Manulife has teamed up with Life Happens to offer a scholarship programme for post-secondary students in Canada who have lost a parent or guardian and been left with little or no life insurance.
Rob Hollingsworth, head of distribution, individual insurance at Manulife, said the partnership is potentially life-changing for young people who are fighting to keep their educational dreams alive.
Life Happens is a not-for-profit US organisation dedicated to helping people take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance or related products. It also seeks to raise awareness of the important role insurance professionals play in helping families, businesses and individuals.
Manulife is offering up to seven sponsorships in 2020 – including a minimum of two for January – valued at $10,000 each. From 2021 onwards, it plans to offer at least five scholarships annually.
Hollingsworth told LHP that over the past four or five years, as he has become more involved with Life Happens, he has become more impressed and keen to leverage their work in Canada.
He said: “What we know from our experience is that a loss of a parent or caregiver can have tremendous emotional impact or potential financial strain on those left behind. That financial strain is something advisors in Canada work very hard to eliminate but the reality is they can’t get out to see everyone.
“I really hope this programme will give students, who may not have been able to do so, the ability to maintain their post-secondary plans. Life Happens has tremendous experience executing on this type of programme and so leveraging with them made a tremendous amount of sense.”
He added that Life Happens aligns nicely with Manulife’s mission of “decisions made easier, lives made better” and he believes it’s also a good match in terms of values, where sharing your humanity and doing the right thing are central.
Applicants are asked to either write a 500-word essay or make a three-minute video that explains how the death of a parent or guardian has affected your life emotionally and financially. Manulife also wants to hear what the student has been doing to stay on track with their education.
Hollingsworth said: “Having grown up in the life insurance industry, I have seen the importance of businesses and parents saving the proper amount of life insurance or living benefit insurance.
“I was exposed to this programme four or five years ago and managed to witness the winners of the scholarship, and hearing their stories and how impactful the scholarships were for them and how it kept their dreams alive, really spoke to me.
“I’ve been looking for ways to adopt a similar programme in Canada and when we realised this partnership was an option, it really spoke to us.”
Online applications are available from August with the winners announced on November 11.