Manulife’s insurance app rewards healthy lifestyles, but also raises ‘health surveillance’ concerns

Making 10 per cent of Canadians less sedentary by 2020 would increase the national GDP by $1.6 billion, according to a study

BY Nicholas Sokic | Financial Post 

Elevators at Manulife Canada’s Toronto headquarters are now adorned with signage that reads, “the stairs go the same way.” It’s part of Manulife’s efforts to change sedentary lifestyles, as it rolls out its life insurance app to its employees and the rest of the country in partnership with Discovery Health, the South Africa-based subsidiary of the financial services group Discovery Ltd.

The Vitality app tracks your health based on several personalized physical and mental personalized assessments. Users can reach bronze, silver, gold or platinum ranking based on their own fitness goals, and win discounts and gift certificates for hotels.com, Amazon, Cineplex and Tim Horton’s, among others.

Manulife launched Vitality in the U.S. four years ago under its John Hancock Financial division, and on an individual basis in Canada in 2017. The group benefits version was launched for Manulife employees in July, which reported 50 per cent participation in its first month.

The Toronto-based insurer has now opened the group benefits program to other companies during a staggered rollout, and already counts Walmart Canada and Scotiabank as customers.

The Vitality app is used in more than 20 countries with 10 million participants. Manulife signed a global pledge with other life insurance companies to make 100 million people more active by 2025.

“About a year ago we decided to launch it in the benefits business so that’s been about developing the platform for the employer market and testing it,” said Donna Carbell, the head of group benefits at Manulife Canada.

Participation in the program is entirely optional and there are no consequences for choosing not to participate, the company notes.

“Customers can select the method, type and amount of information they share,” according to Manulife. “The information is used to encourage customer engagement with the program and reward customers for participating in healthy activities.”

Despite privacy and other concerns, getting people to move around is an uncontroversial goal. During a presentation, Manulife’s chief executive officer Mike Doughty stated that four chronic conditions — respiratory, cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes — are responsible for 60 per cent of all deaths worldwide and 85 per cent of Manulife’s group benefits claims.

The highly personalized nature of the assessments in the app result in a radically different fitness experience for each user, even accounting for pregnancy, Carbell said.

“I may be a very sedentary person who has a chronic condition and it will create a different program for me so I will achieve a gold status with a very different exercise and fitness regime than a marathon runner will,” said Carbell.

Manulife cited a study from the Conference Board of Canada saying that making 10 per cent of Canadians less sedentary by 2020 would increase the national GDP by $1.6 billion and reduce national healthcare costs by $2.6 billion.

RAND Europe, an independent research institute, conducted a study last November surveying 400,000 people in South Africa, the U.S. and the U.K. and found that people using the Vitality app in conjunction with Apple Watch saw an equivalent of 4.8 extra days — an increase of 34 per cent — of physical activity on average each month.

Still, there are some obvious apprehensions in handing over the minutiae of your health information to a third-party.

“There’s always concerns about privacy,” said Carbell. “Any info an employee keys into the system, which might be my waist circumference or body mass index, all of that is housed with Vitality. We don’t even have access to that.”

Instead, the monthly report that employers receive would only contain demographic data such as how many employees are actively using the app.

“They could, theoretically, sell the information to third-parties without any consent on the part of the subject. But (totally voluntary) means nothing,” says Ann Cavoukian, the executive director of the Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence at Ryerson University. “Most people probably haven’t even looked at who the information is shared with, what that consent means.”

Toronto-based John Wunderlich of the self-named privacy and security firm also thinks the situation is not so cut and dry.

“I think it’s hard for me to see what the value offering is for both employer and insurance provider if it isn’t employee health surveillance.”

While employee consent is required, “the pendulum is swinging” on how rigorous that consent may be, Wunderlich says. For those that don’t want to participate, the impact could be anything from increased stress or pressure to perform in an unnatural fashion.

This hypothetical situation is not beyond the pale either. Last year, a statewide West Virginia teacher’s strike was partially brought on due to the Go365, a heartrate- and step-tracking app. A US$500 hike in a teacher’s annual insurance deductible was the punishment for failing to reach a certain amount of points. The program was later abandoned.

However, Manulife counters that it’s “committed to respecting and protecting” customers’ personal information.

“We have organizational, physical and technical safeguards in place to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data entrusted to us,” the company said.

Mera Signs Cannabis Supply Agreement with German Distributor

Mera Cannabis Corp. (“Mera” or the “Company“), has entered into a binding and non-exclusive supply agreement (the “Supply Agreement“) with HM HerbaMedica GMBH (“HerbaMedica“), situated in Berlin, Germany, pursuant to which HerbaMedica has agreed to purchase up to 600 kg of dried cannabis per year from Mera for a term of two years, subject to certain increase rights.

