For the first time, IEEE is offering homeowners- and auto-insurance coverage to members in Region 7. A Canadian insurer, the Personal Insurance Co. of Mississauga, Ont., administers the coverage, which became available in January as part of the IEEE Financial Advantage Program (FAP).
Canadian members have a persistent IEEE volunteer to thank for the coverage: John Grefford, Region 7’s representative on the IEEE Individual Benefits and Services Committee (IB&SC), which is responsible for, among other things, formulating and recommending insurance programs for members. “I made it my own personal mandate to find the very best program—which I think I did,” Grefford says. “As an engineer, I’m very partial to numbers, and I found great savings by shopping around.” He says it took about nine months to find the right company.
Grefford had more than just premiums to consider. The company he recommended had to offer insurance in all 10 of Canada’s provinces and its three territories, as well as provide customer service in both English and French. Finding a company that would do all that was a challenge, according to Lynn Koblin, manager of member benefits for the IEEE FAP, which currently offers life insurance and a credit card program in Canada.
After finding the Personal and verifying that its rates were competitive, Grefford convinced the insurer that IEEE would be a good fit for its business. The company offers group rates to more than 560 organizations, and it wanted to make sure that an IEEE plan would not overlap or take away from any of its existing relationships.
RATES The Personal’s IEEE auto rates are on average 15 percent below the rates offered for individual, nongroup insurance, according to Koblin. There are additional discounts for hybrid vehicles. In Ontario, the company’s largest market, the Personal offers a 5 percent discount for using snow tires, which are safer on winter roads.
For homeowners, there are discounts for nonsmokers and for subscribers of monitored alarm services. “I think the plans for IEEE Canada members are some of the best in the country,” Grefford says. “The savings experienced through IEEE benefits programs are a great way to offset dues and other expenses. They’re a good reason for joining IEEE and then remaining a member for life.”
TOOL KIT One thing that made Grefford’s search for the right program easier was the FAP’s Toolkit for Developing Non-Technical Benefits in Regions 7–10.
Developed by the IB&SC, the kit describes a seven-step process to help a section develop a new member benefit. It provides tips for garnering local section support for a proposed benefit and guidelines for developing agreements with a service provider, obtaining legal and tax review from IEEE, securing approval of the benefit through the governance process, negotiating contracts and, finally, launching the benefit.
Grefford advises volunteers searching for programs for their sections to rely on their own experience to help determine what benefits would be valuable. “I compared the programs with my own needs, and I also thought of my colleagues’ needs,” he says.
“We hope the Canadian insurance program will be a model that can help members in other sections identify local programs and attract interested business partners,” Koblin notes.
Canadian members can get a quote from the Personal online or by calling +1 888 476 8737.