While measures implemented by both provincial and federal authorities to stop the spread of COVID-19 are essential, Canadian small businesses are facing unprecedented times, many having to lay-off a large portion of their workforce.
With no formal indication of when normal business activities will resume, SMEs with upcoming group insurance renewals are wondering what the the impact to their rates will be in the immediate short term.
Due to lay-offs and reduction in employee hours, an assessment of the risk profile of your group might not be representative of the future. Furthermore, in some situations, it can be difficult for a broker to discuss renewal conditions, even remotely, with businesses that are experiencing lock-down or dealing with other COVID-19 induced work emergencies. It may also be impossible to reach employees to communicate any changes to employee deductions.
Some insurers have responded to these concerns with formal positions
PerformPlus groups generally under 50 insured employees – non finalized April and May renewals have been deferred to June 1, 2020.
Non refund groups – Rate adjustments for May and June renewals will be deferred 60 days.
Rate adjustments for April and May renewals are deferred until June 1st. Negotiated rates will be applied on a pro-rated basis over 10 or 11 months, depending on the deferral period (pro-rating may not apply to groups with less than 50 insured employees).
Groups with generally 400 insured employees or less – May, June and July renewals have been deferred 60 days. Renewal packages will still be sent out for information purposes.
May and June renewals are postponed with no rate adjustments until further notice.
On the other hand, some insurers like Canada Life (previously Great-West Life) will be analyzing the situation on a case by case basis.
In any case, renewal deferrals do not affect future renewal dates.
The information in this article is current as of today. As the situation is evolving, insurers may adjust their position at any time.
For information about your specific situation, we encourage you to reach out to your advisor. Vita Assure remains open as per regular business hours to support our clients through these difficult times. Our employees can be reached by email and telephone to answer any questions related to your benefit programs.