Aon partners with six major Canadian insurers

TORONTO (November 28, 2018) – Aon Choice is a best-in-market platform that helps benefit plan sponsors deliver a better employee experience, simplify administration and manage costs in a single turnkey benefits solution. Aon is pleased to announce that partnerships are now in place with a total of six of Canada’s largest national insurance providers, comprising more than 80% of the group benefits market. That distribution power enables more companies to secure the advantages of the Aon Choice platform without having to switch insurance providers – and to start improving employee engagement now by providing more choice and flexibility in their benefits offerings.

Quotes:

“We’ve seen incredible changes in the workplace over the past few years, and one of the biggest is that workplaces today are more diverse than ever,” said Greg Durant, Health and Benefits Leader in Canada for Aon. “From a benefits perspective, that has made it difficult for plan sponsors to meet each of their employee’s unique healthcare and financial needs. Aon Choice was specifically developed to address that challenge, creating a single, easy to use benefits solution that maximizes choice and flexibility for employees while helping to manage costs and reduce administrative burden for employers. The fact that we are now working in partnership with so many leading Canadian insurers is a testament to the need for a better approach – and to the advantages that Aon Choice is delivering.”

Key Facts:

  • Aon partners with six major national insurance providers – Sun Life, Manulife, Great-West Life, Desjardins Insurance, SSQ and Green Shield – to offer traditional and flexible benefits through the Aon Choice platform.
  • Together, the six insurers represent 82% of the total group benefits market in Canada.
  • Aon Choice is a total rewards delivery system that allows businesses to offer benefit programs that traditionally have been available only to largest companies.
  • The program simplifies benefits selection and administration through technology, offering greater choice for employees
  • With the integrated Aon Choice platform, employees can access all their plan information through an easy-to-use, customizable benefits portal and anytime, anywhere access with mobile responsive technology.
  • Aon Choice allows employees to enroll, see coverage and plan details, view total rewards statements, add dependants and make changes, submit claims and view claims history, view their retirement savings plan balances and perform other retirement-savings-related functions, and access voluntary benefits coverage.

P.E.I. oyster farmers push for crop insurance program

Growers want access to same crop insurance program as farmers on land

Excerpted article was written by Steve Bruce · CBC News

P.E.I. oyster growers say this fall’s early freeze highlights the need for a government insurance program for their industry.

Like many land farmers, growers are concerned the unseasonably cold weather and ice-filled bays and rivers could ultimately kill some of their crop.

The P.E.I. government has already paid out $11 million in claims this year through its crop insurance program, P.E.I.’s Agriculture Minister Robert Henderson says  — but that insurance isn’t available to the farmed shellfish industry.

You’ve got two or three years invested in a crop, so the opportunity for a loss is higher.— Shawn Cooke

“As an association, we’ve asked government before if they’d be interested in including us in a program like crop insurance … thinking the oyster industry is a lot like the farming industry. But we’ve never had any success,” said Shawn Cooke, president of the Island Oyster Growers Group.

‘The margins are very small in the shellfish sector, and that’s why it’s really critical for that support to be there,’ says Tim Kennedy with the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance. (Robbie Moore)

Cooke maintains private insurance premiums would be too costly for most Island oyster growers.

He said without access to a government program, growers are vulnerable to major financial losses, which may be the reality for some this year.

“As the farms grow and more fellas are getting into it, everyone’s got more invested into it,” said Cooke.

“And it’s very intensive, because you’ve got two or three years invested in a crop, so the opportunity for a loss is higher … There’s definitely risks.”

Growers not considered farmers

The cost of crop insurance programs is shared between both levels of government and farmers.The program allows for much lower premiums than farmers would pay through a private plan.

After struggling to get all their potatoes out of the ground this fall, it’s expected many Island potato farmers will be making crop insurance claims. (Submitted by Bryan Maynard)

While provinces administer the programs, it’s ultimately Agriculture Canada that sets the rules.

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) says the problem for oyster growers and other seafood farmers is that they’re not considered farmers by Agriculture Canada.

