“May you live in interesting times”
There is an English expression - “May you live in interesting times”. If you are in the financial industry (like I am), this is a true curse. Nowadays, everything is in constant flux and keeping up with all the changes is difficult.
However, my pain is your gain. Most of these changes have made it easier and faster for consumers to obtain insurance coverage.
Life Insurance - Technology has finally caught up for this product. I can now complete a life insurance application with a client, online in as little as 15 minutes (the small print - conditions apply). Often the insurance company no longer requires blood and urine samples to complete the application process. Some companies will give you a stable rate for the term that you pick (up to 30 years or until age 65). In addition, there may be price advantages to consolidate all your insurance under one policy. For hard to insure clients (due to medical reasons), there are more options available than ever before, and you can qualify for up to $500,000 of insurance.
Living Benefits - This includes Critical Illness Insurance, Disability Insurance and Long Term Care Insurance. There was a recent change in Canadian law (The Genetic Non-Discrimination Act) that says that the insurance company cannot ask you if you had a genetic test and what the result was. This is anticipated to result in higher claims for the insurance companies and as a result cause higher premiums. If you’ve been intending to purchase one of these policies, now would be a good time to do so.
- Much like housing prices and minimum wage are increasing, so is the cost of traditional group plans. At the same time, the range of options available for employers to include in these plans is expanding as well. Whether you have Millennials, Generation Xers or Baby Boomers, there are plans available to attract them all. You can have a traditional plan, one that pays for gym memberships, a health spending account, a profit-sharing plan... I think you get the idea; if you can dream it, it is now available.
- More people are travelling all the time. If you travel outside of Ontario, please ensure that you have Emergency Medical Travel Insurance - either on your group plan or on an individual basis - as the Ontario government plan is limited in what it pays. If you have travel coverage on a credit card, check the fine print - generally, you need to pay for the travel with that card and you may have no coverage if you’re over 65. In addition, most plans now have a clause that the insurance company reserves the right to not pay the claim if your health prior to the start of the trip was “unstable”. Not sure if that clause would affect you? Give me a call and I can let you know my opinion or send off a request to the insurance company (in advance of your trip) so that there will be no surprises.
In summary, to quote Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
” or in English "the more things change, the more they stay the same”. Insurance policies may be your best option to insure you and your families’ financial health against the unexpected. More options exist today and obtaining coverage may be easier than ever. Please don’t procrastinate. Summer is a great time to review what you have and to discuss with a professional what you should have.
Heather Freed, CFP®
, CLU, CHS
Group Benefits, Insurance, Estate & Financial Planning