This blog post is brought to you by one of our Culture Teams - Freedom2Green.
TAGLINE: Think Green. Live Green. Be Green.
ABSTRACT: The Green Ambassadors of LOGiQ3. To promote and encourage being green in the workplace, at home and in the community through reusing, reducing, and recycling initiatives. The ultimate goal is to create a sustainable and responsible environment, for ourselves and for others.
Summer is upon us and it’s the perfect time to start thinking about how we can reduce our carbon footprint and be green. We are lucky to live in a city where we hear so much about being green, and there are so many resources available for us to live green. In this series we will share stories from people who are living a green life, and share tips for ways that everyone can be green in a big city.
To kick off the series I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips and ideas for indoor and outdoor gardening in the city.
Outdoor gardens are beautiful in the summer, but on those dry days they need some watering. A great way to preserve water and have a flourishing garden is to collect rain water. If collecting rain water just remember to seal the container with an air tight lid once full. This will prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
If you don’t have a yard where you live or you live in a condo or an apartment, a good way to do some outdoor gardening is to join a community garden. Community gardens are a great way to get to know other members of your community and maybe share your love of gardening. There is also the benefit of getting fresh, organic produce at a low cost, if the garden is a vegetable garden.
Indoor gardening is quite easy and can be done at any time of the year. The end of Spring going into Summer is the perfect time to start an indoor garden. There are quite a few indoor plants that will root from cuttings, with some water or soil, lots of sun, and maybe some rooting fertilizer. Once the rooting is finished and the baby plant has been transferred to a pot with soil, you should have a nice indoor plant by the fall or winter. One caution about indoor plants, many are poisonous if ingested and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
Another indoor gardening idea is to create a kitchen garden. Many markets and groceries will start selling seeds and seedlings for vegetables, fruits, and herbs in the Spring. The vegetables and fruits may not last through the Winter, but at least you’ll have fresh fruit and vegetables at hand in the Summer. Herbs will last through the Winter if taken care of and you are sure to have fresh herbs all year round, as well as a lovely smelling kitchen.
I hope these tips and ideas have been useful. Look forward to our next installment and remember to Think Green, Live Green, Be Green!
Interest in learning more about our unique culture? Flip through our 2013 Culture Book!
TAI users (including Lisa Clarke and I) from everywhere descended upon Washington, DC for the Annual TAI User Group Conference. The recurring theme of this year’s conference was “Innovation”. Several presenters spoke about the need for innovation in insurance with regards to product offerings and solutions around Long Term Care, Pension and Disability Income.
This led to conversation promoting the need for creative and innovative solutions for insurers and reinsurers to manage and administer the new products and solutions.
While listening to the presenters, our tag line, “Freedom To Think” kept running through my mind. At LOGiQ3, we are encouraged to think openly and freely. We are constantly working together to create new ideas or methods to provide our clients with the most efficient and effective framework possible. Even now, I am intrigued to learn more about the longevity risk market and the various products that will be introduced as this market grows.
Another interesting discussion was around the 2012 Election, its effects on the insurance industry and new federal legislation on the horizon. There are numerous changes expected over the next few years. I found the presenter’s discussion of the Federal Insurance Office and the new designation of Systemically Important Financial Institutions, arising from the financial downfall and bailouts in the US in past years, to be particularly interesting. The idea that if a company is designated as a Systemically Important Financial Institution, they will now be regulated by the Federal Government, and by virtue of the regulation, their cost of doing business will now be higher than before, is compelling.
Staying informed on legislation and how it can potentially impact our clients and the way they do business is imperative. Identifying ways to be a resource and provide a centralized wealth of knowledge to our clients around upcoming federal legislation and regulation before they become effective is essential. I want to learn everything I can about the upcoming changes… My curiosity has been piqued.
There were 9 unique breakout sessions, which provided detailed overviews of TAI System Enhancements in both Mainframe and .NET and training for users to IT staff. The conference included sessions reviewing Retention Management, Exception & Audit Reporting, Treaty Setup Guidelines, Recaptures and a Treaty Training Module presented by RAPA. Each session provided a comprehensive review, and allowed for a discussion between TAI staff and conference attendees.
