Ways to Stay Connected While Keeping Your Distance

Ways to Stay Connected While Keeping Your Distance

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BY REGINA BOYLE WHEELER

For the foreseeable future, the COVID-19 pandemic is drastically changing the way we live. Public health officials continue their urgent calls for social distancing as this physical separation between you and other people is currently one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of the virus and ease the mounting burden on the health care system. So, in these uncertain times, just when we need each other the most, we’re urged to keep our distance.

Even as schools, businesses, churches, and seemingly everything shuts down, staying connected is vital—even while we hunker down at home.

Make virtual connections
Thanks to 21st-century technology, connecting to others from a distance is easier than ever.

  • Use Skype, Zoom or other video conferencing platforms to have coffee or happy hour “with” friends or “lunch” with co-workers who are working from home. Host a virtual book club or card game.
  • Start a family group text and share jokes, news or videos of your silly dog.
  • Use FaceTime or similar video chat apps on your smartphone to virtually visit family or friends who live just around the corner, or on the other side of the world.
  • If you have a Chrome browser on a desktop or laptop computer, use Netflix Party to watch movies and shows with your friends simultaneously. Use the group chat function so you can talk about what you’re seeing as if you were in the same room.
  • Since most gyms are closed, many are offering free resources for people who want to continue their workouts virtually. Fitness chain Planet Fitness is live streaming free 20-minute “work ins” via Facebook at 7 p.m. ET daily.
  • Your religious life can be an even greater source of support now. Many religious institutions are offering either live-streamed services or taped versions. Check your organization’s website or Facebook page.

Take advantage of social media

In times like these, social media platforms can not only help you help others but also help you feel connected to the world around you.

  • Set up a neighbourhood Facebook or Nextdoor group so neighbors can post notices, share resources or alert others to someone who’s in need. Nextdoor has launched Help Map so neighbors can locate those who need food or supplies and people who are willing to pitch in.
  • Storytime is online too. Check out the Storyline Online YouTube channel. It features a variety of celebrities reading kids’ books.
  • Join Pinterest to find new recipes to make for your family or search for DIY projects to improve your home.
  • Check out #quarantinelife or #socialdistancing on Twitter to see how other people around the world are spending their time and connecting. Search for other hashtags that interest you.

Go retro

There are also low-tech ways that can help. Write letters, send care packages, pictures and the like, suggests Kozlov. “Not everyone has access to technology, so make sure you’re finding ways to send ‘mood boosts’ to those who don’t have access,” she says.

Older people, especially those with underlying health conditions, are at higher risk of complications if they get COVID-19. For their safety, nursing homes and long-term care facilities are tightly restricting or banning visitation. This is the same population that might not have access to technology and are at risk of social isolation, Kozlov says. So “old school” solutions like sending a card or making a phone call can really brighten their day.

Wondering if you could be exposed to COVID-19 through contaminated mail or packages? It’s very unlikely.

The chances of being infected by letters or boxes that have been “moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature” is low, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds that “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.”

That said, frequent handwashing, including after receiving and opening mail, is one of the best ways to reduce your risk for infection.

Bond with your pet
Your pet is an important social connection and can be a stress reliever, too. A 2019 study published in AERA Open found that even a brief time interacting with pets can help lower stress. Researchers divided about 250 college students into four groups: one petted cats and dogs for 10 minutes; one watched the activity; a third simply viewed a slideshow of the animals; and the fourth didn’t touch or view the animals at all. They found that the hands-on petters had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva than the other three groups.

Important to note: The CDC recommends restricting contact with pets if you get COVID-19 because the risk of transmission between humans and animals is not yet well understood.

Take a breather
Go outside for walks, exercise, fresh air and sunshine, if allowed in your community. You can pass people on the street (maintaining the safe six-foot distance) and wave hello and exchange a smile or a few pleasantries.

“The videos of people in Italy singing out their windows is so moving, and people in my neighborhood have taken to standing on their front steps at 5 pm and singing ‘We Are the Champions’ together,” Kozlov says. “This is a great way to feel like you are part of something bigger.”

That underscores the idea that social distancing can be reframed as an act of social cohesiveness. If we all do this, we’re protecting ourselves and others as well, Kozlov says.

She encourages people to adjust their thinking about this trying time in another way, too.

“Take this time and try to think of it as something other than ‘the time the country shut down.’ Maybe it can also be ‘the time I learned a new skill, the time I read all the books I’ve been meaning to read, the time I watched all the classic movies, the time I reached out to old friends and cultivated our relationships,’ etc. We are all very much in this together, so find your community (from a distance) and try to support one another.”

Edited for ILSTV

Free CAIB Exam Prep Tutoring Available with ILScorp Courses

Free CAIB Exam Prep Tutoring Available with ILScorp Courses

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us carry out our daily activities. Many brokers in Canada are now working remotely from home and many of you are also in the midst of preparing for your CAIB (Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker) examinations.

For those of you who are currently studying for your CAIB exam, or considering the next step in your CAIB designation, a complete set of online training videos is available to you through ILScorp.com.  With ILScorp, you can access these online video CAIB exam prep courses 24 hours a day, anywhere you have an internet connection.

