How Will Group Benefits Change in 2021 & Beyond?

How Will Group Benefits Change in 2021 & Beyond?


There is no doubt that the pandemic has affected the working world significantly – with a rapid shift to working-from-home occurring as a direct result. A change of this magnitude, then, means that traditional benefits plans are no longer serving their purpose and must also change in kind. Here are some changes you can expect to see in an increasingly virtual workplace.


HRIS Systems Will Grow

Human Resources Information Systems, or HRIS, are a crucial part of streamlining administrative work in order to achieve better efficiency. In turn, this allows for enhanced access to health services for employees.

As organizations grow and inter-departmental work becomes the norm, it is imperative to have a system that allows for seamless communication within those departments. This means that more and more organizations are looking into agnostic HRIS systems that can work in their existing structure with any other program already in place.

Ultimately, these systems ensure simplification of renewals as well as a push for virtual enrolment – a trend that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.


Better Use of Analytics

Analytics have long-been an important aspect of any company’s growth; however, the ways we use them and the capabilities surrounding analytics are always changing.

Whereas in the past it may have been enough to offer paramedical and dental coverage alone, that is no longer the case. Coverages for childcare or elder care, as well as mental health assistance, are becoming necessities for employers who want to offer their workers a better working environment.

Those who succeed will adopt forward-thinking, analytically backed modules that offer personalised coverages based on what the data says. Today’s analytics allow for deeper, more insightful information on the needs of the employees so that personalised flex plans can be created.

It is no longer competitive to only analyse broad data.


Expansion of Virtual Care

Though virtual care was always going to be the future, the pandemic has significantly brought forward its introduction to the mainstream. In turn, this has led to a major expansion of virtual care services – and experts suggest that this trend is one to keep a close eye on.

For example, telemedicine initially was only used for primary care but has since grown broadly. In fact, there has been a greater adoption of virtual care services in the first half of 2021 alone than there had been in the previous decade altogether.

Another major driving force behind the adoption of virtual care is how accessible it allows mental health assistance services to be. The data is clear on the subject – it is imperative for mental health services to be readily available on-demand in order to offer the best possible working environment for employees.

Employers who don’t take this data seriously risk being left behind.


Prevention Mindset

There has been an attitude shift amongst Canadians in the past 12 months especially in regards to healthcare – and that shift is towards a prevention mindset. The focus amongst Canadians now is not just on how to get well, but rather more importance is being placed on how to stay well. This means that employees now look through benefits plans and gravitate towards those plans that help in this endeavour.

An example of this could be incorporating a virtual physical fitness platform – one that offers group or individual fitness classes with challenging coaches but also gamification and recognition of employees’ fitness journeys. Any organization that does this is sure to stand out.

Good physical fitness is highly linked to strong mental health – and offering these services may prevent more difficult mental health struggles for many employees. Furthermore, with working from home now an established part of the workflow, preventing musculoskeletal injuries will become majorly important in order to keep the rising costs that come with chronic health problems at bay.

Being proactive today will save organizations significant amounts tomorrow.


Financial Literacy and Wellness

It comes as no surprise that the past 12-18 months have been a time of financial stress for many Canadians – with businesses closing, jobs being lost, and retirees beginning to feel financially insecure.

Though financial literacy and wellness has traditionally been part of a complete benefits package, the resources required change from generation to generations. As the baby-boomers are replaced in greater magnitude by millennials in the workforce, the emphasis switches from retirement to issues surrounding paying back student loans and saving up to buy a house.

Financial literacy and wellness services must adjust to these new challenges.


Potential For New Specialty Drugs

Though nationalised pharmacare is likely to take a while longer, questions are being asked of the role of privatised pharmacare and costs can be managed better. In the current market, the pharmaceutical pipeline is endlessly filled with drugs that cost thousands upon thousands of dollars per year – and it is critical to manage these costs if a sustainable drug plan can be made.

In this regard, information is power. Advisors and sponsors alike will require up-to-date information as questions surrounding these drugs develop in real time. The best way to make the right decisions is by having the right information.


Cannabis Will Receive A DIN

Cannabis was officially legalized in Canada about two years ago – and in that time, the cannabis market has grown substantially. Due to this, there is now an increased push to research cannabis in order to understand the true efficacy of the drug. New clinical trials are approved regularly and the findings that will come from these trials will significantly shape how cannabis is used in a medical capacity.

This all means that cannabis is approaching a threshold – and on the other side of this threshold is the likelihood that it will receive a Drug Identification Number (DIN). Once that becomes reality, organizations will find it much easier to offer cannabis coverage – as then it can be treated like any other drug.