As an active contributor of the audit services team, I found the Exception & Audit Reports & Processing Session provided valuable insight into the numerous reports that can be integrated as a part of the monthly cycle or a separate audit cycle. The presenters provided set up options in their presentation and common and recommended usage. I believe this was an important session, as it will allow us the opportunity to provide an added value to our clients around customizable best practices for exception and audit report set up based on their portfolio of business.
What were some of your major takeaways from the TAI User Group Conference? Were there other topics or discussions that would be helpful to you as a TAI user?
I would love to know your thoughts! Please feel free to comment below.
Thanks for reading!
Brittainy Pratt is a Consultant at LOGiQ3 Corp.
Did you hear?! We launched our very first iPad App! Download the Life Advisor Guide now for only $9.99 USD!
The Eastern Claims Conference once again kicked off as the first claims conference of the year. It was well attended and the general discussions continued to be 1) managing the various state requirements with respect to Unclaimed Property, 2) Foreign Claims and 3) Accidental Death claims. On Unclaimed Property there’s a lot of effort being undertaken and it’s an ongoing process as companies comply on a state-by-state basis, at least initially.
The challenging world of Foreign Claims had a few individuals approach me after my presentation and ask for tips on how to verify the legitimate claims and avoid the fraudulent claims. Right now South and Central America appear to be the locations causing more challenges, as does Mexico. Unfortunately we’re finding any country that’s in turmoil or where the authorities have a difficult time maintaining law and order is also more likely to be the one where it’ll be most challenging to verify the authenticity of documents.
One of the speakers in a seminar made the key observation with regards to Accidental Deaths: “the courts continue to indicate if the insurer did not want to cover a certain event, it should have specifically excluded it in the contract”. In a nutshell, it still boils down to jurisdiction, the court’s interpretation of the contract wording and the event leading to death. While some states may consider an event an accident for insurance purposes, other states may say it isn’t. Clearly there’s no single correct version that will apply to all 50 states – know your contract and know the jurisdiction!
Also heard a lot about state and reinsurer audits. State audits appear to be happening with more frequency and tend to be a long process – taking weeks if not longer to complete. On the other hand, reinsurer audits take a few days and by comparison ceding companies are happy to see their reinsurer. Some see it as an opportunity to “pick your reinsurer’s brain” and I know when we do audits we’re always open to sharing our knowledge and information.
Do you consider your reinsurer as a partner? Do you welcome their audit and use it as an opportunity to get more information from the audit team that arrives on your doorstep and stays a few days?
Let me know what you think by commenting below – I’d love to hear from you
Thanks for reading,
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I often hear people say: “not enough people bring solutions to the table”.
Of course when
someone says this, it’s usually because they’re frustrated with people complaining to them about problems but not offering any solutions. Interestingly, I find it to be a bigger problem, when working in a group, too many solutions are brought to the table.
You're probably thinking, how can this be a problem?!
Well, the problem is that when everyone brings solutions to the table, more time is spent on their solution, defending their solution, and making their solution fit. In addition, the frustration level rises when others don’t see how “perfect” their solution is.
What gets overlooked is the potential of working together in building out a solution that works by addressing all the stakeholders' requirements. When everyone around the table is willing to listen to all the needs, desires, and requirements, a better solution will likely be brought forward.
At LOGiQ3, many of our life insurance consulting and outsourcing businesses were developed by getting stakeholders to work together, to bring requirements not solutions to the table. When we work on a consulting opportunity for our customer base we can often act as a facilitator to help various stakeholders work together in this manner resulting in optimized solutions, and as importantly the stakeholders feeling much more engaged and supportive of each other.
So next time you bring that group together, don’t ask them to bring solutions to the table. Instead ask them to not bring solutions, but instead to bring requirements! You’ll find you get a better solution in the end!
What are your thoughts on bringing solutions to the table? Let me know by commenting below.
Thanks for reading,
Doug Paul, Managing Consultant, LOGiQ3 can be reached here.
A few things worthy to mention that occurred in 2012 both in the life insurance and reinsurance market and at LOGiQ3.
