Accessible Client Service Policy

Created: December 6, 2011

1.    Our Mission

We are dedicated to identifying, and to understanding, the needs and concerns of our clients, and to providing excellent advice and service in a timely fashion. As intermediaries in the arranging and placing of insurance and financial products, we must balance the needs of our clients with the interests, strengths and underwriting goals of our various markets. Our aim is to achieve a "win ⁄ win" result for both insured and insurer in each transaction.

2.    Our Commitment

In fulfilling our mission, Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd. strives at all times to provide its services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other clients.

3.    Definitions

       a.    Disability

  • Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device,
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
  • A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
  • A mental disorder, or
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

       b.    Barrier

  • A barrier is anything that keeps someone with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of their disability.

4.    Providing Services to People With Disabilities

Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd. is committed to excellence in serving all clients including people with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:

       a.    Communication

We will ensure when communicating with a client with a disability to take into account their disability. If we are unsure of the best method of communication, we will ask the client for their preference.

  • Telephone services - We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our clients. We will offer to communicate with clients by email, telecommunications device for the deaf or relay services if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.
  • Billing - We are committed to providing accessible invoices to all of our clients. For this reason, invoices will be provided in the following formats upon request: hard copy, large print, e-mail.  We will answer any questions clients may have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone, written or via email.

       b.    Assistive Devices

We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our services. We will allow people to use their own assistive devices when accessing our services. Assistive devices may include a cane, wheelchair, oxygen tank, hearing aids, or speech amplification devices, etc.

       c.    Use of Service Animals and Support Persons

We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal when visiting our locations.

We are also committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on-site. However, employees are to ensure that express client consent is obtained prior to disclosing any confidential information to the support person.

5.    Notice of Temporary Disruption

Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd will provide clients with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. The notice will be placed at all public entrances and service counters on our premises.

Should any employee become aware of a temporary disruption that affects access to our services by disabled persons, please notify Human Resources immediately.

6.    Overcoming Barriers

It is important for all employees to be alert to both visible and invisible barriers within our workplace that may prevent people with disabilities from receiving optimal client service. Each and every employee is responsible for identifying potential barriers, and communicating issues to management. Potential areas include:

  • Architectural or structural barriers may result from the design of a building such as stairs, doorways, the width of hallways and even room layout.
  • Information and communications barriers can make it difficult for people to receive or convey information. Things like small print size, low colour contrast between text and background, confusing design of printed materials and the use of language that is not clear or plain can all cause difficulty.
  • Technology, or lack of it, can prevent people from accessing information. Everyday tools like computers, telephones and other aids can all present barriers.
  • Systemic barriers can occur through policies and procedures. These are any practices or rules that restrict people with disabilities - for example, denying access to a person with a service animal.
  • Attitude is perhaps the most difficult barrier to overcome. Some people don't know how to communicate with those who have visible or non-visible disabilities. Or they simply discriminate against them because of stereotypes. They may feel that they could offend the individual with a disability by offering help or they ignore or avoid people with disabilities altogether.

7.    Training for Staff

Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd will provide training to all employees and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of client service policies, practices and procedures. This training will be provided within 4 weeks after staff commence their duties.

Training will include the following:

  • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the client service standard
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
  • How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
  • How to use the equipment or devices available on-site or otherwise that may help with the provision of goods or services to people with disabilities
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd goods and services
  • Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd policies, practices and procedures relating to the client service standard.

Applicable staff will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way services are provided to people with disabilities. Staff will also be trained when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.

8.    Feedback Process

The ultimate goal of Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd is to meet and surpass client expectations while serving clients with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.

Feedback regarding the way Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd provides services to people with disabilities can be made by e-mail, in person, by telephone or in writing. All feedback will be directed to the Human Resources Department. Clients can expect to hear back within 5-10 business days.

9.    Modifications to This or Other Policies

We are committed to developing client service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities. Any policy of Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd. that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

10.    Questions About This Policy

This policy exists to achieve service excellence to clients with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of this policy is not understood, an explanation should be provided by, or referred to the Human Resources Departmen