‘Snowbirds’ challenge Ontario’s cut to travel insurance

The Star Vancouver Edition |

Just a day after Ontario’s move to axe out-of-country emergency health coverage came into effect, a group representing Canadian “snowbirds” said it will fight the change in court.

Arguing the change violates both federal law and provisions of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, the Canadian Snowbird Association is now asking for a judicial review.

“Portability is enshrined in the Canada Health Act,” said Evan Rachkovsky, director of research and communications for the association. “These people worked their entire lives and paid into the system and should be receiving those benefits for out-of-country emergency service.”

The program provided up to $400 a day for emergency in-patient care and up to $50 a day for outpatient services. That ended Dec. 31, making Ontario the only province that does not to provide some coverage for residents outside of Canada.

The Ford government has said the program was inefficient, costing taxpayers almost $3 million a year to deliver $9 million in coverage, and that the reimbursement rate was low compared to users’ actual medical bills.

Following an initial outcry from seniors, the province postponed the cancellation to the new year and has since started a new program to provide travelling dialysis patients with $210 per treatment, a fraction of what it costs in the U.S.

Health Minister Christine Elliott’s office had no comment Thursday on the court challenge, but said “the Out-of-Country Traveller’s Program, which spends a third of its funding on administration costs alone, has not historically provided Ontarians with meaningful travel coverage.”

Spokesperson Hayley Chazan also said “the program’s coverage is very limited with five cents of every dollar claimed. Fully 95 per cent of claims are paid directly to insurance companies. 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.”

The government, she added, “has always strongly encouraged individuals to purchase additional travel health insurance so they are adequately covered every time they leave Ontario to travel abroad.”

Both the federal government and the snowbird association have raised concerns that private health costs will increase as a result of the change.

“Snowbirds” — seniors who fly south in the winter months to avoid the cold in Canada — “may need coverage for the duration for any conditions they may have. Those premiums could be thousands of dollars” and make travel unaffordable for those living on a fixed income,” Rachkovsky said.

The provincial auditor has made a number of suggestions to streamline the program, including offering a daily flat rate for emergency coverage, rather than a range of $200 to $400.

The non-profit snowbird association represents more than 115,000 Canadians, including more than 50,000 Ontarians.

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Assurant Appoints New President for Canada

News Release:

NEW YORK, 2 January 2020Assurant, Inc. (NYSE: AIZ), a leading global provider of housing and lifestyle solutions that support, protect and connect major consumer purchases, today announced the appointment of Paul Cosgrove as president of its Canadian operations, effective immediately. Cosgrove succeeds Robert “Bob” Zanussi, who, after 16 years with Assurant, is retiring as President and CEO, Canada. Zanussi will remain with the business through January 30, 2020 to ensure a smooth transition.

During his 25-year career at Assurant, Cosgrove has held various leadership roles, with oversight of the Connected Living, Global Auto and Financial Services businesses. During Cosgrove’s tenure, he developed the sales optimization team to support the growth of the mobile business and led the creation of strategic internal organizational offices to better serve client implementations and improve business processes.

Cosgrove, who was previously vice president, business development and client management, will report to Keith Meier, president, International.

“Paul is a highly accomplished leader. His outstanding skills in supporting our client relationships and his vision for growth, both of the business and our people, positions him well for his new role as president, Assurant Canada,” said Keith Meier. “With his deep auto, connected living and financial services experience, he will continue to focus on how we best serve our clients and their customers.”

Commenting on his new role, Paul Cosgrove said, “It’s an exciting time to lead the Canadian business, as we continue to focus on providing excellent service and market-leading products to our clients and their customers.”

“On behalf of everyone at Assurant, we want to thank Bob for everything he has accomplished during his 16 years with the company,” said Meier. “Bob has been instrumental in shaping Assurant Canada into the innovative business that it is today, and the Canadian business is well-positioned for continued business success and growth due to his leadership.”

Meier added, “These changes demonstrate our continued efforts to leverage our exceptional talent to service our clients and further accelerate our strong momentum across our business.”

-Ends-

About Assurant
Assurant, Inc. (NYSE: AIZ) is a leading global provider of housing and lifestyle solutions that support, protect and connect major consumer purchases. Anticipating the evolving needs of consumers, Assurant partners with the world’s leading brands to develop innovative products and services and to deliver an enhanced customer experience. A Fortune 500 company with a presence in 21 countries, Assurant offers mobile device solutions; extended service contracts; vehicle protection services; pre-funded funeral insurance; renters insurance and lender-placed homeowners insurance. The Assurant Foundation strengthens communities by supporting charitable partners that help protect where people live and can thrive, connect with local resources, inspire inclusion and prepare leaders of the future.

