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Critical Illness Insurance – What is this all about?

Critical illness insurance, also known as critical illness cover or dread disease policy, is an insurance product wherein the insurer is contracted to make a lump sum cash payment should the policyholder get diagnosed with one of the illnesses on the list as part of an insurance policy. If you are looking to get this type of insurance, it is equally important that you first try to get critical illness insurance quote from different insurance providers. This will allow you to determine how much you need to pay for the insurance.

critical illness insurance quoteThese days, having critical illness insurance actually helps in complementing medical and disability income coverage you may get from your insurance provider. The insurance coverage itself helps in providing ease as to the financial impact that a critical illness can bring, especially since it is a lump sum you will be getting from your insurance provider, it can greatly lower your financial burden brought about by additional expenses. In fact, advancements in modern medicine has allowed many critical illnesses like heart attack, stroke, or cancer to be recoverable.

Most medical plans actually provide coverage on hospital and medical expenses that arise from critical illness. However, there are still some expenses that are not covered by medical plans. A critical illness insurance policy will feature the following:

  • Lump sum payment for you to use
  • Dependent coverage
  • Convenient payment options
  • No obligation to submit expense receipts
  • Coverage that can go with you should you leave your employer

Of course, when getting a critical illness insurance, it is important for you to understand the exclusions as well as the limitations of the coverage of the insurance policy. While the insurance does greatly complement medical and disability income coverage, knowing and understanding the confines of the policy is still very important. Nevertheless, with critical illness insurance coverage, should you be struck with any of the listed critical illness, the financial impact of that certain illness can be greatly eased thanks to the lump sum you can get from the insurer.

There are many types of insurances available. However, when it comes to employee benefits, one of the best ones to get is critical illness insurance as this is a form of protection that will provide the policyholder with lump sum payment should they develop any critical illness that is covered in the list of critical illnesses by the insurer. Everybody is aware and understands the burden and financial strain of getting and developing any critical illness. However, without any form of financial relief, this burden and strain can greatly cause the afflicted with more weight on their shoulders. By being properly insured with critical illness insurance, this burden can be made lighter as the insurer will be paying a lump sum to the policyholder.

In Canada, it is estimated that over 70,000 heart attacks occur each year, along with 40,000-50,000 strokes each year. Additionally, around 3,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer every single week. Considering the quaint population of Canada, this number is still a lot. Although one cannot really fight falling under this statistics, by having critical illness insurance, you can however lower your burden should you develop or be diagnosed with one.

Five Tips To Get You Started

  1. At Volunteer Canada, you will find a wealth of information, including links to the national network of Volunteer Centres. These Volunteer Centres can help you find opportunities close to home or far away.
  2. Start with a cause that matters to you
  3. Search online for websites and information related to your cause or issue.
    For social causes, you can also try online directories. For example, the 211 system offers both a phone and online directory of community services. 211 service is available in many parts of Canada, and the list is growing. United Way organizations fund local community services in many parts of Canada. Most of these organizations are looking for volunteers and you can really make a difference.
  4. Attend a benefit, festival or event that links to your passion.
    You’ll meet other people who share interests and passions and this may lead to even more opportunities.
  5. Search for specific opportunities online
    There are many online resources available that link to real-time volunteer openings. Two examples are the Charity Village online search or the Workopolis Readiness Quiz which help you to match your interests with volunteer opportunities right across Canada.
  6. Spread the word!
    Use your own networks to find out about volunteer activities. Tell friends and family what you are looking for and mention your skills and interests.

Recruiting Baby Boomers As Volunteers

Baby boomers are busy people. There is lots of competition for their attention and their time, so you’ll need strategic and targeted recruitment efforts.

The four C’s of recruitment

  1. Connect to boomers
    Reach and connect to baby boomers through key influencers, like their peers. If you have baby boomer volunteers already involved in your organization, they are your very best recruitment ambassadors. Research shows that word of mouth promotion is one of the best ways to recruit volunteers. Encourage your current baby boomer volunteers to spread the word and encourage others to get involved.Baby boomers are highly influenced by expert opinion. Use evidence-based research findings or testimonials from experts or high profile members of the community.

    Many of Canada’s baby boomers are in the workforce – either full-time or part-time – so workplaces are important places to connect with them. Target workplaces that match the volunteer needs of your organization. Explain how employees’ particular qualifications would help further your cause. If there are baby boomers nearing retirement connect with them and give a personal invitation to find out more about volunteering with your organization. One way to do this is to get on the agenda of retirement planning seminars or “lunch and learn” events offered through HR departments.

