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Today’s Question: How Can I Cut My Life Insurance Rates?

September 13th, 2017
Cut-Life-Insurance-Rates

Today's Question: How can I cut my life insurance rates?

You might be wondering why I have a cut softball in my hand and I am proud to say, I am the cause of the state this softball is in. This softball hit the top of the fence and got sliced in half on its way over. Now, I am no Roy Hobbs, but it certainly was an impressive moment for me and it made me think about a question that came in on how you can cut your life insurance rates.

A great way to cut your insurance rates if you are a smoker is to quit smoking. Of course, this is not an easy thing to do, but the benefits surely make it worth doing. One, you will improve your health and two, you'll cut your rates significantly. Most life insurance companies need you to quit smoking for a period of at least twelve months; that includes cigarettes and all nicotine related products.

Life insurance depends greatly on the health of the individual. Non smokers who are relatively healthy will receive better rates. Another great way to cut your insurance rates is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a good, clean diet and exercising regularly are great ways to improve your overall health and aid you in cutting those rates. Keep it mind, rates will always come down to your overall health.

So once again, a great way to save on your life insurance and simultaneously improve your health is to quit smoking and work your way to a healthier life style. Make sure you find a broker who can shop all the different companies and knows all the different policies so you can get the best possible rate.

Do you have more life insurance questions? We have more answers for you here!

Mortgage Balances on the Rise: How Best to Protect Yourself

September 13th, 2017
Mortgage Balances on the Rise

In a recent report from TransUnion Canada, the average amount Canadians owe in mortgage debt is up by nearly five per cent, even though real estate sales have declined.

The average balance for new-mortgages during the first quarter of 2017 was approximately $280,093, up 8% from the same period a year ago. The increase in mortgage amounts is mainly due to rising house prices.

According to TransUnion research director Matt Fabian, despite increasing balances consumers have been able to keep up with mortgage obligations. Delinquency rates have dropped by 0.6%.

House prices vary greatly from province to province which means that mortgage amounts vary, as well. The cost of the home and the amount of the down payment affect how much of a mortgage you need. Most people can only afford the minimum down payment amount allowed in their province, however the more you can put down, the better off you will be in the long run. Average mortgage amounts by province currently look like this:

Alberta – $243,561
British Columbia – $210,500
Manitoba – $139,850
New Brunswick – $102,250
Newfoundland and Labrador – $156,500
Nova Scotia – $114,545
Ontario – $187,200
Prince Edward Island – $102,400
Quebec – $226,972
Saskatchewan – $122,618

This is a lot of debt to leave behind should tragedy suddenly strike, and that is why mortgage lenders insist the mortgage holder has enough life insurance to cover the balance. Your lender (bank, credit union, etc.) will offer you mortgage life insurance and there instances when mortgage insurance makes sense, but in most cases, you are better off buying private life insurance coverage.

Advantages of Private Life Insurance Coverage

Private life insurance coverage offers many advantages over mortgage insurance.

Your Premiums

The premium on mortgage insurance is the same for everyone. You don't get any discounts for not smoking, living a healthy lifestyle, buying when you are young or any other discounts normally available with personal life insurance policies. This means you aren't getting the best possible deal and may be paying higher premiums than you should.

Benefit Value Declines

Mortgage life insurance covers the amount of your mortgage. This means that as you pay down your balance, the face value of your policy declines. The premiums you pay stay the same for the life of your mortgage, but the amount of the benefit declines as the amount owing declines. Traditional term life insurance keeps its value and can usually be purchased for much lower premiums.

You Choose Your Beneficiary

Private life insurance allows you to name your beneficiary. With mortgage life insurance, the mortgage holder is the beneficiary. The mortgage is paid off, but your family is left with nothing else – no money for final expenses, to pay off your bills, to help with living costs or anything else your family may need after you are gone.

Underwriting Process

Underwriting is the process of determining your eligibility for life insurance coverage. The cost of your premium is based on your health, age, lifestyle and various other considerations. As long as your premiums are kept up-to-date, your coverage is guaranteed and the policy will pay out. With mortgage insurance, the lender may use "post-claim underwriting," which means your eligibility is determined only after a claim is filed. At this time they may decide you never did qualify and deny your claim. This sounds like a horrible practice, but it can and has happened.

Changing Providers

Life insurance from your mortgage lender is tied to that lender. If you sell your home and pay off your mortgage, your insurance coverage ends. If you move your mortgage to another lender, your coverage ends, but you will be required to get a new policy. A simple term-life policy stays with you for as long as you pay the premiums, no matter who is holding your mortgage or how many houses you buy and sell.

