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Category Archives: Recent News

We’re Using ClearPay!

We’re taking a step forward to make it even easier to do business with ABEX with the roll out of ClearPay.

Did you know that every cheque and associated report you send to ABEX actually costs you about $18 to issue and mail to us? On the other hand, ClearPay is integrated into the majority of broker management systems and is an easy digital solution for less than $2 per payment!

Anytime you need to send funds and underlying policy information to us, ClearPay makes electronic payments easy and far cheaper than cheques.

The software is broker-friendly; you follow your existing workflows in generating disbursements and ClearPay automates the gathering of approvals, report and funds delivery. Once and done from your BMS! At a cost of less than $2 per payment, you’ll be saving approximately $15 per transaction that you spend today with cheques and manual reporting. Saved time can be used to devote to more productive customer services. And, most importantly, it’s a digital solution that presents a modern alternative to cheques and helps ensure accurate application to our customers’ policies.

This is just another step towards making it easier to do business with ABEX!

This platform presents mutual benefits and you can learn more by:


ABEX Office Relocation

We are moving! ABEX office will be closing at 12:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 29 for relocation.  We will not have access to our phones or systems during the move.

We will resume our regular business hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST, on Monday, April 1.

Effective April 1, our new address will be:

139 Northfield Dr. W., Suite 206
Waterloo, ON N2L 5A6

Our telephone, fax number, email addresses and all other contact details remain unchanged.

If you need to submit a claim during our move or after hours, please contact

Crawford Adjusters. They can be reached by phone: 1-877-313-2585  or email: newabexclaims@crawco.ca

We thank you for your patience while we’re making the transition to our new space!


Signs of Progress on National Flood Program for Canada

Canada is making good progress on a national flood program, pending a final decision by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers responsible for emergency management.

“What they are looking at is one national insurance solution to improve outcomes for high-risk Canadians across the country,” Craig Stewart, vice president of federal affairs at Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) told Canadian Underwriter in an interview Tuesday. “There may be regional insurance pools adapted to local conditions, but it would be nationally coordinated.”

FPT ministers responsible for emergency management have mandated IBC to lead a national working group to take a look at options and what they would look like. IBC provided three options:

  • A pure market approach (like in Germany and Australia) where governments exit disaster assistance
  • A broadened version of the status quo, but with better-coordinated insurance and disaster assistance
  • Deployment of a high-risk pool analogous to Flood Re in the United Kingdom.

The next step is for the working group, which Stewart chairs, to cost out the pool. “The pool needs to be capitalized as it was in Flood Re,” Stewart said. “So, we need to figure out where that money is going to come from. Is it going to come from governments? Is it going to come from insurers? Where is it going to come from?”

A final decision will be made by ministers after the high-risk pool is costed, which Stewart expects to be completed by June. Decisions on eligibility, how to capitalize the pool, and on any cross-subsidization await the results of that costing analysis.

In addition, this spring, the ministers will hold a technical summit on flood data and science. “Our view of the risk many not align with the government’s view of the risk,” Stewart said. “We need to bridge the gap. This symposium is going to focus on essentially the data and science of flood modelling.”

In early 2020, there will be the launch of a consumer-facing flood risk portal. IBC has been working with the federal government to develop the authoritative flood portal, where consumers can discover their risks and what to do about them.

“Elevating consumer awareness of flood risk is key,” Stewart said. “Consumers aren’t going to be incented to protect themselves or to buy insurance unless they know their risk.”

In May 2018, FPT ministers responsible for emergency management tasked IBC to lead the development of options to improve financial outcomes of those Canadians at highest risk of flooding. IBC worked with a wide range of insurers, government experts, academics and non-governmental organizations to produce the three options, which were tabled with ministers last week.

The ministers released the first-ever Emergency Management Strategy for Canada: Toward a Resilient 2030 on Jan. 25. The document provides a road map to strengthen Canada’s ability to better prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

“In less than two years, Canadian insurers have secured a mandate with every province and territory to finalize development of a national flood insurance solution, have successfully catalyzed a national approach to flood risk information, have secured over two billion dollars in funding for flood mitigation, and have succeeded in securing a funded commitment for a national flood risk portal,” Stewart said.

Source: Canadian Underwriter


How New Rules for Police Record Checks Affect Ontario Employers

OVERVIEW

On Nov. 1, 2018, Bill 113, the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015, came into force in Ontario. Among other things, Bill 113 (the Act) standardizes the process for conducting police record checks, including checks requested by employers when screening an individual for employment purposes. The Act also limits the type of information that may be disclosed in response to a check.

These new changes could have a direct effect on employers, so it’s important to have a basic understanding of the Act.

