The Leslie Group is a growing Canadian group benefits and group retirement consulting firm that has been in business for over 25 years. Originally founded in 1992 as a sole proprietorship, under the name P&L Employee Benefit Consultants. The company was incorporated in 1994, under the name The Leslie Group Limited, as borrowed from its founder, Shawn Leslie. The company’s corporate philosophy is based on the results of fifteen years of observation, when Shawn worked with a major Canadian insurance company, servicing the benefit needs of medium to large corporations across the country.
While The Leslie Group is licensed across Canada and we currently support plan sponsors with employees in every province, our main concentration of clients have their head offices in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and the US. We currently have offices in Toronto, Simcoe-Muskoka, Winnipeg, and Calgary, and strategic alliances in Eastern Canada, the US and the UK.
Our Corporate Philosophy
Shawn’s work put him in contact with a variety of personalities, approaches to business, and philosophies, and the underlying theme is that clients want flexibility, innovation, creativity, proactive service, and an entrepreneurial approach to benefits, at an affordable price. The Leslie Group Limited was founded to help employers meet these objectives.
We offer innovative solutions such as executive benefits and preferred provider networks, that enable employers to save money while empowering employees. Cost containing is a function of employee participation, understanding, and appreciation of the programs.
Perhaps the most important component of our corporate philosophy, proactive service, is an area we work on every day, through such things as market reviews, client service reviews, pre and post renewal meetings and annual plan reviews. Our team of experienced in-house consultants & service representatives makes us stand out from the competition.
Through the maintenance of a strict budget, computer technology, and dedicated, well trained employees, we have been able to consistently offer our clients the services they require for an affordable price.
With our creative approach to plan design we regularly recommend, specialty carriers, employee assistance programs, managed drug plans, health services spending accounts, and flexible benefits programs. Our objective is to tailor a plan to meet the specific needs of both the employer and the employees. We are committed to the continued development of these unique programs.
Our Role in your Renewal
Throughout the year, The Leslie Group Limited provides assistance in the management of your benefit program. As independent, third party consultants, we work for you and your company without allegiance to any insurance company or brokerage. At your annual renewal, or anniversary, our unique perspective is perhaps more useful than at any other time during the year. Each year your carrier(s) reviews rates as a function of demographic composition, claims experience, pooling, and trend factors. Our primary objectives are to insure that the premium adjustments requested are fair and competitive in the marketplace, the plan design suits the specific needs of you and your employees, and that you are consistently receiving excellent service. Because of our experience, relationship with carriers, block of business, and independent status, we are in the best possible position to negotiate a package that satisfies all of these goals.
The Leslie Group Limited brings a unique third party approach to the planning and management of your benefit programs. In an industry of increasing complexity, this unbiased perspective and our commitment to the best advice and price possible, are invaluable
The Leslie Group Background
- Founded in 1992.
- Focused on group insurance and group retirement plan employee benefits consulting.
- Offices in Toronto (head office), Winnipeg, Simcoe-Muskoka and Calgary, as well as employee benefit strategic alliances in the United States (Chicago/Boston/Atlanta) and in the United Kingdom (London, England).
- We service clients Nation-wide, of any size, across all industries.
- We represent all insurance carriers in the Canadian marketplace.
- 25 full time employee benefits staff.
- Over $130 million of group insurance premium and over $500 million in group retirement plan assets under management.
- The Leslie Group provides a hands-on creative approach to the management of employee benefits including group insurance and group retirement plans.
- The Leslie Group employs a team of senior consultants and client service representatives to assist our clients in the management of their program.
- The Leslie Group continues to grow by an average of 8% to 12% per annum with 95% of new clients acquired on a referral basis and a 97% retention of our existing clients.
- The Leslie Group has errors and omissions insurance which is required in order to sell group insurance. The Leslie Group has never had a claim filed against this insurance.
- The Leslie Group is not engaged in any activity or provides any service that creates an actual or perceived conflict of interest (see enclosure for Disclosure Document).
- The Leslie Group has no debt and has never declared bankruptcy, and has generated a profit every year since inception.
