Some long term care homes can’t get insurance, could be force to close

Some long term care homes can’t get insurance, could be force to close

By Liam Casey

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ontario’s long-term care homes are having trouble securing liability insurance for COVID-19, a situation that could force some of them to close, a group representing more than 70 per cent of the province’s homes says.

The Ontario Long-Term Care Association says its homes are being offered new policies without a key provision: coverage for infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

The association has now turned to the federal government for help, saying potential claims could place a burden on the homes’ finances, and loans could be denied over the lack of coverage.

“We’re operating in good faith trying to do the best we can, but we really do need help with this and we need help urgently,” said CEO Donna Duncan.

Previously, long-term care homes received $5-million to $10-million coverage for damages or claims related to infectious diseases, Duncan said.

Now, insurance companies are including a “contagious disease exclusion endorsement” in policies for the homes, she said.

COVID-19 and a laundry list of other diseases are specifically not covered, according to one policy obtained by The Canadian Press.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, which represents the majority of insurance companies in the country, said coverage for losses related to communicable diseases is available in certain policies but isn’t easy to get.

“In an active pandemic environment, coverage for pandemic-related financial losses would naturally be extremely difficult to obtain,” spokesman Steve Kee said.

“This situation is akin to trying to get fire insurance when your house is on fire.”

Insurance companies continue to provide general liability insurance to long-term care homes, he said.

Duncan said some homes have already lost liability insurance against infectious diseases when they renewed their deals this summer.

Without that coverage, some homes are being refused loans and lines of credit, she said.

In one case, Duncan said, a small home that hasn’t had a single case of COVID-19 sought to build a new facility to get away from the three- and four-bedroom wards that have proven to be like death traps if COVID-19 got in. The facility needed financing to get the project going, but was denied money from a lender because of the lack of liability insurance for COVID-19, she said.

The lack of coverage against infectious diseases also leaves directors and members of boards personally liable to any legal action, Duncan said.

There are numerous lawsuits, including several class-action suits that have already been brought by grieving families against homes where residents died of COVID-19.

Duncan said the majority of homes have insurance renewals set for Dec. 31.

Her association has pleaded its case to the federal government in a letter sent late last week, asking Ottawa to provide a “backstop” and essentially insure the insurance companies.

“In consultation with insurers, reinsurance companies and major lenders, it is clear to us that long-term care is now essentially uninsurable for outbreaks,” Duncan wrote.

The insurance industry is open to the association’s federal government backstop idea, Kee said.

The Prime Minister’s Office referred questions to the Minister of Health, which did not answer questions about the request from the long-term care association.

A spokesman for Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the federal government will work with the provinces “to set new, national standards for long-term care that ensure the health, safety, and well-being of residents.”

In Ontario, the majority of homes are for-profit, with the remainder not-for-profit or municipally owned.

Several experts questioned whether it is appropriate for taxpayers to insure for-profit insurance companies and thereby cover any claim against long-term care homes.

Tamara Daly, the director of the York University Centre for Aging Research and Education, said taxpayers providing insurance to the long-term care industry is not workable.

“I think it would be a knee-jerk reaction to publicly fund liability insurance,” she said.

Daly and Samir Sinha, the director of health policy research at the National Institute on Ageing and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, said public money would be better spent fixing the long-term care home system in the province rather than fixing the insurance issues.

“If we dealt with the fundamental issues right off the beginning, if homes had enough staffing, enough PPE, they may not have been in the situation in the first place,” Sinha said.

More than 1,900 residents of long-term care homes have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit. The number of cases in the province’s 625 facilities are surging once again as the second wave takes hold, with outbreaks in 72 homes by mid-October.

 

 

Allstate Foundation to donate $10,000 to affordable housing program, and Quebec Allstate agencies pledge to donate* $5 for every quote completed this week

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Canada: Insurance – New Business Tool Kit

13 October 2020

Business insurance, like many types of expenditures, is one of those items which business owners typically do not like to pay. You must remember that sufficient insurance can be as critical to the success of your business as a good product or service. Without proper insurance you could lose all the money, time, and effort you put into your company. The types and amounts of coverage you purchase must be evaluated on a cost-benefit basis like any other commodity that you purchase.