BILL 113’s IMPACT ON POLICE RECORD CHECKS

As previously mentioned, Bill 113 looks to standardize how police record checks are performed. To accomplish this, the Act:

  • Outlines and defines three types of record checks—Under Bill 113, police officials may conduct three types of police record checks:
    • Criminal record checks (includes applicable criminal convictions and findings of guilt under the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act)
    • Criminal record and judicial matters checks (includes applicable criminal convictions and findings of guilt under the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act, absolute and conditional discharges, outstanding charges, arrest warrants and certain judicial orders)
    • Vulnerable sector checks (includes information disclosed in a criminal record and judicial matters check, applicable findings of not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder, record suspensions related to sexually based offences and non-conviction-related information when a strict test is met)
  • Requires consent before a check can be conducted—In order for a record check to occur under Bill 113, record check providers must receive written consent from the individual the record check pertains to:
  1. Before the check is conducted; and
  2. Before the record check provider discloses information authorized for disclosure by the Act to the requesting organization or person
  • Specifies the type of information that can be disclosed in a record check—Bill 113 allows for the disclosure of certain types of information in relation to each type of check. However, Bill 113 only permits the disclosure of non-conviction information in response to a vulnerable sector check, provided the information satisfies the prescribed criteria for “exceptional disclosure.” Non-conviction information refers to details in instances where an individual was charged with a criminal offence, but the charge was dismissed, withdrawn, or resulted in a stay of proceedings or an acquittal. In the past, when potential employers carried out a police record check, they could receive a variety of non-conviction information, such as records of mental health detentions, complaints where charges were never laid, withdrawn charges and acquittals. This is no longer the case.
  • Limits the use of information—Bill 113 prevents individuals and organizations from disclosing the results of a check. However, information may be disclosed should it be requested or authorized by law.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS

Employers need to ensure that policies and procedures related to police record checks are in accordance with the new, standardized process. Of all the changes made by Bill 113, the following are the most noteworthy for employers:

  • Employers will no longer be able to obtain non-conviction information, unless the employer conducts a vulnerable sector check and the criteria for exceptional disclosure has been met.
  • Employers may not use or disclose the results of the check, unless it is requested or authorized by law.
  • Individuals being screened will be able to control the type of information disclosed.
  • Written consent for checks must specify the type of check that the individual is consenting to.
  • If a police record check is necessary, an employer will need to prepare for potential delays in obtaining the required information during the recruitment process.
  • Employers must take their Human Rights Code obligations into consideration when requesting or performing police record checks.

To learn more about Bill 113, employers should visit the government’s official page on police record checks.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved


The Cannabis Act is Now in Effect: What You Need to Know

While the medicinal use of marijuana has been permissible in Canada for some time, the Cannabis Act legalized the drug for recreational use nationwide as of Oct. 17, 2018. Also known as Bill C-45, this federal law is designed to establish a regulatory framework, particularly as it relates to the production, distribution, sale, cultivation and possession of cannabis across Canada.

Cannabis Act Items of Note

The following are some of the major items of note regarding the Cannabis Act:

  • Usage and growing limits—Those who are 18 years of age or older will be allowed to buy and grow a limited quantity of marijuana for personal use. Specifically, those of age can possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public, share up to 30 grams of dried marijuana with other adults, and buy cannabis or cannabis oil from a provincially regulated retailer.
  • Criminal offences—The Cannabis Act will ticket individuals who exceed possession limits, enforce up to 14 years in jail for an illegal distribution or sale, and impose tough new penalties of up to 14 years in jail for those that give or sell marijuana to minors.
  • Provincial involvement—Under the Cannabis Act, the provinces and territories will authorize and oversee the distribution and sale of cannabis, which will be subject to minimum federal requirements. In areas where there is no regulated retail framework, individuals would be able to purchase cannabis online from a federally licensed producer via secure home delivery.

Recommendations for Employers

While it is uncertain how much the legalization of recreational marijuana will impact the workplace, it will likely have a direct effect on workplace health and safety, the use of motor vehicles for work purposes, the scope and type of disciplinary procedures, work performance and work attendance.

To appropriately respond to the Cannabis Act, employers should consider doing the following:

  1. Review and understand cannabis legislation and guidelines that apply to the provinces in which they operate.
  2. Review and amend existing workplace policies and procedures as needed. Provide copies of these policies to all employees.
  3. Conduct a hazard and job-safety assessment.
  4. Hold training sessions for all employees and managers.
  5. Train management on how to identify signs of impairment and how to respond appropriately.

Addressing substance use and impairment in the workplace is a complex process. Employers are expected to establish policies and procedures for managing impairment and to do so in a confidential and empathic manner. In addition, if accommodations are necessary, employers must work alongside employees and medical professionals to ensure a collaborative, safe and healthy workplace.

This is a lot of responsibility, and it can be difficult to know where to turn to for supplemental information and assistance. In addition to seeking the advice of qualified legal professionals, your insurance broker can be an invaluable resource. Contact your insurance broker today to learn more.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved


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