Aladin™ and the Pandemic: Mission Accomplished!

A woman on a phone call
Katia Laliberté, Vice President of Corporate Accounts, Assistenza International
Louis-Francis Lebel, Operations Manager - Personal Lines, RSA
The Aladin™ assistance system, already recommended and used by RSA brokers and their insured clients, has definitely proven its worth since the beginning of the pandemic. A broker with access to Aladin™ is equipped with a versatile and resilient tool — exactly what you need when crisis strikes.
“Even though the Aladin™ telephone assistance system has been around for 15 years, we were pleased to see how valuable it could be at a difficult time like the one we’re going through right now,” remarks Louis-Francis Lebel, Operations Manager - Personal Insurance at RSA, when asked about what the insurance company has experienced since the beginning of the pandemic.
Aladin™ is an assistance service offered to all RSA insurance clients at no additional cost. It gives them access to a wide range of information and resources within a climate of trust. Its main feature, telephone assistance, includes legal advisory services consisting of unlimited calls in all fields of law (excluding criminal law and corporate and insurance litigation). This service also includes an emotional support line that is available 24/7.
Under normal circumstances, Aladin™ also offers home assistance services (nursing care, housekeeping, childcare, etc.), an auto support team (roadside assistance, tips, travel planning) and a number of other advantages with various suppliers. This is offered in partnership with Assistenza International, a company specializing in outsourced 24/7 assistance services.
“The crisis has really shown us what a product like Aladin™ is capable of offering our clients,” explains Katia Laliberté, Vice President of Corporate Accounts at Assistenza. “Remarkably, while the number of calls has increased, we were especially surprised by the nature of the calls we received. People’s everyday lives have changed, and their concerns did just the same!”
“Traditionally, and this has been abundantly clear since the arrival of the coronavirus, brokers are the people whom clients turn to when they need expert advice,” points out Louis-Francis Lebel. “The value of our advisory services is greatly increased by Aladin™, as it provides resources beyond those of the broker.”
“Aladin™ connects you to specialists in a wide variety of domains — they’re all just a phone call away,” adds Katia. “The broker can literally ‘save the day’ for their client by referring them to Aladin™. They give the client access to accurate information and a much more sophisticated opinion, as well as a set of tools and solutions available under the given circumstances.” Throughout the pandemic, our brokers have been dealing mostly with legal or emotional support issues.
Interpretation of laws
One thing is certain: RSA did not wait for events to unfold to prepare its legal advisory team to face the pandemic. “We were following the situation in Europe very closely”, mentions Katia Laliberté. “When we saw what was coming, we switched to home office right away. Our team was already up and running by the time the restrictions were imposed. This foresight was all the more important since most law firms were closed at the height of the pandemic.”
Many questions surfaced as a result of the pandemic. Here are some examples related to COVID-19:
  • Can I ask friends for help if I am moving?
  • What can I do if I encounter a delay in taking possession of my new residence?
  • How can a civil union be legally dissolved in spite of COVID-19?
  • My work schedule and availability have changed, but my son’s father refuses to modify our custody agreement. What can I do?
  • We had to cancel our wedding due to the ban on gatherings; can I ask for a refund from the reception venue?
  • I paid an enrolment fee for a course that was cancelled. What are my options?
  • Can a funeral home charge additional fees on the grounds that it must now take extraordinary sanitation measures?
  • I would like to help by volunteering during the pandemic. Do I risk any legal implications?
“Many insurance clients found themselves in completely unfamiliar situations,” explains Louis-Francis Lebel.
The pandemic has had a psychological impact on a great number of people for many different reasons including having to take care of kids who are home all the time while trying to adjust to working from home, mounting financial challenges, the fear of actually contracting the virus, and not to mention the tragedy experienced by those who weren’t able to be with their loved ones during their last moments.
“Even though we don’t actually offer psychotherapy as such, our emotional support team has the necessary tools to guide callers towards meaningful life practices,” he adds. “Sometimes you just need validation that you’re moving in the right direction, that you’re doing the right thing, to get back on track. There were also cases in which our brokers referred the insured to a psychologist, which wasn’t exactly easy since psychologists were under restrictions until May 20.”
Here are a few more questions the team had to answer:
  • How can I help a loved one suffering from anxiety?
  • I’m afraid my child is going to fail the school year. How can I help him study at home?
  • What can I recommend to my teen who’s tired of being home and not seeing his friends?
Feedback from both brokers and RSA’s insurance clients has confirmed that COVID-19 made it possible to assess the real added value brought by Aladin™. “It was the optimal environment to evaluate how a product like Aladin™ can serve our clients. It passed the test with flying colours!” exclaims Louis-Francis Lebel.
This article originally appeared in Journal de l’assurance.