Passwords – change is good!

Blog | Business Technology

Everything you do these days seems to require a password. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the potential ramifications of not creating a strong enough lock on their information. Identity theft, credit applications in your name, and access to your financial accounts are just some of the risks you face if your passwords are stolen. In September 2016, Yahoo disclosed that 500 million user accounts were hacked in 2014. In December 2016, they also disclosed that a separate attack in 2013 opened up more than 1 billion accounts. That means a hacker had a copy of the customer/user database containing:

  • Login IDs
  • Email addresses associated with the accounts
  • Passwords (or enough information from which the password can be determined)
  • Password hints

Hackers are smart, but the software they use is even smarter – and significantly faster. Weak passwords make their work easy. Splash Data released survey results that show the most commonly used passwords in North America are “123456” and “password”. Once they have a set of usernames and passwords, the hacker (or the criminal to whom they sell data) scans the Internet to find the same combinations on other sites, allowing them to reset banking passwords, reset social media and email passwords, access cell phone accounts, and even read confidential information. With access to your information, they have the ability to expose (or fabricate) things about you through your own social media account that could jeopardize your employment, your relationships and your social standing. Here is what top minds in information technology say you should do to avoid having your password compromised.

  • Use a unique password for each account. Use different passwords for each of your important accounts, like email and online banking. Otherwise a hacker, who figures out your password for one less-secure account, could get access to your personal information, online shopping, banking, etc. There are a number of online tools, such as 1Password and LastPass that can help you manage and protect your list. You can also use your browser’s password collection and security function.
  • Use a mix of letters, capitalization, numbers and symbols. An eight-character password with numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters has 30,000 times as many possible combinations as a password with only lower case letters.
  • Don’t use personal information or common words. Create a unique password that’s unrelated to your personal information. Try using a random word or phrase and insert letters, numbers and symbols to add difficulty (such as “sPo0kyh@ll0w3En”).
  • Never click on an emailed link to change your password. When asked to update your personal information on a site, never click on a supplied link. A hacker might be phishing for your information by sending you to a bogus site. Always go to the site through your browser and log in that way.
  • Change your passwords regularly. Changing your password regularly will make it more difficult for a hacker to guess what it is. Keep a record of your passwords, just in case you forget them, in a secure place away from your computer.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication. When accessing your account, a two-factor authentication means that after you put in a password, the company will contact you by email or text for confirmation that you are accessing the site. Use this for all sites that support it! Even if a hacker gets your password, they won’t be able to access your account.


Disability Benefits Don’t have to be ‘Taxing’

Blog | Group Insurance | Insurance Rules

When your firm offers employee disability benefits, it’s worth thinking about the tax consequences. The choices you make will determine whether employees will have to pay income tax on disability benefit payments they receive from your group plan. If you, the employer, pay any part of a disability premium, the employee will be required to pay tax on benefits received. It doesn’t matter whether your firm pays 100% of the premium or splits the premium payment with employees; an employee who receives disability benefits will owe income tax on those benefits.
As a result, most firms arrange to have employees pay the entire disability premium. If your firm still decides to pay some, or all, of the premium, make sure your employees understand the tax
consequences of any disability benefits they receive. Though insurance companies may deduct tax from disability payments, it may not cover the entire tax liability.

The Chambers Plan online administration utility includes an Employee Deduction Calculator that easily manages cost sharing arrangements with employees that can minimize any tax liability on disability payments.
Setting up your benefit plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s definitely worthwhile to work with a competent group insurance advisor who’s familiar with the possible pitfalls. And,
once you’ve chosen your plan’s benefits, a good employee communication program will ensure your staff know about the valuable coverages available to them.


Benefit Facts presents information to help you manage your employee benefits. Brought to you by your Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan® advisor, representing Canada’s premier group plan for small and medium sized business.

Chamber Claims Report

Blog | Group Insurance

To get a copy of your Claims History for your taxes please follow these steps​

  1. Login to
  2. Click on “Claims History” in the left menu
  3. Then Click “Claims Summary Report” Make sure you select the dates for the time period you wish to run ie. From 2016 01 To 2016 12
  4. A report will be generated with your claims print or save and get to the person that does your taxes!

Who Pays? What to do when both spouses have coverage!

Blog | Group Insurance | Insurance Rules

Claims for Dependent Children
When both parents have plans and their children are covered under both as
dependents, the plan of the parent with the earlier birth date in the calendar
year pays first.

Example 1:
• Father’s birthday – October 11
• Mother’s birthday – September 21
Therefore – Mother’s plan pays first – Mother’s birthdate comes before Father’s in
the calendar year.
If both parents have the same birth date, the plan paying first is based on the
parent’s given name that occurs first in the alphabet.

Example 2:
• Mom’s given name is Jane
• Dad’s given name is Stephen
Therefore – Jane’s plan pays first – the name Jane comes first alphabetically.
In cases of Single Custody i.e., when one parent has custody of the child(ren),
the plan of the parent with whom the child resides, i.e., the plan of the parent with
custody, pays first.
The plan of the spouse of the parent with custody pays second.
The plan of the parent not having custody pays third.

Example 3:
A child lives with mother and her new spouse.
Therefore – Mother’s plan pays first.
Mother’s spouse’s plan pays second.
Father’s plan pays third.
In cases of Joint Custody i.e., when both parents have plans and their children are
covered under both as dependents, the plan of the parent with the earlier birth date
in the calendar year pays first. (See Example 1 on the previous page.)

