SSQ Studies Health And Wellness Practices

SSQ Insurance is partnering with Le Pôle Santé – HEC Montréal to study the link between health and wellness management practices in the workplace and the most common insurance claims made by employees. By participating in such a project, the insurer hopes more will be learned about the impact that corporate practices have on the health of individuals and help participating companies apply the findings to improve the health and wellness of their employees. It will be soliciting some of its group insurance plan holders. Data gathered on a voluntary and confidential basis will be used to identify promising health and wellness workplace management strategies. These will be based on each sector’s context, in an effort to curb financial, human, and social costs to improve quality of life at work as well as bolster performance and productivity. Companies who participate in the study and follow its recommendations could reap significant benefits. Currently, several million Canadians are living with a chronic illness, making it the most common category of illness.

Onboarding Helps With Retention

There are critical components for keeping good workers right from the start ‒ ‘the Four Cs of Onboarding,’ says Express Employment Professionals. The company needs to help the employee understand the company’s mission, goals, policies, customers, organizational structure, and how their job fits into the big picture. Connections are needed to help the employee build relationships and information networks with colleagues. The new hire needs to understand the company’s culture, values, beliefs, and environment and how they thrive in that environment. Finally, the employee’s personal objectives and how they are measured and realized, as well as setting out expectations for success and advancement. Shane DeCoste, an Express franchise owner in Halifax, NS, explains that employers must have a well thought-out onboarding plan. “Onboarding is frequently overlooked as a key element of employee retention,” he says. “The labour market is tight and employers spend a lot of time and resources in attracting qualified talent. Proper onboarding protects the investment employers make by ensuring that a new employee becomes properly exposed to their new work environment, its team members, culture, and vision and values.

Asia Steps Up Pension Reform

Against a backdrop of slowing economic growth and rapidly aging populations, Asian governments have stepped up pension reforms to boost retirement savings adequacy, potentially generating business opportunities for asset managers operating in the region, says Cerulli Associates. With retirement income security becoming a top concern for governments in the region, amending pension policies has been a common government response to address their aging and pension challenges. For example, Singapore is raising its retirement and re-employment age ceilings and in Korea, the government is mulling changing its legal definition of ‘old age’ to 70. Some Asian markets, such as Hong Kong and China, have sought to build multi-pillar pension systems. “The need to ensure the adequacy of Asian pension funds has never been more urgent, as many economies in the region face a growing possibility of a pension crisis. This is resulting in increased pressure on state pension funds to achieve higher returns,” says Della Lin, a senior analyst at Cerulli Associates.

Health Cost Savings Measures Available

While it’s important for employers to approach their benefit strategy holistically, there are emerging cost-saving measures U.S. employers can tap into, says the 24th annual ‘Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey’ by Willis Towers Watson. One of the main drivers of growing affordability concerns among both employers and employees is pharmaceutical spending ‒ notably, the increased cost and continued inflation of specialty pharmaceuticals. More employers are attempting to offset specialty pharmaceutical costs by influencing the site of care as the location where care is given can dramatically affect prices. As well, a growing set of employers are intrigued by the possibility of biosimilars offering a lower cost option for patients in need of expensive specialty products. Employers are nudging their employees toward higher value, appropriate care that is sourced efficiently and away from overused, potentially wasteful services by applying design features or incentives. The proportion of employers slashing out-of-pocket costs to steer employees toward proven services that produce positive health outcomes at a lower price tag will nearly triple over next few years (from 17 per cent today to 46 per cent by 2021) and more employers are increasing the out-of-pocket costs for commonly overused and sometimes unnecessary services Finally, as employers look to cut costs, they are enhancing their population’s wellbeing, mental, and behavioral health. This ranked as the top clinical area of focus over the next three years, selected by two in three employers.

Sun Life Expands Digital Tools

Sun Life has expanded its suite of digital tools and healthcare innovations to help clients with mental health condition get back to work and live a healthier life. Its latest digital and healthcare innovations include partnering with LifeLabs Genetics and BiogeniQ to offer pharmacogenomics as part of a personalized solution. It has the potential to help clients and their physicians find an effective treatment faster. It also partnered with EQ Care to pilot vIME, a solution that helps those on disability participate in an independent examination without leaving the comfort of their own home. Clients on disability with mild to moderate anxiety or depression can take part in online cognitive behavioural therapy modules, which focus on improving their mental well-being. With weekly virtual touchpoints with a mental health professional, individuals will conveniently receive care and support.

Caisse Invests In Scooters

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDP”) is making an equity investment of US$50 million in Bird Rides, Inc., the global leader in sustainable micromobility. Bird operates shared electric scooters in over 100 cities globally, offering an increasingly popular clean mobility option for short urban rides. After less than three years of existence, it has already established itself as a key shared transportation option for commuters in major cities across the globe.

Deeper Dive Taken Into Retirement Concepts

CPBI Southern Alberta will provide a deeper dive into retirement plan concepts as well as the risks, decisions, and challenges faced by plan sponsors in Canada. ‘Retirement Plans 201 ‒ a Deeper Dive into Group Retirement Plans’ will cover areas such as essential defined benefit plan elements that plan sponsors should know; considerations for Canadian sponsors with global workforces; and tips, tricks, and trends in effective decision-making. It takes place October 24 in Calgary, AB. For information, visit Deeper Dive