Insurance Continuing Education Options for Remote Licensees

Insurance Continuing Education Options for Remote Licensees

More and more Canadian businesses are asking their employees to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many insurance brokers are now working remotely, and companies are struggling with how to meet the continuing education requirements for this year’s insurance licensing renewal.

Amidst the current inability to conduct or attend in-person seminars or classroom settings, remote online courses are the safest and fastest way to obtain your continuing education credits.

With ILScorp’s flexible online options, it’s easier than ever to access high-quality education that will teach you skills relevant to the insurance industry and meet your mandatory provincial licensing renewal requirements.

ILScorp offers personalized technical and career advancement programs that are 100% online and self-paced. The content is high quality and courses are available in affordable subscription options, plus you can complete them anywhere you have an internet connection on your own schedule.

Getting started is simple.

ILScorp has customized online course subscription options for General, Adjuster, Life, A&S and Financial Planner licensees.

So if you or your entire company are working from home, you can complete your individual insurance CE requirements entirely online.

Group discounts are also available for 3 or more licensees.

EI for COVID-19? What we know so far about the new emergency response benefit

The excerpted article was written BY  

The Trudeau government recently unveiled an all-new benefit for Canadians reeling from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic: the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

CERB would deliver $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months to workers who lose their income as a result of COVID-19. The new program combines and replaces two previously announced benefits — the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit — and raises the government’s spending on direct financial aid to $52 billion.

While CERB was part of the Liberals’ Emergency Response Act, which has already received royal assent, details on the program are still scant. Ottawa expects around four million applications for the new benefit, a source within the Canada Revenue Agency, which will be administering the program, told Global News.

Here’s what we know so far, along with some of the major questions that arise from the information the government has released as of March 26. Global News will be updating this article as more details emerge.

Who can apply for CERB?

CERB will be available to “all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19,” a press release from the Department of Finance says. That’s regardless of whether applicants would also qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) or not, the document adds.

CERB will apply to wage earners as well as contract workers and freelancers. Canadians will be able to access the benefit whether they have lost their income as a result of the economic repercussions of the health emergency or can’t earn an income because they are sick, quarantined, caring for someone with COVID-19 or have had to stop working in order to care for children who are either sick or home from school and daycare.

Canadians who are still formally employed but not receiving any income would also be able to receive CERB.

“This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times,” according to the Department of Finance.

The list of beneficiaries is long, but at least two major questions about eligibility have emerged so far.

First, it’s not clear whether the benefit would apply only to Canadians who have seen their income reduced to zero or whether workers who have seen a significant reduction in income but are still bringing in some money would also be able to apply.

“That’s the gap in their program, without a shadow of doubt,” said Lindsay Tedds, a professor of economics at the University of Calgary.

The second question is whether Canadians who would normally qualify for either EI would be able to choose whether to apply for it or CERB.

First, it’s not clear whether the benefit would apply only to Canadians who have seen their income reduced to zero or whether workers who have seen a significant reduction in income but are still bringing in some money would also be able to apply.

“That’s the gap in their program, without a shadow of doubt,” said Lindsay Tedds, a professor of economics at the University of Calgary.

The second question is whether Canadians who would normally qualify for either EI would be able to choose whether to apply for it or CERB.

CSA issues guidance as banks and insurers get court order to hold online AGMs

TORONTO _ Canada’s securities regulators suggests companies don’t have to resend proxy-related materials to shareholders if they plan to move annual meetings online because of COVID-19.

Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued guidance Friday after the country’s largest banks and insurance companies obtained a court order allowing them to hold the meetings using electronic means.

Since changing annual meetings doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of securities regulators, the CSA recommends that companies review corporate law and their own articles of incorporation and bylaws when considering such changes.

Still, it recommended that additional materials don’t have to be sent or updated if the company issues a news release announcing the change in the date, time or location; files the release on SEDAR; and takes all reasonable steps to inform all parties of the change.

“We expect reporting issuers to take the above actions promptly after making a decision to change the date, time or location of an AGM and sufficiently in advance of the AGM to alert the market in a timely manner,” the CSA said in a statement.

If proxy-related materials haven’t been sent, companies should consider disclosing the possibility of meeting changes because of steps taken to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The guidance relates to all business done at annual meetings, including election of directors and amendments to equity incentive plans.

Companies involved in proxy contests, holding special meetings for merger and acquisition transactions, or obtaining approval to protect minority securityholders in special transactions should contact their main regulator.

Companies planning to hold virtual meetings or hybrid events, including in-person meetings that also permit participation through electronic means, should tell securityholders in a timely manner how they can access, participate and vote.

“The CSA continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian capital markets and may issue further guidance and updates as required.”

Canada’s largest banks and insurance companies have said they will conduct the meetings through webcasting or teleconferences instead of in-person gatherings.

The banks and insurers have obtained a court order that will allow them to make the change in lieu of in-person annual meetings.

