When employees think about their benefits plan, the benefits that most often come to mind are for prescription drugs, massages, and maybe a dental check-up every year.  However, I’m confident that if you were to ask any Benefits Advisor or Consultant, he or she would swiftly tell you that benefit plans are so – SO – much more than that!  These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what a plan can provide for employees and their families.

Many people – employees and employers alike – are surprised by just how extensive an employee benefits plan can be.  They’re often also surprised by how much a plan can do for an employee’s physical, mental, and financial well-being.  If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that our well-being is something we can no longer take for granted.  And having an employee benefits plan is one of the best ways to stay protected.

There are two cornerstones of a benefit plan that deserve a lot more attention than they typically receive: Life Insurance and financial protection in the event of a disability or illness, namely, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance.  These benefits are often included in benefit plans but are not touted enough for the critically important protection they provide.

Benefits Canada reported recently that many people between the ages of 30-50 have no Life Insurance outside of what is provided through their employee benefits plan.   On the one hand, this makes for a hefty responsibility for employers.  But on the other hand, employers who provide their employees with a strong Life Insurance benefit have a competitive advantage that helps them attract and retain top talent.

As for Disability Insurance, Wiegers Financial & Benefits is passionate about including it in every benefits plan.  The reality is that many employees work paycheck to paycheck, and in the event of a severe or prolonged illness or injury, most don’t have enough money saved to be able to weather the storm financially.  Disability Insurance is very often a financial lifeline that enables employees to focus their time and energy on getting better instead of stressing about how they’re going to pay their bills.   And it’s apparent that the pandemic’s impact on mental health and disability is not going to lessen any time soon.  This Benefits Canada article speaks to how the majority of Canadian employers are prioritizing mental well-being, and Disability Insurance benefits are a key part of what they’re doing about it.

If you’re like a lot of Canadians who believe that employee benefit plans are most important for getting their prescription drugs paid for or their massages covered, I encourage you to delve into the details of your plan.  You’ll likely be surprised by what you learn, and you’ll be in a better position to know what you can be, or should consider, doing outside of your plan to protect your well-being.  Your personal financial advisor will be a great asset to you in advising you on a good path to take, and then actually putting these wheels into motion.  But always remember that your benefits plan is likely doing more for you than you realize so be sure to provide your advisor with all of the details.  Your benefits plan is there to help take care of you; let it do all that it can!


Jewelian Berry

Benefits Account Manager

Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services Ltd.