Protecting Your Employees

What to look for in a comprehensive benefits package

November, 2004 – Today’s employees are looking at more than just a competitive salary when choosing a company to work for. Benefits, work-life balance and career development opportunities are also important. Many companies see their employees as their most valuable asset and a comprehensive benefits package is an effective way to attract and retain skilled staff.

While many people automatically think of health and dental coverage when reviewing group benefit options, there are other insurance products and services which also need to be considered. In addition to reviewing coverage for dental care and prescription drugs, you should think about income protection and life insurance as well as value-added employee services.

“Income protection and life insurance products should definitely be part of a complete benefits package,” said Neil Skelding, president & CEO, RBC Insurance. “Some smaller businesses may be under the impression they cannot afford this kind of coverage for their employees, but there are a number of plans out there that are designed specifically to meet the needs of small businesses – even those with under 10 employees.”

Here are some features to look for in an employee benefits package:

Disability insurance

When choosing an income protection plan for short term and long term disabilities, it’s important to look beyond just the income replacement of traditional plans. You need a well-managed program with an overall approach that focuses on removing obstacles and helping people return to productive participation in the workforce. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Does the program provide a variety of options, such as variable plan designs and elimination periods, so you can tailor the coverage to fit your company?

  • If there is a potential for a long term disability claim, does your short term disability plan have an early intervention process that can help reduce the duration of the long term disability?

  • Will your plan help employees and their families cope with illness or injury through employee assistance programs and also provide referral to quality medical care and rehabilitation benefits?

  • Does the plan support employee productivity and return to work efforts by providing disability benefits while the insured is working at reduced capacity?

Critical illness insurance

Some companies offer options such as a critical illness benefit as part of their group insurance plans. Critical illness insurance pays a one-time lump sum benefit upon diagnosis of an insured critical illness, such as cancer or a heart attack and can protect your employees against the costs of recovering from a serious illness. Depending on an employee’s age, health and financial situation, this could be a valuable benefit.

Group Life Insurance

Employees often look to their employers to protect their lifestyles in case the unexpected happens. Life insurance can provide added financial protection for your employees and their families in the event of a death. This type of coverage can help pay the mortgage, cover funeral costs, allow for child care and pay for college. Employers can make it easy for employees to protect their families by offering a group life insurance plan.

In addition to basic life insurance coverage, companies might want to think about providing life insurance for dependents, voluntary life insurance (to top up basic coverage), as well as coverage for accidental death and dismemberment. Again, it’s important to compare different plans for value-added options to determine what plan would be best for your employees. For example, some plans will waive the life insurance premium during an employee disability or allow employees to keep their life coverage at the same group rate if they change jobs or retire.

Other value-added services to look for include:

  • Work-Life Employee Assistance Program, which offers confidential telephone referral and support with workplace and everyday issues for insured employees and their families.

  • Best Doctors®, which provides insured employees with a unique combination of information and access to the leading medical care services when it matters most.

To find out more about offering RBC Life Insurance Company products, please contact RBC Insurance at 1-866-235-4332.

RBC Insurance, through its operating entities, including RBC Life Insurance Company, provides a wide range of creditor, life, health, travel, home, auto and reinsurance products to more than five million North American clients. As one of the top 10 life insurance producers and the leading provider of individual living benefits in Canada, RBC Life Insurance Company offers a comprehensive portfolio of individual and group life and health insurance solutions. These products are distributed through more than 17,000 independent brokers affiliated with producer groups, financial planning firms and stock brokerage firms, as well as through direct sales and a network of career sales representatives. For more information, please visit