Canadian Underwriter

COVID-19: What Northbridge is doing to navigate forward

March 20, 2020   by Adam Malik

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All Northbridge employees are working from home and the company doesn’t expect any disruption on service levels, according to the carrier.

Northbridge told Canadian Underwriter that its top priority is the health and wellness of its employees, brokers, and customers. “As a proactive measure to help curb the spread of COVID-19, all of our employees are now working remotely,” a company spokesperson said via email. “There will be no interruption of service and brokers and customers can continue to contact us through our regular methods of communication.”

When it comes to claims payments, proof of loss forms, or sending and receiving proof of ownership and keys, Northbridge said, “We are continuing to pay customers via electronic funds transfer where possible, and cheques are being issued regularly.  We are accepting digital images (scans or photos) for the majority of claims forms, and only requiring notarized proof of loss forms for a small number of cases. We are still accepting physical mail, so ownership forms and keys can be mailed or couriered to our offices.”

The company has created a resource page related to COVID-19 with resources and links to websites that can help customers and brokers through a pandemic. It includes links to a Government of Canada website on resources for businesses as well as tips from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business on keeping safe as threats from the virus continue.

Northbridge has also created a link to help organizations understand business continuity plans. It outlines the general nature of a business continuity plan and what the key risks are for a business, including information about what to do during a pandemic. Its recommendations are:

  • Identify a pandemic coordinator and/or team with defined roles and responsibilities for preparedness and response planning.
  • Establish an emergency communications plan and revise it periodically. Your plan should include key contacts (and back-ups), chain of communication (including suppliers and customers), and processes for tracking and communicating business and employee status.
  • Make sure workspaces are clean and hygienic. Ensure surfaces (including desks and tables) and objects (including telephones) are wiped down regularly with disinfectant.
  • Promote regular and thorough hand-washing. Ensure all employees have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water.
  • Tell employees and contractors to consult national travel advice before going on any business trips.
  • Ask employees to remain at home if they are feeling unwell. This is for their own benefit, as well as others.
  • Establish policies for flexible work-site (e.g. telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g. staggered shifts).

And if you don’t have an emergency contact list, Northbridge has created a template for businesses. Information like manager and employee info, emergency numbers beyond 911, insurance information and other important contacts can be included.

“As the situation evolves, we’ll continue to monitor developments and provide updates and additional resources through this channel,” the Northbridge spokesperson said.

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