Which insurance company is the best for you?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right insurance company. Price is obviously high on the list, but there is more to it than simply selecting the company with the lowest premiums. Other important factors to keep in mind when selecting a life insurance company:
Does the company offer a broad range of policies? Many insurance companies focus on certain niche products, such as Long Term Care, while others have a mandate to have a complete and competitive product lineup. If you are working with an independent broker, it may be in your best interest to insure yourself with multiple companies.
Life insurance is a long-term commitment, therefore you want to make sure the company is on solid footing. You can verify the insurance company’s financial stability by gathering information from rating services, such as AM Best (www.ambest.com). It becomes of increased importance if the policy exceeds $200,000, the maximum death benefit amount covered by Assuris (formerly Compcorp). Assuris protects Canadian life insurance policyholders against loss of benefits due to financial failure of a member company.
What kind of claims service does the company offer? How have existing clients been treated during the claims process? You may want to check with a national claims database to see if there are any outstanding customer complaints on the company.
Do they provide service across Canada?
Some insurance companies only operate in certain regions of the country, and this could make ongoing service difficult if, in the future, you move to an area where the insurance company does not do business.
Where is the insurance company in its business cycle?
Some life insurance companies go through phases where they are actively pursuing new business, which may be reflected in the company’s premiums and the degree to which they are accepting new business. This is where an experienced independent broker, who is in tune with the marketplace, can save you a small fortune over the life of your policy. Insurance companies often have differing guidelines on their acceptance protocol for different illnesses. If you catch a company at the right stage of their business cycle, it can mean the difference between qualifying or being declined for insurance.
Does the company employ a captive or independent sales force?
Some insurance companies have an in-house sales force which means their agents are only allowed to represent the company's products. This often skews the agent’s advice, as he/she cannot offer an unbiased opinion. Insurance companies who use the independent brokerage channel create a level playing field and provide less biased advice for the consumer, allowing their sales force to work in the client’s best interest.