From the Chair of the Teachers’ Pension Board of Trustees Rob Taylor dated: March 20, 2020
Your pension payments will be paid on time, and your plan is secure.
Dear plan member,
The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect the world, and as chair of the Teachers’ Pension Board of Trustees, I want to offer you assurance about your pension plan. Your pension is a defined benefit pension. The amount of your pension payment is not dependent on the performance of the financial markets. Your plan is secure.
Your pension payments will be paid on time, today and into the future.
Your plan is also well positioned. Before the current financial downturn, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), your plan’s investment manager, anticipated a correction in the rising financial market. BCI prepared plan funds, adjusting the balance of investments to reduce risk. Your plan investments are broadly diversified, which helps lessen the impact of the current market downturn. Investments are split between a wide variety of public equities, bonds, real assets and other investments.
The challenge facing investors today reinforces the importance of following a disciplined, long-term approach. This has been a shock to the economy, and we’re not expecting a quick recovery. The significant downtown will mean a decline in the value of the plan’s investment portfolio. However, there will also be opportunities to acquire investments at a better value. We expect the value of the plan’s fund to bounce back over time, and we’re on track to satisfy our long-term obligations.
The plans’ agents and other service providers have also been affected by COVID-19. They are looking after their employees – encouraging remote work and social distancing. While they are open for business as usual, the physical offices are closed. This will affect how quickly staff can respond to requests and answer calls. In-person consultation and workshops have also been cancelled to protect everyone’s health.
We encourage you to use the many online services available to you on the plan website and through My Account. In this challenging time, please take care of your health, practice social distancing and know that we are taking care of your pension plan’s investments. https://tpp.pensionsbc.ca/
Travel Insurance Update
IMPORTANT Johnson-MEDOC Travel Insurance Update
April 17, 2020
Johnson has a dedicated website regarding the Covid-19 issue, https://www.johnson.ca/coronavirus. The Frequently Asked Questions are updated with regularity. In respect to the decision made on auto insurance premiums, members will automatically receive a 10% reduction on their car insurance premiums (no need to contact us to initiate) for the months of April, May & June. It appears that 1 BCRPVPA member has auto coverage through us and will be positively impacted by this reduction. Marsha on a Minnekhada hike Auto is our largest book of business nationally so this product took priority so we could provide assistance to so many who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Travel update: The pandemic and its subsequent travel advisories placed a lot of stress on our customers and our operation. As a business our focus was first and foremost on customer safety and working to get our customers travelling abroad home safely. Through our proactive management of our clients we feel that our position on prioritizing member safety, though met with initial challenge, was understood by our clients to be the correct decision in the end, and we have received client feedback to support our position. To date, we have been working with our members and have allowed cancellations on base plans purchased within 60 days of the policy effective date (with no claims). As well as refunding customers supplementary plan coverages if they were unable to avail of the longer duration (if there was no claim incurred to date).
In terms of our long term strategy, we are committed to providing a superior travel product for our affinity customers at a competitive price. Although we are not refunding the remaining portion of base plan for the current policy year, we will be looking at re-investing in our Travel program at renewal to provide customers with a rebate/credit for the upcoming travel year. Options are still being explored and further details on the overall renewal strategy will be provided.
Now more than ever, we know our customers are relying on the strength and stability of our organization, an organization they can trust. We have unwaveringly kept customers’ best interests at the core of our actions, working hard to find ways to bring them relief in small and large measures to help them navigate new challenges along the way.
Thank you for your patience and support. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. Happy to assist!
Lisa Hansen, BA, CAIB, CEBS, FLMI Senior Consultant | Group Benefits Western Region
To Travel or not to Travel
Article Excerpted from the BCRPVPA Newsletter Insurance Policy on Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption? To Travel or Not to Travel? by Tom MacLean, Owner of Trip Merchant
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.tripmerchant.com
April 10, 2020
During these unprecedented times for the travel industry the entire supply chain is working together to get through this. I wanted to provide perspective as an owner of a travel company and a veteran of this industry for 20 years. I see a lot of comments on social media, some factual and some opinions by people that think they know what is going on. I’m here to provide an overview of the travel situation as it currently stands as of April 10th, 2020. The situation is very fluid and can change on a day to day basis.
