Insurance companies cut group health plan premiums as claims fall

By Tara Deschamps


TORONTO _ Canadian insurance companies are slashing premiums in a bid to help small- and medium-sized businesses grappling with COVID-19.

The declining use of dental benefits and some extended health care benefits have pushed the Winnipeg-based insurer Canada Life Assurance Co. to offer premium reduction adjustments for employer-sponsored group benefits plans.

Canada Life President Jeff Macoun said the reductions will be 50 per cent for dental and 20 per cent for vision and extended health care benefits, excluding prescription drugs.

“Unlike premium deferrals, these savings do not need to be repaid later, and reflect that some healthcare service providers have shifted to virtual treatment, while others are offering more limited services,” he said in a statement.

Canada Life said prescription drugs are not included as the services are essential and the number of claims have not dropped.

The company said the premium reductions will be retroactive to April 1 with credits applied to May invoices.

“Over 1 million Canadians were laid off in March alone, and financial insecurity is growing,” he said.

“These premium reductions will give more than 26,000 of our business customers some much-needed financial relief, both to their business and to maintaining valued coverage for their employees.”

Over at Sun Life Financial Inc., credits against dental and non-drug-related extended health care premiums will be offered in hopes of reducing invoices for Canadian businesses, who are already struggling with low cash flow.

The insurance company will offer 50 per cent credit per month against paid dental premiums because most routine dental visits have stopped during the pandemic.

For non-drug-related, extended health care premiums it will offer a 20 per cent credit on each of a client’s extended health care benefits.

“Prescription drug usage has not declined during the pandemic,” said Dave Jones, the senior vice-president of group benefits at Sun Life Canada, in a statement.

“Plan members are using an increased volume of virtual care across their paramedical providers, however usage has still reduced.”

April credit in both areas will be applied to June invoices and Sun Life will continue to assess the offerings on a monthly basis.

Meanwhile, Manulife Financial Corp.’s said in an email to The Canadian Press that all group benefit plan sponsors, including small, medium and large-scale businesses, who have a fully-insured, non-refund benefits plan will be given premium relief.

Manulife will reduce their dental premiums by 50 per cent and their extended health care premium, including prescription drugs, by 10 per cent in the month of May.

Manulife said coverage for plan members will not change and the premium reductions will be applied to regular pre-authorized debit draws for May.


RSA Canada announces relief measures for Canadians in response to the COVID-19 crisis

“In the last month, Canadians have changed where they work, how much they drive and what they need to protect themselves, their families and their businesses,” says Martin Thompson, President and CEO, RSA Canada. “As a national insurer, our promise is to be there for our customers when they need us most, so we are implementing new measures to provide meaningful assistance during these uncertain times.”

Providing relief for those facing financial hardship
RSA Canada is providing several relief measures to assist Canadians who are impacted financially by COVID-19. Every customer’s situation and insurance needs are unique, so options are designed to provide enhanced flexibility and assistance. RSA Canada will also be implementing additional auto and property insurance premium relief measures moving forward, to support customers during the crisis.

The following measures will be in place until June 30, 2020 and will continue to be reviewed as the situation develops:

  • Reduced premiums for customers who are driving or commuting less or who are no longer using their vehicles if circumstances have changed due to the pandemic. Customers should contact their broker or insurance representative to make changes to their auto coverage.

  • Flexible payment options, payment deferrals and support for customers who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. Customers who have been impacted by the pandemic should contact their broker or insurance representative to discuss the available options.

  • Coverage for customers who are temporarily using their vehicle for delivery services – such as an employee of a pharmacy, restaurant, grocery store, or as part of an app-based food delivery service. This is available for all personal auto insurance policies and will not change the customer’s premium. Customers should contact their broker or insurance representative to confirm this coverage.

  •  NSF fees for personal and small commercial policies charged by RSA Canada occurring after April 1, 2020 will be waived. Some financial institutions may charge separate NSF fees and customers are encouraged to contact their local bank for more information.

  • As all Canadians are encouraged to ‘Stay at Home’, customers who are required by their employer to work from home due to the current situation with COVID-19 can rest assured that the coverage they already have in place will not be impacted.

To support its commercial insurance customers, RSA Canada is providing relief measures as well as guidance to help them mitigate any risks they face as a result of the pandemic. Commercial customers are encouraged to contact their broker to discuss options further.

  • For commercial insurance customers, RSA Canada is adjusting its rating approach to support business owners and the challenges many of them are facing.

  • For small and mid-sized businesses that have been directly impacted and are experiencing temporary closures and changes in operations, RSA Canada is working with its broker partners to be as flexible and accommodating as possible including allowing mid-term coverage adjustments, payment deferrals and premium adjustments.

  • For businesses that are making changes to their operations to support the current crisis, RSA Canada is providing flexible underwriting solutions.

  • RSA Canada is also providing guidance to help businesses that have shut down to protect their idle property and fleets.

Supporting the most vulnerable Canadians through Food Banks Canada
RSA Canada is donating $100,000 to Food Banks Canada to purchase food products for those who are living with food insecurities, especially during this challenging time. The company continues to match employee donations to community causes that they care about most, including local food banks, as part of its corporate responsibility program.

Currently, Canada’s supply chain is working in overdrive to keep up with the unprecedented demand for food and other goods due to the current pandemic. This has made it more difficult for food banks across the country to receive in-kind donations in the same quantity and frequency that they had before the pandemic.

Food Banks Canada is facing several challenges:

  • Drastic declines in the number of volunteers;
  • Significant surges in the number of clients accessing food through food banks;
  • Dwindling donations when compared to regular operations.

“Giving food to those in need can be difficult in the best of times and COVID-19 has made that task even harder,” says Chris Hatch, CEO, Food Banks Canada. “Food banks are experiencing high demand across the country as a growing number of Canadians suffer income loss. That’s why we’re grateful for the support of organizations, such as RSA Canada, which are helping provide nourishment to those who are most deeply affected by the pandemic.”

Canadians who are interested and in a position to support Food Banks Canada can make a donation at or contact their local food bank to determine which resources are needed most.

Customer-first commitment
As risk experts, RSA Canada’s employees have a role to play in helping customers manage the uncertainties and complexities of today’s world. RSA Canada continues to work with industry associations to identify and address common challenges and emerging issues that may impact customers, and to help them manage and get ahead of potential risks. All parts of the company are working hard to maintain strong service levels to ensure customers receive assistance when they need it most.

Customers are encouraged to leverage RSA Canada’s online claims submission tool which is available at (not available in Quebec).

About RSA Canada
The RSA Canada group of companies includes Roins Financial Services Limited, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Quebec Assurance Company, Johnson Inc., Unifund Assurance Company, Western Assurance Company, Ascentus Insurance Ltd., Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company and RSA Travel Insurance Inc. (collectively, “RSA Canada”) and is part of a group of companies headed by RSA Insurance Group plc. RSA Canada employs more than 2,800 people across Canada and is one of the oldest insurance companies in the country with roots dating back to 1833. For more information, visit

About Food Banks Canada
Food Banks Canada provides national leadership to relieve hunger today and prevent hunger tomorrow in collaboration with the food bank network from coast-to-coast-to-coast. For 40 years, food banks have been dedicated to helping Canadians living with food insecurity.  Over 3,000 food banks and community agencies come together to serve our most vulnerable neighbours who – last year – made 1.1 million visits to these organizations in one month alone, according to our HungerCount report.  Over the past 10 years, as a system we’ve sourced and shared over 1.4 billion pounds of food and Food Banks Canada shared nearly $70 million in funding to help maximize collective impact and strengthen local capacity – while advocating for reducing the need for food banks.  Our vision is clear: create a Canada where no one goes hungry. Visit to learn more.


Manulife helping those on the frontlines

Manulife has set up the St. Mary’s COVID-19 fund to help those on the frontlines, who are battling the virus.

Every dollar donated will be matched by Manulife, up to $200,000.

St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener is the referral centre for specialized respiratory and thoracic disease in Waterloo Region.

The funds will be used to purchase critical equipment and supplies needed to fight the coronavirus.

You can also share a personal message for the frontline workers, which will be displayed in the hospital’s lobby.


Ontario allows auto insurance companies to provide rebates due to pandemic

By Allison Jones


TORONTO _ Ontario has made a regulatory change that will more easily allow auto insurance companies to provide breaks to their customers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The change will allow insurance companies to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the emergency has ended.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips said he will be watching to see companies’ responses.

“Given the financial crisis that’s facing many Ontario families, I think with this barrier removed we should expect insurance companies to be responding in a matter of days,” Phillips said.

The regular prohibition on such rebates is in place to ensure consumers aren’t misled in purchasing insurance based on them, the government said.

Phillips said Ontario isn’t dictating a certain percentage of rebate for companies to provide, but he said it needs to be  “commensurate with the scale of duress that Ontario families are under.”

He said some companies have already done this, and the province wants to make it as easy as possible for drivers to receive discounts because so few people are driving right now.

Allstate Insurance Co. of Canada is giving all of its drivers a “stay at home payment” of about 25 per cent of their monthly auto premium.

CAA Insurance has said a 10 per cent reduction for a year for both new and existing customers, once they renew, will be automatically applied.

Intact Financial Corp. and Aviva Canada are offering discounts of 15 per cent for customers who are driving less and reductions of 75 per cent for customers who park and store their vehicles.