The CAIB exam prep courses are video streamed online and divided into easy-to-manage chapters. Each chapter has internal practice quizzes, as well as at the end of chapter mock exams. A follow-along downloadable workbook, mock midterm, and a mock final exam are also included to help reinforce your knowledge retention.

Adjusting to remote working in addition to preparing for a CAIB exam can be overwhelming, but with these courses, you are not alone in your studies.

The interactive online video CAIB Exam Preparation courses combine the ease and convenience of online learning with the support and dynamic instruction of Todd Hochban.

Todd Hochban, AIIC, CAIB and President of WCT (West Coast Training Ltd.) began his insurance career in the 1970s.  During his 40 plus years in the insurance industry, Todd has been a broker, commercial underwriter and production supervisor.  In 1989 Todd began his training career.  Since then Todd has helped over 7,000 brokers with licensing and technical training.  Known for his enthusiastic and fun approach to learning Todd has developed a loyal following in the Canadian marketplace.

Todd appreciates all the loyal support he has received over the past years and would like to return the gesture now by helping students with their online CAIB studies during the COVID-19 crisis.

Once enrolled in an ILScorp online CAIB exam preparation course, you too will receive free telephone tutoring with instructor Todd Hochban.

Todd can help with checkpoint and discussion questions, provide explanations of any subject in the CAIB program as well as provide study tips and strategies.

Simply call Todd with your questions (604) 828-1810 or (604) 828-1810.

The CAIB programs are available in two formats, online self-study, with 4 months of unlimited course access or online virtual classroom with a 4 week outlined structured approach and 4 months of unlimited course access.

For more information on online CAIB exam preparation, courses click here

Or email ILScorp: info@ilscorp.com

Edited for ILSTV

Trudeau points to bailout for help for renters facing financial crunch

By Jordan Press

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ Federal officials are looking at ways to get money to community housing providers and the nation’s renters, who may be hit hardest by the economic shock caused by COVID-19, and warning anyone already receiving housing funding to refrain from evictions.

Providers that have federal funding agreements are being told they won’t see cuts to their financial help from Ottawa as deals expire in the coming weeks, said a government source who was not authorized to speak publicly about the measures.

Officials are considering a financial backstop for other providers so they can cover operating costs if tenants can’t pay rent as a result of COVID-19, said a source with knowledge of the discussions, who asked for anonymity to detail private conversations.

Another government source who was not authorized to detail behind-the-scenes talks said there is an ongoing push with at least six provinces to quickly sign up for a new rent supplement to avoid evictions for hundreds of thousands of households who rent.

For most of the efforts underway, the results will take time to unfold. So the Liberals are emphasizing the measures they expect to get approved Tuesday when the government asks the opposition parties to rapidly approve a $27-billion spending package, with a further $55 billion in tax breaks and available credit.

The Senate is scheduled to deal with the legislation on Wednesday.

“We know that there are significant pressures on Canadians right across the country who are facing bills coming in, who are facing pressures on caring for their families,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday when asked about the situation facing renters.

“That is why we are working extremely quickly to get money out the door and into the pockets of Canadians during this extraordinary time.”

Research from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said just under half of renters in this country, or 1.6 million households, might have only enough money saved in the bank to pay their bills for a month or less. A further quarter, roughly 830,000 households, don’t have enough income to get through a single week without pay, says an analysis released Monday.

The report argues that the federal spending help, which will hit households in weeks, may come too late for many renters.

COVID-19 has produced a rapid downshift in the economy as businesses are forced to close and Canadians asked to stay home, which has led to a sharp drop in consumer spending and a sharp jump in claims for employment insurance benefits. Last week alone, the government received 500,000 new EI claims.

Many people who file for employment insurance are able to find new jobs before very long, in normal times. But the Conference Board of Canada estimated in a report of its own Monday that the economy could shed more than 330,000 jobs between April and October, which would raise the unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent.

Many of the hardest-hit sectors employ many of the nation’s renters or those who live in subsidized housing.

Jeff Morrison, president of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, said federal income-support measures need to get out the door as quickly as possible, while private landlords need to demonstrate some flexibility by allowing rent deferrals.

“For non-profit providers, I’m confident they will not evict, but for them the question becomes how can they pay their bills and keep their lights on,” he said. “In the worst-case scenario, you may see foreclosures and that contributes to homelessness.”

NDP housing critic Jenny Kwan, in a letter to the cabinet committee overseeing the government’s response to COVID-19, asked for a nationwide moratorium on all evictions _ as Ontario has done _ and on rent increases. That would require provinces to issue such orders.

“The situation is incredibly serious and people shouldn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over their heads in the middle of a public health emergency,” she said.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which administers much of the federal government’s national housing strategy, said in a note to clients on Monday that any organization it funds should suspend evictions until the situation improves.

The government is also asking private landlords to “exercise compassion and refrain from evictions,” said the minister who oversees federal housing efforts.

