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Know Your Insurance – Life Insurance in Canada

Life insurance isn’t a pleasant thing to think about, and it may seem like an unnecessary expense. But if you have dependents who rely on you for financial support, then life insurance is really about protecting them in case something happens to you. With life insurance in Canada, you can keep paying off your mortgage and other debts, maintain your family’s current living situation and create funds for your family’s future. Securing a strong financial future begins with planning.

However, deciphering all of the parts of your life insurance policy can be difficult. Here, we’ve broken it down section by section so you can understand the information that is included in each part.

Declarations Page

The declarations page of your life insurance policy provides an overview of your contract. Included on the declarations page are the following:

  • Name of the insurance company
  • Your name and address
  • The policy number and type
  • Effective and expiration dates of the policy (for term life insurance)—your policy covers you between these two dates
  • Coverage information—the coverage amount you have selected should be listed here
  • Premiums—this is how much you will pay each month for coverage
  • Name of the beneficiary—this is the person or people named by you, the owner of the policy, who will receive the policy benefit
  • Any special conditions or changes made to the policy

When you receive a copy of your policy, it’s important to review all of the information on the declarations page for accuracy. Keep a copy of your declarations page in your files in case you find yourself with questions about your policy. If you change or revise your policy at any time, a new declarations page will be issued to you reflecting the changes. Make sure to review and keep this new declarations page as well.

The Insuring Agreement

The remaining pages of your policy document are called the insuring agreement. The insuring agreement section of your life insurance policy explains the risks you are covered for, the way payments will be administered and the amount of time the policy covers you for. The purpose of the insuring agreement is to state the terms of the policy explicitly and clearly, leaving no room for misunderstandings.

Definitions

The insuring agreement always includes a definitions page. This is where the “fine print” of your policy is located. The definitions page defines vocabulary you will find in your policy to make it easier to understand. It also states your rights as the policy holder.

Conditions

Your responsibilities and the responsibilities of the company insuring you are outlined here. Conditions include payment requirements, the proper steps for filing a claim and the process for resolving disagreements. If you have any questions about the conditions of your policy, make sure to contact KRG Insurance Brokers right away to prevent issues.

Exclusions

This section of the insuring agreement lists the events and circumstances which are not covered as part of your policy. The intent of the exclusions section is to make your policy as clear as possible and prevent any surprises in the event of a claim. A solid understanding of what your policy excludes is crucial in determining any additional coverage you may want to purchase. Contact KRG Insurance Brokers if you need any clarification on the items that are excluded from your policy.

How are life insurance premiums calculated?

When applying for life insurance, the insurer will determine your health status based on your age, gender and overall health. Since women statistically live longer than men, their premiums are lower. Plus, younger people have lower premiums because they typically have a longer period of time to pay their premiums and tend to have fewer health problems. These factors are not controllable. Your lifestyle, engaging in dangerous activities and having modifiable health issues (such as smoking-related asthma) will increase your premium.

Types of Life Insurance

Term: Your premiums are paid either annually or monthly and you and your family are covered for a specific amount of time, or “term.”

Permanent (or Whole): Your premiums are paid on a set schedule for your entire life and you are covered for your whole life, too.

Universal: You have a premium expense charge which is then deposited into an account. The account accrues interest, and money is deducted every month from this account to pay expenses such as your insurance premiums. Withdrawals can be taken from this account for certain needs. You are covered for life, as long as premium payments are still being made.

Make sure to set aside some time each year to review your policy and ensure that the limits and coverage you have selected are right for you. Evaluate your needs based on your provincial regulations, your health, your age, the money you have in savings and the amount of risk you feel comfortable taking. Then, make sure to read the entire insuring agreement—especially the exclusions—to guarantee that you are covered in every situation that is necessary for your lifestyle. If you have questions about your life insurance policy in Canada, contact KRG Insurance Brokers today!

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Life Insurance in Canada

Even if you already have life insurance through your employer, you may be underinsured. If you’d like the security of knowing that you have enough life insurance coverage in a place like Canada, we can work with you to ensure that there aren’t any gaps in your current coverage.

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

To find the right amount of coverage, it’s important to weigh your dependents’ current lifestyle and spending needs against their future sources of income and assets. Based on some basic financial information, such as your current annual gross salary, the number of years you have until retirement and your short-term and long-term expenses, we can help you figure out how much your family will need to replace this lost income should something happen to you.