Some travel agencies are updating their cancellation policy to include COVID-19 information after the consumer purchased travel services. If you’re currently booked through a travel agency and have money on file, that travel agency must adhere to their refund policy that formed as part of the contract that was in place when you originally purchased the travel services. Failure to do so could be construed as a breach of contract. For the most part, travel suppliers (Tour Operators, Ocean Cruise and River Cruise companies, Airlines, Hotels) have made their terms and conditions significantly more flexible as a result of Covid-19 to the advantage of the consumer. This is where the phrase “We’re all in it together” applies. The responsibility of the travel agency is to ensure that this information is communicated to their booked travelers in a very timely manner. We’re always looking out for the best interests of our customer and we make sure that all communication is clear and concise. We won’t make the travel decision for you, but we will guide you and provide our own advice as to what should be done in a given situation.
Here is a quick update on the travel situation: • All major cruise lines have cancelled their sailings at 60 days out. • River Cruise companies are a little closer in for the most part at cancelling all sailings 30 days out – we’ve been finding that if you’re currently booked on a river cruise and have final payments in and the River Cruise company cancels the sailing due to Covid-19 for the most part they’re providing a future travel credit that can be utilized up until the end of December of 2022 for the full value of what was paid plus an additional 10%. If not utilized by then a full cash refund can be requested. • Oberammergau Passion Play which takes place every 10 years (dating back to the 1600’s during the time of the Bubonic plague) and ironically enough began if God delivered the town from the Plague the village would perform this play if they were delivered from it. The tradition has continued ever since -it was supposed to take place in 2020 and has now been postponed to 2022 (this is an event that generates billions for travel suppliers). • Pretty much any large gathering globally is on hold. So, it’s not a surprise that special events like the “Edinburgh Military Tattoo”’ have already been cancelled for the 2020 season. • Airlines have been either reducing their flight schedule by 80-90% and many others have been grounded completely and only being utilized and contracted/subsidized by governments for repatriation • We’re monitoring all our own group departures – our own suppliers in destination are being very flexible given the current climate and extensions will continue if necessary. • Most travel suppliers in general are being very flexible and allowing the options to cancel/rebook/reschedule for a later date – transfer/booking fees are being waived and for close in departures typically full refunds are being offered or a future travel credit. • Airlines for the most part are not wanting to give refunds but instead future travel credits to be utilized at a later date (I understand the reasoning behind this as their losing billions of dollars daily right now and some will struggle to stay afloat) I expect there will be government intervention for national carriers (I hope this comes with certain stipulations by the government) • On our own group departures under our “Trip Merchant Journeys” brand we’ve extended the dates to which our booked travelers can receive a full refund and will continue to do so until there is certainty.
If that date doesn’t come soon enough those departures will be moved to 2021 for those that want to cancel for a full refund, they will have the options to do so as well. Currently, we have a group trip to Colombia scheduled for this November. That one is likely to be moved to same time frame but November 2021 instead. We’re currently putting together a group departure for 2021 to South Africa and Victoria Falls that myself and my business partner will be hosting. Sign up for our travel newsletter to be made aware of when this and other opportunities will come out. Please consult from the Trip Merchant website.
My (Tom MacLean, owner of Trip Merchant) recommendations: Even though our livelihood depends on you to travel and book with us. I wouldn’t recommend anybody to book and put money on any trips until there is clarity on the Covid-19 situation. Right now, none of us know what that timeline is. For any of our existing clients that have had their trips cancelled and have future credits on file , we’re telling them to sit tight and not make any future travel decisions until we have certainty.
