The big debates around the merits of the Conservative government’s federal budget bill are centred in the areas of retirement and environmental protection. However, the immediate reaction from two senior voices in the insurance industry to the Budget was positive.
On March 29, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered the bill that commits to discussing with the provinces the development of a national disaster mitigation program. The budget also proposes “up to $99.2 million over three years to assist the provinces and territories with the cost of permanent flood mitigation measures undertaken for the 2011 floods.”
Insurance Bureau of Canada CEO Don Forgeron is also encouraged that the government is committed to discussing issues associated with the impact of severe weather. ”As the insurance industry, we are concerned with climate adaptation issues. We want governments at all levels, the private sector, citizens and community groups to come together for an effective severe weather adaptation strategy,” he said in an IBC release.
Similarly, the immediate reaction from the life and health side of the industry was a statement from the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association that the industry was pleased to see a commitment to introduce legislation to require federally-regulated employers to insure the long-term disability (LTD) plans offered to employees.
“This is extremely meaningful for Canadian employees who work for companies under federal jurisdiction. Insuring LTD plans is the only way to fully protect those who become disabled if their employer goes bankrupt,” says Frank Swedlove, president of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA). “We believe the provinces should adopt similar legislation so all workers are protected.”