Vs

Critical Illness vs. Long-Term Disability

By | FAQ, Individual Health Plans, Individual Services, Living Benefits | No Comments
Which coverage is right for you?
A great career, a happy family, a beautiful home —  everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve, as well as your ability to enjoy it, depends upon your health.

Despite the many measures you may take to ensure your wellness, life can be unpredictable. Recent statistics from Canadian Cancer Society indicate that:

  • 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime
  • 60% of people diagnosed with cancer survive at least 5 years

And according to Stats Canada:

  • a 35-year-old has a 50% chance of being disabled for 3 months or longer
  • and a 38% chance of having a disability lasting longer than five years

Clearly, the chances of being diagnosed with a life-altering illness or injury are higher than ever. However, people are surviving and living through these challenging situations with greater frequency and for longer than ever before. The impact can be devastating, both financially and emotionally.

Aside from living a healthy lifestyle, what is the best way to protect your income and the life you have built with it? Both Long-Term Disability and Critical Illness insurance are solutions that can help. However, there is often confusion about these 2 unique types of protection.

So what’s the difference?

First and foremost, the payouts are quite different:
Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance offers a regular monthly payout after a waiting period of typically 90 or 120 days, payable to age 65, while

Critical Illness (CI) Insurance offers a one time lump sum payout of the entire CI benefit 30 days after diagnosis

No two situations are the same, and as a result, there is no one perfect solution.
An LTD claim can last for decades, and pay out millions of dollars for a long-lasting illness or injury, but is typically paid in monthly increments after the waiting period, and while you are unable to work. CI claims are paid out in full 30 days after diagnosis of one of the covered conditions, whether you are working or have a loss of income or not.

Let’s look at a quick breakdown of some other key differences.

Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance

Essentially, LTD assures that you will continue to receive a portion of your income in the event that you are unable to work due to injury or illness. Your ability to work is your greatest asset, and LTD is the most effective way to protect it.

HOW MUCH ARE YOU WORTH?

Based on current annual income, here are two examples of potential earnings to age 65, assuming a 5% increase per year. This is the risk that LTD Coverage looks to protect.

At Age 35:

$60,000 = $3,986,331

$96,000 = $6,378,129

$180,000 = $11,958,993

At Age 45:

$60,000 =$1,983,957

$96,000 =  $3,174,332

$180,000 = $5,951,872

What qualifies as a disability?

Disability insurance covers illnesses or injuries that impact your ability to work. Some of the most common causes of LTD claims are mental health disorders, musculoskeletal (back pain, arthritic conditions), cancer, heart disease, and injury as a result of accidents.

It is important to understand that different types of policies provide varying definitions of Disability, and the better the policy, the more reasonable the definition is to satisfy in order to satisfy and thus receive a disability benefit.

How is it purchased?

There are three common ways that people obtain Long-Term Disability Insurance:

  1. Coverage provided through your employee benefit plan
  2. Purchasing a stand-alone individual policy
  3. Supplementing an existing group or other disability plan, which may have inferior definitions, or limited coverage amounts

For example, an executive earning $250,000 might be eligible for as much as $10,000/month of disability income protection. However, their group plan may provide coverage that is limited to $5,000, as an example. In this case, the executive is well under-insured, and may be eligible for a discounted “top-up” policy to get to the appropriate level of coverage based on their income.

Individual disability policies can include Riders that provide additional benefits, including:

  • Increasing disability benefit to keep pace with the cost of living
  • Guaranteed option to increase insurance in the future without medical evidence
  • Occupational HIV protection for health professionals
  • Potential for a Refund of Premiums if you never have a claim

Individual policies are also fully portable. If you lose your job or have stopped working for a period before age 65, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits even if you did not have employment income at the time.

Critical Illness Insurance (CI)

Critical Illness insurance is designed specifically to help with the financial needs associated with recovering from a serious illness.

The benefit can be used in any way you choose:

  • Replace lost income for self and spouse/caregiver
  • Repay your mortgage and other debts
  • Gain access to private medical services or treatment outside Canada
  • Private nursing, home care and childcare services
  • Take an extended vacation
  • Make modifications to your home and/or vehicle
  • Maintain your lifestyle and retirement planning
How is Critical Illness insurance purchased?

