Employment Insurance premiums will be lower than anticipated in 2019

OTTAWA _ The Canada Employment Insurance Commission says employment insurance premiums will be lower than expected in 2019.

The commission says the rate will be $1.62 per $100 of insurable earnings, which is four cents lower than anticipated.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Jean-Yves Duclos, minister for families, children and social development, say in a joint statement that the EI premium rate has been reduced “thanks to a strong and growing economy.”

The statement says the new rate is almost 14 per cent lower than the rates in 2015 and that it’s the lowest rate since 1980.

Randall Bartlett, chief economist at the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy says the low premium rate is a reflection of the strong Canadian job market.

The change won’t be reflected on people’s paycheques until January.

Homeowners, renters, and drivers are all hazy on the rules.

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Desjardins invests in Canada with Better Things Community Grants program

AURORA, ON, Aug. 1, 2018 /CNW/ – Desjardins Group today announced the winners of the Better Things Community Grants program. Three large grants of between $20,000 and $50,000 and 17 community grants of $5,000 will go to deserving initiatives in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick.

Earlier this year, Desjardins asked its State Farm® branded agents to nominate local charities or government organizations that work to address safety issues, promote healthy lifestyles, improve financial well-being or support education and youth for grant consideration. A total of 137 nominations were received with 20 chosen as grant recipients.

As part of the ongoing State Farm Canada brand transition to Desjardins Insurance, Desjardins and its exclusive Agents are giving back to their communities, helping people in need and letting clients know that Desjardins Insurance will always be connected, committed and investing in where our customers live, work and play.

“Being involved in communities is part of who we are at Desjardins, and no one understands the needs of our customers better than our local Agents who work and live where their clients do,” says Barbara Bellissimo, Senior Vice President, Desjardins Agent Network. “The Better Things Community Grant program is an opportunity for Desjardins Insurance Agents to connect with the issues that matter in their communities and to provide support to help these groups continue the great work they do every day.”

Grant Recipients

Three grants totaling $105,000 were awarded to the following charities:

  • Pathstone Foundation (St. Catharines, ON) received a grant of $50,000 towards the development of 10,000 square feet of greenspace for mental health disorder patients. The Natural Playground and Healing Garden will be the first of its kind to be created at a children’s mental health agency.
  • Connect Society (Edmonton, AB) received a grant of $35,000 to support their mission to help meet the needs of families affected by hearing loss, allowing them to fully participate and thrive in daily activities. Connect Society will be equipping a preschool in Edmonton with a sensory room to help young children impacted by deafness learn and grow.
  • P.R.O. Kids (Saint John, NB) received a grant of $20,000 towards matching children and teens in financial need with organized, registered recreation activities. Positive Recreation Opportunities for Kids provides youth the ability to become involved in the Sport, Music, Art or Cultural program of their choosing; regardless of financial barriers.

An additional 17 grants totaling $85,000 ($5,000 each) were awarded to the following:

  • Bellwood Public School (Whitby, ON)
  • Brockville and Area Food Bank (Brockville, ON)
  • Chatham-Kent Student Breakfast Programs (Chatham, ON)
  • Distress Centre Calgary (Calgary, AB)
  • Eden Food for Change (Mississauga, ON)
  • Essex County Community Living (Essex, ON)
  • Food4Kids (St. Catharines, ON)
  • Girls Inc. of Durham (Ajax, ON)
  • Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation (Toronto, ON)
  • Hong Fook (Scarborough, ON)
  • Kimberly Jr. Public School (Toronto, ON)
  • Linking Generations (Sherwood, AB)
  • London Cross Cultural Learner Centre (London, ON)
  • Port Perry Hospital Foundation (Port Perry, ON)
  • Sir Edgar Bauer Catholic Elementary School (Waterloo, ON)
  • Sussex Vale Transition House (Sussex, NB)
  • The Carson Foundation (Palgrave, ON)

Quotes

“It’s fantastic that Desjardins recognized Pathstone’s Natural Playground and Healing Garden, which will be the this first of its kind in Canada, as a project they wanted to support. This will be a unique, innovative and transformative initiative for the Niagara community. Research has long supported that for young people dealing with mental health issues, time spent in a natural environment is calming, reduces feelings of stress, fear, anger and aggression and improves functionality, attention, focus and self-esteem.”
Shaun Baylis – CEO Pathstone

“As a non-profit, Connect Society has financial limitations and must make difficult decisions about how to use the government funds we receive. It’s encouraging that corporations like Desjardins have a heightened sense of social responsibility, and are willing to champion the good work of charitable organizations to effect positive change. Not only has Desjardins validated our hard work, but their financial support will provide an environment that promotes learning for the children currently in our program and for future generations.”
Cheryl Redhead – CEO/Executive Director Connect Society

