How to Choose and Customize a Group Benefits Plan for Small Businesses

Building a Bright and Sustainable Future Together

As a small business owner, you recognize the significance of looking after your team and fostering a nurturing work environment. One method to demonstrate this is by providing a robust group benefits plan. This not only reflects your dedication to your team’s well-being but also is instrumental in drawing and retaining the best talent. Dive into the realm of group benefits and discover how to select and tailor the ideal plan for your small enterprise.

Understanding the Basics of Group Benefits

Group benefits plans are crafted to offer a variety of health, financial, and wellness advantages to your team members. These packages can encompass health and dental insurance, life and disability insurance, retirement savings alternatives, and more. The main benefit of a group benefits plan is its ability to distribute the risk among your team, making coverage more cost-effective and reachable for all.

Step 1: Assess Your Business Needs

Before diving into a group benefits plan, it’s vital to evaluate the requirements of your business and your team. Ponder over these questions:

  1. What’s the profile of your workforce? Think about age, family composition, and health statuses.
  2. Which benefits are most cherished by your employees? Is it health insurance, dental care, or retirement savings?
  3. How much can you allocate for group benefits? Keep in mind, offering benefits is a commitment to your team’s welfare.

Step 2: Collaborate with a Benefits Specialist

Teaming up with a benefits specialist is akin to having a navigator on your quest to devise the perfect plan. They will assist you in traversing the intricate landscape of insurance choices, rules, and compliance mandates. They’ll engage closely with you to grasp the distinct needs of your business and craft a plan that matches your budget and principles.

Step 3: Customize Your Plan

Adaptability is paramount when shaping a benefits plan that appeals to your team. Here are some avenues for personalization:

  1. Benefit Choices: Opt for a blend of health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance based on what your team values.
  2. Wellness Initiatives: Mull over introducing wellness programs such as fitness center memberships, mental health resources, and stress alleviation workshops.
  3. Retirement Schemes: Offer retirement savings avenues like a Group RRSP or a staff pension scheme.

Step 4: Educate Your Employees

The efficacy of a group benefits plan hinges on transparent communication and enlightenment. Ensure your team comprehends the worth of the benefits provided and the methods to utilize them optimally. Arrange seminars, online sessions, or informational meetups to aid them in making knowledgeable choices about their coverage.

Step 5: Regularly Review and Adjust

The dynamics of your business and the needs of your team will transform over time. Hence, it’s crucial to revisit your group benefits plan annually and make requisite modifications. This guarantees that your plan stays in sync with your objectives and consistently delivers value to your team.

Building a Sustainable Future Together

As you embark on the path of picking and personalizing a group benefits plan for your small enterprise, bear in mind that your collaboration with your team is central to the process. By placing their welfare at the forefront and presenting a comprehensive benefits package, you’re not merely paving a brighter path for your team but also cultivating a sustainable work setting that promotes allegiance, efficiency, and expansion.

Understanding Target Loss Ratio and Your Group Benefits Plan

Group benefits can be intricate both in their establishment and administration. There are numerous details and considerations to be aware of when purchasing a group benefits plan, one of which is the target loss ratio (TLR).

Key Questions Addressed:

  • What is a target loss ratio?

  • How does my TLR influence my premiums upon policy renewal?

  • What steps should I take if I have concerns regarding my TLR?

Understanding Target Loss Ratio (TLR): Here are the primary aspects you should understand about the target loss ratio (TLR):

  • It represents the expected profit point of your employee benefit plan’s comprehensive health and dental benefits.

  • TLR is the maximum dollar amount of claims paid by the insurance company, expressed as a percentage of your premium. For instance, if an insurance company pays $40 in claims for every $80 collected in premiums, the loss ratio stands at 50%.

  • The TLR is primarily determined by two factors: the number of members participating in the employee benefit plan and the annual premium paid.

  • The loss ratios can vary based on the type of insurance. For instance, the loss ratio for property insurance is typically lower than that for health insurance.

Does my TLR Affect My Premiums Upon Renewal? Generally, your TLR won’t have a significant influence on your premiums when renewing. However, a notable increase or decrease in the number of staff members participating in your group benefits plan might cause some impact.

Other factors influencing your renewal premiums include:

  • A substantial amount of health and dental claims made.

  • Changes in the general demographics of your employees, such as aging.

  • An increase in the cost of services covered by your group benefits plan.

  • General inflation.

Addressing Concerns About TLR: As someone overseeing a group benefits plan, your objective is to ensure optimal value for your premium expenditure.

If you’ve been collaborating with the same insurance provider for an extended period, it’s beneficial to explore other available options. Comparing offerings can help ascertain if the rate and TLR you’re being offered align with current market standards.