Protection and Peace of Mind

If others depend on you for financial support, part of your financial plan should include how you’ll provide for them in the event of your death. Purchasing a life insurance policy in Canada is a safety net that ensures your loved ones’ future financial obligations are met, covering items such as funeral costs, outstanding debt, estate taxes and everyday living expenses.

There are two basic types of life insurance in Canada: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. The type of life insurance that best suits you will depend on your unique needs. To help you decide, we’ve covered the basics.

Option 1: Term Life Insurance 

Just as its name implies, term life insurance covers you for a specific period of time that you choose. Since it offers a death benefit but no cash value, term life insurance is an inexpensive way to protect your beneficiaries for a specified period of time.

This type of insurance is ideal for those who have a temporary need for life insurance protection, for those who need a large amount of insurance protection but have limited cash, and for those with specific business needs, such as additional coverage for a key employee.

Renewal term life insurance can be renewed at the end of the term, at the option of the policyholder and without evidence of insurability, for a limited number of successive terms. It can also be converted, or exchanged for a permanent insurance policy, without evidence of insurability down the road.

With term life insurance, once the term expires, your coverage ceases and the policy has no further value. It’s important to note that rates generally increase along with the insured’s age.

Option 2: Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance is any form of life insurance other than term. These policies combine term life insurance with a long-term, tax-sheltered savings plan.

Whole life is the most basic type of permanent life insurance. It provides coverage that lasts a lifetime and also builds up a cash value that you can borrow against, withdraw or use to pay future premiums.

A life insurance policy with a cash value is ideal for those who have a lifetime need for insurance protection, prefer stable premiums over the life of the policy, want a policy that allows them to build tax-deferred values and value the high degree of coverage the policy affords.

While rates for a whole life insurance policy remain stable over the life of the policy, premiums are initially more costly than for term insurance.

Regardless of whether you choose a term or permanent life insurance policy in Canada, both can give you protection and peace of mind knowing you have coverage when you need it most. Call us today at 416-636-4544 to learn more.

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Personal Lines Perspective Newsletter

Life

Cold and flu season is upon us, and many Canadians will begin experiencing symptoms like sore throats, runny noses, coughs, fevers or muscle aches. While a trip to the doctor is important and can help you recover quickly, there are a number of supplemental home care strategies that can help you further recuperate.

Personal Lines Perspectives Newsletter

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Auto Insights – Winter Tires

Auto and driver risk management tips provided by: KRG Insurance Brokers

Did You Know?

Wintery conditions can make roads difficult and even dangerous to traverse. In fact, winter driving can be so hazardous, some provinces like British Columbia have made winter tires mandatory on some roads. Prior to purchasing winter tires, it’s critical to understand your options and some general best practices.

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CYBERRisks & Liabilities – Understanding & Preventing Data Breaches

What do Kroger Co., Best Buy Canada, AbeBooks and major U.S. banks and credit card issuers like Barclays Bank and Capital One have in common? All these companies have been victims of a data breach in 2012, totalling millions of stolen records that include personal information such as social insurance numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers.
If your company handles critical assets such as customers’ personal data, intellectual property or proprietary corporate data, you are at risk of a data breach. It doesn’t matter if you are a Fortune 500 company or a small “ma and pa” shop, cyber thieves are always looking for their next score. It is often assumed that smaller businesses can escape attention from cyber crooks, but according to the Symantec SMB Threat Awareness Poll Global Results, 40 per cent of data breaches were at small to mid-sized businesses. No company of any size is completely safe from a data breach.

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Architects & Engineers: You Need Professional Liability Insurance

As an engineer or architect, you work in a highly skilled, detail-oriented industry and are expected to provide quality design services that are free of errors or omissions. Despite your expertise, knowledge and best intentions, the reality is that not all projects are error-free, and eventually a mistake or misjudgment is bound to occur. Even the smallest error can have serious consequences. If a client believes damages are due to a mistake on your part, he or she can sue your company. It is important to protect yourself against this potentially devastating liability. The cost of defending yourself in court can be huge, not to mention the restitution costs if you’re found at fault. A professional liability policy will cover these costs in the event of such a claim, which may otherwise financially cripple your business.

 

How Does the Policy Work?