“Because of that, we’ve always fallen under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and that has limited our access,” said Tim Kennedy, CAIA’s executive director.

“We think the time is very ripe that we are taken under the umbrella of Agriculture Canada for growth purposes, and that includes access to the risk programs and support programs long enjoyed by [land] farmers.”

‘Critical for that support to be there’

Kennedy said for years, his alliance has been lobbying the federal government to make that change.

Oyster growers don’t normally have to contend with ice like this in November. (Submitted by Nick Coughlin)

He said the challenges facing P.E.I. oyster growers this fall point to the urgent need for insurance.

“That support is needed for the farmers and the communities,” said Kennedy. “This is a significant risk. The margins are very small in the shellfish sector, and that’s why it’s really critical for that support to be there. It shouldn’t be this difficult.”

In a statement emailed to CBC News, DFO media relations’ Carole Saindon says the need for government-funded insurance for aquaculture producers has been explored, and “preliminary reviews have found that there are a few key risks potentially affecting aquaculture producers, such as disease outbreaks and climate induced impacts. These risks are both sporadic and highly variable across the country.”

The federal government “will continue to engage with the aquaculture industry on this request,” she added.

Source: CBC News

Tomec v Economical Mutual Insurance Company – Limitation …

Article by Michael J. Henry and Daniel Fisher

Recently, the Divisional Court released their decision in Tomec v Economical Mutual Insurance Company, 2018 ONSC 5664. This Appeal concerned the issue of whether the limitation period set out in the Insurance Act and the SABS is a “hard” limitation period, such that the limitation period begins two years from the date of denial of a benefit, or a “soft” limitation period, such that the limitation period only begins to run when the insuredʼs right to claim the benefit is discovered.

In Tomec, the insured submitted an Application for approval of an assessment for a file review to evaluate the issue of Catastrophic Impairment (CAT). On August 26, 2010, the insurer responded. In the insurer’s response, the following was noted:

In accordance with Section 18(2) of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, no attendant care benefit is payable for expenses incurred more than 104 weeks after the accident unless you have been determined to have sustained a Catastrophic Impairment as defined by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.

In accordance with Section 22(3) of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, no payment for housekeeping and home maintenance benefits are payable for expenses incurred more than 104 weeks after the accident unless you have been determined to have sustained a Catastrophic Impairment as defined by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.

Please note that should you disagree with our assessment of your claim and wish to dispute it, mediation must be commenced within 2 years from your receipt of this letter.

On November 4, 2015, the insured was deemed CAT. The insurer subsequently denied payments of past benefits owing, and denied ongoing attendant care benefits and housekeeping benefits on the basis that these benefits had been denied at the two-year mark and the insured did not mediate this denial within two years.

A LAT application was filed in relation to the denials. The Vice-Chair determined that the insured was barred from proceeding with her application for attendant care and housekeeping benefits, despite having a Catastrophic Impairment, because she did not dispute the stoppage of those benefits within two years of the denials.

The insured made two primary arguments:

  1. That the 2010 denials was not valid because at the time of the denials, she was not CAT and was therefore, not eligible to claim the attendant care and housekeeping benefits.
  1. That the limitation period could not have started to run as the insured had not discovered she was catastrophically impaired, such that she would become entitled to the increase levels of Attendant Care and housekeeping benefits.

The vice chair rejected both arguments. She found that the 2010 denials were clear and unequivocal and therefore sufficient to trigger the two year limitation period found in s. 281.1 (1) of the Insurance Act, which stated as follows:

A mediation proceeding or evaluation under s.280 or 280.1 or a court proceeding or arbitration under s.281 shall be commenced within two years after the insurer’s refusal to pay the benefit claimed.

She found that this provision did not include the doctrine of discoverability. It is a fixed limitation period, triggered by a specific event (in this case, the denial letter).

The Divisional Court upheld the Vice Chair’s Decision. In determining when the limitation period starts to run, the Court compared the wording of s.281.1 (1) to that of section 38 (3) of the Trustee Act, which states:

An action under this section shall not be brought after the expiration of two years from the death of the deceased.