It’s essential to consider how varying TLRs might influence the long-term viability of your group benefits plan. If you’re keen on gaining deeper insights, consider reaching out to industry experts or consultants for guidance.

Insurance Planning for Incorporated Professionals

For incorporated professionals, making sure your practice is financially protected can be overwhelming. Incorporated professionals face a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing risk. Insurance can play an important role when it comes to reducing the financial impact on your practice in the case of uncontrollable events such as disability, or critical illness. This infographic and article address the importance of corporate insurance.

The 4 areas of insurance a incorporated professional should take care of are: 

  • Health 

  • Disability 

  • Critical Illness 

  • Life

Health: We are fortunate in Canada, where the healthcare system pays for basic healthcare services for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. However, not everything healthcare related is covered, in reality, 30% of our health costs* are paid for out of pocket or through private insurance such as prescription medication, dental, prescription glasses, physiotherapy, etc.

For incorporated professionals, offering employee health benefits make smart business sense because health benefits can form part of a compensation package and can help retain key employees and attract new talent.

For incorporated professionals that are looking to provide alternative health plans in a cost effective manner, you may want to consider a health spending account.

Disability: Most people spend money on protecting their home and car, but many overlook protecting their greatest asset: their ability to earn income. Unfortunately one in three people on average will be disabled for 90 days or more at least once before the age of 65.

Consider the financial impact this would have on your practice if you or a key employee were to suffer from an injury or illness. Disability insurance can provide a monthly income to help keep your practice running.

Business overhead expense insurance can provide monthly reimbursement of expenses during total disability such as rent for commercial space, utilities, employee salaries and benefits, equipment leasing costs, accounting fees, insurance premiums for property and liability, etc.

Key person disability insurance can be used to provide monthly funds for you or key employee while they’re disabled and protect the business from lost revenue while your business finds and trains an appropriate replacement.

Critical Illness: For a lot of us, the idea of experiencing a critical illness such as a heart attack, stroke or cancer can seem unlikely, but almost 3 in 4 (73%) working Canadians know someone who experience a serious illness. Sadly, this can have serious consequences on you, your family and business, with Critical Illness insurance, it provides a lump sum payment so you can focus on your recovery.

Key person critical illness insurance can be used to provide funds to the practice so it can supplement income during time away, cover debt repayment, salary for key employees or fixed overhead expenses.

Buy sell critical illness insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner or shareholder were to suffer from a critical illness. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Life: For an incorporated professional, not only do your employees depend on you for financial support but your loved ones do too. Life insurance is important because it can protect your practice and also be another form of investment for excess funds.

Key person life insurance can be used to provide a lump sum payment to the practice on death of the insured so it can keep the business going until you an appropriate replacement is found. It can also be used to retain loyal employees by supplying a retirement fund inside the insurance policy.

Loan coverage life insurance can help cover off any outstanding business loans and debts.

Reduce taxes & diversify your portfolio, often life insurance is viewed only as protection, however with permanent life insurance, there is an option to deposit excess funds not needed for operations to provide for tax-free growth (within government limits) to diversify your portfolio and reduce taxes on passive investments.  

Talk to us to make sure you and your practice are protected.

Group Retirement Benefits

Working at an organization that offers a pension plan is one of the greatest financial advantages a Canadian can enjoy. Pension plans are designed to provide retirement income and help employees reach their retirement goals and for business owners- help retain key employees.

Pension plans can offer:

  • Employer contributions

  • Forced retirement savings for employee

There are 2 main types of pension plan:

  • Defined Benefit Plan

  • Defined Contribution Plan

Defined Benefit Plan

  • Retirement income is guaranteed, contributions are not.

  • The pension amount is based on a formula that includes the employee’s earnings and years of service with the employer

  • Usually, contributions are made by the employee and employer

  • The employer is responsible for investing the contributions to ensure there’s enough money to pay the future pensions for all plan members.

  • If there’s a shortfall, the employer pays the difference.

Defined Contribution Plan

  • Contributions are guaranteed, retirement income is not.

  • Usually, contributions are made by the employee and employer.

  • The employee is responsible for investing all contributions.

  • The amount available in retirement depends on how the investment performs including total contributions.

  • At retirement, the money in the account can be used to generate retirement income through purchasing an annuity or transferring the amount to a locked-in retirement income fund.

In summary, a defined benefits plan guarantees you a retirement income and a defined contribution plan guarantees contributions but not retirement income.

Talk to us, we can help.

Group Insurance vs Individual Life Insurance

Group Insurance vs Individual Life Insurance

“I already have life insurance from work, so why do I need to get it personally?” or “Work has got me covered, I don’t need it.”

While it’s great to have group coverage from your employer or association, in most cases, people don’t understand that there are important differences when it comes to group life insurance vs. self owned life insurance.