This information comes from CHLIA Click here for more informaiton

Single Person Business Seeking Benefits

Blog | Small Business

It sounds like it could be a weird Craigs list ad, but now thankfully working by yourself doesn’t mean your all alone!

Insurers are realizing that the single person business is a large part of the Canadian business landscape and are offering benefits for those businesses.  Now  your not going to get a robust benefits plan with all the “bells and whistles” but you are going to get a good basic plan that will offer some of the basic coverage that a person needs.

“Employee benefits for all!”

The Chambers Plan has recently offered a plan that secures their place as the go to carrier for small business.  No industry exclusions and no family content exclusions also help them in that effort, but now that they offer a guaranteed coverage option from a plan starting with just one(1) employee.

Want a quote?

  1. Complete the employee data information (only once)

We’ll get a quote done up for your and send via email!

Features you’ll be really interested in.

  1. Travel Insurance – Yes there will be some limits, but enough for the average vacation
  2. Drug coverage – Yes with a lower yearly cap than most plans, but great for the averagely healthy person
  3. Dental Coverage – Basic coverage for checkups and cleanings

Digital and Electronic Signatures

Blog | Business Technology | Small Business

Here is a great article about digital and electronic signatures that has inspired our short article here today!

Insurance Companies are slowly adapting to the electronic and digital signature model.  We have found that it is very convenient for many of our clients. In some cases much of our business can be completed this way and only when an insurer requires original signatures does it slow things down.

We recently went shopping the market for a Digital/Electronic Signature solution. PandaDoc came out on top, but there are many great players in the industry out there! Our second place option Proposify offered a very easy to use platform, unlimited users but limited documents.

Maybe your business could benefit from a digital signature platform?

Long Term Disability


Disability insurance is a benefit that is generally one of the most important parts of a benefits package. While some companies opt to fund a short term disability or don’t even offer one at all.

Disability Insurance generally begins on the 121st day of an employee being sick and/or injured and not able to work.

Employees making a claim of disability are encouraged to contact NGI for us to help in documenting and completing of application in the most effective manner.

Here is the usual time line of a disability claim.
1.Employee Injured or Receives note from Doctor they are no longer medically fit to work.
2. If injured in work place or illness is workplace related a claim through the workers compensation board is required!
3. Application for Employment Insurance (EI) sick benefits should be applied for.
4. Between 30 – 60 days from date of disability application for LTD Should begun (as these applications require doctors reports it is recommended that this is started no later than 60 days from date of disability, however we usually find around the 45 day mark to be the best.
5. If approved payment will may not be received on the 121st day but payment is received for the 121st day.
6. Ongoing regular communications from the insurance company will be received by the employee and NGI is not always aware of the content it is the responsibility of the employee to stay on top of additional requirements as requested by the insurance company.  Employees are always encouraged to contact NGI for assistance if needed.

Need to Know – Family Life Changes


Change happens all the time, some is great, some is hard, some is stressful and some is freeing! (We leave that to our clients to deiced which is which)

The change for one person may be hard and another freeing!, for example when your child moves out of the house to one person that might be a hard event, and another may feel like a weight is lifted off their back.

Your plan (Health Insurance and Retirement Plan) may need to be reviewed with these changes.

Here are a couple of notes to keep in mind when you come to a life changing event.

1. Legal Issues – If you are engaged in a life change that has any legal processes connected to it (Adoption, divorce, entrance of family to Canada) That any changes have been advised by your lawyer.  It is not always easy to reverse a change once they have been completed.

2. Addition of family member – There are several ways a new family member may be added to your plan.  Marriage or Civil Union, Common-Law Union, Adoption, Birth, blending of families.  Each situation is unique and handled differently and once again if any changes has a legal component make sure change is under advisement of your lawyer.

3. Removal of Family member – Death, Divorce, Dependent reaching age 25 or 21 and no longer enrolled in Post Secondary education and  Dependent no longer eligible for other reasons. Once again some of these situations may have a legal component and only make changes under the advise of your lawyer. It’s not always easy or possible to reverse changes once they have been completed by the carrier.

All these situation may be emotional ones to deal with and are never easy but we do need to ensure that they are handled correctly and some are time sensitive so please remember if you have a life changing event it doesn’t hurt to give us a call, email or DM via Twitter/Facebook.

Understanding Digital Change

Small Business

It’s kind of amazing how these days we can purchase, view, download, upload, subscribe, order, schedule and so many more things from the comfort of just about anywhere.  For example being on the road I was able to “LEARN” from Bharat Anand  Henry R. Byers Professor of Business Administration Harvard Business School.  Having the ability to sit under lectureship of an educator of his caliber is amazing.  How was this possible you ask?, where did I go? I went to YouTube.  Thanks to our friends at hosting a great event and recording it to be shown for free!  This is a “digital change” from even 10 years ago YouTube had just begun and now is the powerhouse of video activity (Not just cat videos)

With technology some new businesses exist, some are gone, and some are changing.  This great video by Mr. Anand offers hope to clients in businesses that are subject to a changing environment because of technology.  Worth the 27 minutes of your time to watch. How often can you get this type of education for free!