Learn more at assurant.com

Pacific Blue Cross and Blue Cross Canassurance Form a National Alliance with Blue Cross Life

Minister of Finance Provides Final Approval

MONCTON, NB, Jan. 2, 2020 /CNW/ – Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada, Pacific Blue Cross and Blue Cross Canassurance have formed an alliance, to bring together local service and insight, with national expertise and scale, to provide best Life and Living Benefits products and services across Canada. Both organizations will become shareholders of Blue Cross Life, in alignment with the other members of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans. This alliance has been approved by the Minister of Finance and is effective as of today.

Members of the Association of Blue Cross Plans have always favoured working collaboratively to optimize their individual and shared strengths in order to offer customers solutions that support improved health and wellness.

Pacific Blue Cross will continue to offer the same Life and Living Benefits products sold under its policies as a distributor for Blue Cross Life. Coverage for existing policyholders will continue within the current plan design.

“Pacific Blue Cross is excited to bring the benefits of a national carrier to our local expertise,” said John Crawford, President & CEO, Pacific Blue Cross. “This alliance with Blue Cross Life is a foundational building block towards improving health and wellbeing for British Columbians. We have created the ability to bring on new business with our trusted advisors while improving our value proposition to our clients and members.”

“Blue Cross Canassurance is very pleased to join Blue Cross Life together with the other Canadian Blue Cross Plan members. This alliance will reinforce our ability to provide excellent products and services to our customers and business partners,” stated Sylvain Charbonneau, President and CEO of Blue Cross Canassurance.

“This alliance is a key milestone in our strategy to build a truly national scope; making our organization stronger and improving our ability to collaborate with other Blues Cross plans across Canada,” said Marie-Josée Martin, President & CEO, Blue Cross Life. “I look forward to working closely with both Pacific Blue Cross and Blue Cross Canassurance.”

About Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada

Blue Cross Life is a federally-licensed company with operations located in several provinces.

The Company is owned by four Shareholders, operating as Alberta Blue Cross, Saskatchewan Blue Cross, Manitoba Blue Cross, and Medavie Blue Cross. It specializes in life insurance and disability income protection products to supplement the portfolio of health and dental products distributed by its Shareholder Blue Cross Plans.

About Pacific Blue Cross

Pacific Blue Cross is a Health Benefits Society and British Columbia’s number one health benefits provider. Based in Burnaby, BC, the not-for-profit organization provides health, dental, life, disability and travel coverage for 1 in 3 British Columbians through group benefits and individual plans. As part of its mission to improve health and wellbeing in BC, Pacific Blue Cross proactively supports charitable organizations across the province working to improve health outcomes.

About Blue Cross Canassurance

The Canassurance Hospital Service Association (Blue Cross Canassurance) contributed to introducing health and travel insurance to Quebec and Ontario. Founded over 75 years ago, the organisation is built on solid foundation of excellence and continues to be the reference standard for individual insurance and assistance, thanks to services that continually adapt to the changing needs of its clients. It operates under the names Québec Blue Cross® and Ontario Blue Cross®and provides assistance through its subsidiary CanAssistance Inc.

SOURCE Pacific Blue Cross

Changes to Out-of-Country Medical Coverage Now in Effect

As of January 1, 2020, OHIP no longer covers any portion of out-of-country medical expenses

THORNHILL, ON, Jan. 2, 2020 /CNW/ – CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is reminding travellers that changes to out-of-country medical coverage in Ontario are now in effect, prompting the need to review travel insurance coverage.

“We are working to educate travellers to make sure they know what they are buying. We are an organization founded to help keep our members safe, and coverage while travelling abroad is a big part of that,” said Elliott Silverstein, director, government relations, CAA Insurance. “Travel insurance protects from unexpected and costly emergencies and it’s important to evaluate available coverage, based on personal needs, to determine how to best safeguard you and your family. This is even more important now that there is no coverage through OHIP.”

Some of the key things to consider when it comes to buying travel insurance are how many trips you are taking a year; if you want comprehensive coverage or medical-only insurance; and whether or not the insurance provider offers additional assistance such as interpreters, hospital recommendations and other coordination services.

Additional tips to consider when buying travel insurance

  • Ask questions. Speak to a knowledgeable travel insurance advisor that understands your needs.
  • Be honest. It is important that you answer any questionnaire accurately to disclose any pre-existing conditions, and ensure you have the proper coverage suited specifically for you, so you can travel with peace of mind.
  • Build travel insurance into your travel plans. Purchasing travel insurance must be done in your home province. As you begin to consider your next destination, add travel insurance to your “to do” list.
  • Don’t base your decision on price alone. Look at what coverage is most appropriate for your circumstances and consider all different types of plans and levels of protection.

Questions to ask:

  • What are the eligibility and exclusions?
  • What is the pre-existing and stability clause?
  • What are the benefit limits?
  • How many days am I covered?
  • Is there a deductible?
  • Do they offer upfront payment if a claim occurs?

It’s important to remember that the intent of travel medical insurance is to treat emergency conditions, and return you to your home province for ongoing treatment once your medical condition is stabilized.