- The Leslie Group is a financially sound private corporation owned by the employees of the company.
- To serve our clients nationally we utilize many forms of communication including email, conference call web conference, teleconferencing, and in person meetings.
- The Leslie Group utilizes a broad range of group insurance carriers, third party providers, and related services to meet our client’s employee benefits requirements.
We match our professionals to meet our clients’ requirements and expertise required. We work in a team approach to maximize the value we can offer to our clients nationally.
Mr. Leslie has over 30 years of experience in group benefits working with a major group insurance and group retirement plan provider for 12 years. Mr. Leslie worked in western Canada prior to moving to Toronto in 1982 and has held many senior positions in the employee benefit field with the last 25 years as president of The Leslie Group Limited with a focus on group insurance and group retirement plans.
Mr. Leslie founded The Leslie Group in 1992 with an objective of increasing value for Canadian corporations in the employee benefits area. He has a B.A. from the University of Manitoba and a CLU. The Leslie Group commenced operations on May 1, 1992; however, has grown steadily to its current size based on offering value to our clients.
Vice President, Consulting
Mr. Campbell has over 30 years of experience in group benefits working with two major group insurance and group retirement plan providers for 18 years (final position was Vice President, Canadian Group & Retirement Sales). Mr. Campbell has also worked in Western Canada and has held many senior sales and marketing positions in the employee benefit field with the last 15 years as Vice President Consulting of The Leslie Group Limited with a focus on group insurance and group retirement plans.
Mr. Campbell has an Honors Bachelor of Commerce (Sports Administration) from Laurentian University and a CLU designation.
Employee Benefits Consultant
Responsibilities to these clients to include, but not limited to, ongoing service, renewal negotiation, marketing survey with overall objective of retaining and expanding the client base. In addition, responsibilities will also include joint management of existing clients with Leslie Group consultants. Duties will be of a more technical nature for these clients, reflecting the specific needs of these larger clients.
Account Manager / Client Service Representative
Each Client is assigned a client service representative who acts as the liaison between the client’s human resources department and the benefits carriers. In this capacity, they will assist in the resolution of claims and administrative concerns, and effectively educate both parties on the particular needs of the other. They will also coordinate employee booklets and contracts amendments as required.
Each client is assigned to a marketing representative who assists the consultant with client renewals, marketing and plan design reviews, as well as claims experience analysis.
There are four methods of funding a group benefit program. The decision to proceed with one method over another depends on the size of your group, its demographic composition, the historical claims experience, and corporate philosophy.
- Pooled Benefits
With a fully pooled financial arrangement, the policyholder submits the applicable premiums to the insurance carrier, which in turn allocates the funds to its group pool. All claims and expenses incurred by the policyholder are applied against the group pool. If the premiums submitted are less than paid claims and expenses, the insurance carrier absorbs the loss. Conversely, if the premiums submitted are greater than paid claims and expenses, the insurance carrier retains the surplus. Your claims experience does not directly impact the underwriting process or future renewal calculations for smaller groups. However, the larger a group, the more credibility your claims experience has in the claims process. Clients with above average claims, especially long term disability, may be removed from the pooling resulting in a significant rate increase.
This is a common arrangement for groups under ten employees and for life insurance and long term disability benefits for groups under 2000 employees.
- Partially Experience Rated Benefits or Non refund Accounting
With non refund accounting, claims experience is taken into consideration when calculating premiums. However, the claims experience is only given so much weight, or ‘credibility’, during the underwriting or renewal process. The degree of credibility given depends on the size of the group and historical claims patterns. The larger the group and the more historical claims information available, the higher the degree of credibility given to the experience. As a result, the charges applied to the premiums collected in a given year are calculated given the group’s actual claims, and the expected claims pattern for a group of the same size and composition. For example, if a group’s experience is considered to be 75% credible, the charges applied to premiums for that year would equal 75% of actual claims plus 25% of the pools claims results.
In addition, trend factors for inflation, utilization, and increases to the Dental Fee Tariff are factored into the renewal process.
