To our Members, Brokers, Agents and Staff,
I’m delighted to announce an innovative initiative we’ve created to further support our members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to count more than 84,000 households in our membership at The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group. We want to honour our members’ support of us with a special one-time payment of $100 that they may use to ease personal financial pressure or “Pay It Forward” by donating to others in need in their community.
As a community insurer, we are stepping forward to help our communities in a time of challenge that is affecting all of us. Our “Pay it Forward” initiative stems from the fact that we have been able to carry on business as an essential service while others have not. It recognizes that while we can’t fix all problems, each of us, through individual decisions and individual actions, can make a difference. We will be mailing out this payment in the next four weeks.
This pandemic is a generational-impacting event that we will see effects from for years to come. As a mutual insurance company, we are rooted in our communities and we believe this unprecedented time calls for unprecedented and innovative measures.
Our team has continued to develop a multi-faceted COVID-19 Member Response Plan which has been unfolding over the past several weeks. We have already introduced several measures to create more flexibility for individual members who are experiencing financial hardship as well as actively facilitating policy changes for members whose circumstances have changed and wish to reduce their monthly premium.
For our Members
Initially, we introduced measures to create more flexibility for members ensuring policies are not automatically cancelled due to missed payments. It’s been all hands-on deck as every member of our team at The Commonwell has stepped up to continue to provide you with exceptional service and expertise. Our team has, for the most part, transitioned to work from home to ensure we reduce risk for them, their families and you.
For Individuals Experiencing Hardship
We are continuing to offer more flexibility for individual members who are experiencing financial hardship. We are committed to working with each member exploring solutions on a case-by-case basis to discuss how we can ease the financial pressure on them. We are asking that they contact us to discuss their individual situation.
For our Communities
We have refined our C.A.R.E. (Create a Ripple Effect) community support program to reflect the urgent needs of frontline workers in long-term care facilities and stepping up our support of local food banks. To date, we have donated over 120,000 nourishing meals, to help everyone stay strong.
We have also launched “The Lockdown Awards”. A $100,000 program aimed at helping Grade 12 students who may have been impacted by COVID-19 fund their upcoming post-secondary education. We are encouraging students to share the lessons they learned in “Lockdown” that they may not have learned in a regular classroom setting. The Commonwell is contributing $1,000 each to 100 graduating Ontario students for any form of post-secondary education. For more information you can go to: https://thecommonwell.ca/lockdown101/
Let’s All Stay Strong
Today’s announcement takes our Member Response Plan a step further. On behalf of everyone at The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group, I want to thank you for your continued support. As a mutual insurance company with more than 125 years of history in this country, we are here for you. We know that together we will stay strong.
If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your policy, please reach out to your insurance broker or agent for the trusted advice you have always relied on. If you have questions or concerns, regarding our COVID-19 Member Response, please reach out to us directly by emailing us at COVID19.email@example.com.
From my family to yours,
President and CEO
Staying Strong for our Members
We understand that now is the time that our Members need us most. As an essential service, our team is focused on providing you with the best possible service and expertise. We are delivering immediate measures to support you and our members during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are offering financial relief measures to help you navigate the challenges of job loss or a reduction of hours.
Staying Strong for our Communities – 120,000 Meals and Growing!
Families in all our communities are struggling to make ends meet and that includes putting food on the table. The Commonwell team has stepped up to support over 65 community food banks in Eastern and Central Ontario. Over 1,300 families will receive a week’s worth of food security on behalf of our members.
There are a myriad of programs coming on-line to help families in Ontario get through this crisis. In the short term, we can improve their situation immediately with food bank support. Over the longer term, we’ll focus our C.A.R.E program on helping our communities improve food security regardless of pandemics and other crisis situations.
The Commonwell team is also making almost 1,600 meals available to frontline care-givers in 41 long-term care homes in our communities. The meals will be delivered to their homes to further decrease their risk.
Short term, we’re sending our thanks to senior’s care staff by ensuring they don’t have to find food when they get home. Longer term, The Commonwell C.A.R.E. program will look at and impact the future of senior’s care in our communities.
Staying Strong for Individuals
If you are experiencing financial hardship, we’ll explore solutions with you to ease the pressure.
Our Members Face New Questions Daily
As a mutual insurance company, policy holders are actually members – together, we provide security and risk protection to individual businesses, farm, property owners, automotive owners and families in our communities. We are individuals together.
As such, we know all too well what our members are facing during the COVID crisis. We live where you live, our brokers are as connected to local conditions as anyone. We’re listening and we’re helping as much as we can.
Here are the questions we know you have – and the answers our team hopes will ease your worries and challenges.
FAQ on our “Pay It Forward” Initiative
Who is eligible to receive this one time $100 payment?
This one-time $100 payment will be mailed out to each of the more than 84,000 households that have been part of our membership (by having an in-force policy) up to and including April 30, 2020.
What if I have multiple policies – will I receive multiple payments?
No. Each household will receive one payment that they may use to ease personal financial pressure or pay it forward by donating the money to others in need in their community.
When and how will members receive their payment?
Each household in our membership will receive the $100 payment by mail. The cheques will be printed and mailed around the 1st of June. Members can expect this cheque to arrive within the first two weeks of June.
