Ottawa criticizes Ontario for eliminating out-of-country health insurance

TORONTO — Eliminating out-of-country health insurance could jeopardize access to necessary medical care and become a hardship for some travellers, the federal health minister warned Wednesday in a letter to her Ontario counterpart.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the move announced by Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government will hurt people who travel regularly to the United States.

“If all publicly financed reimbursement of out-of-country physician and hospital services is eliminated, private health insurance premiums for travellers will inevitably rise for all Ontario residents,” Petitpas Taylor said in her letter to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott. “Even modest increases could pose a hardship for some individuals.”

The program currently covers out-of-country in-patient services up to $400 per day for a higher level of care, such as intensive care, as well as up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient and doctor services.

In May, Elliott announced the decision to scrap the program following a six-day public consultation, saying it is very costly and does not provide value to taxpayers.

The change is expected to come into effect Oct. 1.

A spokesperson for Elliott confirmed Wednesday that the government intends to wind down the program and strongly encourages people to purchase travel health insurance.

“The program’s coverage is very limited with only five cents of every dollar claimed,” Travis Kann said in a statement. “With this limited coverage and low reimbursement rate, OHIP-eligible Ontarians who do not purchase private travel health insurance can be left with catastrophically large bills to pay.”

Elliott has said the province spends $2.8 million to administer approximately $9 million in claim payments through the program every year.

On Wednesday, Petitpas Taylor stressed that if Ontario moves ahead with its plan, it will be the first jurisdiction in the country to provide no coverage for emergency hospital and physician services received out of country.

The minister said this would be “inconsistent” with the Canada Health Act, which stipulates that all Canadians are entitled to continuing coverage of their provincial health plans when they are temporarily absent from home.

“Ontario’s approach will mean that Ontario residents will have to cover the costs of care out of pocket, should they require medical attention while travelling,” she said.

Opposition politicians have said ending the program will hurt frequent travellers. In April, NDP health critic France Gelinas wrote Petitpas Taylor and asked her to intervene and stop Ontario from eliminating the coverage.

“I am urging you to follow through on the prime minister’s commitment … where he affirmed the federal government’s responsibility to ensure provinces follow the requirements of the Canada Health Act,” she said.

The Canadian Snowbird Association has urged the government not to make the move and said it would not only impact seniors who travel south during the winter months, but also cross-border shoppers and anyone planning a family vacation.

In her 2018 report, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk said the Ministry of Health processed an average of 88,000 out-of-country claims per year over a five-year period and paid an average of $127 per claim.

Lysyk also noted the high administrative costs of the program, but said they arise because staff must check varying physician services fee rates and process claims manually. She recommended that the government seek ways to reduce administrative costs by adopting a single reimbursement rate for all health services obtained out-of-country.

She also recommended the government bolster efforts to inform Ontarians of the limit on reimbursement rates under the program and on the need to purchase private health insurance before travelling.

 

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Linda Regner Dykeman to lead AGCS in Canada – Allianz Global

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE  (AGCS) has appointed Linda Regner Dykeman as Chief Agent of Canada. Effective immediately, Dykeman will lead AGCS’ Canadian business operations, reporting to Bill Scaldaferri, AGCS President & CEO for North America.

Based in Toronto, she succeeds Ulrich Kadow, who served as Chief Agent of Canada for more than four years before moving into a new role as AGCS Global Head of Marine, effective July 1, 2019.

Since 2016, Dykeman has been the Head of MidCorp for AGCS Canada. During this time, she developed and executed the MidCorp strategy for Canada, and has overseen a strong and growing team of underwriters and managers. She has more than 25 years of commercial insurance and leadership experience. She first joined Allianz from Travelers Canada where she served as Head of Business Insurance, and also previously held the role of Senior Vice President, Specialty Insurance and National Business Development for Aviva Canada.

A successor to Dykeman as the Head of MidCorp for AGCS Canada will be announced in due time.

“Linda’s deep understanding of the Canadian market and her proven leadership skills in the MidCorp space make her a natural successor to Ulrich and someone I greatly look forward to working closely with,” said Scaldaferri. “Canada is and remains an area of great strategic importance for AGCS both within North America and globally.”

Summer Holiday Schedule for ILSTVNews Canada’s Source For Insurance Professionals

Summer Holiday Schedule for ILSTVNews Canada’s Source For Insurance Professionals

ILSTVNews Canada’s Source For Insurance Professionals is taking this coming summer off to spend time with loved ones, family and friends. For subscribers to the ILSTV Insurance Industry Newsletter, your daily dose of Canadian Insurance News returns to your inbox on Tuesday, Sept 10th.

