Retirement Savings Withdrawals

Written by Mary-Lou Emmett

Today an Employee from one of our Group RRSP’s wanted to “withdraw” funds for “something”. This is always troubling to us and is not an uncommon occurrence. But today is different. Why? Today we added extra steps and successfully convinced this Employee NOT to withdraw those funds.

We showed the Employee how a $1,000 withdrawal today would lose about $5,400 from their retirement savings (over 25 years @ 7%).

We reinforced that the withdrawal would be added to their income this year and would likely result in them paying more tax on all their income, at tax filing time.

We asked the Employee to sign a statement saying that they understood the impact this withdrawal would have on their retirement savings and taxes owing. Instead, they decided NOT to withdraw the funds.

It felt like we had finally found a way to help someone understand the potentially devastating impact of withdrawing from their retirement savings. It’s not even lunchtime and it’s already a great day!


New Business Model - Employee Benefit Plans

Written by Mary-Lou Emmett

Constant progress! Over 30 years I have worked through many fantastic evolutions in Employee Benefit Plans! For example ...

... On the coverage side, when Dental plans were expanding in the mid '70's, the Ontario Dental Association opposed assignment of benefits and alternate benefit provisions. In fact I regularly received calls from the Chairman of the Dental Pre-Paid Advisory Committee at the ODA about "issues" with plans. Now Dental plans have advanced to electronic submission with instant adjudication, fully supported by Dental practices!

... On the administration side, everything has moved from paper-based applications to the capability of Employees using remote on-line enrollment systems without HR and Employees can access their personal coverage on-line too!

... On the plan set-up side, smaller plans may now access "Administration Services Only" accounting and Employees may have the opportunity to select only those coverages that are meaningful to their current circumstances.

But ... on the Consulting side, most Employers still are not afforded the opportunity to select only the services they need rather than accepting a one-size fits all system. We have a solution. 


Technology Transformation - Group Benefits

Written by Mary-Lou Emmett

Advancements are facilitating paperless group insurance claim submissions. This is just the beginning of more high-tech solutions that will streamline plan reports, administration and information access.

For Employees, the new claim experience is catching up to technologies they already use daily! For Employers this translates to time savings as they are less and less involved in claim inquiries. Employees access their information at their own convenience either via 1-800 Customer Service Centres or via an on-line coverage inquiry.

For Employers, other cost savings that should be realized will result from: lower administration charges (e-booklets vs hard-copy); less time spent on administration; reduced claim reserve charges (claim lag keeps reducing); etc.

We are mindful of these savings and actively pressuring to have them impact our clients' group insurance premiums. 


Using Cutting Edge Technology To Provide Highest Service Levels

Written by Mary-Lou Emmett

Our commitment to delivering the highest possible service levels goes to the core.  We are leveraging the power of technology and social media to ensure that your service experience is relevant and timely.  

I'm proud to announce that as of today our website is tightly integrated with Twitter.  In addition to being able to view our twitter feed directly from our home page, we are automatically tweeting our blogged articles.  This means that our twitter followers will be automatically notified of any changes posted on our site!  Just follow us on twitter to stay in touch.  We look forward to you joining our conversations. 


Drug Coverage News! Group Benefits - High Drug Cost Protection

Written by Mary-Lou Emmett

Canada does not have a "catastrophic drug" program. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) has stepped in and developed an industry-wide agreement to protect fully insured drug plans from the full financial impact of high drug costs!

The CLHIA announced the formation of the the not-for-profit, Canadian Drug Insurance Pooling Corporation, to represent all supplementary drug coverage insurance companies in Canada (there are 23). Starting January 1, 2013 each insurer will be required to comply with the Drug Pooling Agreement. Group Benefit Plans will move into the pool on their 2013 renewal.

Essentially, neither the number nor the value of claims in excess of a pooling level may impact a Group's premium at the time of quote or at renewal!!! Insurers will be required to set premiums assuming that high cost claims did not exist. The objective is to allow employers to sustain their fully insured drug plans even if one of their employees is taking a very high cost drug.

The industry is setting up an industry-wide pooling framework to spread the risk across all insurers. For further details read the media release at: