Travel insurers confirm individual health insurance coverage for commercial truckers

TORONTO, March 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) 

Canada’s life and health insurers are confirming that commercial truckers who hold travel health insurance policies on an individual basis will not lose coverage when entering the United States.

Measures announced today will allow insurers to take steps so that routine exclusion clauses tied to a Government of Canada “Avoid non-essential travel” advisory will not apply to those employed as commercial truckers.

Insurers have been working to take steps to confirm continued coverage for truckers who contribute to the cross-border supply chain whose coverage may have been affected by the federal restriction on non-essential travel to the US. Last week, life and health insurers clarified that out-of-country medical coverage would continue uninterrupted for commercial truckers covered by workplace, or group insurance policies.

The situation has been less clear for truckers holding individual insurance as the insurers generally do not classify individual travel health policies by employment category.

As a solution, insurers will be asking those with individual coverage to identify themselves as a cross-border commercial trucker at time of claim. Those purchasing new policies will similarly be asked to identify their trade at time of purchase.

These changes will apply to all individual out-of-country travel insurance policies containing the specific exclusion for “Avoid non-essential travel” federal travel advisories. Those holding policies with a pandemic exclusion should contact their insurance provider for additional details.

About the CLHIA

The CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada’s life and health insurance business. The industry provides a wide range of financial security products such as life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance to almost 29 million Canadians. It also holds over $850 billion in assets in Canada and employs more than 156,000 Canadians.

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.

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

Trudeau points to bailout for help for renters facing financial crunch

By Jordan Press

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ Federal officials are looking at ways to get money to community housing providers and the nation’s renters, who may be hit hardest by the economic shock caused by COVID-19, and warning anyone already receiving housing funding to refrain from evictions.

Providers that have federal funding agreements are being told they won’t see cuts to their financial help from Ottawa as deals expire in the coming weeks, said a government source who was not authorized to speak publicly about the measures.

Officials are considering a financial backstop for other providers so they can cover operating costs if tenants can’t pay rent as a result of COVID-19, said a source with knowledge of the discussions, who asked for anonymity to detail private conversations.

Another government source who was not authorized to detail behind-the-scenes talks said there is an ongoing push with at least six provinces to quickly sign up for a new rent supplement to avoid evictions for hundreds of thousands of households who rent.

For most of the efforts underway, the results will take time to unfold. So the Liberals are emphasizing the measures they expect to get approved Tuesday when the government asks the opposition parties to rapidly approve a $27-billion spending package, with a further $55 billion in tax breaks and available credit.

The Senate is scheduled to deal with the legislation on Wednesday.

“We know that there are significant pressures on Canadians right across the country who are facing bills coming in, who are facing pressures on caring for their families,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday when asked about the situation facing renters.

“That is why we are working extremely quickly to get money out the door and into the pockets of Canadians during this extraordinary time.”

Research from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said just under half of renters in this country, or 1.6 million households, might have only enough money saved in the bank to pay their bills for a month or less. A further quarter, roughly 830,000 households, don’t have enough income to get through a single week without pay, says an analysis released Monday.

The report argues that the federal spending help, which will hit households in weeks, may come too late for many renters.

COVID-19 has produced a rapid downshift in the economy as businesses are forced to close and Canadians asked to stay home, which has led to a sharp drop in consumer spending and a sharp jump in claims for employment insurance benefits. Last week alone, the government received 500,000 new EI claims.

Many people who file for employment insurance are able to find new jobs before very long, in normal times. But the Conference Board of Canada estimated in a report of its own Monday that the economy could shed more than 330,000 jobs between April and October, which would raise the unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent.

Many of the hardest-hit sectors employ many of the nation’s renters or those who live in subsidized housing.

Jeff Morrison, president of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, said federal income-support measures need to get out the door as quickly as possible, while private landlords need to demonstrate some flexibility by allowing rent deferrals.

“For non-profit providers, I’m confident they will not evict, but for them the question becomes how can they pay their bills and keep their lights on,” he said. “In the worst-case scenario, you may see foreclosures and that contributes to homelessness.”

NDP housing critic Jenny Kwan, in a letter to the cabinet committee overseeing the government’s response to COVID-19, asked for a nationwide moratorium on all evictions _ as Ontario has done _ and on rent increases. That would require provinces to issue such orders.

“The situation is incredibly serious and people shouldn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over their heads in the middle of a public health emergency,” she said.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which administers much of the federal government’s national housing strategy, said in a note to clients on Monday that any organization it funds should suspend evictions until the situation improves.

The government is also asking private landlords to “exercise compassion and refrain from evictions,” said the minister who oversees federal housing efforts.

“CMHC is also working with landlords and housing providers affected by COVID-19 to find appropriate solutions for them,” Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement.

“We expect any housing provider who has received financing or support from CMHC, directly or via provinces and territories, to act compassionately and refrain from eviction.”

Ottawa receives over 500,000 new applications for Employment Insurance

ECONOMICS REPORTER | The Globe and Mail

A half-million Canadian workers filed for Employment Insurance benefits in the past four days alone, as evidence of the deep job losses related to COVID-19 quickly piled up and companies from a wide range of industries announced even more layoffs.