“Working at an inner-city school in Saint John I have seen the challenges that youth are faced with every day. We are extremely happy that Desjardins recognizes PRO Kids as a catalyst of change for youth in our community. It provides children an enriching experience while helping to tackle barriers and allow them to break the cycle of poverty.”
Jen Brown – Vice Chair P.R.O. Kids Advisory Committee

Grant Presentations

Each grant recipient will be hosting a cheque presentation event where executives and representatives of each organization will be on hand to discuss their grant, what program or initiative the money will be supporting, and the impact it will have.  Local media, dignitaries and Desjardins Insurance Agents will also be invited to attend.

Once dates, times and locations are confirmed a detailed media invitation will be sent to local outlets prior to each cheque presentation event.

State Farm Canada is becoming Desjardins Insurance

In 2015, Desjardins Group completed the purchase of State Farm Canadian property and casualty and life insurance operations, as well as its mutual fund, loan and living benefits companies. More than 470 State Farm Agents in Canadaare becoming Desjardins Insurance Agents. They continue to offer the strength of their relationships and serve their clients’ insurance and financial needs. The brand transition will be completed by December 31, 2019. Details here – https://www.statefarm.ca/about-us/newsroom/2017/11/21/state-farm-brand-in-canada

About Desjardins
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $276.3 billion. It has been rated one of the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

Desjardins Insurance and related trademarks are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.

State Farm and related trademarks and logos are registered trademarks owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, used under licence by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company and certain of its affiliates.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

 

Insurers to rely on acquisitions and partnerships to transform business

Facing sluggish industry growth and agile new competition, insurance executives are actively pursuing acquisitions and partnerships to transform and grow their businesses, according to a new report from KPMG International, Accelerated evolution – M&A, transformation and innovation in the insurance industry. In fact, 80 percent of insurance executives surveyed for the report expect to seek one to three acquisition targets or partnership opportunities over the next three years.

The majority of insurers are intending to make acquisitions that could transform their organization for the future, rather than merely enhance their current business and operating models. More than 60 percent of the 200 executives surveyed globally said transforming their business or operating model would be the key factors driving acquisitions, while just 21 percent identified enhancing their current model as the key factor.

“Insurers are competing for market share in a slow-growth environment, that is experiencing an influx of dynamic new insurtech players,” said Laura Hay, Head of Global Insurance for KPMG International. “They know they can’t rely just on organic growth to meet their objectives, so alliances and acquisitions become essential as insurers look to engage with customers in new and different ways, and gain access to innovative operating capabilities and technology infrastructure to reshape their business and drive future growth.”

Cross-border deals expected to dominate
In terms of geography, a majority of insurance executives are looking for inorganic opportunities outside their country of domicile, with 66 percent expecting to conduct cross-border deals, while just 32 percent say they expect deals to be focused domestically. The distinction is particularly telling with respect to partnerships and alliances over the next three years, with 39 percent expecting these to be cross-border and only six percent anticipating domestic alliances.

North America, particularly the US, is widely expected by the insurance executives surveyed to have the most insurance M&A activity in the coming three years. Asia-Pacific is projected to be the region where insurers have the most partnership opportunities, and Western Europe is expected to drive relatively more divestiture activity.

Identifying the right, transformational deals
Intending to do more deals is one thing, but are insurance organizations up to the challenge of identifying and successfully executing the right deals?  Only ten and seven percent of executives, respectively, say they are extremely likely to find a deal that is a strategic fit for their business and operating model.  Moreover, a majority believe their organization’s capabilities for deal sourcing, evaluation and execution are lagging, with 72 percent saying their deal sourcing objectives aren’t highly aligned with their corporate strategy and 72 percent rating their capabilities for evaluating a target’s strategic fit as moderate to low.

To accelerate their transformation goals, an emerging trend for insurers is setting up dedicated capabilities, including corporate venture capital (CVC) teams, to acquire and accelerate innovation. Eighteen percent of insurers surveyed indicated they either already had an established CVC or had plans to establish one, with the top ranked objective being acquiring innovation for business model transformation.

“To realize value from their deals, insurers need to rethink their approach and their capabilities,” points out Ram Menon, Global Head of Insurance Deal Advisory for KPMG International. “Insurers need to redefine deal success — from acquisition strategy to integration execution — set out a clear path for transformation applying holistic design thinking, accelerate innovation by standing up an inorganic innovation engine, and more importantly, resist short-term thinking. Transformation is not a ‘one-and-done’ event.”

