A Case for Holistic and Proactive Employee Wellness

Mental health itself is nothing new. However, the ways in which we understand and approach issues related to mental health in society, and in the workplace, are constantly evolving. This is especially visible in the insurance industry, where mental health challenges account for a high percentage of long-term disability (LTD) claims, and are therefore a costly expense for many businesses (1).

Much can be said for the progress made up to this point, by individuals and organizations working together to address challenges to mental health such as social stigma, education, access to support and treatment (2). However, plenty of work remains ahead, perhaps starting with how we think about mental health in the first place – not as something separate and independent from other aspects of our well-being, but as something completely intertwined with, and dependent upon them. In fact, medical, physical, financial, social, and occupational health all factor into mental health. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association:

“Mental health and physical health are fundamentally linked. People living with a serious mental illness are at higher risk of experiencing a wide range of chronic physical conditions. Conversely, people living with chronic physical health conditions experience depression and anxiety at twice the rate of the general population. Co-existing mental and physical conditions can diminish quality of life and lead to longer illness duration and worse health outcomes. This situation also generates economic costs to society due to lost work productivity and increased health service use. (3)” Continue reading “A Case for Holistic and Proactive Employee Wellness”

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A Holistic and Proactive Approach to Your Employees’ Wellness

Life vs. Living Benefits Underwriting: Consider the Differences

A look back in time helps demystify insurance underwriting

Life insurance underwriting has been around a long time. Since the first life insurance policy issued in 16th century England, the practices supporting fair and competitive life insurance risk selection have evolved often apace with emerging technologies, but the principles that undergird underwriting remain remarkably unchanged.

Living benefits, via disability and critical illness insurance, are considered relative newcomers to the marketplace. Still, the earliest forms of these coverages have been available for a long time. The second American president, John Adams, signed the Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen in 1798 (1). The law required seafarers to put aside twenty cents per month from their wages in order to fund medical care for other sailors who fell sick or became disabled. This group of seamen were so vital to trade and commerce, that the law created a provision for the building of hospitals for sick seamen. This is perhaps one of the earliest examples of what we now consider accident and sickness and disability insurance.

Critical illness is the youngest member of the life and living benefits insurance family. It was the brainchild of South African Dr. Marius Barnard who launched the first version in 1983 under the ominously titled Dread Disease Insurance. The premise was groundbreakingly simple: get diagnosed with a covered illness, survive 30 days and collect the claim payment. Critical illness made its way to our shores a few years later and remains a powerful protection tool that continues to benefit Canadian insurance buyers, often in ways that have been described as life changing and life saving. Continue reading “Life vs. Living Benefits Underwriting: Consider the Differences”

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Life vs. Living Benefits: Consider the Differences

SMART TALK…about digital assets

Your client has been fairly savvy about their physical assets – they’ve made detailed lists and secured a representative to handle these assets when they are no longer here. However, have they considered their digital assets? Your client’s bank accounts, their social media and online family photos are valuable and need to be protected.

Watch this video, part of our SMART TALK series, and share it with your clients to demonstrate the importance of safeguarding digital assets. Continue reading “SMART TALK…about digital assets”

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SMART TALK…about digital assets

Insurance Solutions for Today and Tomorrow

There are so many different options when it comes to insurance, and the stage of life that your clients are in will most certainly determine the types of conversations that you will want to engage in with them. Generally speaking, there are two types of insurance conversations that you will have with your client.

The first conversation will typically take place when your client is in their younger years and revolves around their need for income replacement. Your client’s insurance needs involve a somewhat simple snapshot of current possible risks to their loved ones’ financial situation today. The main focus of this conversation is to illustrate how insurance can help your client’s family maintain the same standard of living in the event of an unexpected occurrence.

That second conversation tends to occur when your client is a little older, a little more financially stable and it’s all about asset protection. In fact, your client will have less of an actual need for something and more of a desire to build wealth and facilitate their estate and tax planning.

But what if you could offer your client both in a single policy – the income protection they need today and the chance to build their assets for the future? We’re constantly encouraged to live in the now, which is great. But when it comes to insurance planning, is “now” the best viewpoint for your client? Term insurance, although a solid option, tends to be short sighted and does not take your client’s long-term needs – their assets, tax and estate planning – into account. As an Advisor, your role is to help them see the big picture, not just the short-term solution with an option to convert to a permanent solution at a later time and at a higher cost. Continue reading “Insurance Solutions for Today and Tomorrow”

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Choosing Insurance that Grows with You

Helping your Business-Owner Clients Thrive in the Pandemic and Beyond

If you have a client who owns their own business, now is the time to talk to them about group employee benefits.

Employees are the very heartbeat of any business and it is in your client’s best interest to make sure their employees are happy and healthful, helping them be healthy, engaged, loyal and productive employees. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, employee care is essential.

Share this video with your client, highlighting the PPI Benefits Thrive benefits plan, which helps them to activate healthy, positive change in the lives of their employees. Continue reading “Helping your Business-Owner Clients Thrive in the Pandemic and Beyond”

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Thrive in a Pandemic: Delivering More Value to your Employees with Group Benefits

Children and COVID-19 – Are the Kids Alright?

