Bryson Blog

Phishing in COVID-19 waters

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to disrupt our lives. There are many experiencing a heightened sense of concern for their personal safety and the safety of their loved ones.

Unfortunately, people hungry for information are also perfect targets for phishing scams. One of the most frequent is the fake World Health Organization email that prompts readers to download a Safety Measures report.

CEO of Darn IT Group, Darnley Greson, joined us us to discuss the rise in phishing attacks and provides tactics individuals and companies can follow to help reduce the risk of being caught.

Should I take one of my cars off the road to save on insurance?

We are in an unprecedented time in our modern era. There are fewer cars on the road across Ontario and our nation. As many individuals and families find themselves in uncertain economic situations, we are all looking at ways to save money on insurance.

With most things in life, if you are saving money in one place, there is a trade of value in another -- something else that may be equal or more important than the associated savings.

As your insurance broker, we know it is important to provide knowledge, perspective and advice. Over the next bit of time, we will review common and less common ways to save money on your insurance and provide the method, benefit and potential trade-off.

Before jumping into any decision, it is important to weigh the benefit against the potential cost.

Today, let’s look at the potential benefit and costs that come with taking one of your cars off the road.

You may look out your front window and see two cars sitting there. One is the primary family commuter and the other the primary work commuter. Where they were both being used daily, now only one is being used every few days. You may be thinking… we can get by with one car for a while.

Is suspending insurance on a vehicle the right option to help you save?

Let’s look together.

If you choose to temporarily suspend insurance on one of your vehicles, you would have to park the vehicle and not drive it. Driving an uninsured vehicle is illegal in Ontario.

The benefit of this is obviously that you would be entitled to certain premium savings while the insurance is temporarily suspended on that vehicle.

But what are the potential drawbacks of temporarily suspending insurance on a vehicle?

  • Most companies require that you suspend the insurance for a minimum of 45 days. They do this to avoid people reinstating insurance when they need it and suspending again when they don’t. So, if things change or a situation arises where two vehicles are required, you will not be able to drive the vehicle with the suspended insurance.
  • In addition to the term of suspending insurance, insurance companies apply the credit to the account at the end of the suspension period. While this may net you an overall savings, it will not necessarily help cashflow in the short-term.
  • Most insurance companies offer robust multi-vehicle savings discounts. If you suspend insurance, you will also be potentially suspending the multi-vehicle discount. When you apply this discount to your overall insurance, you may find that you would be netting only a minor monthly savings from your current monthly premium.
  • If you have a clean driving record built up for a number of years, you may have a nice disappearing deductible amount on your policy (if you do not make a claim, your insurance company may be reducing your deductible as an acknowledgement for being a safe driver). By suspending insurance on the vehicle with a disappearing deductible, you may be putting that benefit at risk.
  • Finally, if you lease or finance a vehicle you may need to request permission and a letter from the lease/finance company before being able to proceed (even if requesting to remove collision coverage).

It’s complicated

What is the right decision for you? Unfortunately, there is no one best solution. Every person and family has a unique combination of things being insured, coverage amounts, policy features and more. To find the best solution for you and your situation, we recommend discussing your needs with one of our personal insurance professionals. We are happy to consult and seek the best outcome for you.

If you are a client already, please reach out to your dedicated Account Manager to discuss.

If you are new to Bryson, we would love to talk with you. Send us an email at connect@brysoninsurance.ca to get started.

Do you have a vacant commercial property?

As we navigate the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping you informed is now more important than ever. We acknowledge the impact this crisis has had – and continues to have – and want to reassure you that we are here for you.

As you are certainly aware, efforts to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in various levels of mandated closures. On top of this, many businesses deemed essential are still taking precautions by closing their offices or running a skeleton team.

Many businesses feel overwhelmed with the pace and type of changes they are having to make in their operations. With empathy, it is important we notify you that if your commercial property is currently vacant, it is imperative you fulfill the responsibilities under the vacancy clause on businesses temporarily shut down either partially or completely.

What is your responsibility as the insured to appease the vacancy clause?

As long as the leadership in the organization is visiting the property a minimum of every seven days and proactively maintaining a prudent level of care, control and maintenance of the property (including maintaining security systems and utilities), your operation is safe.

If you have further questions or seek clarity, reach out to your dedicated Account Manager.