About the report
For KPMG worked with Mergermarket to interview more than 200 global insurance executives involved in M&A, strategy and innovation initiatives at their respective organizations to learn about their outlook for the industry and their expectations as they plan to strategically deploy capital. The research respondents were divided regionally among firms in Asia-Pacific (33 percent), EuropeMiddle East + Africa (33 percent), and North America (33 percent) as well as by the segments Life (25 percent), Non-Life (25 percent), Reinsurance (25 percent), and Other (25 percent) (the segment ‘Other’ encompasses Insurance Brokers and Insurance Services). Companies needed to have a minimum of US$1.5bn in annual revenue to qualify for participation.

About KPMG International
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 154 countries and territories and have 200,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

SOURCE KPMG International

$12M GoFundMe for Humboldt Broncos to close Wednesday

CBC News

The Humboldt Broncos organization will soon be closing a GoFundMe that raised $12 million to support players and families affected by a crash that left 16 people dead and 13 injured.

The outpouring of support began 10 days ago after the team bus collided with a semi on the way to Nipawin, Sask., on April 6.

Kevin Garinger, president of the Humboldt Broncos, made a statement Monday evening about how the team plans to secure and manage the funds that have been raised.

Garinger said the Humboldt Broncos board of directors, with legal counsel from MLT Aikins, and advice from GoFundMe executives, has decided to close the campaign and take it offline at 11:59 p.m. MDT on Wednesday, April 18.

The donated funds will be transferred to a newly created non-profit known as the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc.

An advisory committee is being established to make a recommendation for the allocation of funds.

‘Working to support our Bronco families’

He said the organization’s board of directors has immense love and gratitude for all those who have donated time and money to Humboldt Broncos fundraisers.

“If there is any light shining through this dark time, it has come in the form of love for one another,” he said. “Our families and our entire organization has been blessed to feel this love from people from around the globe.

“Our priority currently remains focused, as it has since day one, on working to support our Bronco families, especially now as they are celebrating the lives of their loved ones and supporting our players who are struggling to heal.”

Garinger also thanked fund creator, Sylvie Kellington. Kellington, who is from the small community, started the fundraiser in hopes of covering parking costs for the families who were at the hospital following the crash.

undraisers and donations outside of the GoFundMe will go to the Humboldt Strong Community Foundation, created with legal counsel from Robertson Stromberg LLP. Garinger said its mission will be to support Humboldt Broncos players, employees, families and volunteers as well as first responders, emergency personnel, teams, athletes, organizations and communities affected by the crash and its aftermath.

Only fundraisers and initiatives directed to the foundation will be endorsed, sanctioned by or held in conjunction with the Humboldt Broncos organization. Garinger said the team’s management will not be able verify any other fundraising events.

In an update posted on the GoFundMe page on Friday night, the Humboldt Broncos announced the team was getting assistance from western Canada law firm MLT Aikins LLP law firm which is supporting the organization pro bono.

“Know that we are working around the clock with our advisers to get the funds to our families as quickly as possible,” the post said.

“We appreciate your patience as this process takes time and thoughtful consideration.”

As of the latest update, 10 people from the Humboldt Broncos crash remain in hospital, with two in critical condition, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Little is known about their specific injuries, except that 18-year-old Ryan Straschnitzki is paralyzed from the chest down.

If some suffer severe injuries, including paralysis and brain injuries, financial support could be required to pay for 24-hour care.

If someone needs to use a wheelchair, home modifications could be a large expense.

The cost of psychological and emotional recovery for team members and their families could also come out of the fund.

Insurance coverage also on the table

Because the deaths and injuries resulted from a road accident in Saskatchewan, some of the costs will be covered through SGI, the province’s public insurance company.

SGI president Andrew Cartmell said benefits available for people who are injured range from travel and accommodation costs for families visiting their loved ones in hospital to long-term rehabilitation and keeping their standard of living consistent.

No-fault insurance means that funds aren’t tied to the cause of the crash and can be distributed before the investigation is complete.

Saskatchewan insurance also covers funeral costs up to about $10,000, plus additional death benefits, including grief counselling.

Hockey Canada’s insurance program also covers the Humboldt Broncos players, coaches and staff, spokesperson Lisa Dornan told CBC News in an email.

Dornan said crisis management staff from both Hockey Canada and insurance provider AIG were on-site in Humboldt to help support the families by making funeral arrangements and organizing travel.

Both SGI and Hockey Canada said that money received by survivors and family members from fundraising campaigns would not affect their insurance benefits.

