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|The Benefits of Benchmarking|
An Effective Process Guide
The term benchmarking was first used by cobblers to measure people's feet for shoes. They would place someone's foot on a "bench" and mark it out to make the pattern for the shoes. The term has evolved over the years to define the process of comparing one's business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and/or best practices from others.
In the world of employee compensation, benchmarking is becoming a valuable tool to ensure that the pay, benefits, pension, and other perks you offer are doing their job - to ensure you attract & retain the right individuals that give your company its competitive advantage.
However, for many employers (especially small ones), this process can be daunting. Without James Bond-like spy techniques, how exactly do you know what your competitors are offering? How much work is involved trying to set up & maintain a benchmarking process? And how do you use the data to improve upon your current practices?
To begin the process, total compensation can be broadly broken down into two components: direct compensation (pay for work done), and indirect compensation (non-monetary benefits). A resource for direct compensation benchmarking is the annual Canadian Salary Guides, produced by Robert Half International. These guides are a great, no-cost resource to review pay ranges & geographical factors for workers in the Financial, Administrative, Legal, Technology and Creative sectors.
As benefit consultants, we provide benchmarking data for the indirect compensation component - benefits and pension. Insurer-produced reports benchmark your plans with others in your industry and/or geographical region. For prospective clients without current benefit or pension plans, these tools are invaluable in ensuring the plan design being considered is built to be both competitive, as well as cost-effective.
These tools are all user-friendly ways to start incorporating a total compensation process - which in turn will become a pillar of your corporate strategy.
|Provincial Dental Fee Increases for 2012|
It's that time of year when most provincial and territorial dental associations release their annual fee guides. Typically there is an increase across the board for dental services performed by general practioners. The information in provincial fee guides help establish reimbursement levels from the various insurance providers.
We would like to remind plan members the importance of checking with their dentist as to whether they follow the fee guide. Remember that while insurance carriers are bound to the provincial fee guidelines, dentists are not.
Below is a summary of the 2012 overall increases:
- British Columbia: 2.38% (eff Feb 1)
- Alberta: 4.50% (eff Feb 1)
- Manitoba: 3.3% (eff Jan 1)
- Ontario: 2.54% (eff Jan 1)
- Quebec: 2.4% (eff Jan 1)
- New Brunswick: 3.0% (eff Jan 1)
- Nova Scotia: 2.52% (eff Feb 1)
- Prince Edward Island: 2.00% (eff Jan 1)
- Newfoundland: 4.5% (eff Jan 1)
Please note that increases for Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon are not yet available, and territory increases are effective April 1, 2012.
|Changes to 2012 EI Maximum|
For 2012, the federal government announced an increase in the employment insurance (EI) maximum insurable earnings amount to $45,900 and a corresponding increase in the EI weekly maximum benefit to $485.
Short-term disability plans that have a maximum set at the EI maximum, rather than a specific amount, automatically increased January 1, 2012. Plan sponsors who participate in the EI premium reduction program may need to consider amending their plans to continue to remain eligible for the program.
If you have any questions concerning this, don't hesitate to contact your Montridge plan advisor. We will be happy to assist you.
|Great-West Life: New Mobile App & Travel Information|
GWL To Launch New Mobile App
Great-West Life plan members will soon be able to submit Member eClaims, access personal coverage information, view benefit card info, and locate the nearest provider who has access to Provider eClaims....all from their mobile phones!
This new cutting edge technology will be available soon. Check with your Montridge service rep for updates!
New Contact Information for Cuba Travellers
Effective immediately, GWL plan members travelling to Cuba should make note of a new phone number to use in case of emergency while in Cuba.
Plan members should not call the emergency number provided on the back of their Global Medical Assistance cards if they need medical assistance in Cuba.
Instead, they should make a collect call to Assured Assistance at 905-816-1901. If the operator is unable to assist in making a collect call, plan members can opt to pay for the call and submit a claim for reimbursement later to cover the cost of long distance charges.
|Sun Life Named One of Global 100 Most Sustainable |
For the sixth time, Sun Life Financial was recently named one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.
Sun Life is one of only six Canadian companies recognized this year and the only North American insurance company named to the list.
|Manulife: Updates for Plan Members |
Redesigned Plan Member Website Launched
Manulife recently launched a redesigned, easier-to-use website for plan members. The updated plan member site has improved usability, a more attractive design, and easier navigation. Additionally, the online claims process has been simplified, from eight steps to three. Plan members are encouraged to register online, if they have not done so already, at www.manulife.ca
Changes to Traveler Assistance
Effective February 1, 2012, Manulife's emergency travel assistance provider, Mondial Assistance, changed its name to Allianz Global Assistance.
The new name will have no impact to group benefit clients, and plan members will continue to access Emergency Travel Services in the same way, using the same telephone, group plan and certificate numbers shown on their existing benefit cards. Benefit cards will not be reissued to reflect the name change.
Review of Natural Health Practioners &
Massage Therapists Accreditation
Beginning in January 2012, Manulife began a review of all natural health practioners' and massage therapists' accreditation to ensure that all practitioners in the ever-growing database meet the requirement of group benefit plans.
If a provider has been found to not meet current requirements, it is important to note that claims going forward may not be paid out, despite being approved in the past.
This review is just one example of Manulife's commitment to protecting your group benefits plan, and the health of plan members by ensuring they are receiving treatment from providers with appropriate credentials.
|Benefits by Design Important Updates |
eInvoices Coming Soon
As part of BBD's ever-growing green initiative to reduce their carbon footprint, the company is currently working on producing electronic invoices. This process should be available in the next few months. Invoices will be emailed to plan administrators, and will also be available for viewing on BBD Online.
Dependent CI Now Available for Small Groups
Effective January 1, 2012, BBD can now offer Dependent Critical Illness for groups with 3-9 lives.
If you wish to obtain a quote to add this new feature to your plan, please contact your Montridge plan advisor.
Community Giving Program
The Green Shield Community Giving Program provides critical funding that community-based not-for-profit organizations need to achieve significant, concrete results. The objective is to provide funding annually for projects that:
- Address an under-serviced or under-funded subject, geographic region or demographic
- Outline clear, measurable outcomes with demonstrable results
- Include a strategy to address projects' longer term sustainability
Applications will be accepted up to March 15, 2012. For more information, please visit:
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This newsletter is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific personalized advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice. All information and opinions contained in this newsletter are obtained from various sources and are believed to be true and dependable; however, accuracy of content is not guaranteed and is not to be read or applied as professional advice.