Analyzing Your Needs

If you have a personal life insurance policy, you likely have sufficient coverage to pay off your mortgage. When analyzing how much life insurance coverage you need, covering your mortgage debt should be at the top of the list. Mortgage lenders will insist that you have some type of insurance to ensure your mortgage will be paid in case of your untimely death. If you don't, then your lender will require you to take their insurance.

Cover More Than Just Your Mortgage

With your own private term life insurance policy, you can cover most of your insurance needs. Your beneficiary can pay off your mortgage, pay off credit card debts, pay off personal loans, pay for your child's education, replace your income, have a relaxing vacation in the tropics or anything else that needs to be paid. A life insurance policy with the bank only covers your mortgage, which means you will need additional policies to cover everything else your beneficiary will need. This means double premiums for the same amount of coverage.

These are all important reasons why you should get sufficient personal life insurance coverage and avoid mortgage insurance from your bank or financial institution. However, there is one more thing to remember – an untimely death is not the only reason to get insurance. To protect yourself and your family against financial hardship, you should also consider critical illness and disability insurance.

The chances of developing an illness or becoming disabled are much greater than an untimely death. You most likely have some type of illness or disability insurance coverage from your employer, but it may not be enough. If you are self-employed, personal life insurance with illness and disability protection becomes even more important. Always make sure you have sufficient coverage for your needs.

For more information, give us a call at 1-866-899-4849 or to compare for yourself with our Term Life Instant Quote Page.

What The Financial Experts Own – Mike Aziz

September 13th, 2017
  
Mike Aziz Insurance Agent

Mike Aziz

Senior Vice President of Sales, Canada Protection Plan 

Michael’s career spans over 20 years in the financial services industry including investments, life insurance and living benefits.

Prior to joining Canada Protection Plan, Michael spent 15 years at a large Canadian insurance company working in various roles, including Regional Vice President, Wealth Management and Insurance where he lead national teams of Regional Sales Directors who consistently exceeded their objectives under his leadership and guidance.

As Senior Vice President of Distribution at Canada Protection Plan, Michael is responsible for the company’s growth and to further enhance relationships with the strategic partners.

Michael has provided his industry insight to major publications, including The Insurance & Investment Journal, Investment Executive and the National Post.

1. What Type of Life Insurance do you own?

I own Whole life, CI and some term coverage on top of what I get from work.

2. What factors did you consider when determining the coverage amount?

Kids education, charitable giving, maintaining the lifestyle if something were to happen and cover capital gains of my estate.

3. Do you believe in Life Insurance for Children?

Absolutely, get it young while it is extremely cheap.

4. What is The Biggest Life Insurance mistake people make?

Thinking they don’t need insurance because nothing will happen to them.

5. Outside of Life Insurance what other types of individual insurance are often over looked?

Disability and Critical illness.

Michael Aziz holds an MBA from the University of Windsor. He is a CFA charter holder and Certified Financial Planner. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two children and spends his free time snowboarding, cycling and working with the youth in his community.

<Back to Life Insurance – What The Experts Own

Is Whole Life Insurance Right for You

September 10th, 2017
whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is a great option for some people, but it may not be the right choice for everyone. Some people believe the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, while others believe just the opposite. Here are some pros and cons of whole life insurance to help you decide if it may be the right choice for you.

Pros

1. A whole life insurance policy remains active for life, unless you cancel. A term policy lasts the length of the term purchased.

2. Your policy can be used as an investment and be part of your overall estate plan. A portion of premiums you pay go towards a cash fund. This fund grows over time and will be paid out tax-free, along with the value of the policy.

3. Your premiums stay the same for the rest of your life. Your premiums will never go up for as long you own your policy.

4. A whole life insurance policy can actually be paid up, which means you don't go on paying premiums forever. With these limited pay periods, you can have coverage for as long as you live, without any premiums to pay after retirement when your income might be considerably lower.

5. You can choose a participating or non-participating policy. A participating policy allows you to receive dividends on investments made by the insurance company while a non-participating policy does not.

6. A whole life insurance policy does not need to be renewed, which means premiums never go up. Other policy premiums increase as you get older.

7. Whole life insurance is permanent insurance coverage. The policy will stay in effect as long as premiums are paid on time.

8. The death benefit and premiums are both guaranteed. Some policies guarantee one or the other, but not both. Whole life insurance has more guarantees than other types of policies.

9. Whole life insurance policies offer a range of living benefits that won't deplete the death benefit.

10. Can be used as a form of savings with huge growth potential and tax advantages. The cash value portion is guaranteed to be paid.

