Canadian Underwriter

How rotating postal strikes are affecting these major insurers

October 23, 2018   by Jason Contant

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After much hand-wringing about the impact of a postal strike on the insurance industry, rotating strikes by Canada Post workers have seemed to have had little impact on major insurers.

Aviva Canada told Canadian Underwriter Tuesday the immediate impact of the rotating strike action is that customers could see a delay of up to two days in receiving their documents, the majority of which include new business insurance policies, renewals or changes to policy.

Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) members stand on picket line along Almon St., in front of the Canada Post regional sorting headquarters in Halifax on Monday, Oct.22, 2018 after a call for a series of rotating 24-hour strikes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ted Pritchard

“The current delivery timeline is three to four business days,” Aviva Canada spokesperson Priscilla Wong said Tuesday. “If the strikes escalate, we will prioritize delivery of time-sensitive documents via courier. We’re continuing to promote EFT (electronic funds transfer) payment wherever possible, as well as for claims and billing refunds.”

Another insurer, Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, also has plans in place to “ensure the impact on our stakeholders is minimal,” spokesperson David Hultin said Monday. He acknowledged the nature of a rotating strike action means there could be a delay in mail delivery, but “we are monitoring the situation and will adjust as necessary.”

Canada Post workers began a series of walkouts Monday, involving work stoppages in Victoria, Edmonton, Windsor, Ont. and Halifax. On Tuesday in Toronto, nearly 9,000 members walked off the job one minute after midnight.

“We have activated our contingency plan to minimize business interruption to brokers and their customers,” Intact Financial Corporation said Tuesday. “We are monitoring the situation closely and will make adjustments as the situation develops.”

There has been a spike in the uptake of Aviva’s eDocs solution “and we’re encouraging brokers to continue collecting emails and consent for digital delivery,” Wong said. eDocs provides brokers with an option to receive and store the insured copy of policy documents electronically in their BMS from Aviva, which they can then distribute directly to the customer’s email address. Other options include: email delivery through a broker portal; signing up for “STEP” (Save Trees Eliminate Paper) to download broker policy copies; and EFT for brokers using Aviva broker billing.

Intact brokers have the option to access their customers’ policy document online via the broker portal; brokers and their customers can also access personal lines’ policy documents via the Intact Insurance app. “We will send documents via courier services if they are time-sensitive,” Intact said, adding customers can pay premiums by cheque, credit cards, Internet banking and EFT.

For Wawanesa, customers’ direct-billed policy documents are sent through regular and registered mail, depending on the document. Claims documents are sent to customers by mail or electronically, depending on their preference. Claims payments can now also be made by EFT.

Wawanesa brokers’ direct-bill customers may view their billing status online via the insurer’s website and make payment using a monthly automated chequing plan to schedule monthly withdrawals from their financial institution. “Many of our customers choose our monthly automated chequing plan to pay for their insurance products with us,” Hultin said. He added online payment options are also available: credit card payments using Visa, Visa Debit, MasterCard, MasterCard Debit or American Express, or through the financial institution’s phone or online banking service to pay from their bank account.

In November, Wawanesa will roll out BluePass across Western Canada. The solution is fully integrated with Wawanesa’s new policy administration system, Guidewire InsuranceSuite, giving brokers access to real-time rating and processing for new submissions, policy change, cancellations, online billing changes and payment processing.

Although the impact of rotating strikes are not currently being felt in Saskatchewan, customers of Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) are encouraged to check the expiry date on their driver’s licence, vehicle registration or any SGI Canada insurance policy they have. This is to allow customers to “make arrangements to renew them, as regular reminders will not be sent in the event of a postal disruption. This will ensure insurance coverage does not lapse.”

Customers can continue to do business in person with motor vehicle licence issuers and SGI Canada brokers. They can also complete driver’s licence payments and vehicle registration transactions online through MySGI. This system will email out reminders and important notifications electronically, including reminders about licence and vehicle registration renewal rates; customers can also track claims, make epayments and print out vehicle registration certificates from home.

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1 Comment » for How rotating postal strikes are affecting these major insurers
  1. Keith says:

    I am very surprised that as an industry we are forgetting the old methods of actually meeting with the customers.

    We are a service industry and the brokers are the ones who represent both themselves and the insurance companies. Why are Insurance companies not simply sending the Broker the policies via courier services, ICS, for example, and then the Broker getting out of the offices and going to have a face to face with the customers and delivering the documents?

    This type of service will go a long way for retention of the customer.

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