As a large single claim may artificially inflate a group’s claims experience and result in an unnecessarily high renewal, some companies choose to pool large claims. With this scenario, a dollar limit is placed on the amount of any single claim charged that can be charged against the policyholder’s account. Any individual claims above this amount are absorbed by the insurance carrier’s pool.
This is a common arrangement for groups under 200 lives and/or under $250,000 of annual premium, and for health, dental, visioncare, and short term disability benefits.
- Fully Experience Rated Benefits or Refund Accounting
Refund accounting operates in a manner similar to non refund accounting, with a distinct difference. Premiums submitted by a policyholder are submitted to the insurance carrier, which deposits them into an account in the policyholder’s name. Charges against the premiums collected, such as claims paid, reserves for incurred but not reported (IBNR) claims, and retention charges are applied against the account. Interest credits on reserves and interest credits/debits on cash flow are also applied to this account. At renewal, any surplus in the account is refunded to the employer once a claims fluctuation reserve is fully funded (usually equivalent to 10% to 15% of annualized medical, dental, visioncare, and short term disability premiums) and deficits are accrued against future renewal pricing, and should a deficit reach a certain level, deficit payments may be required in addition to interest charged on the deficit on account.
This type of arrangement is normally considered by groups of over 200 lives and/or over $250,000 of annual premium.
- Administrative Services Only (ASO) or Self Insured
Self insuring benefits is generally chosen when the policyholder does not require the underwriting services of the insurance carrier, but still require their administrative services, particularly claims adjudication and payment.
ASO is typically implemented by large firms employing several hundred people with annual medical and/or dental claims in excess of $400,000. Groups of this size are less vulnerable to claims fluctuations leading to the assumption that they can safely assume the underwriting risk. In addition, ASO programs do not require reserves, for incurred but not reported claims (however these liabilities should be recorded on the company’s accounting records) and the insurer does not collect any (risk) underwriting profit. The carrier essentially charges claims plus expenses, profit, and any fees (commission). However, before proceeding with this method, it should be firmly established that the company can absorb claims fluctuations, which can be significant (versus level monthly premiums), and that expected claims are included in the annual budget. The potential liabilities to the owners and/or directors of the company must be fully disclosed and assessed as well as to employees as the plan is not an insurance plan. We would strongly recommend that any corporation proceeding with ASO include medical stop loss pooling arrangements and fully assess the historical claim patterns, plan design, and future claim risk.
This type of arrangement is normally considered by groups with claims in excess of $400,000 per year.
- Option 1 and 2 are covered by the industry wide EP3 pooling protection (as long as the drug plan design meets the minimum EP3 criterion).
- Option 3 and 4 are not eligible for EP3 pooling and this should be factored into any decision as to whether or not to proceed or retain one of these financial funding options
Ongoing Management of Group Insurance Programs
We assist with coordinating the implementation of a new group benefits and retirement program including employee communications as well as the ongoing management of the program. Our services would therefore include, but not limited to, the following:
- Management of relationships between our clients and group insurance and retirement providers.
- Quarterly claims experience reviews and analysis to ensure that our clients are kept current with the financial circumstances of their program. These reviews indicate the trends of the program, for example, which benefits and their provisions are most utilized. These trends are utilized to predict your renewal, therefore giving our client’s the opportunity to budget for possible adjustments or implement plan design changes to control them.
- Preparation of letters of direction for employer signature to authorize plan changes.
- Coordination of policy amendments, booklet, policy contract and plan service agreement review.
- Employee communication including preparation of written member communications on behalf of our client regarding plan design changes and in person communication meetings to educate members on the benefits provided by their employer.
- As we subscribe to various industry publications, attend numerous industry seminars and ensure ongoing staff education, our role also includes keeping each client abreast of legislative changes affecting the design or administration of the plan and preparing communications for members in this regard where necessary.
- Annual renewal negotiations to ensure that rate adjustments are consistent with our client’s industry, demographic composition and claims experience, as well as competitive in the marketplace.
- Dedicated service team to assist in the day to day management and administration of our client’s program and to resolve any issues that may arise.
- Conduct competitive market reviews as required to ensure costs continue to be fair and competitive.