11. Your money is not lost. Should you choose to cancel your policy, you will receive the cash value portion accumulated by your policy.

12. You can use some of the cash value portion of your policy to pay your premiums and convert your policy to a “paid up” policy.

13. You don't have to risk the capital of your policy even though it is invested in a pool of assets that may change in value.

14. You can leave an inheritance for your grandchildren. Since the policy lasts for as long as you live, the tax-free lump sum doesn't have to go for expenses such as mortgage, cost of living, income replacement or other expenses normally associated with term life policies. You can spend all of your retirement savings and still leave something for your loved ones.

15. Good fit for retirees because they don't need coverage for debts, mortgages or income replacement.

Cons

1. The first thing you will notice is that premiums for whole life insurance coverage are quite steep. For example, a 35-year-old non-smoking male could expect to pay about $250 per month for a $500 000 policy, compared to $35 a month for the same amount on a term policy.

2. Many people find they can't afford the premiums after a few years and end up cancelling before building up any cash value. The Society of Actuaries found that 20% of whole-life policies are terminated in the first three years and 39% within the first 10 years.

3. It takes time for cash value to build. Very little of premiums during the first few years go into the cash portion of the account.

4. During the first year a large portion of the premium is given to the advisors as their commission, prompting them to sell more whole life policies, which might not always be in the best interest of the client.

5. More than half of the premium for the first year goes to the insurance agent or advisor and a large portion goes to the insurance company to cover death benefits, leaving very little for the cash value portion of the policy. This means that you should carefully consider the amount of coverage and not the return on your investment unless the policy is for investment or estate planning purposes only.

6. Whole life insurance policies are not designed for short term needs. Although it is a good idea to purchase a whole life policy when you are young, it is not the type of policy a young family can normally afford.

7. A whole life policy is not designed for short-term expenses. A term policy might be better to cover a mortgage, funeral expenses or income replacement in case of an untimely death because coverage may not be needed after these expenses are paid.

8. In most cases, a term policy will provide adequate insurance coverage, so there is no need to spend the extra money for a whole life policy.

9. A whole life policy is extremely complex. You need an experienced advisor to explain all of your options and to help you decide what you need. A term policy is very simple, inexpensive and quite adequate for the average person.

10. The growth on investment of a whole life policy may be much less than if you invest the money yourself.

11. Generally speaking, you don't have a choice about changing any aspect of your whole life policy.

12. A whole life policy is very inflexible compared to other types of life insurance. You may never know how your premium is being used or how much of the premium is actually applied to the death benefits or the amount of the premium going towards the cash value portion.

13. A whole life policy doesn't allow you to suggest investment opportunities. You have no say in how your money is being invested.

14. Significant fees may be charged for handling the investment portion of your insurance policy.

15. You may not need coverage for your entire life. As your life changes, your insurance needs may change as well, making a term policy the more practical choice.

For more information, give us a call at 1-866-899-4849 or check out our Quote Page.

LSM Insurance and Youth Without Shelter 3rd Annual BBQ

September 8th, 2017
Youth-Without-Shelter-BBQ

My team and I at LSM Insurance recently took part in our 3rd Annual Youth Without Shelter BBQ and as always, it was a great success. We wasted no time firing up the grill and creating delicious meals for kids in need. It is always rewarding to give back to the community when we can and Youth Without Shelter surely is a great organization to give back to.

What is Youth Without Shelter?

Youth Without Shelter is an emergency residence and referral agency serving homeless youth. YWS provides shelter, meals, and support to youth ages 16-24. All youth are provided with an independent shelter, surrounding by a helpful team of staff in a safe and nonjudgemental environment.

How does Youth Without Shelter help?

Youth Without Shelter provides more than just a shelter to homeless youth in need. They provide an educational outreach program, an employment program, a housing program, and much more. YWS helps these young individuals set up for and achieve success whilst remaining safe and sheltered.

Who does Youth Without Shelter help?

YWS helps youth ages 16-24 who are in bad situations. These youth may be facing homelessness or troubles at home. 

Aside from those YWS helps directly, it helps those, like myself, who volunteer. I always leave feeling grateful for what I have in my life and thankful for programs like this that aid younger generations in becoming successful individuals. This program truly touches the hearts of many!

Where is Youth Without Shelter located?

Youth Without Shelter is located in the west end of the GTA in a safe and quiet neighbourhood.

It is always a great time volunteering at YWS and seeing the faces of the kids we and the staff help is indescribable. Our team did a great job this year and we were able to feed every single youth there. It is safe to say our 3rd Annual YWS BBQ was a success!