As part of Mera’s international development strategy, its flagship facility in St. Thomas, Ontario has been designed to adhere to EU-GMP standards. As a result, Mera expects the majority of its outputs from its domestic facilities to be sold to growing international medical markets. With a population of over 83 million and wide-spread statutory health insurance, Germany is poised to be a European powerhouse for medical cannabis.

“With partners like HerbaMedica, Mera has the opportunity to capitalize on its experience and insights acquired through domestic operations and utilize that knowledge in the EU. This agreement marks a significant milestone for both parties and will help bridge the gap between supply and demand in Germany,” says Zubin Jasavala, Chief Executive Officer of Mera.

“We are excited to be one of the few businesses working with Canadian producers to bring Canadian medical cannabis products into Germany. Mera not only provides access to high quality product, but a long-term strategy for growth in the medical market in Germany and across Europe,” David Höhne, Chief Executive Officer of HerbaMedica.

The obligations of the parties pursuant to the Supply Agreement are conditional upon, among other things, each of the parties obtaining all necessary licenses and authorizations, including import/export permits and EU-GMP certification.

About Mera Cannabis Corp.

Mera is focused on producing consumer-driven, high-value cannabis products at its EU-GMP built cultivation and processing facility in St Thomas, Ontario. It has two additional facilities currently under Health Canada licensing review in St. Thomas (processing) and Kingsville, Ontario (up to 1.2M sq. ft. of greenhouse cultivation), where the Company’s efforts are focused on medical cannabis product innovation. Additionally, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mera operates CannaWay Clinic, a national network of clinics specializing in cannabis treatment programs. Mera has also signed a letter of intent with the Maltese economic development agency, Malta Enterprise, to initiate the development of a medical cannabis production facility in Malta as a primary entry point into European medical cannabis markets. For more information about Mera, please visit meracannabis.com.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation which are based upon the Company’s current internal expectations, estimates, projections, assumptions and beliefs and views of future events. Forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “expect”, “likely”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “intend”, “anticipate”, “potential”, “proposed”, “estimate” and other similar words, including negative and grammatical variations thereof, or statements that certain events or conditions “may”, “would” or “will” happen, or by discussions of strategy. Forward-looking information include estimates, plans, expectations, opinions, forecasts, projections, targets, guidance or other statements that are not statements of fact.

Any forward-looking information speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and, except as required by law, the Company does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for the Company to predict all such factors. Such factors (including, an inability of the parties to obtain the necessary authorizations and licenses or to otherwise meet the conditions precedent contained in the Supply Agreement) could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking information.

SOURCE Mera Cannabis Corp.

How to avoid insurance fraud

 Sonnet Insurance, Canada’s digital insurance company, combats home and auto insurance fraud daily using sophisticated predictive data models, AI tools and analytics, and ongoing monitoring of behavioural patterns. Now, Sonnet wants to empower Canadians to recognize and prevent potentially harmful scams. Home and auto insurance seller fraud is common in all regions of Canada, especially the GTA1, where victims who don’t understand the process for purchasing home and auto insurance are targeted.

“Sonnet is committed to making insurance easier for Canadians to understand,” said Roger Dunbar, SVP, Sonnet. “Fraud impacts all Canadians and especially those who don’t understand local insurance regulations, so we want to educate the public on seller fraud.”

Seller fraud takes place when insurance policies are being sold to customers by fraudulent actors. Unlike claims fraud(using fake accidents or reports to cash in on real insurance policies), seller fraud leaves its victims open to a high degree of personal risk. A fraudster will offer discounted insurance and take the victims’ money in return for home and auto insurance pink slips that are invalid or forged.

Legitimate insurance policies are sold in Canada through registered brokers, licensed insurance agents, and regulated direct-to-consumer insurance companies:

  • A legitimate broker or agent is an individual or firm that sells insurance policies to clients and has a license number from their provincial regulator
  • Direct-to-consumer insurance companies (like Sonnet) are federally regulated and licensed to sell insurance policies directly to the end customer

Sonnet is doing everything possible to protect consumers against fraud – from plain language policy documents to simplifying the online insurance experience – and wants to educate the public on how to identify scams. A few key indicators can help tip off potential victims of insurance fraud, saving them from losing thousands of dollars and failing to have proper insurance coverage in place when it counts. Two of the most common seller scams in Canada are ‘ghost brokers’ and ‘fake brokers’.

Ghost Brokers take money for insurance upfront, provide a pink slip showing proof of insurance then disappear, or ‘ghost’ the customer. Sometimes the slip is simply a forgery. Other times the fraudster will set up an actual policy, download the slip and give it to the victim, then cancel the policy without the knowledge of the victim. What this scam looks like:

A new Canadian sees an ad for cheap insurance rates online and agrees to meet the ghost broker in a coffee shop with cash to pay a full year’s premiums. The ghost broker exchanges the cash for an insurance slip and pockets the money. The victim thinks the coverage is real until an inspection or accident prompts a check – and the insurance policy, along with the ghost broker, can’t be found.

