SSQ recognised for 15-year commitment to employee health and wellbeing

12 November 2020

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ICMIF member SSQ Insurance (Canada) was recently awarded the Sanofi Canada Wellness Pioneer Award at Benefits Canada‘s 2020 Workplace Benefits Awards. This prestigious award recognises a long-standing commitment to prevention and health and wellness promotion at work.

SSQ’s health and wellness programme, which was established 15 years ago, integrates health prevention and health promotion, a lever it considers essential to workplace absence management. It covers four areas: lifestyle habits, work-life balance, working environment and management practices.

In addition, over the past two years, SSQ has also added a virtual health-care platform and formed a partnership with a company offering psychological health support, including conferences, workshops and group and individual support.

In early July this year, La Capitale and SSQ Insurance announced that their merger of equals was official, creating the largest mutual insurance company in Canada with over 3.5 million members and clients. The new company is built on a solid foundation with 4,700 dedicated employees, well-established mutualist values, sound finances, and diversified expertise. Assets under management of more than CAD 20 billion and premiums of CAD 5 billion sees La Capitale / SSQ Insurance rank as the 1st group insurer in Quebec and 4th in Canada, as well as the 4th largest personal insurer in Quebec and the 6th largest in Canada. In general insurance, it ranks 3rd in Quebec and 13th in Canada.

Speaking to Benefits Canada, Martin Robert, Executive Vice-President of Talent, Culture and Communications at La Capitale/SSQ Insurance, notes the win says a lot about what the two companies can achieve together. “Now that we’re together and we joined forces, imagine what we can achieve. For me, for this new company, that’s very positive.”

Benefits Canada also noted that during the coronavirus pandemic, SSQ was able to react quickly to support the health of its 2,000 employees. Within a few days, 97% of staff were working remotely and the company implemented new initiatives, including: a four-week, daily coaching programme for managers on how to manage their teams during a crisis; a conference on psychological health and work-life balance; and team activities focused on physical health and lifestyle habits.

“It was a quick, but very pertinent training on how to manage people…and how to manage themselves as managers, how to lead during those times of pandemic,” says Martin Robert. “At the same time, we worked with a Montreal-based mental-health provider…to put together three different trainings for employees…We’ve had many testimonials from our employees saying how they appreciated it, how they felt they worked for a company that not only cared about their physical health, but also their mental health”

“I really feel that this whole package we were able to put together in a few weeks…really made a difference to our people.”

Indeed, despite significant changes in employee lifestyle during the pandemic, the organisation’s employee net promoter score has increased, from 40 to 51. In addition, a weekly survey showed an improvement in the wellness metric, from 66% to 75%.

For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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