If you want to learn more about Youth Without Shelter and what you can do to help, visit their website.

Today’s Question: I’m A Recovering Alcoholic, Can I Get Life Insurance?

September 5th, 2017
Alcohol-Life-Insurance

Today's Question: I'm a recovering alcoholic, can I still qualify for Life Insurance?

The short answer is yes, you absolutely can qualify for Life Insurance if you are a recovering alcoholic. The long answer is, what policy? Determining what policy is best for your individual situation is imperative before you jump right ahead on any policy.

There are two types of policies you must fully research and understand. 

The first plan is a traditional fully underwritten policy. These policies have a series of health questions as well as medical tests you must complete. Keep it mind, they may also write your doctor to verify tests and answers.

The second type of policy is a simplified issue plan. With there plans, there are no medical tests, however, there are a series of health questions you must answer. With the simplified issue type policies, the more questions you can answer no to, the better the plan you qualify for.

Provided your past alcoholism did not lead to any long term illnesses, qualifying for life insurance will be relatively simple. It all comes down to finding the right policy for your needs. If you are unsure about various policies or what may work best for you, it is beneficial to work with a licensed broker. Brokers who work with all the difference companies, know the different types of policies, and have experience insuring hard to insure individuals, will aid you in finding the best policy suitable for your individual needs.

Have more Life Insurance questions? We have more answers for you here!

Today’s Question: How Do I Build Centres of Influence?

August 24th, 2017
How-Do-I-Build-Centres-Of-Influence

Today's Question: How do I build centres on influence?

This question actually comes from a life insurance broker, but really applies to any business. Having an influence on your community is key when it comes to growing your business both online and off. Building centres on influence involves aiding others in building their influence which in turn, they can reciprocate.

You must look at it from the other person's perspective- how can you aid them in growing their business and what type of prospects are they looking for? You want to ensure you get a clear idea of of what the other person is trying to achieve. When you have day to day meetings with your clients, and other persons you are meeting with, you can try to make introductions that are a fit in terms of benefiting your clients and prospects and the other centre of influence.
 
Once you start giving them meaningful amounts of introductions and leads, they're going to start to reciprocate; that is how you grow your centres on influence and how you build your business. It creates something that is meaningful for both parties that is going to work well in the long term.
 
 
Have more Life Insurance questions? We have more answers for you here
 
 
 
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We’ve Got The Answers: How Does Accidental Life Insurance Work?

August 15th, 2017
Accidental-Life-Insurance

Today's Question: How does accidental life insurance work?

First of all, to understand how accidental life insurance works, you have to know what exactly it is. If you are unsure, we did an article for MoneySense Magazine that discussed the premise of accidental life insurance that you can check out here

 
The key with accidental life insurance is that it is a very profitable product for the insurance company because very few people die by accident. In my mind the bigger issue on hand is that you do not need more life insurance if you die by accident than you do if you pass due to regular causes. Many of these accidental life insurance policies pay out double of the person where to die by accident, however, a person does not all of the sudden need a million dollars because they died by accident versus five hundred thousand dollars if they die by regular cause.
 
With any life insurance policy, it is imperative to look at how much insurance you actually need. Once you find that out you can then find a plan that best fits your budget; whether is be a term policy or a permanent policy. This is where a broker can come in because they will be able to aid you in determining this need and also to find the right policy for your budget, your needs, and your goals!
 
 
Have more life insurance questions? We have more answers for you here!

We’ve Got The Answers: How does a Life Insurance Waiting Period Work?

August 2nd, 2017
Life-Insurance-Waiting-Period

Today's Question: How does a life insurance waiting period work?

Generally, most life insurance policies do not have a waiting period, however, there are certain types of policies that do. No medical policies, where there is no medical test and a series of health questions, do have a waiting period.

 
 
So, how exactly would a waiting period work? If the insurer were to pass away within the first two policy years, the death benefit is limited to a return of premium plus, depending on the plan, it can also include interest. 
 
It is imperative that you look at your life insurance policy and verify if it is paid on an immediate basis or if it is pain on a deferred basis. Generally when it is paid on a deferred basis, the waiting period is limited to two years.
 
The key thing is to ensure you fully understand the ins and outs of your policy and if you do not, make sure you get all your questions answered in writing.
 
Have more Life Insurance Questions? We have more answers for you here!

Study Suggests Excessive Sugar Intake Could Increase the Risk Of Depression in Men

July 31st, 2017
High sugar intake can increase depression in men

Researchers have discovered a profound link between the consumption of sugar and depression in men. Women, however didn't show this association. Quite the opposite, in fact. This study may prove the age-old belief that women need more sugar than men.

