulife (MFC.TO 1.55%) chief executive Roy Gori said on Thursday the insurance industry is “still in the dark ages” and needs to transform its technologies to adapt to changing consumer behaviors.

Speaking at the Scotiabank Financials Summit, Gori, who is taking over as CEO next month, said the vast majority of Manulife’s technology budget is spent on maintaining existing systems rather than investing in new technologies.

“We need to transform our business to be much more of a technology-driven company,” he said. “We need to become a much more customer-orientated organization and quite frankly the entire industry does. In many ways, if I’m absolutely honest, our industry is still in the dark ages.”

Gori, who will replace Chief Executive Donald Guloien, said customers are looking to be able to buy insurance products instantly rather than be bogged down with paperwork.

“If you apply for an insurance product you’ll get a 16-page application form with 120 questions more often that not. It’s still very paper-based, very manual and, as a result, our industry net promoter scores are really very poor,” he said.

Gori said embracing new technology was key to changing processes.

“Customers engage today on their phones with other organizations in a seamless, transparent and very efficient way,” he said. “That’s not how they work with the insurance industry, so we need to transform our technology footprint.”

Solving clearance conundrums for errors and omissions insurance a major, but little known, job in film and TV

Someone on the set of the TV series “Fargo” liked the pop of colour a vintage clown game gave to an ominous scene in a dank, cluttered basement, so they moved it forward in the shot.

The problem? After the scene was filmed for the second season, the studio wasn’t sure it could show the garish carnival game without being sued _ even though it’s there for less than 10 seconds.

“Several high-level MGM executives spent weeks on that clown game,” producer Kim Todd recalled during a recent visit to a Calgary sound stage where Season 3 was being filmed.

Countless hours go into making sure anything featured in a TV show or movie _ whether it’s a character’s name, a brand-name product or a work of art _ won’t get the studio into legal trouble. Outside businesses are hired for what’s known in the industry as clearance _ scouring scenes for any potential pitfalls and flagging them in reports for studios.

It took some detective work, but the “Fargo” clearance team eventually tracked down the maker of the clown game in Montreal and got the permission it needed.

Hunting down the rights owners of tacky garage-sale tchotchkes for the show’s second season, set in the 1970s, was a huge undertaking. Ditto cheap figurines manufactured by the millions in China.

“Bad art is a character in ‘Fargo’ _ it just is,” said Todd.

Frustrating as it is, she said she understands where the clearance folks are coming from.

“It’s this plodding thing and I have to be very respectful of people who do it because they’re working for the studios who don’t want to get sued.”

Characters have also caused headaches on occasion. Ray Stussy _ one of two brothers played by Ewan McGregor in the show’s third season _ came up as a potential problem after the name had already appeared in the show’s promotional material.

It turned out that the real Ray Stussy the clearance team found is an African American man in his 70s _ different enough from the one on the show to quell any potential concerns over using his likeness.

Jim Erickson, a retired set decorator who won an Oscar for his work on the 2012 film “Lincoln,” said clearance concerns were a huge headache at times during his 40-year career.

When he first started out, it wasn’t so much of a problem. But then in the ’90s, studios appeared to get increasingly nervous about litigation.

Working with the clearance team to track down permission for items used on set became such a big job that he had to eventually hire someone full-time just for that.

“So the legal department was starting to dictate what we could or couldn’t put on sets and that was really, really disturbing,” Erickson said from his home on B.C.’s Salt Spring Island.

“I was in fights all the time and I would just always lose.”

Clearance is required for studios to get errors and omissions insurance _ similar to malpractice insurance in the medical field _ for their productions, said Amy Lennie, president of The Rights Company.

The Toronto-based firm does intellectual property rights research and clearance for films, television shows, web series and video games around the world.

“They need to cross all the t’s and dot all their i’s to make sure that things are done properly and any potential lawsuits out there are not going to happen,” she said, adding most in the industry understand how important it is.

“Everybody’s a professional and they’re reasonable people. It’s common sense.”

Ideally, all clearance quandaries are tied up before shooting even begins, said Chad Mathis, a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and founder of The Clearance Lab.

Slip-ups can be fixed in post-production, but it’s expensive.

Mathis said clearance tends to trip up those new to the business who might not even think about it until after they have a distribution deal.

“It kills a lot of projects, failure to pay attention to these matters,” said Mathis.

“It’s easy to get wrapped up in the creative _ and you should. But you can’t leave out the rest, or you won’t be around for long.”


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