The Court noted that the two sections were analogous in that they were both triggered by fixed events. In the case of s. 281.1 (1), the event is the denial by the insurer, while with section 38 (3), the event is the date of death.

This decision is a tough pill to swallow for the Plaintiff’s bar. While one can understand the Court’s legal reasoning, it takes too restrictive an approach in its analysis. It ignores the fact that the insured had no claim to make until she was deemed CAT. The insured did not have a claim for the benefits that they simply needed to discover. Rather, the insured was not entitled to the benefits until the CAT determination was made. One wonders how a benefit can be denied before the insured becomes eligible for it.

Furthermore, this Decision ignores a vital aspect of the wording of 2. 281.1 (1) of the Insurance Act. The wording of the provision is that a proceeding must be commenced within two years after the insurer’s refusal to pay the benefits claimed. In this case, attendant care and housekeeping benefits were not claimed after the 104 weeks. What was submitted to the insurer for consideration was an application for a CAT file review. The insurer sent back a letter with a blanket denial of benefits that had not been claimed. As the benefits had not been claimed, how can these benefits fall within 281.1 (1)?

Regardless, the limitation periods under the SABS are now considered ʺhardʺ limitation periods, such that any denial must be mediated or disputed within two years. While this interpretation creates difficulties for insured individuals going forward, all lawyers must be mindful of this fact to ensure that no client is accidentally precluded from accident benefits entitlement.

Whether this decision will be appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal is not known at this time.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

‘They’ve got to be careful with the packages they deliver. We trust them as a small business.’

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Lemieux, Ryan and Associates joins Aon

MONTREAL (November 27, 2018) – Aon, the leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, today announced that the team of Lemieux, Ryan and Associates will join the Aon Public Sector Practice in Montreal as of Jan. 1, 2019.

Paul Lemieux has accepted the role of Senior Vice President and Account Executive for Eastern Canada. He will be responsible for contributing to the strategic direction of the Public Sector Practice in Quebec and the Eastern Region, and for delivering best-in-class customer experiences to Aon clients.

This year, the Study found that overall employee engagement among Canada’s Best Employers was largely unchanged from last year and, as in previous years, it shows that organizations with high levels of employee engagement create a strong and compelling employment brand, excel at fostering a high-performance culture and have engaging leaders.

“Paul has owned and skillfully operated Lemieux, Ryan and Associates, a boutique public sector brokerage, for 28 years,” said David Edgar, Senior Vice President and National Public Sector Leader, Aon in Canada. “His team is highly regarded for its expertise in this segment, and we’re looking forward to working with them towards further success in the future.”

FirstOnSite Restoration’s Lindsay Donelson has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 Insurance Business Awards

Source: firstonsite Restoration

FirstOnSite Restoration’s Lindsay Donelson has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 Insurance Business Awards: Business Development Manager of the Year.

Lindsay is Vice-President, National Broker & Lloyd’s of London Portfolio, where she is responsible for developing and leading a coordinated approach to FirstOnSite’s national broker customers and Lloyd’s of London Canadian Coverholders.

Lindsay joined FirstOnSite in 2014 and had led herself to standout achievements within the last years, demonstrating excellence in building and supporting strong client relationships. She is known for providing clients with assurance and tailored customer service, and consistently exceeds her business development goals.

“Lindsay’s second nomination for the Business Development Manager of the Year award is a testament to her accomplishments, knowledge of the restoration industry, and ability to support her clients’ needs,” said Barry J. Ross, Executive Vice President, FirstOnSite Restoration. “Lindsay is a highly valued member of our leadership team. We are very proud of her nomination once again.”

The Insurance Business Awards recognizes individuals and companies that have made an outstanding contribution to the Canadian insurance industry throughout the past year and consists of over 20 award categories. Finalists will be evaluated by an independent panel of judges and awarded at the 3rd Annual Insurance Business Awards gala on Thursday, November 29.

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