Fake Brokers have an actual physical address and may do some legitimate business, such as selling or financing cars. Fake brokers purchase an insurance policy with the name of the client to secure an insurance slip. However, the policy will include incorrect information such as unlisted high-risk drivers or the wrong address, to obtain more favourable rates. Policies can be cancelled and claims can be denied if information is misrepresented, which makes it hard for the consumer to get insurance coverage in the future. Some fake brokers make money by charging a ‘broker fee’, while others are trying to clear the path to sell a car. In contrast, a certified broker makes a commission from insurance companies and never charges consumers directly for services. What this scam looks like:

An individual with a bad driving record has been quoted a high premium and sees an ad offering cheap insurance to high-risk drivers. The driver visits the fake broker and pays a lower premium to the fake broker in return for an auto insurance slip. The driver gets into another accident and discovers that the insurance policy contains misrepresented information and their policy is cancelled or claims won’t be paid out. After paying for damages out of pocket, the driver is unable to get standard insurance and opts to give up driving.

“In Canada, auto insurance is mandatory and highly regulated by the government,” added Dunbar. “Generally, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. That is because insurance rates are based on pooled risk – companies need to collect enough money to pay out claims in a given year.”

Victims are encouraged to report fraudulent activity. Reporting fraud helps stop repeat offenders and reduces insurance premiums for everyone. To report fraud, visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada website here: report fraud.

Regulatory bodies issue regular warning notices about suspected fraudsters and offer additional resources. Trusted websites are the best place to check on licenses and suspicious activity. Find your provincial regulator here: insurance regulators.

Canadians looking to better understand home and auto insurance can view answers to frequently asked questions at sonnet.ca/FAQs.

About Sonnet Insurance

Launched in 2016, Sonnet Insurance Company (Sonnet) is a federally regulated insurance company. Our mission is to provide Canadians with an easy, transparent, and customized way to buy home and auto insurance online. Experience the future of insurance at Sonnet.ca, and say hello on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

1 FSCO Survey, March 1, 2017 http://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/pubs/News-Releases/Pages/2017-mar1-fpm.aspx

SOURCE Sonnet Insurance Company

OPP reminds public to be vigilent of scams

Members of the Temiskaming Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police would like to inform the public of several different types of frauds/scams in the Temiskaming  area.

Police would like to remind the public to be aware before providing any personal information or money. Police are suggesting to inquire about the company that is asking for your personal information such as your bank account, computer information. Listed below are some of the recent scams investigated by the OPP.

The Romance Scam – Fraudsters take advantage of people who are lonesome. They may steal other profile photos to make themselves appear like someone else, use social media and lure victims. They may rush into the relationship, and promise a wedding or expensive items, once they meet in the victim’s country, or they may continue the online relationship over an extent of time to develop a trust level which usually results in the victim losing a significant amount of money, and the victim never actually meeting their so called partner.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam – If you receive a fraudulent communication by email, phone, text, mail, from someone that claims to be the CRA and they request personal information, these are scams and never respond.

The CRA will never send you a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information.

Compromised Credit Cards – Fraudsters have been calling the public lately claiming to be employees from the fraud department at a bank. They proceed to advise people that their credit card has been compromised and in order to verify they have the right account, to please read them your credit card number. In these cases, the fraudsters already have your name and first four digits on the Visa or MasterCard. This tactic is used to make them sound legitimate.

Do not divulge any personal information related to credit cards or banking particulars over the phone, by email, letter, fax, or any other means of communication. Call your credit card company or financial institution on your terms to verify/report any suspicious activity.

If you believe that someone is posing as a fraudster on the phone, hang up. Also, you can file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. If you are a victim of a fraud or scam, contact your local police agency.

Important Safety Tips to Remember:

  • Before giving money, ask questions. If the organization is legitimate, they welcome questions and will provide reasonable answers;
  • Never provide personal information through the internet or email;
  • Keep your passwords and PIN’s a secret;
  • Do not write down passwords or carry them with you;
  • Shred unwanted documents and make sure that your name and social insurance numbers are secure;
  • Ask a trusted friend/relative/neighbour to pick up your mail when you are away or ask that a hold be placed on delivery.

FRAUD…Recognize it …Report it …Stop it

LEARN MORE

If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud or have been tricked into giving personal or financial information, contact your local OPP detachment at 1-888-310-1122 or the (Link) Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

The Government of Canada Competition Bureau: aims to increase your awareness of the many types of fraud that target Canadians and offer some easy steps you can take to protect yourself and avoid falling victim to fraud.