2012 In Review – The Life Insurance and Reinsurance Industry
The life insurance and reinsurance industry continued to go through significant change during 2012. On the direct writer side several transactions changed the landscape, Prudential's acquisition of Hartford Life and Swiss Re’s sale of Admin Re business to Jackson National, just to name a couple. All conversations I have heard suggest this activity will continue into 2013 and beyond as global companies prepare for new solvency and regulatory requirements.
In an earlier blog post, Simon discussed a presentation at last year’s RAPA meeting by Chris Shanahan of Hannover Life Re which highlights another very important point. Chris pointed out some incredible facts on the change of reinsurance cession rates in the US market and how that is changing the relative scale, and importance, of inforce blocks compared to new business, to reinsurers. This change is requiring organizations to focus on more robust operational environments.
The other large theme of 2012 was regulation and compliance. In my conversations with direct writers, reinsurers or retrocessionaires this is always a hot topic. It feels like more time these days is being spent on sorting out compliance structures than actually designing and selling products. Clearly this is not the intent but is the consequence. Looking into 2013, as ORSA (Own Risk and Solvency Assessment) continues to take hold, expect this conversation to continue.
2012 In Review – LOGiQ3
Not unlike the overall industry we work in, LOGiQ3 changed went through a few transformations as well. A few of our highlights…
Carmela Tedesco continues to build out our underwriting capabilities and added several staff to her team. Carmela hired very bright recent graduates, put them through our very own LOGiQ3 underwriting training program then added them to both the consulting and outsourcing parts of our business. They have done incredibly well and have proven that with the right combination of student, teacher and content you can build great underwriters in months, not years.
2012 was the second year we went through the SSAE16, CICA 5970, and ISAE 3402 international audit process. It doesn’t get easier. As our auditors become more familiar with us and the services we offer they know more, question more and test more. All good things as the goal of this exercise is to prove to ourselves and our clients we have a mature business and processes which are adequately controlled.
During 2012 we partnered with a distribution industry professional, Doug Paul, to assess the feasibility of developing a Canadian industry initiative (read more here) for MGA’s and insurance companies on agent contracting, screening, and compliance monitoring. 'We know the need exists and we are well down the path of developing a solution in this space. The proposed solution builds on the core competencies we have developed in building outsourced solutions that are compliant with today's security and regulatory standards. We will also leverage the operational Audit capabilities we have at LOGiQ3.
Our “theme” for the year was maturity and growth. 2012 was year seven for LOGiQ3 and when you include the two years prior, working on projects which formed the foundation and inspired the creation of LOGiQ3, it was year nine. We are no longer a new company, nor are we small. Both require more control, structure and maturity. We will continue to do that in a way that is consistent with our maxims, but rest assured it will change. Similar to the industry overall, our change at LOGiQ3 will also continue into 2013 and beyond.
All the best in 2013,
Chris Murumets is the CEO of LOGiQ3 - Find out how you can reach Chris.
First off, Happy New Year to you! I hope you took some time off during the holidays to spend with family and friends, doing what we do best - eat, drink, indulge, sleep, and repeat.
With the start of a new year, comes the time to make a list of New Year's resolutions. I decided to go down a different path this year. Instead of coming up with the usual list of unachievable resolutions, I came up with Six Nonconventional New Year's Resolutions:
- EAT MORE ... superfoods. Superfoods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help fight against aging, prevent cancer and other diseases, boost energy and much more. According to Women's Health Magazine, the new 8 superfoods to get your hands on are: kefir (in place of yogurt), jicama (a root vegetable), chia (think sesame seeds), sprouts (so good on sandwiches!), black garlic (why not?), kelp (variety of forms), nutritional yeast (sprinkle on popcorn), and barley (instead of rice or pasta). Instead of concentrating on a stringent diet, look to substitute your less healthy foods with superfoods instead. Though not named in the list above, my personal favourite is quinoa!
- SPEND LESS TIME AT THE GYM ... exercise outside. We all know that physical activity has been known to reduce the risk of chronic conditions, help improve mood, sleep patterns, and increase productivity. However, spending more time at the gym is not the only way to get your exercise in. In 2013, try getting your fix outside. Exercising outside allows you to take in more Vitamin D and eliminates excuses such as, "I don't have time to work out because I can't get to the gym". At LOGiQ3, we've encouraged our employees to get outside and and get active. In 2012, our Health and Wellness committee organized weekly walking challenges during lunch time. There are plenty of simple exercises you can do outside to boost your activity.