Employment and Social Development Canada said on Friday the department received about 500,000 applications for EI over the past four days, compared with just 27,000 in the same week a year ago.

“Service Canada and many government agencies have received a historic number of calls from concerned Canadians,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference. “I know people are anxious to get the help they deserve, and our government is working as fast as possible to support them.”

University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe noted that 500,000 jobs represents 2.6 per cent of total Canadian employment, in line with the percentage of job losses in July, 1932, the worst month for employment during the Great Depression. “It seems clear to me that this is the sharpest negative shock we’ve ever seen,” he said on Twitter.

Economists at major banks slashed their economic forecasts even further. Scotiabank said the economy will contract at an annualized pace of nearly 11 per cent in the second quarter, and a “recession is now unavoidable.” It forecast the economy will shrink by 2.2 per cent this year, although it projected that growth will rebound by the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal also lowered its second-quarter call to a 10 per cent contraction.

On Friday, companies in industries ranging from aviation to forestry to the arts laid off workers to stay viable amid the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19.

Just under 2,000 flight attendants at leisure airline Air Transat received layoff notices, said Julie Roberts, a union leader at the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents the workers.

Employees are not being paid during the layoffs, which start on April 5, and the notice gives no back-to-work date, Ms. Roberts said. The union is trying to obtain some kind of assistance for workers to help soften the impact, but has not had confirmation that will be offered, she said.

“It’s been a crazy, crazy, past two weeks,” said Ms. Roberts, who is also a flight attendant and is losing her job. “I’m really scared about making ends meet.”

The union is concerned about its members who don’t have enough hours to qualify for unemployment assistance, Ms. Roberts said. Some have been on leaves of absence and maternity leave.

Conversations about financial assistance are underway between airline companies and all levels of government, said a source familiar with the situation. The Globe and Mail is not identifying the person because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Political leaders are receptive, but other sectors are also asking for help, and there is no clarity on the timing or size of any aid package, the person said. National Airlines Council of Canada is involved and airlines are making their own individual cases, the person said.

Air Canada is laying off more than 5,100 flight attendants, including 3,600 from its mainline carrier and 1,549 from Air Canada Rouge. “This has been the most challenging time any of us will likely ever experience as flight attendants,” said Wesley Lesosky, who heads the Air Canada component of CUPE. The layoffs, effective Friday, are expected to last until at least April 30, CUPE said.

Aviation manufacturers are scaling back as demand dries up. Longview Aviation Capital Corp. is suspending new production of Dash 8-400 and Series 400 Twin Otter aircraft at facilities in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Nearly 1,000 employees will be affected, the company said, adding that it hopes to restart manufacturing when conditions improve.

The Big Three automakers announced production suspensions across North America this week, and Canadian auto parts suppliers are grappling with the implications. “It’s never good to see the lights go out,” said Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.

Magna International Inc. is starting to suspend production at facilities around the world, with the exception of China, the company said on Thursday. Linamar Corp. is also assessing operations. “Clearly, the news of customer shutdowns this week globally will have an impact,” chief executive Linda Hasenfratz in a statement. “Each facility is developing plans with their customers and communicating to their employees what this means to them, including potential layoffs.”

The economic devastation of the pandemic is hitting large swaths of the economy, including the arts. The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity temporarily laid off 400 employees, about 75 per cent of its staff. “This was a difficult choice, but Banff Centre’s viability is our priority,” a statement from the centre said.

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. is cutting lumber production in Western Canada and the United States, and suspending plywood production at a facility in B.C. As a result, the company is temporarily laying off employees at six sites, but does not have an exact number yet.

BRP Inc., the Canadian maker of Sea-Doo watercraft and Ski-Doo snowmobiles, suspended its dividend and said it drew down fully a $700-million credit line to prepare for a downturn. The company said it anticipates having to slow production lines or temporarily close facilities as demand slows.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce chief economist Avery Shenfeld, who is preparing to cut his own forecasts early next week, said the prospects for the economy to bounce back depend on when the COVID-19 outbreak can be contained. “How the second half [of 2020] shapes up is really about epidemiology, not economics,” he said.

AXIS Insurance: Supporting our colleagues & business partners during this time of uncertainty

March 19, 2020  

At this time of great uncertainty, AXIS is committed to providing the underwriting expertise and claims service our clients and distribution partners deserve and expect. To help protect the safety of our team members, business partners and communities, our colleagues globally are working remotely. In addition, we have paused business travel across the entirety of our company.

We are fully operational with our teams using virtual meeting and collaboration tools to stay connected internally with our colleagues and externally with our clients and distribution partners. And we are prepared to address the concerns that may arise for our clients and partners in distribution.

We are monitoring COVID-19, and the guidance from the World Health Organization and government authorities in every region in which we have operations and critical vendor support. We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our colleagues while continuing to deliver superior client service and responsiveness.

We are grateful for the continued trust and partnership of our clients and distribution partners. Please contact us as you normally would with any questions or needs you may have in the coming days and weeks.

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