Smart Insurance Moves You Can Make Right Now

By Selena Maranjian | Motley Fool

1. Increase your deductible

For many kinds of insurance — car, home, health, and so on — your policy will feature a deductible. That’s the amount you’re on the hook for before the insurer will pay. Low deductibles can seem great, as you won’t have to produce a lot of cash after a car accident or flooded basement, but overall, a higher deductible can be better. After all, you can go many years without a claim and your monthly premiums can be significantly lower throughout that period.

Try calling your various insurers and asking how much lower your premiums would be if you increased your deductible. You may be able to save anywhere from 5% to 25% or more. Never hike your deductible to a level that you can’t pay if you need to, of course.

2. Shop around for lower rates

Another tip that applies to many kinds of insurance is very basic: Shop around for the lowest rates. Don’t just stick with your same old insurer, even if you’re receiving a “loyalty” discount. Spend an hour on the phone with a few competitors and compare apples to apples, specifying exactly what coverage you have and seeing what they would charge you. You don’t want to end up with a lower price that’s due to less coverage.

Give special consideration to any insurer you already have a policy with, as multiple policies can yield discounts. And keep an insurer’s reputation in mind, too. Don’t switch to one that’s not rated highly.

3. Maintain a clean driving record for lower car insurance rates

A great way to keep your car insurance rates low is to have a clean driving record. A single accident can send your rates up by as much as 41%, on average, for a $2,000 claim, per one report. Drivers with clean records get offered much better rates when shopping for a policy, too. You’ll want to avoid not only accidents, but also speeding tickets, DWI offenses, and more.

If you happen to have an incident on your driving record, it won’t be there forever. Its effect on your premiums will likely be reduced over time, and it might not make any difference at all after a few years. It can also help if you drive less. If you become a telecommuter and are driving much less now, let your insurer know, as your rate might drop. The fewer miles you drive, the less risk you present for an insurer.

4. Own certain cars for a long time for lower car insurance rates

Insurers view every make and model of vehicle differently. Do a little Googling, and you’ll find lists of the most costly and least costly vehicles to insure, and lists of the safest and least safe vehicles. Insurers favor safer cars and are likely to charge higher rates for cars that are associated with more claims and less-than-stellar drivers. Cars with a lot of safety features will be favored, too, while expensive cars will cost you more.

According to Insure.com, among 2017 models, the least expensive cars to insure include the Honda Odyssey LX, Jeep Renegade Sport, Subaru Outback 2.5l, and the Buick Encore, with average annual rates below $1,200. The most costly vehicles to insure include the Mercedes S65 AMG convertible, the Dodge GTS Viper, and the Maserati Quattroporte GTS, with average annual rates topping $3,000. If you tend to replace your car every few years, you’re keeping your rates on the steep side. Older cars can be far less costly to insure, and after a certain point, you might just drop your collision coverage entirely, saving even more.

5. Get life insurance if you need it

Don’t assume that because you’re only 25, or because you have no children, you don’t need life insurance. If anyone depends on you financially — your partner, children, parents, or even nephews or nieces — you need life insurance. Think, too, of anyone who has cosigned any loan for you, such as your parents, who might have helped you with school loans or a mortgage. If you expire ahead of schedule, you don’t want to leave them stuck with repayments.

We tend to ignore the possibility that we might die prematurely, but it happens to many people, and often by surprise. You don’t necessarily need a multi-million-dollar whole life policy. A relatively inexpensive term policy can be just fine, lasting only as long as you need it.

6. Consider a “life settlement” if you no longer need your life insurance

If you have a whole life insurance policy and you don’t need life insurance anymore, you may see little reason to keep paying those premiums. You can probably cash out and receive some money from the insurer — or you can look into a “life settlement,” which might pay more, though less than the face value of the policy, which is the amount that would be paid upon your death. With life settlements, a third party will buy your life insurance policy if it likes its odds of making a profit on it — often paying between 10% and 25% of your policy’s face value.

7. Think twice before filing a claim

If a tree falls on your house and splits it in two, of course file a claim with your insurer. But if you have a small claim, you might be best off not mentioning it. With several kinds of insurance, such as car and home, the more claims you file, the more your premiums likely will be increased. According to a CNNMoney article, “On average, filing a single claim — for anything ranging from a stolen bicycle to tornado damage — will result in your monthly premium being raised by 9%, according to a report released by InsuranceQuotes.com. File a second claim and premiums climb by an average of 20%.

 

READ MORE HERE: 

By Selena Maranjian | Motley Fool

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