- BE AN INTROVERT ... join the "Quiet Revolution". A few of us had the pleasure to hear Susan Cain speak at several conferences in 2012. Susan wrote a book titled "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" (Chris' blog post after seeing Susan Cain). We have been taught to be "extroverted" in order to be more successful in the world. Susan's research shows the value introverts bring to society and from studies, illustrate that many of us are natural introverts but due to social economics have learned to become "pretend extroverts". Why not take the time in 2013 to truly get a sense of who you are and empower your introverted characteristics?
- BECOME A FOLLOWER ... explore Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. I personally can go on and on about the importance of exploring social media (read some of my recent social media blog posts). In 2012, I've seen, first hand, a few colleagues making that "I will never" leap into social media. If you haven't done so already, try it in 2013. Don't be overwhelmed by the fast paced change, instead, tackle bite size chunks and join the social media conversation.
- SLEEP IN ... get more sleep. I've read an article once in HBR that stated, sleep is more important than food. Similar to how food will energize you, so will sleep. With sufficient sleep, you will feel better, be more productive, more focus, able to manage your emotions better, therefore ready to tackle 2013! Researchers find that over 95% of us require 7-8 hours of sleep every 24 hours. If you find yourself not getting enough sleep, try to hit the sack earlier, start winding down an hour before you get to bed (that is, stop working by your computer, your iPad, your phone, etc.), try something relaxing, and clear your mind of any unfinished business for the day, recharge, and begin again bright and early.
- QUIT YOUR JOB ... become an entrepreneur. I suppose I don't mean this literally. What I really mean is, if you've got a glimpse of entrepreneurship in you, or have an idea, don't be afraid to chase after it. If that means quitting your job and going on your own, or bringing up a "this will never work" type of idea to your boss - don't be afraid to explore that entrepreneur in you. I've made a leap of faith earlier this year and started my own hobbie blog, it now attracts over 2,500 readers per month, when do you plan on making your move?
I hope you found this post inspiring and gave you a few ideas to get started in 2013.
I'd love to hear about your 'nonconventional' New Year's Resolutions, please share your thoughts with me by commenting below.
Natalie Ho is Assistant Vice President at LOGiQ3
. Natalie can be reached via Email
, and Twitter
You’ve decided that you need to get outside experts involved in your underwriting auditing process, or any auditing process for that matter. There are a few key questions you should be asking when hiring external experts to assist you (note, these questions work for claims and administration audits too).
The drivers behind the decision to seek external experts doesn't matter. Whether it’s because you have a shortage or lack of skills in-house (you either never had them or the auditor you had recently retired) or you want to increase the number of audits that you want to do. The decision has been made that you need to hire external experts to do your auditing. So now what? What process should you be following to make a choice?
Here are four questions to ask in order to hire the auditor with the right fit and have a successful audit completed.
- What is the process at my company for hiring an external provider? – Many larger organizations will have procurement departments with staff dedicated to supporting the process of hiring external providers. If you personally have never hired an external provider and you have a procurement area, this will likely be the best place to start. The pros of having this department at your disposal are that they will have much of the process already mapped out, such as the RFP (Request for Pricing/Proposal) templates through to standardized contracts that you can use for the services themselves. The cons, obtained from experience, are that you can feel ‘removed’ from the process of hiring someone who ultimately will be working for you and the request may not be exactly what you’re looking for. Also, the process can be quite lengthy to complete, you can expect anywhere from one month to six or even longer if the project is unusual or involves significant cost.