Critical Illness is not included in as many employee benefit plans, so it is up to each individual to consider their own needs and seek out this valuable protection. Policies can be obtained on an individual basis, in a similar fashion to life insurance, where premiums can be fixed for a level term like 10 or 20 years, or on a permanent basis.

Coverage is not tied to your ability to work or earn an income, and benefits can be used for any purpose you desire. Since LTD benefits are tied to earned income reported on tax returns, CI is often used to bridge the gap for people who may not take significant income, but still have a lot at risk if they had to step away to deal with an illness. It is also used often to protect a non-income earning spouse, since the working spouse’s income would likely be impacted if they family were dealing with a serious illness.

Benefits of CI:

Benefits are paid out as a tax-free lump sum, 30 days after diagnosis of a covered condition. This provides a quick solution to replace lost income, pay for excess care, eliminate debt, or simply provide peace of mind and reduce financial stress.

CI Policies can be structured to include some of the following benefits:

  • Term Policies can be Convertible, without medical questions, to Permanent coverage
  • Some policies provide a full Refund of 100% of all Premiums paid if you never have a CI claim
  • Many policies also include ancillary benefits to help get a Second Medical Opinion to be confirm a diagnosis or treatment plan, or to help access specialized care tailored for your condition

Both CI and LTD can serve as valuable solutions, depending upon your specific situation. Nobody knows what the future holds, but when we have protection for both the short term, while also covering the long-term risks as well, we have a solid foundation for financial well-being.

Our team at SC Insurance is always happy to answer your questions specific to your own situation. We’re here to help protect your wealth by protecting your health.

What qualifies as a Critical Illness?

There are Basic Plans that cover cancer, heart attack and stroke, and Comprehensive Plans that cover a longer list of illnesses. The majority of claims under all plans are for cancer, which make up approximately 70% of all CI claims in Canada.

Below is a list of conditions included in many Comprehensive CI Plans.

Some plans may vary, and the definitions of each condition are available for review. Most plans also include additional conditions which are eligible for a partial benefit payout, when one of the following conditions is not met.

Acquired brain injury

Aortic surgery

Aplastic anemia

Benign brain tumour

Bacterial meningitis

Blindness

Cancer (life-threatening)

Coma

Coronary artery bypass surgery

Deafness

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease

Heart attack

Heart valve replacement or repair

Kidney failure

Loss of independent existence

Loss of limbs

Loss of speech

Major organ transplant

Major organ failure on waiting list

Motor neuron disease

Multiple sclerosis

Occupational HIV infection

Paralysis

Parkinson’s disease and specified atypical parkinsonian disorders

Severe burns

Stroke

Note: This list is subject to change, and intended as a summary of coverage provided by many Comprehensive CI plans. The list of covered conditions and definitions for any policy or insurance company can be provided upon request.

Preparing for Medical

Preparing for your Insurance Medical

By | FAQ, Individual Services, Life Insurance | No Comments

If you have applied for new insurance, a medical exam may be required. Most exams usually take approximately 30 minutes, and can be completed at your convenience in your home, office at a medical clinic. We will let you know what testing is required, and a Nurse or Doctor will contact you to schedule the appointment. If the person contacting you cannot accommodate your requested schedule, please DO NOT book with them, and let us know so we can find someone else who can work with your schedule.

We always suggest booking your appointment in the morning, which makes it easier to fast, and also typically is when our results are at their best. Below are some tips to help you look your best.

The Basics
  • Be well rested
  • Avoid heavy exercise 24 hours before any exam
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages for 24-48 hours, if possible.
  • Try to avoid or minimize caffeine, or excessively fatty or fried foods 24 hours prior.
  • If they will be doing blood work: wear short sleeves, or sleeves that can easily be rolled up. If possible, fast for 12 hours, with the exception of drinking water.
  • Refrain from using non-prescription and herbal supplements or non-prescribed medications for at least 24 hours.
  • Prescription medications may be continued as prescribed. Be sure to provide any prescription medication details to the nurse.
IF YOU ARE FEELING ILL, SUFFERING FROM NEW PAINS OR SYMPTOMS, OR ARE UNDER SEVERE STRESS ON EXAM DAY, YOU SHOULD RESCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT.