The study was conducted over a 23 year period by researchers from University College London (UCL) with a control group of 5000 men and 2000 women. Diets and common mental health problems were examined and the results revealed that men who consumed more than 67g of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop some form of mental disorder than men who consumed less than 39g per day.

Women often turn to sweets to relieve stress or depression – the researchers wondered if this was true for men, as well – the answer was no. They found no evidence that the men ate more sweets during 'down' times. On the contrary, they seemed to lose their appetites altogether.

Anika Knüppel, a leading author at the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health stated, “High sugar diets have a number of influences on our health but our study shows that there might also be a link between sugar and mood disorders, particularly among men. There are numerous factors that influence chances for mood disorders, but having a diet high in sugary foods and drinks might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The study found no link between sugar intake and new mood disorders in women and it is unclear why. More research is needed to test the sugar-depression effect in large population samples.”

Sugar consumption and mental health status was measured with a series of questionnaires.

The biggest problem with studies that rely on questionnaires is that people do not always tell the truth – or the whole truth. Human nature dictates that in order to avoid embarrassment, people tend to understate how much they actually eat – this is especially true for women.

Researchers in this study strongly believe that the women questioned largely understated their food and sugar consumption. Women were already under-represented by less than half of the subjects, so to say that only men may be affected by excessive sugar consumption is premature. Knüppel feels more research is needed.

Rob Howard, professor of old age psychiatry at UCL, agrees. “This study is important because it is the first to be able to show that an increase in risk of about a quarter in common mental disorders – mostly mild anxiety and depression – in men who eat the most sugar cannot be explained by those who were already anxious or depressed using sugar as a form of comfort. Association was complicated and further studies would be needed.”

Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, had reservations. He pointed out that various factors could influence the results, such as socioeconomic status, alcohol consumption, smoking, heredity and obesity. Sanders contends that, “There still is a risk of residual confounding factors. From a scientific standpoint it is difficult to see how sugar in food would differ from other sources of carbohydrate on mental health, as both are broken down to simple sugars in the gut before absorption and the glycemic index of sugar is less than refined starchy foods such as white bread and rice.”

Depression and Life Insurance

A Canadian Living report states that approximately 10% of the population will suffer from some form of depression and 15% will be stricken with severe depression during their lifetime. Depression can make you ineligible for life insurance coverage.

Depression is a serious mental illness that often ends in suicide, which is why life insurance companies shy away from providing coverage for anyone at risk of developing a mental illness. Depression has been categorized into many forms, including::

  • Endogenous Depression - Depression that is caused by internal sources, such as worry, fear and stress.
  • Situational Depression – Temporary sadness or “depression” linked to a particular situation.
  • Psychotic Depression – A deep hurt that manifests itself into hallucinations or paranoia – usually stemming from severe trauma.

Traditional life insurance may still be available to you, depending on your form of depression. You could qualify for a policy at standard rates if you don't have underlying health issues and a good family health history.

Individuals with a mild type of depression and the condition has been stabilized, have a very good chance of receiving standard rates. Applicants with more severe forms of depression are more likely to receive a rated policy, or be declined all together.

A rated policy is associated with higher risk, therefore premiums can be anywhere from 50% to 350% higher than the standard rate. Extremely high risk applicants are likely to be declined.

Other options include No Medical Life Insurance: Simplified Issue Plans and Guaranteed Issue Plans.

Simplified issue policies have higher face amounts and lower premiums and many of these plans are available on an immediate pay basis. Simplified issue plans have no medical tests, but do have a short series of health questions. Thankfully, most simplified issue plans do not have a depression-related question. If the insured is first declined for life insurance, the type of simplified issue plan available will be more limited. Therefore, if you think that there's a good chance that you will be declined from traditional insurance, you should consider first looking at a simplified issue policy. Canada Protection a leading provider of Simplified Issue policies increased it's issue limits on it's Immediate Pay and Deferred Payout Term policies. Humania Assurance also now offers $300,000 of No Medical Term 10 and Term 20 Simplified Issue plans.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance is often considered as the last resort. There are no medical tests and no health questions. Premiums are much higher and the death benefit is limited in the first two years to a return of premiums for non accidental deaths.

For more information, give us a call at 1-866-899-4849 or try our No Medical Life Insurance Quote Page if you are looking for rates.

Head Office: 2900 John Street Suite #302 Markham, L3R 5G3
Office 1-866-899-4849, 905.248.4849 Fax 905.300.4848


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