Before counting on insurance from your group benefits plan, please take the time to understand the difference between group owned life insurance and personally owned life insurance. The key differences are ownership, premium, coverage, beneficiary and portability.

Ownership:

  • Self: You own and control the policy.

  • Group: The group owns and controls the policy.

Premium:

  • Self: Your premiums are guaranteed at policy issue and discounts are available based on your health.

  • Group: Premiums are not guaranteed and there are no discounts available based on your health. The rates provided are blended depending on your group.

Coverage:

  • Self: You choose based on your needs.

  • Group: In a group plan, the coverage is typically a multiple of your salary. If your coverage is through an association, then it’s usually a flat basic amount.

Beneficiary:

  • Self: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.

  • Group: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.

Portability:

  • Self: Your policy stays with you.

  • Group: Your policy is tied to your group and if you leave your employer or your association, you may need to reapply for insurance.

Talk to us, we can help you figure out what’s best for your situation.

10 Essential Decisions for Business Owners

10 Essential Decisions for Business Owners

Business owners are busy… they are busy running a successful business, wearing lots of hats and making a ton of decisions. We’ve put together a list of 10 essential decisions for every business owner to consider; from corporate structure to retirement and succession planning:

  • Best structure for your business (ex. Sole Proprietor, Corporation, Partnership)

  • Reduce taxes

  • What to do with surplus cash

  • Build employee loyalty

  • Reduce risk

  • Deal with the unexpected

  • Retire from your business

  • Sell your business

  • Keep your business in the family

  • What to do when you’re retired

As a financial advisor, we are uniquely positioned to help business owners, talk to us about your situation and we can provide the guidance you need.

Insurance Planning for Business Owners

For business owners, making sure your business is financially protected can be overwhelming. Business owners face a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing risk. Insurance can play an important role when it comes to reducing the financial impact on your business in the case of uncontrollable events such as disability, critical illness or loss of a key shareholder or employee.

This infographic addresses the importance of corporate insurance.

The 4 areas of  insurance a business owner should take care of are:

  • Health

  • Disability

  • Critical Illness

  • Life

Health: We are fortunate in Canada, where the healthcare system pays for basic healthcare services for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. However, not everything healthcare related is covered, in reality, 30% of our health costs* are paid for out of pocket or through private insurance such as prescription medication, dental, prescription glasses, physiotherapy, etc.

For business owners, offering employee health benefits make smart business sense because health benefits can form part of a compensation package and can help retain key employees and attract new talent.

For business owners that are looking to provide alternative health plans in a cost effective manner, you may want to consider a health spending account.

Disability: Most people spend money on protecting their home and car, but many overlook protecting their greatest asset: their ability to earn income. Unfortunately one in three people on average will be disabled for 90 days or more at least once before the age of 65.

Consider the financial impact this would have on your business if you, a key employee or shareholder were to suffer from an injury or illness. Disability insurance can provide a monthly income to help keep your business running.

Business overhead expense insurance can provide monthly reimbursement of expenses during total disability such as rent for commercial space, utilities, employee salaries and benefits, equipment leasing costs, accounting fees, insurance premiums for property and liability, etc.

Key person disability insurance can be used to provide monthly funds for the key employee while they’re disabled and protect the business from lost revenue while your business finds and trains an appropriate replacement.

Buy sell disability insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner were to become totally disabled. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the disabled partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Critical Illness: For a lot of us, the idea of experiencing a critical illness such as a heart attack, stroke or cancer can seem unlikely, but almost 3 in 4 (73%) working Canadians know someone who experience a serious illness. Sadly, this can have serious consequences on you, your family and business, with Critical Illness insurance, it provides a lump sum payment so you can focus on your recovery.

Key person critical illness insurance can be used to provide funds to the company so it can supplement income during time away, cover debt repayment, salary for key employees or fixed overhead expenses.

Buy sell critical illness insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner or shareholder were to suffer from a critical illness. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Life: For a business owner, not only do your employees depend on you for financial support but your loved ones do too. Life insurance is important because it can protect your business and also be another form of investment for excess company funds.

Key person life insurance can be used to provide a lump sum payment to the company on death of the insured so it can keep the business going until you an appropriate replacement is found. It can also be used to retain loyal employees by supplying a retirement fund inside the insurance policy.

Buy sell life insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner or shareholder were to pass away. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the deceased partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Loan coverage life insurance can help cover off any outstanding business loans and debts.

Reduce taxes & diversify your portfolio, often life insurance is viewed only as protection, however with permanent life insurance, there is an option to deposit excess company funds not needed for operations to provide for tax-free growth (within government limits)  to diversify your portfolio and reduce taxes on passive investments.

Talk to us about helping making sure you and your business are protected.