Which Term Life Insurance is Right for You?

Once you have decided on how much life insurance you need, your next decision is whether you are going to use term insurance or permanent insurance to provide it.  For many Canadians, while permanent cash value life insurance offers a significant opportunity for them, many initially utilize renewable and convertible term life insurance.  Most life companies in Canada offer 10-year, 20-year and 30-year renewable term policies.   In deciding which one is right for you, attempt to match the need to the term.  While 10-year term might have the lowest entry level cost, the renewal premiums will be significantly higher.  If you have a young family, ask yourself, will I still need protection beyond the 10th year?  If that answer is yes, then a longer renewal period is more appropriate.

In making your choice, it is important to understand how renewable term policies function.  In Canada, the renewal of the coverage is automatic (unless you decide not to renew) and guaranteed.  The premium on renewal, however, will increase dramatically.  Anyone who has 10-year renewable term insurance, instead of renewing it, should re-write the policy for a new term period.  Read more

The Genetic Non-Discrimination Act and its Impact on Life Insurance

One of the many advancements in medicine has been the use of genetic testing in determining the probability that an individual will develop a life- threatening illness or condition.   Knowing that you or your children are not at risk of a major illness can be of great comfort while knowledge to the contrary can be of great value in preventative treatment and planning.  There was a growing concern, however, that individuals would be very reluctant to undergo genetic testing if knowing the results could affect their ability to properly insure themselves or impact their opportunities for employment.  As a result, a private member’s bill, Bill S-201, was introduced in the senate resulting in the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act being recently enacted into law.

What does the Act do?

It is now illegal for employers, insurance companies, or any other entity or individual to require anyone to undergo genetic testing or to disclose the results of a genetic test before entering into a contract which provides goods or services.  Now, if you apply for life, disability or critical illness insurance living benefit coverage, you cannot be denied coverage due to the results of a genetic test.  Insurance companies and their agents are also prohibited from “collecting, using or disclosing” the results of a genetic test without an individual’s written consent. Penalties for not complying with the new law are severe. Read more

Insurance Audit for the Business Owner

Many business owners understand the important role that life insurance plays in effective corporate planning.  Whether it is the funding of a shareholders’ agreement, life insuring corporate debt, or protecting against loss from the death of a key employee, life insurance is of great value in underpinning the financial success of a corporation.

Just as life insurance needs for families change over time the same is also true for requirements of a business.  If it has been some time since you last reviewed your corporate needs then it is probably time for a corporate insurance audit. This is especially true if the company has grown in value since the time the insurance was first implemented.  The scope of the audit and the insurance related issues include the following: Read more

Charitable Gifting with Shared Ownership Universal Life Insurance

Many individuals have realized their charitable aspirations by donating a life insurance policy to the charity of their choice.  In situations where that donation is a Universal Life policy, the use of a Shared Ownership strategy could prove to be a viable investment for the donor.

Shared Ownership refers to an arrangement involving cash value life insurance policies such as Universal Life.  Universal Life combines life insurance with an investment fund which grows tax deferred until the cash value is withdrawn.  If the cash value is paid out at death, the growth is tax free.

Under Shared Ownership, the life insurance and the cash value would have different owners and beneficiaries and would be structured as follows: Read more

Thinking of Cancelling Your Life Insurance?

Have you found yourself wondering if you really need that life insurance policy you pay for every month?  You are not alone.

As time goes on we often forget the reasons behind purchasing the amount and type of coverage we did. For this reason it is advisable to have regular reviews to make sure you are adequately protected.

Perhaps you are having trouble making ends meet and are looking to trim expenses.  Maybe you simply don’t think you need it because the kids are getting older and your obligations to them have diminished.  Some may feel that they have enough assets accumulated that insurance is no longer necessary and even a waste of money.  Before you make the decision to cancel your life insurance policy, consider these compelling reasons to keep it. Read more

What the Wealthy Know about Life Insurance

If you have ever thought that life insurance was something you wouldn’t need after you reached a certain level of financial security, you might be interested in knowing why many wealthy individuals still carry large amounts of insurance.  Consider the following:

  • A life insurance advisor in California recently placed a $201 million dollar life insurance policy on the life of a tech industry billionaire;
  • Well known music executive David Geffen was life insured for $100 million;
  • Malcolm Forbes, owner of Forbes Magazine, was insured at the time of his death in 1990 for $70 million.

While life insurance is most often looked upon as a vehicle to protect ones family or business, the question that springs to mind is why would individuals with wealth need life insurance?  Read more

Boomer + Sandwich Generation + Club Sandwich + Boomerang = Financial Instability

The Sandwich Generation was a term coined by Dorothy Miller in 1981 to describe adult children who were “sandwiched” between their aging parents and their own maturing children.  There is even a term for those of us who are in our 50’s or 60’s with elderly parents, adult children and grandchildren – the Club Sandwich.   More recently, the Boomerang Generation (the estimated 29% of adults ranging in ages 25 to 34, who live with their parents), are adding to the financial pressures as Boomers head into retirement. It is estimated that by 2026, 1 in 5 Canadians will be older than 65. This means fewer adults to both fund and provide for elder care.  Today, it is likely that the average married couple will have more living parents than they do children.

What are the challenges? Read more

The Single Premium Insured Annuity

Available until January 1, 2017

A New Approach

 A new method of structuring an insured annuity has restored its favourable results.  The new approach involves combining the prescribed annuity with a Universal Life policy.

  • The UL policy is funded with a single deposit to provide lifetime coverage.
  • The remaining capital is then used to purchase the prescribed life annuity.
  • On the death of the insured/annuitant, the annuity income ceases
  • The Universal Life policy now returns the full amount of the capital to the intended beneficiaries.

Read more

Do You Need Individual Life Insurance?

Canadians may need to rethink their risk management

In a recent study conducted by the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA), it was reported that 61% of Canadians hold some form of life insurance.  Surprisingly, it also revealed that only 38% of Canadians own an individual life insurance contract.

In another study of middle class Canadians, Manulife reported that 79% had no individual disability insurance and 87% had no individual critical illness coverage.

What both of these studies conclude is that most Canadians rely heavily on their group benefits for their family’s insurance protection.  Read more

The Clock is Ticking!

Don’t Put Off Your Decision to Buy Life Insurance

2016 is an opportune year to buy life insurance.  New laws affecting the taxation of life insurance come into effect on January 1, 2017. After this date new policies will not perform as well as they do currently.

The good news is that the proceeds of life insurance policies paid at death still remain tax free.  What has been affected is the amount of cash value that may accrue in a policy and the tax-free distribution of death proceeds from a life insurance policy owned in a corporation.

How will this impact your existing and future policies?

Adjustment to the Maximum Tax Actuarial Reserve

Whole Life and Universal Life policies are valuable vehicles in which to accumulate cash value. The limit of how much can be invested is governed by the Maximum Tax Actuarial Reserve (MTAR).  If the cash value ever exceeds the MTAR limit, the policy is deemed to be “offside” and will be subject to accrual taxation. Read more