Cyber Insurance In The Covid-19 Landscape

Cyber Insurance In The Covid-19 Landscape

Gowling WLG

With the unprecedented global pandemic of Covid-19, companies are adapting to the new reality of social distancing and self-isolation practices encouraged by our government and health authorities, leading many businesses to transition large numbers of employees to remote working. Many of these employees have no prior experience working remotely, and in some cases, may not be properly equipped to do so.

Remote working requires, among other things, equipping employees with the ability to connect to company servers from home. This transition requires furnishing employees with the tools required to carry out their work efficiently, such as providing them with laptops, at home workstations, and remote access to secured networks and other company resources.

Unfortunately, the transition to working remotely almost certainly will mean increased risk of cyber attack and cyber losses. Cyber risks faced by businesses today take different forms. In addition to hardware and/or software failure, the loss of portable devices such as laptops or smart phones, and the use of unsecured Wi-Fi connections by employees, companies face sophisticated attacks from hackers targeting users seeking information on Covid-19.

Given these risks, it is critically important businesses take steps to insure and protect themselves against cyber losses.

Cyber Insurance-What is it and What Does It Cover?

Cyber insurance provides protection and coverage for the security and privacy of digital information and losses resulting from data breaches.

Cyber risk policies provide both first party and third party coverage. Cyber insurance may take the form of a stand-alone policy or be made available by way of endorsement to a D&O or E&O liability policy. Though each policy varies, and a policy should be thoroughly reviewed prior to purchase, first party coverages typically provided under a cyber insurance policy include:

  • expenses incurred by a company as a direct result of the breach, including remediation and notification expenses, as well as crisis management expenses; and
  • resultant costs such as business interruption and loss of goodwill.

Third party coverage under a cyber insurance policy typically provides coverage for liability in connection with losses suffered by customers as a result of the theft and use of their personal and/or financial data.

Most insurers also offer value-added services, such as network security testing, designed to help companies avoid and mitigate the effects of a data breach, and crisis management services.

Ensure That Your Cyber Insurance Policy is Comprehensive Enough to Suit Your Company’s Needs

Coverages offered under cyber insurance policies vary considerably. When purchasing a cyber insurance policy, the policy wording, and especially the exclusions, should be reviewed with a professional to ensure the potential loss events your company may face in the event of a data breach are covered. The type of coverage required will depend on the nature of the company, the types of information it stores within its secure network, as well as the types of activities the business participates in.

What Can Employees and Employers Do to Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Both employers and employees must take utmost care to protect themselves as well as confidential company information, especially while working remotely. Such steps include:

  • Encouraging employees to pay attention to phishing emails, which are emails disguised with an enticing link, that when clicked on, can download malware onto a device and the company’s systems;
  • Ensuring employee devices are up to date on their anti-virus protection;
  • Ensuring employees are working on secure, password-protected internet connections and reducing the use of public Wi-Fi as much as possible;
  • Reminding employees personal email should not be used for any company business; and,
  • Urging employees to keep track of what they are printing at home and to shred confidential documents as soon as possible before they are disposed of.

Conclusion

The best way to protect your company from cyber risks is to ensure appropriate preventive measures are in place and employees working from home or with remote access to company data are trained on how to implement these measures. We must all be diligent in protecting and securing sensitive business data and client information. However, when an attack does happen, it is crucial to have the right cyber risk insurance products in place to assist in dealing with the after-effects of a breach.

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Source: Mondaq

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.

5 things to know about Ottawa’s COVID 19 financial aid package

OTTAWA _ Five things to know about Ottawa’s $82-billion financial-aid package announced Wednesday to help weather the COVID-19 pandemic:

New emergency benefits

Ottawa is waiving the one-week waiting period to claim employment insurance sickness benefits. The government is also proposing a new emergency care benefit of up to $900 every two weeks for up to 15 weeks to help workers who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 or taking take of a sick family member, but do not qualify for employment insurance sickness benefits. The new benefit will also be available for parents who can’t earn employment income because they need to care for children, whether or not the parents qualify for employment insurance.

Increased benefits and top-ups

The government is moving to make a special one-time payment to those who receive the goods and services tax credit that will double the maximum annual payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The government is also proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year by $300 per child.

Help for businesses

The government wants to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage 10 per cent wage subsidy for three months. The payment will be up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Companies eligible will include those eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

Tax delays

The Canada Revenue is pushing back the income-tax filing deadline for individuals until June 1. For trusts with a taxation year the same as the calendar year the filing date will be deferred to May 1. The agency will also allow all businesses to defer, until after Aug. 31, 2020, income-tax payments on amounts that become owing between now and September 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

Other targeted aid

The government is providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous community support fund for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities. It is also placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans. The required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds are being cut by 25 per cent for 2020.

Insurance Professionals: Alberta Continuing Education –  New Expiry Dates

Insurance Professionals: Alberta Continuing Education – New Expiry Dates

To continue to provide the highest quality continuing education (CE) for insurance professionals in Alberta, the Alberta Accreditation Committee (AAC) has determined that CE without expiry dates and those accredited for longer than three years, will be phased out and no longer be accredited for CE purposes. This ensures that all CE offered aligns to current market conditions and trends.

How does this affect you?

If you’re completing your CE with ILScorp…

it doesn’t affect you at all!

ILScorp has re-accredited all of our Alberta continuing education courses to meet the new CE standards and requirements.

