Travel INSURANCE TIPS Europe has always been a favourite vacation destination for Canadians. Due to good international relationships with European countries, travel has been easy and hassle-free. But before you plan your trip to Europe, make sure you are informed about the new entrance requirements. In addition to a passport or visa, some European countries are now requiring proof of travel insurance. According to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine will not allow entry without insurance. As your provincial or territorial healthcare plan may not meet the European coverage requirements for health insurance, travellers are encouraged to purchase additional private insurance. <strong>Group</strong> insurance plans such as yours will often meet or exceed these requirements. Before you embark on your European adventure be sure to find out about your destination’s entrance requirements at: www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/menu-eng.asp Look for the countries you are planning to visit to find out if your insurance meets the minimum requirements for entry. Any requirements can be found under the Entry/ Exit Requirements section of each page. Be aware that requirements can change from day to day. Be prepared and enjoy your vacation to the fullest. – Reproduced from the Spring <strong>2012</strong> issue of WEST, <strong>Western</strong> Canada’s magazine School Bus Safety September means back to school for our children – it's important to know the safety rules regarding school bus flashing lights. A school bus with flashing amber lights means it's about to stop. You must prepare to stop. When you approach a school bus with flashing red lights (whether from the front or back), you must stop at least 5 metres (15 ft.) from the bus. Remember that children may be crossing the street in front of the bus – wait for the flashing lights to turn off before proceeding. Passing a school bus with flashing lights could result in the injury or even death of a child, and a heavy fine / demerit points on your license. Help keep our children safe – stop for school buses! – Bert Walker, Assistant Vice-President, Claims & Personal Lines COMMERCIAL INSURANCE Used with permission of <strong>Western</strong> <strong>Financial</strong> <strong>Group</strong> Paris Street Carbon Monoxide Sipan Island, Croatia Take Precautions while Travelling The same safety rules apply while abroad as at home, only more so. Foreigners are usually at greater risk than locals. In some countries, foreigners are specifically targeted: • Be sure not to wander into unknown areas – find out how safe they are first. • Never leave drinks unattended while in bars or nightclubs and never accept food or drink from strangers. Drugs may be present that could put you at risk of assault / robbery. • Watch your luggage and make sure it is locked. • Never take anything, even an envelope, across a border for someone else. • Do not display large amounts of money or expensive jewellery in public. • Use a money belt or a case with concealed sections for valuables. • Keep a separate record of your traveller’s cheques and credit cards. • Never carry your passport, travel tickets, identification documents, cash, credit cards, and insurance papers together. If you do so, you risk being left with no identification or funds in case of theft or loss. • Use the safety deposit box at your hotel. Never leave valuables in your room. – Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that can occur in homes and buildings as a by-product of a fuel burning process. CO is colourless, odourless, tasteless and non-irritating – but it can be deadly. Appliances such as furnaces, kitchen stoves, hot water heaters and automobiles can produce carbon monoxide if not provided with adequate fresh air to allow proper combustion and ventilation. When a faulty or unusual condition exists – such as incomplete combustion or a cracked heat exchanger in a furnace – carbon monoxide may be vented into areas where people are present. At times, wood burning fireplaces / wood stoves can draw a lot of air from the room up into the chimney. If a furnace is located and running in the vicinity of the wood stove and does not have a fresh air intake, it can result in fumes and carbon monoxide from the furnace to be drawn back into the room rather than up the chimney. Carbon monoxide poisoning may be difficult to diagnose. Its symptoms are similar to the flu, which may include headache, nausea, fatigue and dizzy spells. Often a sign of carbon monoxide build up is plants with wilting leaves. Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: • Have your heating appliances and chimneys checked annually by a qualified contractor. • Install a fresh air intake for your furnace and wood fired appliances. • Annually inspect and clean wood burning stoves and chimneys to ensure proper combustion and ventilation. • Do NOT run your car for extended periods inside your garage – even with the garage door open. Carbon Monoxide in the exhaust will build up and if your garage is attached to your house, CO will seep into your house. • Do NOT use wood, oil or kerosene fired space heaters in your home or garage unless vented to the outside with an approved chimney. • Do NOT use barbecues inside your home or garage even if the doors are open. If your garage is attached to your home, the fumes could find their way into the house and collect in the lower levels. Trevi Fountain, Rome EMPLOYEE BENEFITS Life <strong>Insurance</strong> Coverage Your group benefits plan may offer you a Life <strong>Insurance</strong> benefit – but do you have enough coverage for your spouse and dependents to maintain their standard of living if something were to happen to you? When determining the amount of Life <strong>Insurance</strong> required consider immediate needs such as funeral expenses, debts, taxes and legal fees, as well as ongoing costs such as educational expenses, food, taxes, housing costs, etc. To meet the need for additional Life <strong>Insurance</strong>, your policy may provide Optional Life <strong>Insurance</strong> for you and your spouse. This would allow employees to add additional coverage to the Life <strong>Insurance</strong> amounts provided through the group plan. Employees would need to be medically underwritten for Optional Life <strong>Insurance</strong> coverage and are generally responsible for <strong>10</strong>0% of the premium if approved. Contact your Customer Service Representative for more information. If the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sounds: – Stephen Redmond, Manager, Employee Benefits Service Centre Installing a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home could save your family’s lives! 1. If the CO alarm sounds in your home – yell to alert / wake up occupants. 2. Immediately open doors and windows to get fresh air into the house and dilute any carbon monoxide in the air. 3. Check the house to make sure everyone is awake and moving around. 4. Determine if anyone is exhibiting symptoms of CO poisoning – headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness. 5. If there are any signs of CO poisoning, evacuate the building and get occupants out into fresh air. 6. Call 911 from a neighbour’s house / cell phone, advise of possible CO problem and request an ambulance. 7. Shut down any equipment / appliance that is found to be suspect and have it checked immediately. 8. Once levels of CO have been reduced to a safe level attempt to reset the detector(s) and allow occupants to enter the building if alarm is clear. – Ken Fingler, Director, Risk Management
PRIVACY ACT <strong>Group</strong> <strong>Insurance</strong> Solutions is focused on respecting your privacy and maintaining confidentiality of information. We have safeguards in place to protect your personal, business, and financial information which adheres to the Ten Privacy Principles as covered by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act (www.privcom.gc.ca). Access Premium Coverage Online Did you know that Premium Coverage is available online at www.westernfgis.ca? By accessing Premium Coverage online, you will receive an email as soon as the newsletter is available. If you would prefer to receive an email notification over a printed copy of the newsletter, please email email@example.com. Publication Mail Agreement #40051431 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO: <strong>Group</strong> <strong>Insurance</strong> Solutions 777 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3G 0N3 Habitat for Humanity Home Dedication Last October, employee volunteers from <strong>Group</strong> <strong>Insurance</strong> Solutions worked together to help build affordable Winnipeg housing. A grant provided by the <strong>Western</strong> Communities Foundation went towards building the home sustainably, incorporating the highest level of energy efficiency, water efficiency, and environmental design. We were very proud to attend the home dedication on May 23, <strong>2012</strong> where the keys were presented to the deserving new homeowners. Our Employees Have Spirit! <strong>Group</strong> <strong>Insurance</strong> Solutions employees have been very busy over the last couple of months, getting involved in the community and supporting some great causes! On June 13 th we walked in support of The <strong>Western</strong> Communities Foundation. Funds raised are used to place a defibrillator in every <strong>Western</strong> <strong>Financial</strong> <strong>Group</strong> community and sponsor the Exceptional Achievement Citation and Bursary Awards. On June 21 st we rode in the Big Bike Ride raising funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Our next Habitat for Humanity build is September 26-28 th – we will help make affordable housing SUPPORT THE CAUSE DAY BIG BIKE RIDE HABITAT FOR HUMANITY accessible to low-income families who could not otherwise afford to own a home.