Your appointment may also include a Paramedical Exam.

This is an interview with where the practitioner will gather information about your medical history, and typically includes obtaining your height, weight, and blood pressure. Try to prepare details of any Doctors or Clinics visited, medical consultations, tests, follow-up appointments and results where possible.

Next Steps

The results of your exam are sent to a laboratory, with the details then sent to the insurance company, where an underwriter will review them along with the information on your initial application. If you would like to have the results of any testing for your records, please let us know. We will have the insurance company share their findings with your Doctor.

Any Questions?

If you ever have any questions or concerns at all, please contact our office ASAP. Someone is always available to help you during business hours at 416.259.1166, or if it is after hours, contact Darren or Steve directly.

To receive a customized quote and talk to an advisor please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day.

Vitality Life Insurance from Manulife

By | Individual Services, Life Insurance | No Comments

A New Approach to Life Insurance

Do you live a healthy, active lifestyle? Shouldn’t your life insurance premiums reflect your efforts to lead a healthier life?

As a society we have more information than ever available on how to remain healthy and active well into what we traditionally called “old age”. The health and benefits industry has more data on how healthy lifestyles impact life expectancy and heath. And thanks to ongoing innovations in wearable technology, we have more ways than ever to track and share information on our own health and wellness.

It was only a matter of time until all of this information came together and life insurance premiums were positively impacted.

Manulife Brings innovation to Life Insurance

The new Vitality life insurance plan from Manulife is an innovative new rewards program available to clients who purchase a Manulife Vitality Life Insurance policy. Once approved, you receive an offer for a Free Garmin device, or the newest Apple Watch to help track your activities. As you work to improve your health, you earn Vitality Points and receive gift cards, savings on other purchases through their extensive partners, including Amazon.com, Hotels.com and GoodLife Fitness. You can also enjoy further reductions on your life insurance premiums.

Perhaps more importantly, you can also enjoy further reductions on your life insurance premiums. On each policy anniversary, your premiums are eligible to be reduced based on the number of points earned in the previous year.

Joining the program doesn’t mean that you have to become a hardcore gym rat; everyday activities generate points, and count towards earning gift cards, rewards and savings on your premiums.

Live Well, Save Money, Earn Rewards with Vitality:

Vitality rewards you for the things you do every day to stay healthy:

  • Vitality Points: earn Vitality Points by completing healthy related activities
  • Vitality Status: each year, the number of points you earn determines your Vitality Status (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum)
  • Savings and Rewards: the higher your Vitality Status, the more you can earn towards potential savings and partner rewards (outlined below)

Best of all, Manulife has reduced their rates to make Vitality one of the lowest priced options in the life insurance industry. Click here to receive a personalized quote.

Reap the Benefits of Vitality Life Insurance

The main benefits of Manulife’s Vitality program are, of course, your own health and wellness; the peace of mind of a high quality life insurance policy; and great rates, made even better by your active lifestyle.

Beyond those, however, Vitality from Manulife offers some great rewards:

APPLE WATCH OR FREE GARMIN DEVICE – Get an Apple Watch 4 for little or no cost. Or choose a Free Garmin vívofit® 4, and start saving today!
HOTELS.COM EXCLUSIVE MEMBER DISCOUNT – Getting away is part of a healthy lifestyle. With Hotels.com you can earn up to 50% off a hotel stay based on your Vitality Rewards Status.
EXAM ONE® – Better understand your health when you choose a free annual wellness screening with a personalized report.
AMAZON.CA GIFT CARDS – Achieve weekly activity targets and spin the Vitality wheel each week for a chance to win an Amazon.ca Gift Card. For a limited time, receive an Amazon.ca Gift Card each time a higher Vitality Status is earned.
FITNESS CLUB DISCOUNT – Save 55% on an individual one-year membership at either GoodLife Fitness or Énergie Cardio fitness clubs.
Take Advantage of Vitality from Manulife

As technology and information continue to become commoditized, more and more insurance providers will create the link between premiums and healthy lifestyle measures. If you are interested in living a healthy lifestyle, want to enjoy the peace of mind of a high quality insurance policy and seeing some extra perks as well, why not take advantage of Vitality from Manulife today?