Transport Canada Updates HOS Regulations for Essential Freight for COVID-19

Transport Canada has released guidance similar to what the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) did last week as relief to truck drivers during COVID-19. Drivers who move essential freight between our provinces will be exempt from hours-of-service (HOS) requirements.

The primary difference between Transport Canada and the DOT release is that Canadian truck drivers have to make sure their Bill of Lading (BOL) states the load is for emergency relief. Carriers must also notify their province’s Hours-of-Service (HOS) director of their plan to operate under this emergency declaration while providing the vehicle and driver information as well. Carriers must keep detailed records of any activity exceeding the normal HOS regulations.Map of Canada displaying inter-province freight essential COVID-19 product delivery

Example of essential freight includes medical supplies related to the diagnosis and treatment of the coronavirus, community safety items like hand sanitizer and gloves, and food or other goods required to restock empty shelves in stores and distribution warehouses. Note the exemption does NOT apply to mixed loads.

See the Canadian Trucking Alliance's summary of the update here.

Does NAL Insurance protect truck drivers if they get COVID-19 while in the USA?

Many transportation driving professionals are putting themselves at an added risk right now every time they leave isolation and get behind the wheel of their their truck. A big concern many drivers have is knowing whether or not they have medical coverage while driving in the USA if they started to show symptoms of COVID-19. In short, the answer is yes but we thought it better to hear direct from one of the benefit providers we recommend commonly to our fleets and owner-operators.

Glenn Caldwell is from NAL Insurance. He joined us to answer: "Does the NAL Insurance benefit product protect drivers if they start to show signs of COVID-19 symptoms while on duty in the USA?"

Peace of mind is important. If you have benefits through NAL Insurance for your drivers please share this video with them.

Ontario Trucking Association COVID-19 update for Truck Drivers

Marco Beghetti, Vice President of Communications for both the Ontario Trucking Association and the Canadian Trucking Alliance, joined us to provide an update on what life is like for truck drivers right now, some initiatives the Provincial and Federal government are rolling out to help truckers, and gives insight into what the person at home can do to show their gratitude.

Happy to see companies like McDonald's adjusting to this norm but updating their mobile app so truckers are able to order (they are not able to fit in the drive-thru).

COVID-19 & HR requirements for layoffs

HR professional, Corette Miller of newINITIATIVES HR., joined us to tackle a difficult and emotional conversation many HR professionals and business leaders are having today because of the impact of COVID-19. How do employers manage layoffs and benefit programs as a result of COVID-19?

Questions answered include:

  • Can an employee be temporary laid off due to shortage of work during the COVID-19 crisis?
  • Does an employer have to provide written notice with a recall date?
  • What is the importance of a Record of Employment?
  • How does it impact company benefits?
  • Can a layoff be considered a termination?

Have HR related questions you would like us to answer? Email them to kpaterson@brysoninsurance.ca

COVID-19 Financial Softening Options for Businesses

Accountant and tax planning specialist, Chris Makris, joined me to discuss some of the tax and cashflow related opportunities the Government of Canada has made available in response to the economic impact of COVID-19 for businesses in Ontario.

In this video we cover:

  • Business Loan Deferral
  • Temporary Wage Subsidy
  • Deferral of Corporate Income Tax Payments
  • Business Development Bank of Canada's Business Loan Program

 

BDC Webinar - How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business

With the COVID-19 situation constantly evolving, you need to be prepared for any disruptions.

As part of ongoing support measures BDC Chief Economist Pierre Cléroux shares economic perspectives and advice on how to manage your business through the COVID-19 crisis. This webinar is valuable to business leaders across Ontario and Canada.

Pierre reviews potential outcomes from an economic perspective and reviews some of the programs brought forward at a federal level.

To learn how BDC can support through this challenge visit their support page here.

You can also reach out to Senior Account Manager, Keith Cowley, at the local BDC branch by emailing keithb.cowley@bdc.ca.

 

HR Employee Human Rights & COVID-19

These are turbulent times for everyone. Within organizations HR departments are having to digest many updates (sometimes conflicting) on various HR related topics. We hope to help HR leaders by bringing a sense of clarity on pressing COVID-19 related HR issues.

Corette Miller of new initiatives HR joined me to answer HR related Human Rights questions including:

- Employer rights on employees disclosing if they have COVID-19.
- Employer rights on employees disclosing if they have been in close contact with someone with the virus.
- Employees right to refuse to work due to fear of contracting COVID-19.

Have HR related questions you would like us to answer? Email them to kpaterson@brysoninsurance.ca