COVID-19 has whetted Canadians' appetite for life insurance

by Leo Almazora18 Dec 2020

As more Canadians cast a worried eye on their wealth and health because of COVID-19, they’re placing more value than ever on life insurance – and have raised their expectations of how to get it.

In its State of the Nation: Life Insurance Trends 2020 – Pandemic Checkup report, online life insurance brokerage PolicyAdvisor found that financial anxiety is running high among Canadians, with 82% of survey respondents saying they’re feeling anxious about their financial future.

Looking at how Canadians get life insurance coverage, the report said 38% get life insurance coverage through their employer, a group plan, or some combination of the two. Another 28% said they have that type of coverage, supplemented with individually own life insurance. A fifth (20%) said they just have individual life insurance, with no group or work insurance at all.

“Coverage that protects one’s life and health is considered the most essential to Canadians right now,” the report said. “This is understandable given the health concerns of the current pandemic.”

According to the survey, 81% of Canadians said they value health insurance, while life insurance took second place. Home and auto insurance were practically neck-and-neck at 42% and 40%, respectively; with travel restrictions and pandemic concerns still largely in place, just 12% of respondents cited travel insurance as valuable.

Nearly two thirds of Canadians (63%) said they feel life insurance is more important to own now than before the pandemic hit, and 44% either plan on or have already gotten additional life insurance coverage because of COVID-19.

However, Canadian consumers also cited a raft of factors that hinder their decision to buy life insurance, including:

  • Perceived in ability to purchase coverage online (30%);
  • Feeling that life insurance is too expensive (27%); and
  • Feeling that the product is complex (23%);

The pandemic has also altered Canadians’ expectations on life insurance purchase options. While almost 30% of respondents to the 2019 edition of PolicyAdvisor’s State of the Nation survey insisted on meeting with a broker when buying life insurance, just 21% said the same this year. Among the 2020 survey participants 52% said online fulfilment would make them more likely to purchase life insurance.

“Luckily for Canadians, online options for life insurance have increased post-COVID,” the report said. “Many insurance companies are approving up to $1 million in coverage (with some even going up to $2 million) without requiring a medical exam (for those below the age of 50 and in regular health).”