A professional liability policy will cover the cost of defending you or your company in court, along with any monetary damages awarded to the claimant due to an error or omission on your part (up to the policy coverage limit). These policies are known as “claims-made” policies. This means that coverage is triggered when a claim is filed and you report it to the insurance company, since it is often hard to identify when the alleged error or omission originally occurred. Your work will be covered dating back to the earliest date of your continuous professional liability insurance. Policies typically have a one-year term, with an annual premium and deductibles on a per-claim basis.

 

What to Look for in a Policy

Though you may specialize in certain areas, you likely handle a variety of projects and services, and you’ll want your policy to reflect that. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider these components when choosing a policy:

  • Pollution liability that covers sudden, accidental and gradual pollution
  • Specific coverage for breach of a client contract
  • Full civil liability coverage (not just negligence)
  • Specific coverage for breach of intellectual property rights
  • Reimbursement of costs incurred to help reduce or avoid a claim
  • Punitive and exemplary damages coverage
  • Virus and hacking liability coverage

 

What is Not Covered?

The following items are generally excluded from a professional liability policy:

  • Unfair trade practices (you hire a competitor’s employee and subsequently take one of the competitor’s clients)
  • Failure to pay a fee or invoice
  • Wilful or dishonest acts

 

Contact KRG Insurance Brokers today to learn more about protecting yourself with professional liability insurance.

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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 legalizes 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.

 

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Employed Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance

The adage “You can be sued for anything these days” may be all too familiar for attorneys. However, many in-house attorneys fail to purchase Employed Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance to protect themselves against potential lawsuits. Even though most claims are brought on by clients, employed lawyers are also subject to suits from third parties, such as employees, shareholders, government agencies, etc. So, what’s an organization to do? Well, it is imperative that a successful organization and its legal staff recognize their real legal risks and then purchase coverage to protect against those risks.

 

Risks Facing In-House Attorneys

  • Attorneys at private companies face exposures when performing contract negotiations, giving advice to Human Resources professionals, assisting with mergers, reviewing contractual language, etc.
  • Since electronic information is discoverable, it must be stored and preserved just like paper documents once were. In-house attorneys should work with IT professionals to ensure compliance with this rule.
  • Clients may sue over a contract that did not work in their favour which the attorney had a hand in writing.
  • Termed employees may sue the employer and name the attorney for negligence.
  • Attorneys are at risk when performing moonlighting services or pro-bono work.

 

Insurance Protection

To protect against these risks, it is wise to purchase Employed Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance coverage. Typical policies may feature the following:

  • Protection from demands, suits or proceedings for damages or injunctive relief.
  • Policy may be written as either a “claims made” or “claims made and reported” and on a “duty to defend” or “non-duty to defend” basis.
  • Responds to licensing proceedings for in-house attorneys to practise law.
  • Provides defence against claims alleging wrongful acts.
  • Wrongful acts and claim definitions are expanded and broad.
  • Extends to pro-bono or moonlighting work done by in-house lawyers.
  • Includes full-time on-staff attorneys and contract and independent contract lawyers and support staff members.
  • Advance of defence costs, even if allegations are found to be groundless.
  • Coverage extends globally.
  • Coverage for non-client claims.
  • Coverage for regulatory claims.
  • Punitive damages coverage.
  • Covers claims from coworkers that arise out of the attorney’s work at the organization.
  • Covers costs for claims brought by the employer, board of directors and officers.

 

In-house counsel should make sure they are protecting themselves from risk while they work to protect their employees from risk. Contact KRG Insurance Brokers today to learn all about Employed Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance.

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Professional Liability Insurance in a Down Economy

Professional liability insurance covers liability for damages arising from the rendering of or failure to render professional services. With claims increasing during this economic downturn, the need for professional liability insurance coverage is even greater. Protect yourself and your business from claims not covered by commercial general liability coverage.

Professional liability insurance, also referred to as professional indemnity insurance, protects professional personnel against negligence claims made by their patients or clients. Professionals who commonly turn to this type of liability insurance for coverage include architects, home inspectors, lawyers, physicians, real estate brokers and accountants – among others. Specific professional liability insurance carries different names depending on the profession. For example, professional liability insurance in the medical profession may be called medical malpractice insurance, while real estate brokers fall under errors and omissions insurance coverage. Because claims become more frequent in a struggling economy, protect yourself with professional liability insurance.

Professional Liability Considerations

The need for professional liability coverage developed due to typical general liability insurance policies only responding to bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or an advertising injury claim. Because professionals such as architects, lawyers, physicians, real estate brokers, technology consultants and others can cause claims without bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, or an advertising injury claim, additional coverage is needed to fill this gap.