So don’t worry, take all the CE you need! Our courses are accredited

Alberta General CE

Each course that is accredited in Alberta will display both an Alberta Flag and an AIC#.

Alberta Life/A&S CE

Remember courses that are technical in nature qualify for continuing education requirements. Again if you see the Alberta flag and the AIC# then that course is valid in Alberta. Your courses will also display the word “Technical” in the CE Credit Type field.

Courses that are sales oriented or more along the lines of broker skills, such as Angry Customers and how to Deal with Them, do not qualify for Alberta continuing education so you will not see an Alberta flag or AIC# on that course.

If you need assistance completing your 15 hours of CE, contact ILScorp today!

The Alberta Accreditation Committee, as delegated by the Minister, is responsible for reviewing and approving continuing education providers, continuing education courses, and the hours and means of calculating the continuing education hours, for each course or seminar that can be used towards the 15-hour requirement that licensed agents and adjusters must satisfy each licensing year.

Edited for ilstv.com

Overpaid workers will only pay back ‘net’ amounts under proposed new tax rules

By Terry Pedwell

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ The country’s biggest civil-service union declared a victory for its members Tuesday as the Trudeau government moved to change a tax rule that has caused headaches for federal employees overpaid by the problem-plagued civil service pay system.

The Finance Department announced draft legislation that would see overpaid employees  regardless who they work for  required to repay only the amounts deposited into their bank accounts in a prior tax year.

The draft was released shortly before the government also announced it was replacing the top bureaucrat in charge of the buggy Phoenix pay system.

Marie Lemay, whom many frustrated civil servants turned to directly for help in dealing with pay gaffes, was appointed as senior adviser to the secretariat that runs the federal cabinet, the Privy Council Office,  “prior to an upcoming appointment,” the Prime Minister’s Office announced.

Lemay had worked as deputy minister in charge of Phoenix since shortly after the system was launched in the spring of 2016, and was the public face of Phoenix as complaints about paycheques began pouring into her office at Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Many of those complaints involved overpayments to government employees, which were exacerbated by stiffly interpreted federal tax laws.

Under current legislation, any employee who received an overpayment in a previous year was required to pay back the gross amount of the overpayment to their employer, which includes income taxes, Canada Pension Plan contributions and Employment Insurance premiums.

In many cases, the law meant workers were required to pay back to the government hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars they never directly received.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents the bulk of federal workers, had called on Ottawa to exempt civil servants from the tax law, given the size and complexity of overpayments made through the Phoenix system.

It called the proposed new legislation a “major victory” while lamenting that the move should have been made much sooner.

“We would have preferred to have this legislation tabled years ago, but we’re pleased that it will be retroactive to 2016, the year the Phoenix crisis began,” PSAC national president Chris Aylward said in a statement.

“The government must now move as quickly as possible to implement the legislation.”

Since its launch nearly three years ago, more than half the federal civil service more than 156,000 workers have been overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all through Phoenix.

For many of those who inadvertently received too much pay, returning the money has been a two-pronged nightmare. In many cases, employees were told to keep track of the money, but not to pay it back until later so as to not further burden the pay system.

Those same employees who hadn’t paid back the overpayments until a following tax year were later told they must pay back the amounts deposited to their bank accounts, plus CPP contributions, EI premiums and income taxes that had already been deducted by their employer.

“To alleviate this burden and help affected employees, the Department of Finance Canada is releasing draft legislative proposals that would under certain conditions permit an affected employee to repay to their employer only the net amount of the overpayment received in a previous year, rather than the gross amount,” the department said in a statement Tuesday.

“Under the proposed legislation, the (Canada Revenue Agency) would be able to refund directly to the employer the income tax, CPP, and EI withheld on an overpayment that occurred through a system, administrative, or clerical error. As a result, affected employees who received overpayments through no fault of their own would no longer be responsible for recovering these amounts from the CRA and repaying the gross amount of the overpayment to their employer.”

Even though the draft legislation is only in the proposal stages, the department said public and private-sector employees can apply the new rules to their individual tax situations “immediately” for overpayments made after 2015, and that CRA will process overpayments as if the legislation has already been enacted.

The government’s goal in launching Phoenix in 2016 was to streamline multiple outdated civil service pay systems, and save taxpayers millions of dollars in the process.

But the bungled pay project was estimated by the end of 2018 to have cost $1.1 billion, including its implementation and efforts aimed at stabilizing it that have continued into this year.

Saskatchewan increases maternity, adoption leave to 19 weeks

Saskatchewan is proposing to increase maternity and adoption leaves to offer what the province says will be the longest time off in the country.

A bill introduced in the legislature would allow new mothers to take 19 weeks off _ one week more than they get now.

The proposal would also align parental leave with new federal standards of 59 weeks for a mother if she took full leave.

If another parent took the entire leave or collected employment insurance, parental leave would expand to 63 weeks.

The government also plans to make workers eligible to take 17 weeks off to care for critically ill adult family members.

Interpersonal violence leave is to be extended to 10 days to include survivors of sexual violence.

Survivors can use the time to seek medical or legal assistance, move to a safe space or obtain support services.

“During a major life event, such as bringing a child into the family or assisting a loved one experiencing a serious illness, workers should not have to worry about job security,” Labour Relations Minister Don Morgan said Wednesday in a statement.

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