To receive a customized quote and talk to an advisor please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day.

Mortgage

Why you need Our Personal and Financial Organizer

By | Individual Services | No Comments

As insurance advisors, we often require our clients’ financial and medical information to ensure their plans get set up quickly and smoothly. And in many cases, we see that their financial, medical details – account numbers, contact info, important histories – are scattered and disorganized.

It is human nature. Even though these details can be incredibly important, we don’t often think of them until we need them – which, unfortunately, is often during a moment of crisis.

That’s why taking a few simple steps today can help you save time and stress tomorrow.

What is the SC Insurance personal & financial organizer?

Seeing this as a need for our clients, we created a personal financial organizer that serves as a great resource for getting your household organized. It provides you with one singular place to keep key information that you may need to call upon at important times. While it doesn’t replace proper planning, such as a Will and Power of Attorney, it can act as a very valuable resource for you, your family and those responsible for your estate.

To download your copy click here

It keeps the following information together in one handy location:
  • Driver’s license, Passport, Health Card, SIN numbers
  • Employer and school contact info
  • Physician and dentist contact info
  • Insurance coverage details, policy numbers and contact info
  • Banking and investment account information
  • Key Dates for renewals, expiry dates, follow-up’s
Why do you need a personal and financial organizer?

Keeping up with your finances, medical contacts, bank accounts, insurance policies and other important documents for you, your spouse and children can be overwhelming.

Often one member of the family takes on this onerous task or the duties are divided. But, do all key members of the household know all this valuable information, or even where to find it? What about the person responsible for your estate? And because the need for info like doctor or insurance details can come at already-stressful times, a personal and financial organizer can give you peace of mind and help you sleep easier.

Five ways a personal and financial organizer can help make your life easier
  1. Need to know your passport number so you can book a trip?
  2. Can’t find the insurance info to pay for the Dentist?
  3. If you couldn’t ask them, do you know the details of all of your partners’ bank accounts, credit cards, loan details, etc.?
  4. Applying for a loan and need the value of your other assets, loans and obligations?
  5. Need to find the phone number or date you took your child to see a specialist?
How to use the personal and financial organizer
The organizer serves as a resource for your own personal use, it should not be provided to us, or any outside party.
Include important details about your investments, insurance policies, wills, loans as well as important doctor’s contact info, passport numbers and so on.
Keep the organizer in a safe place, and make sure key family members know where it is. Review with your advisor, or when there has been a life event, such as new child, new job or new home.
Set reminders for when insurance policies or investments are renewing, or need to be revisited. And don’t forget to keep it up to date.

Be PREPARED and ORGANIZED as you never know what the next day will bring.

YOUR FAMILY. YOUR BUSINESS. WHAT MATTERS.

To talk to an advisor or request a paper copy of the organizer please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day. To download a fillable electronic form on our website click here.

Critical Illness Insurance For Business Owners

By | Business Services, Individual Services, Living Benefits | No Comments

Running a business is a labour of love, and a tremendous amount of work. Without proper protection, all the time and money spent building your company could be at risk. A corporately owned critical illness policy ensures that if you are diagnosed with a serious illness, your business will continue to operate, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Use corporate dollars to provide a lump sum benefit, whether you continue working or not, to inject cash into your business which can be used to replace lost revenue, pay for alternative or private medical care, hire additional staff to help with some of your duties, or any other use.

If you are fortunate to never get sick and never have a claim paid, these policies can be structured to provide a retirement benefit in the later years, when 100% of ALL premiums paid are refunded on a tax-free basis.