- Coordinate creative programs such as flexible health care spending accounts, executive medical services (comprehensive health assessments and corporate health membership programs), Global Medical Care insurance, and preferred pharmacy services.
- Continual assessment of the plan, taking the following into consideration on a client by client basis:
- Corporate philosophy.
- Member demographics.
- Economic environment.
- Emerging trends and normative data.
- Executive benefit needs.
- Benchmarking analysis.
- Collective Agreements (if applicable).
Ongoing Management of Group Retirement Programs
We assist with coordinating the implementation of any plan changes as well as the ongoing management of your program. Our services include:
- Management of relationships between the client and group retirement providers.
- Preparation of letters of direction for employer signature.
- Coordination of policy amendments, booklet, policy contract and plan service/fee agreement review.
- Coordinate presentations for plan members including updates regarding plan changes and annual employee communication and education sessions.
- Keep the client abreast of legislative changes affecting the design or administration of the plan and prepare communications for members in this regard where necessary.
- Annual Capital Accumulation Plan review which includes the following:
- Review of plan performance for the year including asset growth and investment performance.
- Review of investment portfolio to ensure options offered are appropriate.
- Work jointly with record keeper to identify gaps in portfolio including funds to add or remove depending on investment trends, fees, and historical performance, and changes of fund managers and personnel.
- Review fees to ensure they are appropriate based on enrollment, contributions, and plan assets.
- Provide update on plan structure relative to updated industry benchmarks.
- Annual portfolio review to fulfill fiduciary responsibilities.
- Negotiation of service and fee agreements.
- Provide assistance and guidance to plan administrator with respect to day-to-day issues which may arise.
- Management of special projects as required.
- Conduct competitive market reviews as required. Preparation of specifications and fine tuning of the marketing report, followed by client meeting and coordination of changes where applicable.
- Continual assessment of the plan, taking the following into consideration:
- Corporate philosophy.
- Member demographics.
- Economic environment.
- Emerging trends.
- Normative data.
- Executive benefit needs.
- Collective agreements (if applicable).
Client Service and Delivery Response Time
As indicated earlier, we have a 97% retention of our clients. The 3% shortfall is primarily due to client bankruptcies and mergers. The following summarizes our service model and delivery response time.
Our business model includes designated service representatives who are responsible for assisting our clients with any day to day service issues that may arise rather than relying solely on the insurance carrier for assistance. This ensures quick turnaround and proactive method of handling issues. Each of our service representatives has ongoing contact with their clients throughout the year to ensure that service needs are met.
Additionally, pre renewal meetings are scheduled each year with clients for specific follow up with clients requesting feedback about the service provided by The Leslie Group as well as service provided by the insurance carriers. This process allows The Leslie Group to be proactive in resolving issues for clients and preparing for upcoming annual reviews.
In the event that a client raises a concern to us with respect to the service provided by the insurance carrier, we immediately request details of the issue from our client. The next step is to bring the issue to the attention of the insurance carrier’s customer service representative and their supervisor if needed. We then work with the insurance carrier to resolve the issue in a timely manner for our client. From the time the issue is brought to the attention of The Leslie Group’s in house customer service representative, our representative owns the issue and must manage to issue until it is resolved to the satisfaction of our client. Throughout the resolution process, our staff will update the client on the status of the issue. Depending on the type of issue, updates may be provided every few hours, daily, or every few days. Should the nature of the issue require the escalation to senior management of the insurance company, The Leslie Group will ensure that the appropriate parties within the carrier’s organizations are involved in order to expedite the resolution process for our client.
When a client contacts The Leslie Group with an inquiry by phone or email, we will respond typically within 24 hours or less. We have an efficient internal online, real time, task management system that may be viewed by any team member. As we work as a team, if an issue is urgent and a client’s primary customer service representative is not available, another member of The Leslie Group team will be available to provide assistance and support to a client immediately should the nature of the issue require immediate attention.
The Leslie Group Limited is able to meet our clients current and future employee benefits requirements.
Our dedicated professional staff will provide creative and sound solutions that will allow your firm to be competitive in today’s changing marketplace.
References available upon request.