For further travel updates, please go to Trip Merchant You Tube (https://youtu.be/_1wJsxhnjEQ) or alternatively, visit his website, https://bcrpvpa.tripmerchant.ca/, scroll to Travel Tips & News, and click onto icon Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Please Note: The password to access the BCRTA Trip Merchant link, use the following: Click on this link https://bcrta.tripmerchant.ca/ Once you click on it, you will have to enter your password, which is BCRTATM18
We sadly announce the passing of HAMM, Abram July 29, 1931 — April 12, 2020
Abe passed away peacefully on April 12, 2020 with family by his side. Abe was born in a farmhouse near Rosthern, Saskatchewan and although he settled in the Okanagan in 1969, he remained a Prairie boy at heart.
Abe is survived by his loving wife Brenda, his three sons Duane (Katherine), Warren (Laurie), and Ross; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and Nettie, the mother of his children. Also survived by his sister Ruth (Ken), brother Allan (Mary Ann), sister Audrey, beloved nieces and nephews, and cherished friends.
Abe was predeceased by his infant son Michael, daughter-in-law Ewa, brother Jake, and sister Irene.
Abe’s teaching career began in a one room school in Bergthal, Saskatchewan and extended to all the Western provinces, as well as some especially memorable time spent in Teslin and Old Crow, Yukon. Abe’s years of teaching in the Okanagan included the honour of being the first principal of two new elementary schools, Hudson Road and Rose Valley in West Kelowna. He was a mentor to many and touched the lives and hearts of children and teachers alike.
Appreciation of art was always an important part of Abe’s life, and with his retirement came the opportunity to pursue an artistic passion, that of woodturning. He spent many happy hours in his shop at the lathe.
Brenda and the family wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Dan Obedkoff for his exceptional care, kindness, and support for our dear Abe over many years. Also, our sincere thanks and appreciation to the wonderful staff at the Community Care Clinic, the Cancer Centre, and Kelowna General Hospital.
If desired, donations may be made in Abe’s memory to the KGH Foundation, 2268 Pandosy Street, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 1T2. www.kghfoundation.com There will be no gathering at this time.
We sadly announce the passing of John Teichroeb who was an active and contributing member of our Central Okanagan Retired Teachers’ Organization.
November 12, 1928 – March 1, 2020
The journey complete and his work done, the Lord said it’s time to come home. Our loving father, grandfather, great grandfather and husband passed away Sunday morning March 1st at home surrounded by his family that loved him dearly. He will be profoundly missed by his wife of 63 years Maxine; four children Jay (Koralee), Barry, Lori (Dean), and David (Edna); nine grandchildren Ali (Bryce), Molly (Casey), Sydney, Jacob, Ben, Landon, Chad, Wayne and Amber; and two great grandchildren Micah and Hadley. Dad was predeceased by his grandson Max.
Dad was born in Gilroy Saskatchewan November 12, 1928 to a Mennonite family including older brothers Peter and Bill and sisters Laura and Anne. The family eventually settled in Yarrow BC which was a predominately Mennonite village at the time. In Yarrow he learned the value of family, community and hard work. Dad was always very proud of his Mennonite heritage.
After obtaining his education degree from UBC, Dad spent the early part of his career teaching in rural schools throughout BC. He was a teacher for more than 30 years with 22 of those years teaching in Kelowna schools before retiring in 1985. Right up till the end he enjoyed meeting former students and celebrating their successes in life.
Dad was proud to call Kelowna home. He was very active in the community serving as a director of the Kelowna Regatta, member of the Lions Club, director of the Kelowna and District Minor Hockey Association and active with the Kelowna Seniors Association among many other community connections. He continued to generously volunteer his time to School District 23 throughout his retirement.
Dad’s greatest gift was his positive attitude. He was always thankful and grateful. Ready to make a new friend and genuinely happy to see an old one. He was giving his characteristic thumbs up even in his last days.
The family is forever grateful for the compassion, empathy and skill of the nurses and aides of the Central Okanagan Palliative Care Program and for the loving community of staff and residents at Chartwell Chatsworth.
On Sunday morning, no doubt the Lord was smiling at heaven’s gates saying Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant as he welcomed our Dad home.
A Celebration of Life was held on Monday, March 16 at Noon at First Memorial Funeral Services, 1211 Sutherland Ave, Kelowna.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.firstmemorialfuneralkelowna.com
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