Why Critical Illness Is Relevant to Me:

Current statistics from Heart & Stroke Foundation and Canadian Cancer Society site the following:

  • 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with Cancer in their lifetime
  • 63% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer are expected to survive at least 5 years
  • Every 7 minutes, someone has a heart attack in Canada
  • 9 in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke
OVERVIEW OF CRITICAL ILLNESS (CI) INSURANCE:
  • Critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum payment of the entire CI benefit 30 days after diagnosis
  • The lump sum payment can be used in any way you chose, there are no limitations or stipulations
  • Basic plans cover cancer, heart attack and stroke and more comprehensive plans cover many other
  • Serious illnesses including but not limited to – paralysis, multiple sclerosis, bypass surgery, dementia etc
Benefits of Critical Illness Policy owned in My Corporation
KEEP THE LIGHTS ON – critical illness policy pays a tax-free lump sum to help ensure that overhead is covered, and financial obligations are met, allowing you to focus on treatment and recovery.
USE CHEAPER DOLLARS – You can use corporate dollars to fund a critical illness policy. While the premiums may not be tax deductible, paying with corporate dollars is typically more tax efficient.
FLEXIBLE PAYOUT – The lump sum payment can be used in any way you choose. Income replacement, overhead expense coverage, demand debt repayment, hiring additional temporary staff/replacement for key executive during recovery, fund a buy-sell arrangement etc.
GET YOUR MONEY BACK – You can add a return of premium option to the coverage and the return of premium is not considered passive income when it is paid back to the corp.
ESTABLISH A RETIREMENT FUND – The return of premium can be used for retirement funding etc. (see article on PPP, Personal Pension Plans, for terminal funding concept that is deductible to your corp)

To receive a customized quote and talk to an advisor please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day.

cost

Cost-Plus: Valuable Information for Business Owners and Executives

By | FAQ, Individual Services, Life Insurance | No Comments

If you are a Business Owner or Executive and your Company has a benefit plan, your Company could pay for your uninsured Medical or Dental Expenses.

This includes things like as Orthodontics, Major Dental, Laser Eye Surgery and other items that may not be covered under your benefit plan, as well as expenses in excess of plan limits.

This may also include excess Paramedical coverage (i.e. Chiropractor, Massage, Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy, Psychologist, etc), Glasses or Contact Lenses, and many other Medical and Dental items considered eligible under the Income Tax Act.

Cost plus is a valuable element of most employee benefit plans, as it can provide your key personnel with a tax-free benefit, using pre-tax business dollars. However, many people still don’t know that their existing plan may include this benefit already.

Any legitimate Medical or Dental expense, as defined by CRA which is limited or not covered by your plan, may be eligible. Common examples are Paramedical amounts (Chiropractor, Massage, Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy, Psychologist, etc) in excess of the benefit plan maximums, Major Dental or Orthodontic coverage, Laser Eye Surgery, etc.  There is no additional cost to having the Cost Plus benefit, other than the administrative fees* and taxes incurred when a claim is made.  Claims are not reflected in the group’s experience, so it doesn’t impact the pricing of your benefit plan.

Example:

The child of an executive requires $3,000 of Orthodontic Treatment.  The Benefit Plan covers Basic Dental coverage only.

Assumptions:
  • Marginal tax rate is 43%
  • Cost Plus claim would cost $3,000 plus a 10% administration fee* ($300) and applicable taxes for a total of $3,300 (+ taxes)
  • Corporate tax rate for this business is 15%
Without Cost Plus:
  • Executive must earn $5,300 to have $3,000 after tax dollars to pay the expense
With Cost Plus:
  • Business pays the Cost Plus claim with $3,300 (+ taxes) in corporate funds
  • $3,300 is tax deductible for the business
  • Executive receives $3,000 in non-taxable benefits
  • With a 15% tax rate the net cost to the business after tax is only $2,805
The Result:

With Cost Plus coverage, the cost to the executive is reduced to $2,805 and is paid for by the business.  The expense has been paid for in a tax effective manner and the executive has received $3,000 in tax-free benefits.

* Administrative fees range from 10 to 15% and minimums and maximums may apply from different insurers.

Owners/Shareholders should consult their accountant or tax advisor for more details on how this benefit may apply to them. Taxation rules and interpretations are constantly changing and this example should not be taken as tax advice.

Note:

  1. Effective January 1, 2013 CRA views trading bonuses for flex credits (HSA) as taxable benefits
  2. CRA may deem that the application of cost-plus for shareholders only may result in a taxable benefit and negate the benefits of a cost plus claim