Common claims made on these policies include negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing and inaccurate advice. For example, if a Web design platform fails to perform properly, it would not cause bodily injury, property damage or advertising injuries. Because of this, the general liability policy would not be triggered. But because the Web design platform not performing correctly could directly cause financial losses, and may be attributed to a misrepresentation of the platform’s capabilities, the professional liability coverage would be triggered.

What Exactly Does Your Business Need?

When buying professional liability coverage, there are considerations that will help you determine exactly what you need.

  • Is the insuring agreement broad enough to capture all of the current and future work of the policyholder? Determine whether the policy covers the scope of your organization’s professional tasks and services by reading the definition of the covered services in the policy. For example, in a medical professional’s professional liability coverage, the operative definition would be “medical services” or a comparable phrase. KRG Insurance Brokers can help you determine if all professional tasks would be covered under the operative definition or if additional clauses would need to be added.
  • What if there is a sale, merger or change in position at your organization? There are many changes going on during this down economy. Discuss what these possible changes in services mean for your coverage. Is there approval needed to continue coverage?
  • Are there any exclusions? Look at the list of exclusions that resist coverage. Review the list to make sure it does not preclude coverage for any professional services or tasks that you need covered.
  • Is an extended reporting period an option under the policy? These provisions offer extensions of time to report claims that would otherwise fall outside the policy period – as long as the act or omission resulting in the claim occurred during the policy period. Find out what extended reporting period options are available and discuss how much time the policyholder may need to report a claim.
  • Can the policy be customized or modified? Can extensions be added? Common additional coverage includes disciplinary proceedings or reduced retentions and may be of importance to your business.
  • Have there been any past tasks or activities at your business that could potentially result in a claim? Have there been past instances where a claim was filed? What was the result? Discussing the specifics of these with KRG Insurance Brokers can help determine what coverage you need now to prepare you for the future.

 

Other Ways to Protect Your Business, in Addition to Professional Liability Insurance:

  • Establish a high standard for product and service quality control at your organization.
  • Keep all company records up to date and accurate.
  • Train employees thoroughly and properly.
  • Ask KRG Insurance Brokers for safety and compliance information.

 

Contact KRG Insurance Brokers today to learn how professional liability insurance can be used as part of your total risk management program.

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Professional Liability Insurance for Design-build Firms

Design-build is a project-delivery method that provides an owner with one point of contact for both the design and construction elements of a project. This process has gained popularity in recent years largely due to its simplicity, affordability and speed.

While the design-build method has many benefits, it can expose firms to risks they wouldn’t otherwise experience during the traditional design-bid-build method. As such, it’s essential that design build firms understand all of the risk associated with the design-build process.

Professional Liability Insurance Has You Covered

Unlike the more traditional design-bid-build project-delivery method, there isn’t a clear distinction between the firms performing the construction work and the architects and engineers offering their professional services. This means design builders are accountable for the accuracy of the plans, the execution of construction and the safety of the job site.

As such, design-builders can be held liable for workplace accidents, specification errors, material failures, construction errors and delays. Essentially, by taking on the design elements of a project, firms inherit more professional liability. These liabilities can result in severe financial losses.

When it comes to managing all of the new risks the design-build process brings, general liability policies are simply not enough. Under most commercial general liability policies, professional liability exposures are excluded from coverage.

In particular, claims related to the act of preparing blueprints, reports, surveys, field orders, change orders, specifications and other professional services could all be excluded from coverage. Professional liability policies are designed specifically to fill in gaps caused by general liability limitations.

For design-builders, the most effective way to protect against exposures is to secure unique insurance tailored to the sector. Specifically, professional liability policies provide coverage for design-build firms.

These policies provide coverage for claims stemming from an actual or alleged act when performing a professional service. Working in conjunction with other policies, professional liability insurance is a critical component to a design-builder’s risk management program. What’s more, working with a qualified insurance broker, these policies can be tailored to meet the unique needs of design-build firms.

More Information

Design-build construction is an increasingly popular approach with many benefits. However, using this method increases professional liability exposures and creates a variety of risk management challenges. When taking on design-build projects, firms have a lot to consider, including performance guarantees, licensing requirements and appropriate coverage. Learn about your firm’s identification options, review your exposures and bolster your risk management options. Contact KRG Insurance Brokers today to find out more about Professional Liability Insurance.

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