Once cannabis receives a DIN, it will signify the biggest change to drug benefits in the past 10 years. Advisors, sponsors, and organizational leaders alike should take this time to prepare for this change as it will shape the landscape going forward.


As the Benefits industry continues to undergo changes, it can be overwhelming to try and keep track of all the trends. To better understand how you can stay on top of these trends, contact one of our licensed experts today at 905-696-9090 or simply email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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6 Group Insurance Trends For 2021

6 Group Insurance Trends For 2021

With the ever changing landscape of insurance, it can be crucial to identify trends before they reach the mainstream – and, at Hubbard Insurance Group (HIG), we regularly bring out the proverbial crystal ball to make some predictions. With that said, here are 6 trends that we think will play a major role in 2021. 

Virtual Care Is Here For Good

Though virtual care was always going to be the future, the pandemic has fast-tracked its introduction into our society – with telehealth services alongside telemedicine allowing healthcare professionals to treat their patients from a safe distance.

With social and physical distancing guidelines likely to remain in place throughout 2021, experts suggest that virtual care may soon overtake traditional healthcare when it comes to regular check-ups. Expect remote health services to continue to boom!

Key Takeaway

Plan members will have easier, more efficient access to medical attention whilst employers will see a reduction in downtime and absenteeism due to the elimination of waiting rooms and reduced waiting times.

COVID-19 Is Not Going Away 

Speaking of the pandemic, COVID-19 is, unfortunately, not going away anytime soon. Even as the populous becomes vaccinated and the country begins to open up, data suggests that COVID-19 is likely going to become a part of our lives until a cure can be found.

For the insurance industry, this means an increasing adoption of virtual care, changes in benefits plans, increases in claims, and a greater emphasis on mental health – amongst other potential changes. Renewals will become trickier as well with experts suggesting that a more “hands-on” approach is what will be required going forward.

Key Takeaway

Though it is unclear currently what the long-term effect will be regarding health and dental claims, pooled rates for life and Long-Term Disability are on the rise.  

The Mental Health Challenges Will Continue

Make no mistake, Canada is in the midst of a mental health crisis. Though trends suggest that this crisis was looming pre-pandemic, there’s no question that COVID-19 has significantly worsened the situation for everyone – with the amount of people experiencing anxiety and depression at an all-time high. So, what does this mean for the rest of 2021?

Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. predicts that there will be a continued rise in Employee Assistance Programs as well as rising Long-Term Disability incidence rates. Furthermore, they suggest there will be more struggles in managing a work-life balance due to working from home which could then lead to more people using anti-anxiety and depression medication.

Key Takeaway

Anticipate a greater promotion and utilization of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and other mental health tools. 

Claims Cost Will Increase

There is a high potential for increased costs in claims due to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) charges. Experts suggest that dental and paramedical claims will be especially affected by this. Practitioners will have to incur extra costs to ensure that their workplaces are COVID-proof in order to keep their patients safe. Increased sanitization protocols may also lead to an inflation in cost.

Key Takeaway

Expect a domino effect where, because capacity will be reduced due to safety protocols, the cost-per-claim ratio will increase – driving up renewal rates. 

Working From Home & Defined Contribution Plans

When the pandemic first hit Canada, many were unsure if the shift to work-from-home was a viable long-term solution. More than a year into the experiment, the answer is clear: working from home is here to stay.

However, this also means that traditional plan designs are going to be challenged – with both plan members and employers alike desiring greater flexibility. This desire is likely to lead to more “pay-as-you-claim” type of plans – where employers can avoid paying premiums for benefits that aren’t as regularly used. 

Key Takeaway

Employers are going to explore health spending accounts and take a second look at self-insurance (ASO - Administrative Services Only). The changes in work environments will lead to employers looking towards different funding models.

Major Changes In Cybersecurity & Data Storage

The major prediction across the entire insurance industry is that cybersecurity is more important than ever before – and nothing has quite emphasized that like the work-from-home shift brought on by the pandemic. Phishing emails have especially increased a staggering amount and there has been a realisation that most organizations are completely ill-equipped to deal with any kind of cyber threat.

As workers continue to adapt to working from home, employers will need to substantially increase their cybersecurity and data storage protocols if they want to ward off cybercriminals – whether that means moving to encrypted cloud networks or having a team on standby to deal with any threats, precautions must be taken.

Key Takeaway

There will be a continued emphasis on greatly increasing cybersecurity. There have been more cyber claims in 2021 so far than the past 5 years combined – so expect employers to take their cybersecurity much more seriously this year. 