“CMHC is also working with landlords and housing providers affected by COVID-19 to find appropriate solutions for them,” Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement.

“We expect any housing provider who has received financing or support from CMHC, directly or via provinces and territories, to act compassionately and refrain from eviction.”

RCMP say COVID-19 no excuse for expired auto insurance, drivers licences

The excerpted article was written by CBC News

ICBC is moving transactions like auto insurance renewals online and over the phone as a way to avoid in-person contact during the spread of COVID-19.

Even though auto insurance services are no longer open at many ICBC offices, driving uninsured won’t fly.

“There is no reason [or] excuse people cannot renew their insurance,” said Cpl. Mike Halskov, with BC RCMP Traffic Services.

“If one fails to renew their insurance when due and continues to drive or is involved in a collision, they are subject to a violation ticket or, in the event of a crash, may not be insured.”

ICBC says to call an Autoplan broker to renew insurance, change a policy or other service. Drivers should give themselves extra time, as transactions may take longer than usual.

After insuring a vehicle, usually the driver is given an update decal to stick on their license with the new expiry date. Those will either be mailed out or can be picked up from an open office, a spokesperson with ICBC said.

Drivers pulled over for having an expired decal will need to show proof of valid insurance regardless of their sticker.

“If a person renews their insurance over the phone and does not receive a new decal right away, police can still determine whether or not a vehicle is insured, even if the decal on the plate is not current,” Halskov said.

Some brokers are still open for transactions that can’t be done over the phone, like vehicle registrations and new policies.

All road tests are suspended for at least the next two weeks but driving licensing offices are still open as usual for license renewals.

On its website, ICBC says customers who show up at an ICBC licencing office will be asked questions to screen for COVID-19, and it’s limited how many people enter the offices so it can ensure social distancing.

AXIS Insurance: Supporting our colleagues & business partners during this time of uncertainty

March 19, 2020  

At this time of great uncertainty, AXIS is committed to providing the underwriting expertise and claims service our clients and distribution partners deserve and expect. To help protect the safety of our team members, business partners and communities, our colleagues globally are working remotely. In addition, we have paused business travel across the entirety of our company.

We are fully operational with our teams using virtual meeting and collaboration tools to stay connected internally with our colleagues and externally with our clients and distribution partners. And we are prepared to address the concerns that may arise for our clients and partners in distribution.

We are monitoring COVID-19, and the guidance from the World Health Organization and government authorities in every region in which we have operations and critical vendor support. We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our colleagues while continuing to deliver superior client service and responsiveness.

We are grateful for the continued trust and partnership of our clients and distribution partners. Please contact us as you normally would with any questions or needs you may have in the coming days and weeks.

How coverage is triggered: COVID-19 and business insurance

Commercial insurance is complex and specialized, which makes it important that you speak to your insurance representative if you have any questions or need clarification about your coverage.

Will my standard business policy or business interruption policy cover me for interruptions due to COVID-19?

  • Generally, commercial insurance policies and traditional business interruption policies do not offer coverage for business interruption or supply chain disruption due to a pandemic such as COVID-19.
  • Some organizations may have purchased specialized contingent business interruption coverage, stand-alone business interruption coverage and supply chain disruption coverage which may be triggered as a result of the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic.
  • Commercial insurance is complex and specialized and specific to your business which makes it important that you speak to your insurance representative if you have any questions or need clarification about your coverage.

How does business insurance work?

Property insurance for businesses is designed to protect the physical assets of a business against loss and/or damage from a broad range of causes. There are two basic policy types:

  1. Named perils – covers only loss and/or damage caused by perils specifically listed in the policy, subject to exclusions. Loss and/or damage caused by any other peril is not covered.
  2. Comprehensive – covers loss and/or damage caused by any peril, unless specifically excluded.

What is business interruption (BI) coverage?

BI coverage is an add-on to an existing business insurance policy. In the event of a business temporarily needing to shut down, BI covers continuing expenses or replaces lost profits. There are three types of BI policies:

  1. Gross earnings policy, which pays only until property or damage is replaced or repaired, or stock is replaced
  2. Profits form policy, which continues to pay until a business resumes its normal, pre-interruption level (subject to policy limits)
  3. Extra expense policy, which is designed for businesses that can remain operational during periods affected by loss and/or damage.

How does BI insurance work?

BI policies are not standardized and include many variants, but most contain language indicating that the insurer will pay for the actual loss of “business income” due to the “necessary suspension” of operations during “the period of restoration.” A number of concepts and nuances come into play, including:

  • Physical damage requirement: Most policies require proof that the insured premises sustained physical damage (for example, from fire, heat, flooding or firefighting efforts) that was covered under their property policy, which caused an interruption that resulted in a loss of business income. A business that is interrupted due to the loss of data or a loss of utilities may not have sustained a physical loss. (There is separate utility loss coverage.)
  • Period of restoration: If BI coverage is triggered, a significant issue is defining the period of indemnity or, as some policies refer to it, the period of restoration. Most policies will pay business income loss through to the point that the business is restored or when the coverage expires (usually 12 months from the beginning of the interruption).

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