Why are you doing this?
As a mutual insurer, we are stepping forward to help our communities in a time of challenge that is affecting all of us. Our “Pay it Forward” initiative stems from the fact that we have been able to carry on business as an essential service while others have not.
It recognizes that while we can’t fix all problems, each of us, through individual decisions and individual actions, can make a difference.
Where do I go if I have questions now answered here?
If you have specific questions or concerns regarding this, please email us directly at COVID19.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is my broker or agent open for business? Can I still visit my brokers office to complete the review?
All Commonwell brokers and agents are available to serve you. While their “physical office” may not be open to the public, changes to your policy can be made over the phone or through email. Your broker or agent should really be your first call to get the advice you need about your policy and to find out what options are available to you for coverage that fits your needs.
To find a broker/agent near you, please visit https://thecommonwell.ca/find-a-broker/
I’m struggling financially as a result of COVID-I9 and I have missed a payment on my policy – will you automatically cancel my policy?
No. Given the current situation with COVID-19, we have temporarily changed our process to support you through this pandemic. We understand these are difficult times and we will make our best efforts to avoid automatic policy cancellations if you miss a monthly payment until further notice. We want to work with our Members on a case-by-case basis. If you received a notice from us regarding a missed payment or if you are aware that an upcoming payment will be missed we ask that you contact us directly to discuss your policy. Please contact our Billing Team at: 1-855-436-5883 (Billing department option 7) or email our Billing Team at email@example.com. Please Note: It is important to note “Payment Change” in the email subject line.
Why did I received a letter cancelling my Policy? How can I stop the cancellation?
If you have already missed a payment, you will receive a registered notice advising of the non-payment. To save you having to make a trip to the post office, we will also send a letter directly to you.
With this letter, you will also receive a special COVID-19 statement advising that we are waiving NSF fees. We ask that you contact us directly to discuss your policy. Please contact our Billing Team at: 1-855-436-5883 (Billing department option 7) or email our Billing Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please Note: It is important to note “Payment Change” in the email subject line.
May I defer my monthly payment?
We understand that you may need some additional financial relief. On a case by case basis, we may be able to provide a deferral of payment of up to one month in advance of you missing a payment. Please note that in order to accommodate the deferral, requests must be made a minimum of 8 days prior to the withdrawal date. We ask that you contact us directly to discuss your policy. Please contact our Billing Team at: 1-855-436-5883 (Billing department option 7) or email our Billing Team at email@example.com. Please Note: It is important to note “Payment Change” in the email subject line.
I’m not using my automobile to commute anymore so why am I paying the amount?
We understand that many of our members driving habits may have changed during this pandemic. You can obtain premium relief by contacting your broker to update your policy to reflect your current situation. You can save 10-30% by updating your vehicle use or save up to 75% of your premium if you are no longer driving your vehicle and would like to retain limited coverage.
What if my Business Property is unoccupied during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Many commercial property policies include an exclusion for property that have been vacant, unoccupied or shut down for more than thirty days. Considering current circumstances, businesses that were forced to close due to the state of emergency will not be considered unoccupied or shut down in the context of this exclusion. Please speak to your broker to ensure you take the necessary precautions to protect your property.
I’m a business owner and my operation has reduced as a result of COVID-19. What can be done to reduce my premium?
Members with business policies can look for premium relief through the updating of operational receipts. Depending on your current situation, updating your gross receipts, stock and content inventory could reduce your annual premium. Further consider the vehicles associated with your business, are you still completing deliveries? Are you still visiting job-sites? These changes could also provide financial relief.
I’m a Farmer and my operation has reduced as a result of COVID-19. What can be done to reduce my premium?
Like the above, Members that own a Farm Policy with The Commonwell can look at reviewing the current state of their operation, as well. Particularly farms that specialize in agri-entertainment, custom farming and the retail sale of produce could see premiums reduced relative to their updated receipts.
Additionally, look at the vehicles used in the operation of your farm, are you still delivering products? Still using that vehicle for sales calls? If not, please contact your broker or agent to discuss.
I am not allowed to travel to my cottage or seasonal property during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Will my policy continue to cover my property?
Yes. Your seasonal property coverage will continue during the pandemic. Please speak to your broker to ensure you take the necessary precautions to protect your property.
I am working from home now due to the social distancing requirements for COVID-19. Do I need additional insurance, or will I be covered?
We understand most people are now working from home. The great news is that your Commonwell Policy covers for this situation. It’s great peace of mind. You can rest assured that you have coverage during this time – without any further cost and you do not need to take any action.
I’m babysitting children in my home – do I need additional coverage?
No, you don’t need additional coverage. The great news is that as an existing Member, while there is normally a cost to have this coverage, we will automatically extend your coverage for this situation. We want to support you so that you can confidently provide temporary childcare or babysitting services to assist families impacted by COVID-19. Provided the number of children does not exceed a total of five children under the age of 13, we will automatically extend your coverage at no charge for the duration of the current pandemic.
What if I want to cancel my automobile policy?
While there is typically a mid-term cancellation charge by most insurers, we have led the industry to waive these charges during the current pandemic. We ask that you contact your broker for alternatives before cancelling as well as review contract obligations you might have if your automobile is financed or leased.