Emergency travel medical insurance may require completion of a medical health questionnaire depending on age. Medical questionnaires determine premium, NOT coverage.

    • Always answer questions related to your health accurately
    • If you aren’t sure how to answer, ask your physician to help you.

For more information resources on travel insurance and what you need to know before you travel, go to: https://www.caasco.com/insurance/resource-centre/travel.

About CAA South Central Ontario
For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. CAA South Central Ontario is one of nine auto clubs across Canada providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance services and Member savings for our over 2 million Members.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

For further information: Nadia Matos, Media & PR Consultant, P: (905) 771 3058, C: (416) 523-0663, E: nm12@caasco.ca; Kaitlynn Furse, Director of Communications, P: (905) 771-3194, C: (647) 227-7559, E: kfur@caasco.ca

Related Links

http://www.caasco.com/

New Year, New You. Earn your Level 2 License

New Year, New You. Earn your Level 2 License

New Year New You – Level 2

To obtain your Level 2 license you must pass the CAIB 2 and the CAIB 3 exams. (BC, SK, MB)
Use ILScorp’s online CAIB exam preparation courses, or Daily Assisted Virtual Classroom Programs to quickly prepare you for your Level 2 license.

CAIB Exam Prep Self-Study Online Video Courses are divided into easy-to-manage chapters with end of chapter quizzes. Each chapter includes 10-20 video clips of the instructor, along with easy to read text. A downloadable PDF workbook, key terms, a mock midterm and a mock final exam are also included. Once you purchase your subscription, you can begin taking your course immediately! All material is viewed online and is accessible 24/7.

MORE INFO ON CAIB EXAM PREP

How the CAIB exam preparation courses work

  • Once you purchase, you can begin taking your course immediately! If you are a new subscriber, you will receive an automated username and password by email.
  • All material is viewed online. All you need is an internet connection!
  • Your course can be accessed any time. You can log in and log out as many times as you wish, pause, rewind and review, unlimited access for 4 months.
  • Quizzes and Final exams help you retain the information.
  • Once you feel prepared to write your CAIB exam, you must contact your Insurance Council, or in BC the Brokers Association to book your exam.
  • Should you require any assistance at any time during your course work, we are here to support you! Email info@ilscorp.com

 

British Columbia Level 2 General Insurance Agent License

A level 2 general insurance agent is not restricted to where he or she can work and is not prohibited from signing contracts of insurance. Although insurance industry experience is not required, an applicant must be an authorized representative of a licensed general insurance agency and have met the educational requirements.

Saskatchewan Level 2 General Insurance Agent License

A Level 2 licensee shall not manage an agency.

Manitoba Level 2 General Insurance Agent License

A level 2 general insurance agent is authorized, to sell the insurance policies authorized under section 3, both inside and outside of the office of a general insurance agency, but is not authorized to manage the office of a general insurance agency

Nicol Insurance Inc. Purchases Landry Mellow Insurance

December 6, 2019, OWEN SOUND, ON

Nicol Insurance Inc., with offices in Owen Sound, Wiarton, Port Elgin, Kincardine and Flesherton are pleased to announce that they have purchased Landry Mellow Insurance of Orangeville.

Tim Nicol, CEO Nicol Insurance Inc., said, “We’re very excited to bring the Landry & Mellow group into the Nicol family. Their history of building strong customer relationships and their commitment to the surrounding Orangeville communities made Landry & Mellow a natural fit for us. With this acquisition, Nicol Insurance moves closer to our vision of being an industry leader as both a community-minded and client-centric business.”

While steps to align the internal systems and operations will begin immediately, it will not affect current clients of Landry Mellow as it will continue to operate under the Landry Mellow name until it can be seamlessly merged into the Nicol Insurance brand.

Todd Landry of Landry Mellow said, “We are thrilled for what this means for our staff and clients.  With a strong focus on customer service, Nicol Insurance shares many of the same core values that have helped make Landry Mellow Insurance a successful small-town brokerage for the last 40 years. Nicol Insurance will also provide us with more products and expertise to help take the brokerage into the future.”

At this time, there are no plans to make any staffing changes as the merging of the two companies will result in very little overlap of responsibilities.

About Nicol Insurance Inc.

Since 1950, Nicol Insurance, a registered licensed insurance broker with the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario, has been helping clients identify their insurance needs and providing the best value in personal and commercial insurance. Today, with offices in Owen Sound, Wiarton, Port Elgin, Kincardine and Flesherton, Nicol Insurance is one of the largest insurance brokers in Grey and Bruce counties.

About Landry Mellow Insurance

Formed in the early ‘80s and incorporated in 1983. Landry Mellow Insurance has strong ties to the Orangeville community and surrounding areas with a solid reputation for having professional, knowledgeable insurance brokers and a reputation that has been earned with over 30 years of solid and reliable service.

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