    You can also connect with baby boomer volunteers out in the community. Consider organizing activities and services that families can do together and offer opportunities for intergenerational volunteering. For example, many families are looking for opportunities to give of their time during the holiday season. Look for opportunities to speak about your organization at places where baby boomers gather – like running clubs, yoga studios, lectures, arts or sports events. Have your best and brightest ambassadors there to talk to about volunteering. And don’t forget your own clients! Users of your services will very often come back to volunteer. You just need to ask.

    Finally, connect with potential baby boomer volunteers online. More and more baby boomers are looking for information of every kind online. An easy way to promote your volunteer opportunities is to make sure that they can “Google” you to find the information they need. There are also several options for posting your recruitment message online through your local volunteer centre’s website, CharityVillage.com or Workopolis. When they click the link and go to your website, make sure that your website is current and welcoming. Since many baby boomers are also using social networking sites, consider connecting with them there. To find out more about new media tools like blogs, wikis, social networks and podcasts, click here.

  2. Create key messages
    When you have a sense of where to connect with potential baby boomer volunteers, you’ll need to create key messages that build on what we know about baby boomers and what motivates them.

    Motivations for baby boomers General recruitment messages
    Commitment to a cause-and making a difference Volunteering builds your community.Link the volunteer position directly to the mission of the organization
    Personal development (mental and spiritual) Find new purpose.
    Concern for health and well being Boost your health and reduce your stress.
    Meet other people who share interests and passions Volunteering is social networking–and fun.
  3. Customize for different baby boomer audiences
    Baby boomers are a huge group with wide ranging ages, interests and backgrounds so you will need to segment your audience and recruit accordingly. For example, baby boomers who were born in South Asia may not relate to boomer pop references from North America. Similarly, baby boomers who were born in the 1960s have different priorities than older boomers.
  4. Communicate widely with high quality materials
    Baby boomers respond to professional high quality packaging so keep that in mind when you create and assemble your recruitment materials (like annual reports, mission statements, position descriptions, goals and program descriptions, etc.) Make sure that your online and print communication materials have the same high quality standards. Use your local media to publicize your cause or your service at every opportunity and appeal to experienced seasoned members of the community directly. Research shows that of the top volunteers in Canada 20% responded to information in the media.

Why Volunteer?

Benefits to the Community – and You

  • Volunteering builds your community
    Volunteering encourages interaction between people living in a community and strengthens community connections.

When you volunteer, you are actually improving the life of your own community, and creating social capital at the same time. Social capital is a kind of currency for healthy living and grows when people in the community are involved in civic activities and earn the trust and cooperation of others. The more social capital there is, the healthier and more vibrant your community.

  • Boost your own health
    Feeling connected to community can also play a key role in how healthy you feel. According to researchers from Harvard University, volunteering is a reflection of social connectedness, which is strongly associated with the health of the people in that community.

Results from the Canadian Community Health Survey, which takes a close look at how connected Canadians feel from coast to coast, show that two-thirds (64%) have a strong sense of community belonging. Of this group, two-thirds also feel that their health is excellent or very good.

  • Reduce your stress
    According to Harvard cardiologist Herbert Benson, known for his work on the relaxation response (the body’s ability to shift into a deep state of rest), the health benefits of doing good things for others are similar to those experienced by anyone who practices yoga, spirituality and meditation, namely a slowing down of heart rate and a decrease in blood pressure.The key may lie in the sense of calmness that comes from helping others, also known as the helper’s high. These altruistic feelings reinforce the sense that one’s life has a purpose. In turn, this enhances self-esteem, which then provides the motivation for a person to make better lifestyle choices.
  • Find new purpose
    As we grow older, volunteering appears to give new meaning to life, reducing anxiety and depression and increasing life satisfaction.Indeed, a University of Michigan Study of 423 older couples found that people who make a contribution to the lives of others may help to extend their own lives.

Benefits beyond your health

  • In 2000, the National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating found that people were able to describe the benefits they gained from volunteering:
    • 79% of volunteers said that their volunteer activities helped them with their interpersonal skills, such as understanding people better, motivating others and dealing with difficult situations;
    • 68% of volunteers said that volunteering helped them develop better communication skills;
    • 63% reported increased knowledge about issues related to their volunteering.

Why Do Baby Boomers Volunteer?

Research indicates four main reasons why baby boomers volunteer. They want to:

  1. Support a cause that they believe in.
  2. Make a contribution to society.
  3. Share their skills.
  4. Do something meaningful with their friends and colleagues.