Your insurance agent can help you review the amount of coverage you may wish to purchase for various purposes. Usually, you will want to insure against risks that could have significant detrimental impact on your business. This normally would include such items as fire, storm damage, theft, general, and product liability. Depending on the nature and size of your business, it is often a good idea to self-insure for all or a portion of certain losses. Self-insurance can be accomplished by not buying coverage for incidental risks or increasing the deductions on policies that you do buy. Often, raising the deductible can have a very favorable impact on policy premiums. The administrative cost to the insurance company to process small claims is quite high. The rates typically go down substantially if they are relieved of this expense by insuring for losses in excess of a sizable deductible amount. An insurance broker can provide you with comparative costs for various types of coverage with varying degrees of deductible amounts.

Required Policies

Very little insurance coverage is mandatory. For most industries, workers’ compensation coverage is required by law. It covers injuries to employees while on the job. Premiums for this coverage are payable as a specific assessment against your business payroll, based upon industry-wide claim experience.

You must also be aware that the terms of your building, office lease, or mortgage may require you to carry certain kinds of insurance coverage in specified minimum amounts. If you have leased equipment or have borrowed money from a bank or other lenders, there will usually be insurance requirements in the agreements relating to these transactions. There are many other types of policies that you may wish to consider. The specific coverage provided by each and their related costs can be explained in depth by a qualified insurance broker.

Some types of Insurance coverage you may consider for your business are:

Business Interruption

This coverage, as the name implies, covers the loss of revenues your business would have generated if it were forced to shut down for reasons beyond your control. While this is obviously valuable insurance, the policy premium must be carefully considered relative to the potential profits your business might lose during a short shutdown of operations.

Employee Fidelity Bond

This type of insurance typically covers the risk of loss from theft by employees. If your business deals in large amounts of cash, negotiable securities, or similar types of assets, you may be well advised to consider this coverage. Certain industries are required to carry this insurance by regulatory authorities.

Umbrella Coverage

This type of insurance covers losses above and beyond the limits of other policies that you carry. Umbrella policies usually pertain to liability of various sorts, and are usually valuable if your business, or you, have a higher net worth, which requires protection in the event of a catastrophic loss.

Accounts Receivable Coverage

Also referred to as credit coverage, reduces the risk of doing business, because it covers you against customer bankruptcy, refusal of delivery, or other non-payment.

Insurance is like any other product you purchase. Before purchasing it you should consult with more than one broker. You should discuss insurance needs with acquaintances in the same or related business as yours.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq News

Rising costs due to COVID-19 are partly to blame for premium hikes, insurers say

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Benefits By Design (BBD) Inc. partners with PocketPills to provide digital pharmacy services to CDN businesses

SURREY, BCOct. 5, 2020 /CNW/ – PocketPills, Canada’s leading digital pharmacy, today announced their partnership with Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc., to provide cost-effective benefit plans to its members by leveraging PocketPills digital pharmacy platform. Through the partnership, members filling their prescriptions at PocketPills will get higher coverage and their copay will be lower than going to a traditional pharmacy.

“We’re thrilled to bring convenience and affordable medication to Canadians across the country with BBD,” said Harj Samra, COO of PocketPills. “The devastating impact of COVID-19 has demonstrated a great need for safe and affordable access to medication. PocketPills has never been prouder to provide free doorstep delivery of medication and virtual access to pharmacists throughout all of Canada.”

Through digital collaboration between both partners, members are able to share their medication and insurance information with PocketPills for a seamless experience. BBD members can then instantly connect with pharmacists and manage their medications online. In addition to free medication delivery Canada wide, PocketPills sorts members’ medications by dose into easy-to-open PocketPacks. Each PocketPack includes the date and time, making it easier to take medications as prescribed. Automation technology improves the pharmacy workflow, making pharmacists more accessible to patients via phone or live chat, 7 days a week.

“After receiving positive feedback from our staff on their use of PocketPills, we are excited to bring that same experience to our customers,” said Mike McClenahan, Managing Partner at BBD. “PocketPills provides plan members with a unique combination of convenience and prescription medication management at an extremely affordable price. Their digital service is especially valuable during a time like COVID-19, allowing for the ordering and delivery of prescriptions to the plan member’s home.”

