Western Surety Company Response to Coronavirus

Last week, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to be a global pandemic. WSC and the Hill Companies as a whole are following the recommendations and requirements of the various provincial health authorities and the Public Health Agency of Canada. These agencies are also the best sources of current information on this rapidly changing situation.

The health, safety and well-being of our employees, customers and the greater community are WSC’s top priority. As we navigate the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation in Canada together, we want to share information with our broker partners and various stakeholders about WSC’s preparedness and precautionary efforts.

How we have been preparing our company

WSC has a formal business continuity and operational readiness plan in place. This plan addresses how we keep our employees safe and implements best practices to ensure service standards are maintained while mitigating potential interruptions to our business.

All our offices currently remain open for business. However, we are fully prepared to implement our Business Continuity Plan to ensure uninterrupted service to our clients should circumstances change that require temporary office closures and/or our employees working remotely from home.

In the event of remote work, the general reception phone lines in each of our offices, along with individual phone lines – business and cell - will remain operational. All staff will continue to have e-mail and Contract e-Services access. Please see below for our staff contact information.

With immediate effect, all non-essential business travel, including conferences and events, has been temporarily suspended.

How WSC can assist you

To ensure uninterrupted operations, please consider the following:

  • Register for and transact the issuance of Bid Bonds, Consents of Surety, Performance Bond and Labour and Material Payment Bonds through the use of Contract e-Services; WSC’s internet-based bond issuance portal. The benefits of this service would be instrumental at all stages of the pandemic. We highly recommend and encourage registration! For more details, please contact an underwriter or respond to WSCinfo@westernsurety.ca
  • The Surety Association of Canada (“SAC”) recently issued a Communiqué concerning the use of digital bonds. For your quick reference, this communique is attached. Please note that WSC is registered with the following e-bonding providers: Xenex Enterprises (www.signaturemaster.com) and Mobile Bonds (www.mobilebonds.com). To be prepared to issue e-bonds, brokers will have to register with a provider and direct their contractor clients to register with the same provider. Brokers who are not currently registered will need to send a Power of Attorney request to Greg Salmon (Western Canada), Cory Manchur (Ontario) or Wes Benson (Atlantic Canada). WSC’s digital seal is assessable through both e-bonding providers. However, brokers must advise their contractor clients that they must obtain their own digital seal. The providers can readily provide any assistance with getting set up for e-bonds.
  • Remit payment of your broker account via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Banking details were distributed in early 2020 although they can be requested through WSCinfo@westernsurety.ca
  • Review your current WSC Powers of Attorney and advise us of any necessary revocations and/or additions. For new POA consideration, please send a written request from an executive of the brokerage recommending the individual along with a copy of their resume.
  • In the event brokerage staff are working remotely, assign an individual with WSC Power of Attorney for WSC bond issuance responsibility and security of the seal.
  • We are no longer going to rely on courier services and Canada Post mail delivery. With immediate effect, to ensure that we receive information from our brokers, please scan all time-sensitive documents to PDF format and forward to the respective underwriter via e-mail.
  • Should you have any concerns with issuing WSC bonds, please contact an underwriter to explore further alternatives.
  • Thank-you for your support and understanding during this rapidly evolving landscape. We hope that this message provides you with the confidence in the actions we are taking to safeguard our people, our clients and our communities. We will actively continue to monitor the progress and impact of the pandemic and provide you with updates should circumstances require changes to our operations.

    Scott Donald,
    President & CEO.

 

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