But not to worry we have your insurance news covered. Our Weekly Canadian Insurance Newsletter will continue through the summer so I know if you haven’t already you’ll want to sign up for our weekly Canadian Insurance News to stay up-to-date while you enjoy your summer.   Follow this link to sign up for our Weekly Insurance Newsletter – ilstv.com

Stay safe and have a fabulous summer, everyone!

iA Financial Group extends its instant acceptance to up to $1M in individual life insurance

QUEBEC CITY, July 15, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Already a leader in instant acceptance with its EVO platform, iA Financial Group continues to innovate to make underwriting its individual life insurance products easier and quicker.

iA Financial Group today announced that medical requirements, like a blood profile, vital signs or urine test, will no longer be systematically required for clients 50 and under who buy up to one million dollars in life insurance.

This simplification to the underwriting process is possible thanks to technological advances, such as the use of predictive analytics models to evaluate applications. Going forward, advisors can confirm instant acceptance for most clients after completing a simple medical questionnaire.

“Constant innovation in our underwriting processes and instant acceptance at the point of sale consolidate our long-term relationship with our advisors and is a part of our commitment to make it quicker and easier to do business with us,” confirms Valérie Lelièvre, Vice-President, Business Solutions, Distribution and Marketing. “The news announced today calls on the newest technologies to offer our clients and advisors an unrivalled underwriting experience.”

About iA Financial Group
iA Financial Group is one of the largest insurance and wealth management groups in Canada, with operations in the United States. Founded in 1892, it is one of Canada’s largest public companies and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols IAG (common shares) and IAF (preferred shares).

iA Financial Group is a trademark and business name of iA Financial Corporation Inc. and Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

SOURCE Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

Related Links

www.iaah.ca

BC Residents Are Less Worried Than The Rest of Canada About Their Insurance

VANCOUVER, July 15, 2019 /CNW/ – British Columbians are very knowledgeable when it comes to car insurance, but they still have concerns that keep them up at night. According to a national survey commissioned by belairdirect, 34% of British Columbians are concerned with the price of their car insurance policy – more than any other region in Canada. British Columbians who have car insurance are also most concerned with understanding their policy and what they are covered for (22%), if their policy is still in effect if they lend their car to someone (20%), and if they are covered if their car is stolen (18%).

“Car insurance in British Columbia is unique, which means British Columbians understand what they want from their car insurance,” said Jeremy Green, Vice President, Sales & Operations Western Canada, belairdirect. “British Columbian drivers consider understanding insurance to be tedious and want premiums that actually reflect their driving habits and fit their needs.  belairdirect offers a new, personalized way to look at optional insurance, and our goal is to make it as simple as possible.”

Options beyond mandatory insurance
The survey found a quarter (25%) of British Columbians with car insurance know the difference between the mandatory public auto coverage, and the type of optional insurance offered, including by belairdirect.

“belairdirect offers British Columbians personalized, optional car insurance choices including collision, liability and special discounts,” said Green. “Our innovative automerit program can also reward good driving behaviour with a personalized discount of up to 25% on the optional auto insurance for BC residents.”

Coming out on top
British Columbians are savvy when it comes to insurance, but they still want more. The survey found British Columbians with auto and/or home insurance are more likely than other regions of Canada to:

  • Know car insurance varies by province (93% of respondents in BC vs. 79% rest of Canada).
  • Have home insurance for peace of mind (67% of respondents in BC vs. 63% rest of Canada).
  • Find it difficult to understand their home insurance policy (61% of respondents in BC vs. 52% rest of Canada).
  • Have car insurance to follow the law (67% of respondents in BC vs. 61% rest of Canada).
  • Strongly agree that they feel like they pay too much for their home insurance (30% of respondents in BC vs. 24% rest of Canada) and car insurance (61% of respondents in BC vs. 38% rest of Canada).

“Insurance is too important to be complicated and we are committed to simplifying that experience and help educate consumers. In fact, our licensed insurance agents will work with customers in British Columbia any day to ensure they have the optional coverage they should have to meet their needs, including the benefits of bundling both home and auto insurance for even more savings,” said Green.

About belairdirect
Founded in Quebec in 1955, belairdirect provides car and home insurance products directly to consumers. It currently employs more than 1,600 people. The company offers a simple but complete solution, allowing customers to communicate with an agent by phone, online or in person through its network of branches. belairdirect was the first property and casualty insurer in North America to sell car insurance products online (www.belairdirect.com), attesting to the company’s innovative character. belairdirect is a subsidiary of Intact Financial Corporation, the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada and a leading provider of specialty insurance in North America (TSX : IFCwww.intactfc.com). belairdirect is a proud partner of Breakfast Club of Canada.

SOURCE belairdirect

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