About PocketPills:
PocketPills is Canada’s first digital pharmacy, using state of the art technology to save time and provide convenience to the patients, allowing them to fill prescriptions online and get their medications delivered for free. Established in 2018 by two pharmacists and an engineer, PocketPills was formed with the vision that medication should be managed in a simplified, safer and more cost-effective way. A low $7 dispensing fee and free delivery make medications affordable, and the PocketPacks system and app help patients manage their medications and take them on time as prescribed.
For more information, please visit  www.pocketpills.com

About BBD:
Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. is a proud Canadian success story. Established in 1996, we are on a mission to help working Canadians promote and protect their health, wealth, and happiness by delivering employee benefits by design.

Follow us on social media @bbdcanada, or visit www.bbd.ca for more information.

SOURCE PocketPills

For further information: Media Contact: Nik De Sequera, media@pocketpills.com

Related Links

www.pocketpills.com

Novacap Acquires Interest In AGA Financial Group

MONTREALOct. 5, 2020 /CNW/ – Novacap, one of Canada’s leading private equity firms, announced that it acquired an interest in AGA Financial Group Inc. (“AGA”), one of Quebec’s leading employee benefits advisory firms and third-party administrators of group insurance and retirement plans.

AGA helps businesses across Canada develop and administer tailor-made group insurance plans. AGA was founded in 1978 and has been owned and operated since 2013 by veteran insurance executives Martin Papillon, Chantal Dufresne and Gabriel Gagnon. AGA serves more than 1,200 clients across the spectrum from small and medium-sized businesses to those with national footprints. It employs more than 100 professionals, including a team of actuaries and a network of external brokers, with offices in Montreal and Quebec City.

“AGA has built a first-class franchise that combines passionate experts with a culture of innovation,” said Marcel Larochelle, Managing Partner, Financial Services, at Novacap. “This is a unique attribute in any business, and it is what fascinated us from the very beginning of our conversations. It speaks to the strength of the Novacap platform that we have been able to attract such a renowned group of partners in Martin, Chantal, and Gabriel.”

AGA is the third investment of the Novacap Financial Services I fund since its first closing in November 2019. Novacap is the first private equity firm in Canada to launch a fund dedicated to investing in financial services businesses.

“Novacap is excited to assist AGA with our deep operational expertise, our experience in executing mergers and acquisitions and in developing new markets across Canada and beyond,” added Rajiv Bahl, Senior Partner, Financial Services, at Novacap. “We look forward to working with the management team to power AGA’s continued growth.”

“Partnering with Novacap is a privilege for my partners and all AGA employees, as we all have exactly the same ambitious vision for the future of the company,” said Martin Papillon, President and Chief Executive Officer of AGA. “Our mission is to facilitate access to group insurance and pension plans, and to streamline their administration for our customers. This pledge is reflected not only in exceptional service, but also strategic advice that allows us to provide more in terms of solutions, products and services. With Novacap as our partner, these capabilities will only be enhanced.”

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP acted as legal advisor to Novacap.

Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP acted as legal advisor to AGA.

About Novacap
Founded in 1981, Novacap is a leading Canadian private equity firm with CA$3.6 billion of assets under management. Its distinct investment approach, based on deep operational expertise and an active partnership with entrepreneurs, has helped accelerate growth and create long-term value for its numerous portfolio companies. With an experienced management team and substantial financial resources, Novacap is well positioned to continue building world-class businesses. Backed by leading global institutional investors, Novacap’s deals typically include leveraged buyouts, management buyouts, add-on acquisitions, IPOs, and privatizations. Over the last 39 years, Novacap has invested in more than 90 companies and completed more than 140 add-on acquisitions. Novacap has offices in Brossard, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario. For more information, please visit www.novacap.ca.

About AGA Financial Group Inc.
Since its inception in 1978, AGA has helped clients across Canada develop and administer tailor-made group insurance plans. AGA is also one of Quebec’s leading third-party administrators and third-party payers (TPA / TPP) of group insurance and retirement plans. Its clients include over 1,200 small, medium and large businesses, as well as financial security and group insurance consultants wishing to make a group insurance plan available to their clients. AGA has a Quebec-wide distribution network and more than 100 employees across its offices in Montreal and Quebec City.

SOURCE Novacap Management Inc.

Related Links

http://www.novacap.ca

 

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