The move was sparked by an outbreak in the novel coronavirus, which has caused several of the companies to close brick-and-mortar locations and ask employees to work from home.

The banks included in the court order are the Bank of Montreal, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, TD Bank Group, Laurentian Bank, National Bank of Canada and Canadian Western Bank

The insurance companies who teamed up with the banks to seek the order include Great-West Lifeco, Canada Life, Manulife Financial Corp. and Sun Life Financial Inc.

How do you process a million EI claims?

The excerpted article was written by Peter Zimonjic · CBC News

Experts say when it comes to the Herculean task of pushing close to one million employment insurance payments out the door in a short period of time, it’s more important to get it done fast than it is to get it done perfectly.

Last week, nearly a million Canadians applied for EI benefits, according to media reports, after they were left jobless when governments across Canada shut down most non-essential businesses in the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In typical economic downturns, the job numbers tend to decline steadily over a period of time, giving the federal government time to ramp up the ability to respond with each worsening week. But we are in unprecedented times now.

The era with the second highest number of claims was 1957, when, according to Statistics Canada, 499,213 Canadians filed benefit claims in a single month. The early 1990s recession also had several months of record claims in the 450,000 range, but nothing has come even close to the number of claims now being submitted.

More recently, the monthly number of EI claims was between 236,530 and 245,240 between August and December of last year, according to Statistics Canada.

With rent due at the end of the month for many people, the federal government finds itself in the unenviable position of trying to ramp up its processing efforts, right when many of its own employees are being forced to work from home to stop the spread of COVID-19.

To meet that demand, the federal government has augmented its EI processing workforce of 3,500 with an additional 1,300 employees from other departments, such as passport processing centres.

Employees performing investigations and reassessments on EI claims have also been moved to claims processing.

To ensure that Canadians can get the financial help they need, the federal government has announced new measures to help people who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the Liberal government announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will provide income support payments amounting to about $2,000 a month. The new program collapses two previously announced benefits — the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit — into one.

A government news release says the “simpler and more accessible” program will cover Canadians who lost their jobs, got sick, are under quarantine or have to stay home because of school closures.

Other elements of the emergency response plan:

  • Canadians who are already receiving employment insurance (EI) regular and sickness benefits as of today will continue to receive benefits and should not apply to the CERB.
  • Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose applications have not yet been processed don’t need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for regular EI and sickness benefits can still access those benefits if they’re still unemployed after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

Keeping EI claims workers safe

Eddy Bourque, national president for the Canada Employment and Immigration Union, told CBC News there is already a backlog of claims that need to be processed, and continuing to process them the same way now will take years.

Bourque said some sort of automation will be required to meet the surge in demand without compromising the safety of Canadians who would be required to work together to get the job done.

“They’re going to have to explain to our members what steps they’re taking to make sure it’s feasible to process all of these,” he said. “Our concern is they have to protect the health and safety of those workers doing this work, because without them, none of it will be possible.”

A key part of the plan, according to a government official speaking on condition of anonymity, will be to spend less time confirming whether the claims are all justified and settle on clawing back any fraud after the crisis is over.

Progress not perfection

Mel Cappe, former chairman of the Employment Insurance Commission and deputy minister of Human Resources Development Canada during the 1998 ice storm, said he’s confident the federal government can get the job done, if it goes about it the right way.

At the time, he had to preside over the processing, ramping up the rollout of benefits on a much smaller scale but during a time when the department’s offices had no power.

“If they try to do this perfectly, where nobody who doesn’t deserve it gets the money; they will [mess] it up,” he said. “If they try to get the money out because people need it, they will do a good job, and there’ll be a couple of cheques that go to people who don’t deserve it; who cares.”

Moshe Lander, a senior lecturer in economics from Concordia University, said it’s much better to make the mistake of giving someone money who does not need it than it is to deny money to someone who really is in need.

“If you deny EI to somebody that really did deserve it, when they lose their house, when they lose their apartment, when they’re evicted, when they can’t put food on the table, you can’t go back and say, ‘Oops, let’s undo that,'” Lander told CBC News.

Regardless of how efficiently the federal government is able to meet the surge in EI demands, the whole process will likely be reviewed by the Auditor General of Canada, eventually revealing to Canadians how much was over- or under-spent.

“It’s taxpayer money, and you have to be respectful of that, but you are also going to be judged by results,” said former Conservative cabinet minister Tony Clement, who was the Ontario health minister during the SARS outbreak.

“They really are in a pickle.… There is no right answer. It’s a terrible place to be. But ultimately leaders are going to say: ‘I have to do this for the public, and if there is a corner that has to be cut, let’s cut the corner and worry about the consequences after the fact,'” Clement added.

Ways to Stay Connected While Keeping Your Distance

Ways to Stay Connected While Keeping Your Distance

ShareCare

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

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