More importantly, baby boomers want to volunteer on their own terms. Consider some of the challenges that baby boomers face:

They don’t have enough time.

  • Theirs is known as a sandwich generation – caring for children and aging parents simultaneously leaves less free time.

They don’t have time during traditional work hours.

  • Many baby boomers work full-time and many work past the traditional retirement age of 65. Unless their employers have a corporate volunteering program, these volunteers can’t always be available when you need them.

They don’t identify with traditional images of volunteers.

  • The clichéd image of a kindly white-haired volunteer clashes with the way baby boomers see themselves – more youthful and dynamic than their parents.

They don’t want to do routine or menial volunteer tasks.

  • With less free time, many of today’s volunteers expect challenging and meaningful work that reflects their skills and experience.

Who Are Canada’s Baby Boomers?

Canada’s baby boomers are members of a diverse group born between 1946 and 1964. Some still cope with teenagers at home, others pay university tuition fees, some care for aging parents while still others enjoy their grandchildren. Some baby boomers work full-time, some part-time, while others contemplate retirement or are already retired. Their interests and aspirations are as diverse as they are. They are always looking for new experiences, challenges and how to make a difference. Baby boomers want to stay active in mind and body, make connections and continue to learn.

Because of their sheer numbers, baby boomers influence and redefine every stage of their lives. Volunteering will be no different.

Retaining Your Baby Boomer Volunteers

Once you’ve succeeded in recruiting baby boomer volunteers for your organization, it is important to keep them active and engaged. Some of the same approaches and incentives used to retain your employees can be used to retain your volunteers.

Why baby boomers stop volunteering How to keep them engaged
The expectations weren’t clear. Set up clear orientation processes:

  • Be ready – Once volunteers arrive, don’t keep them waiting.
  • Make volunteers feel welcome – When you first meet your volunteers, offer a tour of the office or event area, make coffee or water available and don’t hold back your enthusiasm.
  • Introduce volunteers to other staff members – Avoid any potential tension between volunteers and staff positions by being clear about roles and responsibilities.
  • Set expectations – Be clear with your volunteers about what is expected of them. Tell them what you need accomplished and act as a resource should they have questions or concerns.
  • Provide enough training – Take time to give them the tools they need to do their volunteer work, including clear guidelines.
They don’t have time.
  • Design episodic volunteer opportunities – Offer flexible schedules, where possible.
  • Make it easy for them – Offer parking permits, bus fare, and schedules that don’t conflict with commuter traffic or meal times.
They don’t feel appreciated.
  • Thank them – Congratulate your volunteers on a job well done. Do it often.
  • Check in – Periodically ask them how comfortable they are with their level of duties.
  • Recognize volunteers who show greater interest by promoting them to positions of greater responsibility.
  • Make it a rewarding experience – Let people know they’re important. Offer perks such as lunch on a long day, or host volunteer appreciation activities.
  • Find out what recognition means to your volunteers – not everyone feels recognized in the same way.
The organization doesn’t “walk its talk.”
  • Actions speak volumes – Be the professional, well-run organization they believe you to be.
  • Remember that for baby boomers, feeling purposeful is key – The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to continue volunteering.
  • Respect their commitment to your cause – Treat them as partners, not subordinates.

Volunteering – Your Way

Whatever your interests may be, you can make a valuable contribution as a volunteer, in lots of different ways.

Four Main Reasons to Volunteer

  1. Make a contribution to society.
  2. Share your skills.
  3. Support a cause.
  4. Do something meaningful with your friends and colleagues.

One of these reasons probably makes sense for you. You may already be working as a volunteer or are thinking about what you might want to do next. Whatever your reason, there are many different opportunities out there-and organizations that need your help.

Finding the right volunteer opportunity can be like finding the right job fit–and it can change, just like a job can.

Does this sound like you?

You know what matters to you and where you want to contribute

Do you? You could…
Have experience in marketing? Help an organization plan their public relations campaign.
Drive a bus? Renew that license and take a hockey team to a tournament.
Know how to fundraise? Help an organization apply for grants or tap into corporate donors.
Have financial or IT expertise? Join a board of directors or design a website.
Like to be outdoors? Walk a dog at your local Humane Society.

You aren’t sure how you want to contribute and might want to try something new

You might want to think about ways to:
Connect to a cause that matters to you.
Respond to a need in your community.
Make an inventory of your skills and experience and match them to opportunities.
Join your friends and family on their favorite projects, or bring a friend to one of yours.

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