Happy end of year everyone!
I want to begin with a thank you. This year was different than any of my prior 20 in the business. As we worked to regain as much of our old normal as possible, insurance company responses were slowed due to lack of employees and ongoing work from home communication challenges. Rules changed.
Pharmacare seemed to intrude on our claims processes at levels never seen before. We heard employees were hard to find and keep happy. Sick days grew with many of you experiencing times when multiple people were away at any given moment. Claims levels and costs increased. Through it all, we worked as hard as we could to get answers to your questions and all of you showed patience and grace. Thank you for that. We have always prided ourselves on providing top level client care. The whole team felt bad that our responses were sometimes slower than our goals and our performance in prior years. Please know we will always work to get you what you need as fast as we can.
2023 Things for you to consider:
Changes to EI Disability. The federal government is changing the rules for EI Disability. On Dec 28th, EI Disability moves from 16 weeks of coverage to 26 weeks. On first glance, this sounds great. However, the plan is not complete and there are many questions and issues.
It is likely in the fist ¼ we will be in touch about updating your plans in regards to the changes. Because all questions have not been answered by the federal government, we are recommending you remain with your current disability definitions. There may be some slight premium savings to move to a definition of Long-Term Disability that starts at week 27. However, we see issues that may make that move more costly over time. Once our industry has full answers from the federal government, we will be in touch with options and our analysis on pros and cons of any change option available to you.
If you have an employee who goes on EI Disability, simply have them contact us as soon as they are approved. We will advise on a case by case basis until a new standard is created.
Mental Health & Long-Term Disability (LTD). In the before times, mental health made up about 30% of Long-Term Disability Claims. This past year, some insurers saw claims as high as 40% of the total. We have worked hard to get mental health supports for you, your team and their families. We will continue to source solutions to help your employees and hopefully prevent some of these disabilities. Lifeworks (a large EAP provider) recently stated 77% of workers have a moderate to high mental health risk. This can affect disability claims, medications, absenteeism, presenteeism and other healthcare & business costs. Providing good supports for your employees and their families and integrating them into your work culture will have a positive impact on your business. No one wants to be disabled and you want to focus on your business.
D.E.I. This is an acronym you may not have seen yet. You will. Allow me to be the first. Diversity. Equity.
Inclusion. We have seen this in other forms over the years. Think Equal Opportunity. The big difference is that this term assumes equal opportunity and then gets into more detail & concepts including gender, obesity, and mental health. D.E.I. looks for ways to include more social and life realities that we see on a daily basis. I have been asked to speak at the leading educational conference in western Canada for insurance advisors (in Banff). I am speaking on two topics. DEI will be one of them. I think I will call that session, “Uncomfortable conversations”. No matter what you think of these concepts, you have chosen to be people leaders and at some time you will have to work with these topics in your organization. You need to know how and you need the tools. Our team will be constantly looking for those tools so we can help you to not feel uncomfortable in your conversations.
In the next year, when you take time looking for ways to better help your employees, we recommend you look for articles including DEI and mental health supports for business leaders and employees. If you learn anything interesting, please share them with us so we can better help all of you.
In the end, we are all entrepreneurs. It is in our nature to find ways through, around or under any block in our path. We do not give up. In fact, as we have all shown in the past 2 years, we excel. I have faith that all of you will have a great 2023 and we look forward to continuing to get to know you better and to helping you succeed more than in any prior year.
Have a great Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Yule, Festivus or whatever else you may celebrate this time of year. We also wish you an amazing 2023.
Wishing you safe, warm & fun travels!
Jay Nadler, Employee Benefit Specialist.
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