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.

 

 

Employment Insurance System Added 1.3 Million People After CERB Ended

OTTAWA ― The employment insurance system absorbed almost 1.3 million people in the last three weeks, new figures show, as a key COVID-19 benefit wound down.

A breakdown of applications for the simplified EI program shows that overall there had been more than 1.5 million claims as of late this past week, among them 1.15 million people who were automatically transferred when their emergency benefit ran out.

The figures are enormous for a system that in one day this month handled 246,000-plus claims. In the spring, officials worried the 87,000 applications on one March day would make the decades-old system burst its seams.

Figures obtained by The Canadian Press also show that more than 84 per cent of applications had been processed, which experts who reviewed the numbers noted was a positive sign for the transition off the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, better known as the CERB.

Couple that with the more than 300,000 people who turned to a suite of new benefits on the first day they were available, and the figures provide a hint at the ongoing need for income support even as employment has picked up.

Figures on claims can be “valuable in providing a partial, real-time assessment″ of the impact COVID-19 has on the labour force, officials wrote to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough in April.

At the time, they were writing in a briefing note about providing regular updates on CERB recipients and payments as “the labour market landscape continues to evolve across the country.”

READ MORE HERE: 

Source: Huffington Post

 

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Arch Insurance class action lawsuit seeks compensation for school trips cancelled due to COVID-19

NEWS PROVIDED BY

Samfiru Tumarkin LLP 

Oct 15, 2020, 06:55 ET

TORONTOOct. 15, 2020  /CNW/ – A national class action lawsuit has been launched by Samfiru Tumarkin LLP against Arch Insurance Canada Ltd. on behalf of families across Canada over its refusal to provide refunds following school trip cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools and school boards across the country have been forced to cancel their planned trips for students, booked through tour company Explorica Canada, due to the pandemic and related government travel advisories. The lawsuit alleges that families’ trip cancellation claims for reimbursement of expenses have been neglected by Arch and Explorica.

Guelph student Carter Adnams’ school trip to Costa Rica, originally scheduled for March of 2020, was cancelled because of the risk posed by the spread of COVID-19. A trip cancellation claim was submitted by Explorica to Adnams’ insurer, Arch, in April. Arch provided no offer of reimbursement, alleging that Explorica, the trip provider, failed to provide appropriate documentation. Explorica, in turn, alleged that all requisite information had been provided to Arch.

“Arch and Explorica are pointing the finger of blame at each other, leaving countless families in financial limbo,” says Sivan Tumarkin, insurance lawyer and co-founding partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. “The fact is that Arch and other travel insurance providers must honour their contractual obligations under the travel policies they issued, and pay these legitimate travel insurance claims immediately.”

“By continuing to withhold payment owed to the Adnams family and others impacted by the cancellation of school trips, Arch has failed to deliver the peace of mind that their customers rely on when paying for travel insurance,” says Tumarkin.

Many Canadians have experienced similar issues with travel insurers who have misinterpreted and misapplied travel insurance policies during the pandemic.

In September, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP filed a class action lawsuit against TD (TD Bank and TD Home and Auto Insurance Company), alleging that the company incorrectly denied thousands of claims for reimbursement due to the existence of credits or vouchers.

Canadians who have been denied their travel insurance claims by their insurance policy provider should contact Samfiru Tumarkin LLP to find out what their rights are.

Families who booked a school trip through Explorica that was cancelled due to COVID-19, and have been refused a refund by their insurance provider, can contact Samfiru Tumarkin LLP to find out how to pursue reimbursement.

Samfiru Tumarkin LLP’s website contains more information about the class action lawsuit against Arch Insurance.

Samfiru Tumarkin LLP is one of Canada’s leading law firms specializing in insurance, employment and disability law in Ontario and British Columbia. The firm has been involved in numerous prominent cases in recent years, including the “Million Dollar Baby” case, the class action lawsuit against UberFuture Shop layoffsMitch MurphyJulie Austin, and Sandra Bullock.

Related Links
https://stlawyers.ca/

SOURCE Samfiru Tumarkin LLP

For further information: Sivan Tumarkin, Partner, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, sivan.tumarkin@stlawyers.ca; Daniel Stone, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, daniel.stone@stlawyers.ca, 416-216-1620

Related Links

https://stlawyers.ca/

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