Mar
23

Is There A Mental Health Crisis?

At the start of 2020, there were a few murmurs on social media about a novel coronavirus that was beginning to cause concern. By March of the same year, the lives of all Canadians would change forever.

In the time since, there has been a major shift in the routines of the working force – and the consequences of this shift are becoming increasingly clear: the mental health of the average person is drastically worse than it used to be.

Though it appeared that the population was rebounding during the summer when cases were dwindling, there has since been a major surge in people reporting having struggles with their mental health. In fact, by December 2020, Morneau Shepell Ltd.’s monthly mental-health index showed that the collective employee mental health in the nation had dipped to an all-time low.

Paula Allen, the consultancy’s senior vice-president of research, analytics and innovation, stated that “With the stress that we have, with the amount of change that we have, with the level of unpredictability, one would expect some level of impact on mental health, but this has been astounding how it’s declined.”

What, then, can be done?

As more data has become available, employers across the board have shifted their focus to providing greater support for their employees – with virtual care and employee assistance programs (EAPs) leading the way.

One company that has taken part in this shift is Unilever Canada Inc.

“Work-life balance and blurred boundaries was a struggle for our people, particularly when schools and daycares closed and parents were managing online school, kids at home … We initiated an incident management team right at the start, to ensure that we had a strategic approach focused on the health, safety and well-being of our people and business continuity”, stated Bronwyn Ott – the consumer goods company’s head of North America well-being and culture.

Though initially there was no increased usage of the EAPs, eventually there was a breakthrough and employees started becoming more comfortable with the program.

What led to this change was an increase in communication and emphasis on the usefulness of seeking help with mental health struggles. Bronwyn Ott added that employees needed to “trust in our approach and feel that their well-being is a priority.”

The company rolled out a brand-new virtual care program with a strengthened focus on supporting mental well-being; and accompanied this program with a meditation app and “a digital tool that provides mental-health assessments, matches employees with therapists and offers internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy.” (Canadian Underwriter)

Introducing these new features along with further emphasizing the importance of using these programs ultimately led to increased employee engagement. According to Ott, the organization has since seen an increase in mental well-being scores and the employees seem to be handling this pandemic far better than before.

The lesson here is one that is clear for all to see – the presence of EAPs and fancy virtual care programs alone is not enough to help those in need. Employers need to earn the trust of their employees by actively encouraging, promoting, and emphasizing the benefits of the available resources.

Research suggests that organizations who invest in support programs for their employees end up reaping the rewards of increased productivity and morale – even if well-being scores don’t immediately rise.

However, what about organizations going through financial difficulties? It’s one thing for an organization the size of Unilever Canada to offer these programs – what about employers undergoing financial issues?

Margaret Eaton, national chief executive officer at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), empathised with the financial worries. “With mental health, a lot of the anxiety with COVID is people having financial concerns,” she said.

Fortunately, there are quite a lot of low-cost and even no-cost options available to those who lack financial resources. The first step towards solving the mental health crisis is by engaging in conversation – and that costs nothing.

Moreover, there are government-funded resources that have been introduced over the past year that employers and employees alike can benefit from for free. The CMHA, for example, introduced a guided self-help program for free that has been greatly impactful for many – and that is just one of many resources that are available currently.

If you need help finding these resources for your business, or if you want to discover additional ways that your insurance can help in this situation, contact one of our licensed experts today at 905-696-9090 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Let’s take the first step!

 

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Mar
12

Congratulations Nancy!

We have some exciting news!

On the ‘team happenings front’, we wanted to let you know that Nancy Mills is now recognized as our office’s Senior Commercial Insurance Advisor. With over 25 years in the industry, Nancy has been managing some of the largest and most complicated risks in our office. Although Nancy’s quick to say that it seems like every account is complicated in the current insurance market, she has gained the trust of our largest clients and has quickly become our office’s number one cyber expert. 

Congratulations Nancy!!

 

 

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Feb
04

Why The D&O Market Will Get Harder

If you have your finger even remotely on the pulse, you will know that one of the major trends in 2020 going into 2021 was how data breaches were going to affect directors’ and officers’ liability claims.

According to a new report by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), “outside the U.S., securities class actions are being filed in record numbers and the threat of facing an action has increased in many jurisdictions – notably in Australia and Canada.”

The AGCS report identifies five “megatrends” going into this year:

  1. Securities class action activity and COVID-19 impact;
  2. Global economic developments and insolvency exposure;
  3. The D&O exposures of privately-held companies;
  4. The impact of diversity, climate change, and environmental and social governance (ESG) factors;
  5. Cyber attacks

“Often the aftermath of data breaches has been devastating to the companies affected, including fines, costly breach notification procedures, business interruption, and intensely negative publicity,” the report continued.