- How do I know they can do what they say? – You ask around. We have been fortunate to build a business based upon referral. You’re unlikely to see the ‘LOGiQ3 blimp’ flying above the Rogers Center letting people know we exist (maybe one day), therefore asking for references from previous clients is critical to making sure you find someone who is capable of delivering what you need. We have all had situations where you realize that this provider isn’t a good ‘fit’ and it’s far better to identify that up front rather than midway through the project. Ask for examples of work that they’ve done in the past, you obviously won’t be able to see confidential data but you can get samples which have been sanitized for external clients to view and don’t be afraid to ask how many audits the provider has done and be as specific as you like. If you want an audit of XYZ product being written in 2006 out of Timbuktu, then ask if they’ve done one like this before and get any background information you can. You want to minimize the risk that you’re the guinea pig client or at least, know that you’re the guinea pig client and have that reflected in the price.
- What if something goes wrong? – Errors can happen in any audit. You should be checking to make sure that the provider has adequate insurance coverage for any errors that are made, typically referred to as E&O coverage (Errors & Omissions), this will give some comfort that in the event of an issue then E&O coverage is in place.
- How good are their processes and is my data secure? – There are certifications, for example, LOGiQ3 is SSAE16 certified (Standard on Statement for Attestation Engagements), which provides the assurance that an independent auditor has reviewed our processes and technology to ensure that sufficient controls are in place and are being followed. The later point is crucial, the SSAE16 certification process forces the provider to provide evidence to the auditor that the processes are being followed and control objectives are being met, with a written attestation from the providers management. If your provider doesn’t have SSAE16 or similar certification this should warrant more due diligence before you hire them.
Now that you've found out how to find, hire and vet your provider – the easy part is just performing the audit itself (sorry Carmela, I know that it’s way more complicated than this).
Hopefully you found this blog useful and if you have any questions around the topic we’d be more than happy to help, just get in touch.
Simon Bell, COO of LOGiQ3 can be reach here.
Learn more about our Audit Services.
I have been fortunate enough to have travelled to Italy a number of times in the past 15 years. I knew I always wanted to visit Rome and Italy but had no real expectations or any inkling of what I would or would not like about it. As it turns out, I loved it all. And one artist particularly, Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio - September 29, 1571 - July 18, 1610).
During my first trip my wife and I stumbled into a church; Santa Maria del Popolo. When you walk into the Cerasi Chapel you see two pieces by Caravaggio – Crucifixion of St. Peter and Conversion on the Way to Damascus; shown below.
The Crucifixion of St. Peter particularly (below left) struck me. I am not an artistic person nor have I ever been a big fan of renaissance art but I couldn’t stop staring at this painting. Caravaggio pioneered how light transitioned to dark in these paintings and created a very real and life-like sense of light and shadows. How can that be done on a piece of canvas?
Proper Caravaggisti (followers of Caravaggio) and art historians can provide volumes of insight into exactly what he did and how. All I knew was I liked it, and I appreciate it more and more the older I get. Since this original introduction to Caravaggio I have seen over a dozen other Caravaggio pieces at galleries, churches and exhibitions.
If you are also a fan of Caravaggio be sure to get to the exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from Nov 11, 2012 to Feb 15, 2013. In March of 2013, the exhibit will travel to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford.
Finally, Jonathan Harr wrote a fantastic book called “The Lost Painting – The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece” on the discovery of his work, The Taking of Christ.
I was recently in Dublin and was able to see The Taking of Christ (below) at The National Gallery. The book, and seeing the piece, is worth it. The interesting note on this particular painting is the figure at the back, holding the lantern (providing the light to the painting) is a self-portrait of the artist.
I felt compelled to share my "artistic" opinion with someone, and that's why I thought I'd jot down my thoughts on our THiNK Blog.
Have you seen any of Caravaggio's paintings? What did you think?
Thanks for stopping by,
PS - I hope you're slowly getting into the festive holiday mood, I know I am!
Chris Murumets, CEO of LOGiQ3 can be reached here and here.
It is equally important for us to spend time looking at the business world around us that isn't just the fun of Life Insurance Underwriting and Reinsurance Administration... although these are near and dear to our hearts.
That is why on November 22, Brian and I had the pleasure of attending the Globe and Mail Small Business Summit. The first impression was ... wow look at all the Movember action in the room (take a look here and see how we made out in Movember)!
The second impression was ... what a wide and diverse group of attendees. There were representatives from a variety of sectors - technology, financial services, health care and professional services - all eager to learn how to grow a business from people who have done just that: grow a business.
