Employee BenefitsRed Line

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Employee benefits are becoming more and more prevalent among Canadian businesses as employees become more and more demanding of them.

At Orr Insurance & Investment, our benefits team will work closely with you to help retain and attract good employees for your business by offering the best, most cost effective benefits plan. What sets Orr Insurance apart from other benefits advisors is our team, which consists of father/son duo Jim and Chris Redfern. Our team focuses solely on employee benefits – so you know you’re going to get the attention your benefits plan needs. When your plan renews, Jim and Chris will go through it with a fine tooth comb and negotiate with the insurer to get you the appropriate rates for your plan. You won’t just receive an email telling you of your benefits plan increase. Jim and Chris will sit down with you and go through the renewal, and discuss cost saving techniques and different ways of funding your plan, or explore moving insurers.

Different types of group benefits plans

Question MarkTraditional Benefits Plan

A traditional benefits plan is the most common type that business owners implement. Companies like Manulife, Sun Life and Great-West life sell these types of plans. Orr Insurance deals with these companies, as well as companies like Empire Life, Equitable Life, Benecaid, and many more. A typical plan design for an employee benefits plan would include drug coverage, other health coverage and dental coverage. These plans offer much more than just those things, like travel insurance coverage and life/disability coverage.

Question MarkAdministrative Services Only (ASO) plan

This is a different way of funding your benefits plan. Essentially, you self-insure the day-to-day expenses (like drugs, dental, and other small health expenses) and insure the big stuff (like life insurance and long-term disability). With a traditional style plan, if you use 40% of premium you don’t get that 60% back at the end of the year. With ASO, you do. Your essentially giving the company your own money to pay claims, and if there is money left over you’re able to do whatever you want with it. But what if an employee gets very sick, and requires thousands of dollars of drugs every year? You will self-fund that employees drug costs up to a certain point (for example $4,000/person/year), and then what we call a Stop Loss Insurance Plan will kick in. The employee will see no difference in coverage, but you will no longer self-fund their drug costs anymore, the insurance plan will. This ensures that you won’t have an open-ended liability if someone were to need a high cost drug.

Question MarkFlex Plan

Do you want to offer your employees flexibility in the coverage they choose? Orr Insurance is able to sell a plan called myFlex, offered through Equitable Life. With this plan, you as the employer will choose a path to offer your employees, which will have 3 options for them to choose from. If you have employees who believe they do not need a lot of coverage, this plan is great for them as they can choose the lesser option of the 3, and possibly have flex dollars left over to spend on anything medically necessary. Jim and Chris have many clients who have taken this flex plan, and have had nothing but great things to say about it. Renewals are more favourable as it is a pooled product (your claims experience means significantly less to your rates as your experience is pooled across Canada), and renewals are once every 2 years, instead of every year.

What is covered

A group benefits plan can cover what you want it to cover. Anything from life insurance, to disability and health/dental – there are many different ways to create a plan design that will fit your employee’s needs.

Here are a few of the things that can be covered under a group benefits plans for your employee’s:

Question MarkExtended Healthcare

  • Red TickPrescription drugs
  • Red TickTravel Coverage
  • Red TickVision
  • Red TickMassage Therapist, Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, Osteopath, Naturopath, Podiatrist, Acupuncturist, Dietitian, Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Clinical Counsellor, Speech Pathologist/Therapist, and more
  • Red TickOrthotics
  • Red TickAmbulance Services
  • Red TickHomecare Nursing (Registered Nurse, PSW, Occupational Therapist)
  • Red TickProsthetic Appliances
  • Red TickAccidental Death & Dismemberment

Question MarkDental

  • Red TickBasic Services: fillings, cleanings, scalings, examinations, polishings, and select extractions
  • Red TickAnnual check-ups
  • Red TickOral Surgery
  • Red TickPeriodontics
  • Red TickEndodontics (root canal)
  • Red TickMajor Dental (orthodontics, crowns, bridges, dentures)

Question MarkAdd-ons – with select plans there are a few “add-ons” that you can have included for an additional premium:

  • Red TickEmployee and Family Assistance Program (EAP) – depending on which insurer you go with, an EAP is either included in the price or can be added for an additional premium. An EAP is designed to help employees not bring their personal issues into the workplace. The EAP will give them and their dependents access to counsellors by phone, as well as therapists.
  • Red TickBest Doctor’s– Best Doctor’s is a second opinion service that is either included or can be added to a group plan. A second opinion service is designed to allow employees to reach out to medical professionals for a second opinion regarding a medical diagnosis.
  • Red TickHR Services – most insurers will allow the addition of Human Resources services for your HR department to use. These services include consultations with HR experts and access to tools/forms online.
  • Red TickVirtual Healthcare – most insurers will allow you to add virtual healthcare to your group plan. Virtual healthcare gives employees access to consultations with nurse practitioners and doctor’s by phone/video call and texting. Employees can get medical advice and fill prescriptions all through a mobile app.

Question MarkWhat it costs

The price of the plan will depend on two things: which plan design you choose and the demographics of your group of employees (age, male/female, occupation). The plan design is fully customizable by you, and can include certain benefits or exclude them. Feel free to contact us and we can send you a quote. We will have you fill out some employee data and discuss plan design with you, and then gather quotes from insurers to find the best deal possible.


Question MarkWill my employees share in the cost of the premium?

This is completely up to you as the employer – you can decide to have your employees share in a certain percentage of the premium, or have them pay nothing at all. We see many clients have their employees pay 50% of the overall premiums, and we also see many only have their employees pay for one benefit. In Ontario it is required that employers pay at least 50% of the overall premium for the benefits plan.

Question MarkWill employees get a drug card and access online?

Employees will either receive a physical drug card or a digital one (depending on which insurer the plan is with). They will also have access to a plan member site where they will have access to many tools allowing them to submit claims, see if certain claims would be covered and find services to help them deal with stress. They will also have access to a mobile app, depending on the insurer.

Question MarkCan Orr Insurance take over servicing my benefits plan?

Yes – a simple form can be signed and our brokers can start servicing your benefits plan and help you manage renewals, change plan designs and move to a different product, if need be.

Question MarkAre there cancellation fees when moving insurers?

No. You can move brokers and or insurers at any point in time with no cancellation fees.

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Your Orr Insurance Broker can help you determine the appropriate group benefits plan for your business, provide tips on how to attract and retain good employees, and shop the market for the policy options and premiums that work best for you.


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