So, how does this all affect directors’ & officers’?

The consequences of these megatrends will mean that directors’ and officers’ around the country are at an increased risk of getting sued over potential failures to properly protect their firms against cyber risk.

Moreover, COVID-19 has led to a majorly increased risk of insolvency – something that the report covers by stating, “Insolvency is a key cause of D&O claims, as insolvency practitioners look to recoup losses from directors. There are many ways that stakeholders could go after directors following insolvency, such as alleging that boards failed to prepare adequately for a pandemic or for prolonged periods of reduced income.”

These risks aren’t exclusive to larger, publicly traded companies either – as directors and officers in private firms face lawsuits over employee related matters.

The aforementioned “megatrends” of diversity, climate change, and ESG factors will likely lead to an increase in civil lawsuits. These lawsuits, if successful, could completely put a firm out of business.

Though this all sounds scary on the surface, there are ways to mitigate risk.

Contact one of our licensed experts today at 905-696-9090 or simply email us to find out how we can help you stay protected.

 

 

Source: Canadian Underwriter

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Jan
28

Why You Need Personal Cyber Insurance

Did you know that the average individual loses over $4,000 to cyber criminals? With the ever-growing presence of technology in modern society, more people are at risk of cyber crime than ever before.

Hackers look to the vulnerable, unprotected sections of the population and attempt to steal sensitive data such as social insurance numbers as well as bank and credit card information. How, then, can the average person stay protected?

The answer may lie in personal cyber insurance.

To anyone paying attention to the insurance industry, the rise of cyber insurance is no surprise. Though the focus has primarily been on protecting companies, insurance companies are now beginning to provide protection to individuals.

In a regular homeowners’ policy, protection against identity theft is often already included; now, insurance companies are expanding what it means to be safeguarded against ID fraud – with further protections against cyber extortions and attacks being included.

The question then is this: should you buy personal cyber insurance?

In short, yes.

Let’s face it – cyber crime is not going to disappear. In fact, we’ve barely scratched the surface. As people become more interconnected due to continued technological advancement, the frequency at which individuals become targets for cyber criminals also increases.

Cyber crime now costs corporations worldwide billions of dollars every year as many struggle to cope with the fast-paced advancements being made in the online world. These losses are beginning to hit individuals as well – a worrying sign, to say the least.

However, how does this protection work? If we know that cyber crime won’t go away, what can be done?

Purchasing personal cyber insurance will mean that an insurance company will provide financial reimbursement for the costs associated with a cyber attack and potential theft of critical digital information – up to the limits of the policy.

Though there are a multitude of ways that a hacker can cause financial damage, the insurance policies offer key protection in three different areas: personal and home protection, extortion, and financial loss from fraud.

Having these protections in play means that even if an individual is a victim of a cyber attack that succeeds in stealing their banking information, that person can be assured that losses will be covered. This may also buy more time for those fighting against the attack in helping catch the culprit.

These protections, though important, are still in their infancy – with experts predicting that policies will continue to evolve to match the needs of the people. While cyber criminals may continue to become bolder in their attacks, the defences of individuals will also improve.

Understanding that information makes it even more clear why investing in individual cyber security is so important. Those who commit cyber crimes follow the path of least resistance – they avoid those with even basic security measures in favour of those with no contingency plans in the event of an attack.

It costs nothing to inquire about how you can stay protected online – so call one of our licensed experts today at 905-696-9090 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Let us help you stay safe!

 

 

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Jan
21

Pandemic Scams To Watch Out For

No matter what happens around us – be it a global pandemic or the apocalypse itself – you can be sure that there will be a group of people looking to take advantage of you. Covid-19 has been no different.

Though the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security states that they have taken down an abundance of fake government websites, emails, and notification apps designed to dupe unsuspecting people into handing over sensitive information; data still suggests that a startling amount of Canadians continue to fall prey of these scams.

So, how do these scams work?

Evan Koronewski, a spokesperson from the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, stated that these fraudulent websites and apps “deliver fake COVID-19 exposure notification applications, designed to install malware on users’ devices.”

The malware installed then steals critical personal information and money from the unsuspecting user.

“This work continues each and every day as we identify and remove more of these fraudulent domains,” continued Koronewski. Some of these fraudulent domains include fake Public Health Agency of Canada and Canada Revenue Agency.

Data suggests that a significant amount of Canadians fell victim to scams such as these – with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre finding 8,583 Canadians were affected.

Beyond the ransomware and identity theft attacks, the scams also involve tricking people into buying fake vaccines and test kits. As of present day, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that over $7 million worth of damage has been done.

To avoid these scams, make sure to verify every website and app you visit – and avoid following links from third-party sites. In order to make sure you are protected, contact one of our licensed experts today at 905-696-9090 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Source: Insurance Business Canada

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