When we first visited the topic of the novel coronavirus in March 2020, just over 100,000 cases had been reported worldwide. At this time, in late March 2021, the World Health Organization reports well over 120 million cases and regrettably, the loss of nearly 3 million lives. The global pandemic that is COVID-19 has affected 223 countries. In Canada, we are closing in on 1 million cases and almost 24,000 deaths (1). We have already discussed the economic and social devastation wrought by the virus. The good news has been both a new and renewed understanding of containment and mitigation to halt the spread of human-to-human viruses and the unprecedented speed of delivery of what appears to be highly effective vaccines. Mass vaccination should help usher in a new era of normalcy.

But what about our children? How have our kids fared during this time? Let’s look at COVID-19 and its’ impact on the youngest members of our society. First, the most obvious question: can children get COVID-19? Yes. One study out of Europe reports 14% of cases in those aged 0-19 years. Early in the pandemic, household transmission was likely predominant. With return to school, even on a limited basis, inconsistent safe distancing and mask wearing, along with poor ventilation in older school buildings, have contributed to child-to-child transmission rates. This is especially the case with the emergence of the more highly transmissible variants such as B117, now likely to become the dominant variant and increasing the need to accelerate mass vaccination programs (2). Continue reading “Children and COVID-19 – Are the Kids Alright?”

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Children and COVID-19 – Are the Kids Alright?

The Family Divide – Policy Transfers Between Family

Life is an uncertain road and for your client, circumstances may change where they one day need to transfer ownership of their personally owned life insurance. It does happen and in many cases, the transfer results in a taxable disposition of the life insurance. However, there are some tax-deferred “rollovers” available for transfers to spouses and children. Continue reading “The Family Divide – Policy Transfers Between Family”

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The Family Divide: Policy Transfers Amongst Family

Employee Benefits – Help Your Business-Owner Clients Protect Their Business

Spring has sprung and we are now one full year into the COVID-19 pandemic – a pandemic which none of us could foresee and one which has altered the very way we live our lives and conduct business. Whether it be working from home or maintaining the frontline, all of us have had to make some adjustments over the course of the year and it is believed that at least some of these adjustments are here to stay. Which is why now more than ever, it is important to schedule some time to speak with your business-owner clients about whether they offer employee benefits and if so, whether their chosen plan is right for them, their employees and their business.

Just like mobile phones now possess a “can’t live without mine” status, we have come to expect an independent, all access channel to the delivery of ALL goods and services, including employee benefits. Today, Advisors are challenging the conventional methods used by the insurance industry and using this time to reshape the traditional benefits design into a plan with a much higher level of personal assistance as well as convenient, confidential and ready access to required support programs for all employees. Continue reading “Employee Benefits – Help Your Business-Owner Clients Protect Their Business”

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What a Difference a Year Makes… Getting Your Employees the Best Care Today

Loneliness – How Risky Can It Get?

“Loneliness is the ultimate poverty” (1). So said the everyday philosopher Pauline Philips, better known to millions as “Dear Abby”, the legendary advice columnist. The theme of loneliness runs deep in our past and present society, inspiring music, literature, film and a long list of commercial endeavours to alleviate what another great legend, Bob Dylan, described as “endless emptiness” (2). It’s all a little grim. In more clinical terms, it can be described as a subjective feeling related to the lack of social relations or simply a sense of disconnectedness or isolation (3).

So, why discuss loneliness in an underwriting setting and why now? Well, the simple answer is that when it comes to medical reporting, loneliness as a component of psychiatric disorders has long been a red flag for concern. That same report would typically also reveal a history of depression, insomnia, disturbed appetite and other markers of reduced well-being. In more extreme cases, there can be the misuse of alcohol, marked stress and drug use. Physicians have long recognized that loneliness can predispose the sufferer to a broad range of illness, including cardiovascular and immune system diseases (4). In older populations, isolation can accelerate cognitive decline, interfering with day-to-day functioning and the quality of life (5). In younger people, social stress and isolation are cited as precipitating factors for suicide, which accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year-olds living in Canada (6). In fact, every day we lose ten Canadians to suicide (7). Continue reading “Loneliness – How Risky Can It Get?”

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Loneliness – Hope on the Horizon

Critical Illness Insurance – Financial Protection for Your Client

Critical illness insurance (CI) is still one of the most compelling protection products on the market today. In addition to providing lump-sum payments in the event of 20+ major illnesses, it also gives your client flexible options to return their premiums (in full!) should they live a long and healthy life.

The fact is that 1 in 3 women and 2 in 5 men have a chance of developing a critical illness in their lifetime – an illness that could derail your client’s financial security, retirement planning or even their way of life altogether (1). The risk is real and all of us have witnessed how an illness can affect a family and its finances.

Yet, unlike life insurance, your client will be able to actually see the benefit of this product, beyond providing for a beneficiary, during their lifetime. CI allows your client to protect themselves financially, allowing them to focus on treatments, a speedy recovery, as well as the purchase of additional medical care if needed. Continue reading “Critical Illness Insurance – Financial Protection for Your Client”

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Critical Illness Insurance – Financial Protection or your Money Back!