Is your organization fully prepared for the challenges that lie ahead? 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.!


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The Top 5 Directors & Officers Risks - Infographic

The Top 5 Directors & Officers Risks - Infographic


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Auto Insurance Depreciation - What Does It Mean?

Auto Insurance Depreciation - What Does It Mean?

The concept of depreciation is pretty straightforward – most things, with time, decrease in their value. This is something that is perhaps most prevalent with cars; in fact, it could be argued that the second-hand auto industry is entirely reliant on depreciation in order to provide more affordable vehicles to those operating under stricter budgets.

However, did you know that auto insurance depreciates as well?

In auto insurance, depreciation refers to how much you will be reimbursed in the event of a claim – and this is typically calculated using the following two metrics: actual cash value and replacement cost.

The actual cash value calculation aims to determine how much the car is worth in the present. Though it takes into account how much was initially paid for the car, it puts much more emphasis on how much the car could be realistically sold for in that moment.

The second method, replacement cost, aims to reimburse you to the exact amount it would cost to purchase a new, similar vehicle. It should be noted, though, that this calculation method may only be used if you have purchased a depreciation waiver endorsement.

How, then, do insurance companies determine what the reimbursement dollar amounts should be?

Typically, there are five categories that are analysed: age, kilometres, make & model, fuel economy, and wear & tear.

Age, kilometres, and wear & tear all go hand-in-hand – the older the car is, the more likely it will have greater wear & tear due to increased mileage. The fuel economy and make & model are also important, though, as cars with poor reliability reputations and a tendency to guzzle gas are much harder to move on in the second-hand market and, therefore, claim reimbursements will reflect that.

So how can you make sure you are protected from depreciation?

This is where the aforementioned depreciation waiver endorsement comes in. A depreciation waiver endorsement ensures that, in exchange for a slightly increased premium, you will be covered either for your vehicle’s full purchase price, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or the cost of the same vehicle (in the event that it is stolen or totaled)

Though many look at the initial increase in premium and are dissuaded, data suggests that depreciation waiver endorsements pay for themselves in the long run. Especially in the world of today where advancements come thick and fast, depreciation has never been a more prevalent problem.

To check if you qualify for a depreciation waiver endorsement, call us today at 905-696-9090 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Top 5 Directors & Officers Risks

The Top 5 Directors & Officers Risks

Directors and Officers continue to play an integral role in the development of an organization. As these professionals are crucial parts of corporate governance and decision-making, it is imperative to make sure there is a safety-net in case mistakes are made – something we have discussed previously.

The risk, though, is only rising. A global survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson and Clyde & Co found that cyber attacks and data loss continue to pose the biggest threat to directors and officers – and that pandemic working practices have only deepened concerns.

Though cyber attacks and data loss have been worries for the past few years, experts now agree that they are the top risks facing directors and officers – with regulatory risk, health & safety, and risk of employment claims rounding out the top 5.

To anyone who has been following business trends over the past 12 to 24 months, the rise of cyber attacks is unsurprising. As the world becomes ever more reliant on technology and online connection, the pool of victims grows – with cybercriminals now showing a tendency to go after small-to-medium sized businesses rather than large corporations.

According to the report, “The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a fertile ground for cyber criminals seeking to exploit the weaknesses presented by businesses having to move to new procedures and systems overnight, often with a remote workforce.” It continued, “The trend is towards bigger targets and bigger incidences and ransomware attacks are also on the increase, which could expose D&Os to criminal sanctions for breaches of terrorism and proceeds of crime laws.”

Since cybercriminals are not going away any time soon, the only option that remains is to be well-equipped and protected against a potential cyber attack – which is why cyber liability insurance is quickly becoming an essential coverage.

The survey also found that, though data loss and cyber attacks lead the way, regulatory risk and employment claims are not far behind.

According to Claims Journal, “Employment claims have long been a substantial business risk, with high frequency claims, and, in some cases, very high severity claims affecting operations.”

Though U.S. based offices ranked employment claims higher as a risk than the rest of the world, the data shows that organizations around the world consider it a sizeable risk.

The report explained, “It is perhaps not surprising that exposures relating to pandemic-triggered furloughs and layoffs, as well as return to work and vaccination policies, may exacerbate those concerns, bringing these issues higher into the top five in the minds of our U.S. respondents.”

As the uncertain nature of the future evolves, it is imperative to be protected against any and all potential risks – after all, a stitch in time saves nine.

To better understand how you and your organization can be safeguarded against the aforementioned risks, contact one of our licensed experts at 905-696-9090 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!


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