Most companies are also offering to defer payments for customers in financial difficulty and waive non-sufficient fund fees.

The NDP has called on the Ontario government to mandate a three-month, 50 per cent discount on auto insurance.

HeyBryan & Duuo Announce Launch Plans for Duuo Gig Insurance – the First On Demand Gig…

HeyBryan & Duuo Announce Launch Plans for Duuo Gig Insurance – the First On Demand Gig…

Vancouver, British Columbia–(Newsfile Corp. – April 16, 2020) – HEYBRYAN MEDIA INC. (CSE: HEY) (OTCQB: HEYBF) (FSE: 9HB) (“HeyBryan” or the “Company”), the creator of the HeyBryan app that connects consumers with home maintenance experts to complete small tasks around the house, is pleased to announce details around its new on demand gig insurance solution, available soon for all HeyBryan experts, in partnership with digital insurance brand Duuo (The Co-operators Group Limited). The new insurance solution – branded Duuo Gig Insurance – will be a first of its kind in the Canadian gig economy.

Duuo Gig Insurance has been exclusively designed to meet the unique needs of HeyBryan experts across the GTA, BC’s Lower Mainland, the City of Calgary, as well as future locations where HeyBryan is active. All HeyBryan experts will be able to purchase Duuo Gig Insurance in just a couple of minutes on their mobile device through the HeyBryan platform. The cost for the majority of HeyBryan’s 20 task categories range around $5-7 per day, providing $2,000,000 in liability protection.

This service will eliminate the lengthy and antiquated insurance purchase path. Policy information, contact information and activation of the policy are all easily accessible via the mobile device and increasing ease at the touch of button. And it will give customers the peace-of-mind knowing that their HeyBryan expert is fully insured for all work performed.

“We’re thrilled to be the first mobile marketplace app to be offering a targeted, on demand gig economy-focused insurance solution with our partner Duuo,” says Lance Montgomery, CEO of HeyBryan. “Whether an expert is performing one or four tasks in a given day, an expert will have peace of mind knowing he has full insurance coverage for all their HeyBryan gigs, and customers will have comfort in knowing their expert is fully insured for all work performed at their home” he adds.

“Our mission at Duuo is to provide our clients with innovative insurance on their terms,” says Robin Shufelt, Managing Director of Duuo. “That’s why we’re so excited to offer HeyBryan experts a solution designed to meet the emerging needs of gig workers.”

About Duuo:

Duuo was created by The Co-operators, a proudly Canadian insurance company founded in 1945 by a small group of farmers and social pioneers who felt traditional insurance didn’t meet their unique needs. Duuo is the 21st century version of this mindset. Launched in late 2018, Duuo is committed to creating new, on-demand solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of Canadians living and working in a highly innovative and fast-paced digital economy.

For more information, visit 

About HeyBryan Media Inc.

HeyBryan Media (CSE: HEY) is a peer-to-peer marketplace app offering a friendly and seamless way for customers to connect with trusted and vetted Experts for everyday home-maintenance needs. Founded in 2018, the app is named after Canadian HGTV personality and one of the country’s most trusted contractors, Bryan Baeumler.

Payments are processed through the HeyBryan app, eliminating the need for any in-person money exchange. Every Expert is background checked and credit checked to ensure a safe and secure experience for consumers. Typical tasks booked include handyman services, mounting or installation, furniture assembly, plumbing, painting, cleaning, lawn and yard maintenance, and more. HeyBryan accommodates busy schedules by allowing the independent workforce and consumers to communicate and work together. It’s about real experts doing real work for real people.

LTO Closure due to COVID-19 – Is title insurance the solution?

What happens to a property transfer or mortgage financing if the Land Title Office (LTO) is closed and no longer able to accept registrations? Although we are not aware of any current plans for LTO closure, given the number of businesses that have closed due to COVID-19, it is a good idea to be planning for contingencies.

We have spoken with our usual title insurance providers and have been advised that in the event the LTO is closed, their title insurance gap coverage will insure both lenders and purchasers due to intervening registrations on title between the date of closing and the date of registration at the LTO. Gap coverage may also insure a lender’s intended priority position for subsequent loan advances.

Title insurance providers have advised that gap coverage is available provided:

  • a title search was conducted within the last 30 days;
  • title insurance policies are ordered on or before the closing date; and
  • registration documents are submitted immediately when access to online registration is available at the LTO.

In these uncertain times, we suggest our real estate lenders, borrowers and purchasers consider any upcoming transactions they have which may benefit from title insurance gap coverage in the event the LTO closes, and budget accordingly.

Also, in the event a real estate lender does not have title insurance in place for an existing loan, consider whether it is desirable for gap coverage to be obtained to insure the intended priority position on subsequent advances.


Rosemary John and Sarah Jones

Source: Clark Wilson

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