First up was Jamie Salter, CEO of Authentic Brands Group which I've never heard of, therefore assuming that it must be a small outfit, after all this was the Small Business Summit. I was wrong. This is a $1Bn revenue business and targeting to double each year. The business is essentially buying and growing brands, with his presentation's key focus on the Marilyn Monroe 'brand'. I found it hard to believe that an icon who has long left us is still considered a 'brand' but apparently she has nearly five million fans on Facebook which Jamie's team is turning into revenue. Even if you find it a little odd, which I did, it's an impressive feat of branding and marketing. Suffice to say Jamie was a big believer in the transformational impact of social media in relation to marketing and brand - regardless if that brand is "Linens n Things" or "Bob Marley".
Next onto the stage were a set of Canadian entrepreneurs who gave their perspectives on a range of topics from dealing with self doubt to scouting for talented people. There was a strong sense of pride at having managed to build a business through good times and bad, as well as the ability to seize an opportunity when it arises. It was interesting hearing the perspective of other "bootstrap" entrepreneurs trying to balance risk and reward and rising to the challenge of taking their business to the next level.
An unusual session in the afternoon consist of five growing businesses presenting a three minute 'pitch' about their company under the watchful eye of experienced TV and print journalists. The pitches were well done overall and the overriding message from the media panelists was that the art of the sound bite is king. The winning pitch came from a company of young entrepreneurs who produce films for marketing campaigns, who took great pride in the fact that everyone in the company was under 30 years old!
Finally, and in my opinion the highlight of the day, was the presentation by Rebecca MacDonald, Executive Chair of Just Energy Group Inc. Rebecca guided us through her history of building successive successful business, covering the highs and lows that the life of an entrepreneur will always bring. An incredible presence on the stage with great charisma and charm while at the same time seemed genuinely humble despite her overwhelming success. I would love to give you a quote or highlight but I'd stopped making notes by this point of the day and was just enjoying listening to a great story.
Please share with us your business heroes, whether founders of multinationals or the guy who runs your local bike repair shop, we always like to hear good stories about great businesses.
PS - I promise that my next blog post will be much more practical and relevant to the exciting world of Life Insurance and Reinsurance!
Simon Bell, COO can be reached here.
To learn more about who we are, please visit our homepage.
It seems like just yesterday we were launching the first ever month of Movember at LOGiQ3 – it’s hard to believe that December is now upon us. 7 guys from the company agreed to grow their “Mo’s” for the last four weeks to raise money for Men’s Health and I have to say, I am very proud of what the LOGiQ3 Mo Bros were able to accomplish! Through many generous donations the team was able to exceed our goal and raise $1,230 dollars and finish #6,214 out of almost 77,000 fund raising teams in Canada!
There are of course many people to thank beyond the team who agreed to look so fantastically ridiculous for 4 weeks: first and foremost the many kind donors who helped us to achieve our goal. Also, a big shout-out to the wives and families who had to look at us every day, and the clients and colleagues who were gracious enough to not point and laugh. Of course the pointing and laughing was ok too if it came with a donation *insert happy face*.
A few other interesting facts and learnings from the month:
- Globally $115 million was raised for Men’s Health and Canada was once again the leading fund raising nation with a total amount raised of over $37 million
- There was a very obvious “Mo brotherhood” in the city for the month - walking down the street there were many nods of acknowledgment as you passed a guy with a mo as ridiculous as your own
- A moustache is an amazing compliment to a wardrobe – making any man look more cowboy, biker, or 1970’s news anchor depending on the outfit
- “Furrific” and “Mo-tastic” are actually very usable and versatile adjectives in the world of insurance
- 1978 seemed to appear around November 20th and lasted for the duration of the month
- Some of you (and you know who you are) should never, EVER, consider a permanent Mo
Thanks to all who made this effort such a great success – I’m not sure this will (or should) ever happen again, but it was a job well done for a great cause.
Now bring on “Decembeard”! (just kidding)
Until next time,
PS - I'm curious to know, who had the best Mo?! Share your feedback with us below.
Brian is Vice President at LOGiQ3, to reach Brian, please click HERE.