Source;

Northern News

Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem Market Size | Incredible Possibilities

Source: All Times Tech

The research report presents a deep review of the Global Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem Market comprises of objectives analysis. The following segment centers around Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem market size, country-wise production revenue ($) and development rate estimation from 2019-2024.

The report additionally covers global Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem market share by industry players, product and applications. The report enables investors to evaluate the market, featuring the upcoming business opportunities, mindful of Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem industry news and arrangements by countries, technological development, limitations and difficulties in estimate years (2019-2024) and settle on a fundamental business decision.

Get Sample PDF of Report @ https://www.researchkraft.com/request-sample/973505

The key players covered in this study:

Allianz Insurance, AmTrust International Underwriters, Assurant, Asurion, Aviva, Brightstar Corporation, Geek Squad, GoCare Warranty Group, Apple, AIG

Market Segment by Type, the product can be Split into:

  • wireless carriers
  • insurance specialists
  • device OEMs
  • retailers

Market Segment by Application, Split into:

  • Physical Damage
  • Theft & Loss
  • Others

The Global Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem statistical surveying report studies the presence of the top to bottom market segments. The market is surveyed based on revenue (USD Million) and presents the significant players and providers affecting the market. Most of the Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem data, together with anticipated insights, is introduced in the report with the assistance of tables and figures and Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem introduction procedure causes the client to comprehend the market situation.

Get a discount on this research report @ https://www.researchkraft.com/check-discount/973505

Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem Market Regional Analysis Includes:

Americas, United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, APAC, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, India, Australia, Europe, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Russia, Spain, Middle East & Africa, Egypt, South Africa, Israel, Turkey, GCC Countries

The Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem report additionally forecasts global market growth, alongside characterization dependent on geographical conditions. The regions are delegated with information which is outfitted in the release of the global Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem market growth is consistently assembled from reliable industries for anticipating the advancement of each section.

Major Points Covered in Table of Contents:-

  1. Scope of the Report
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Global Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem Market by Players
  4. Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem Industry by Regions
  5. Americas
  6. APAC
  7. Europe
  8. Middle East and Africa
  9. Market Drivers, Challenges and Trends
  10. Marketing, Distributors and Customer
  11. Global Mobile Phone Insurance Ecosystem Market Forecast
  12. Key Players Analysis
  13. Research Findings and Conclusion

OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance introduces new CEO

The Board of Directors of Canada’s OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) was pleased to introduce a new CEO and Ombudsman, highlight positive achievements, and outline future growth at their Annual General Meeting in Toronto on September 19th, 2019.

On August 19th, after an exhaustive search and recruitment process conducted by the Board of Directors, Glenn O’Farrellwas appointed Chief Executive Officer and Ombudsman of OLHI. A native of St-Malachie, Québec, Glenn’s previous roles include President of Global Television Québec, President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and CEO of Groupe Média TFO. He is also a member of the Québec Bar and Institute of Corporate Directors. Before that, he studied economics, law, business and corporate governance at St. Francis Xavier University, Université Laval, the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto.

One of Glenn’s mandates will be to continue with a Western expansion plan, in order to ensure that more consumers in Western Canada are aware of OLHI’s services.

“We are pleased that OLHI’s profile with the regulators and consumers continues to grow”, said Dr. Janice MacKinnon, OLHI Chair. “Support from our stakeholders has been instrumental in enhancing our profile among consumers, and with the addition of Glenn to the team, we will drive further development and continue strengthening our various stakeholder relationships”.

Additional highlights included the following:

  • Number of contacts increased by 5.9%, reaching a historic record
  • Quebec complaints are still the highest at 54.5%, Ontario remains second
  • Total number of Complaints this fiscal year reached 2,290
  • Website visits increased by 6.4%

OLHI recorded 107,164 website visitors, with just over 90,000 being new visitors. By Function, Claims and Service related complaints made up over 80% of the total volume, while By Product, this number remained relatively consistent with previous year’s data.

Following the AGM, OLHI released its 2019 Annual Report on its web site. The report presents a comprehensive overview of all the achievements, statistics and case studies from the past year and is readily available at www.olhi.ca/news-publications/annual-report/ and www.oapcanada.ca/nouvelles-et-publications/comptes-rendus-annuels/.

About the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance
The OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) is Canada’s only independent complaint resolution service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance. Canadians trust us to review their insurance complaints about life, disability, employee health benefits, travel, and insurance investment products such as annuities and segregated funds. OLHI’s free bilingual services are available to any consumer whose insurance company is an OLHI member – and, currently, 99% of Canadian life and health insurers are. OLHI also offers general information online about life and health insurance. To ensure impartiality, OLHI’s operations are overseen by the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR). For more information, visit www.olhi.ca and www.oapcanada.ca.

SOURCE OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance

Related Links

www.olhi.ca

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest