Q&A with Les Herr, Empire Life, President and CEO
Outside of life insurance, what other types of individual insurance products are overlooked?
Critical illness and disability insurance are two main types that are overlooked most often. The reality is that many people have high debt loads and live paycheque to paycheque. If one or two of those paycheques were interrupted because of an illness or injury, it would have a devastating effect on a person’s life. Having these kinds of insurance plans in place help provide income continuance when you’re often not in a position to think about anything other than getting well and back to normal.
Critical illness insurance gives you a lump-sum payment that you can also use to help access further treatments or outfit your home with new equipment or renovations you may need to help you recover. It’s a very powerful plan that I’ve seen provide great benefits to people during a time of need.
Is there a way for consumers to save money on life insurance?
Buying insurance when you’re young is the easiest answer to that question. But not all of us do that.
My advice is to make sure you have a good advisor. An advisor you trust can help you make the best purchase decision which may not mean finding the lowest price. Sometimes the policy with the lowest price has higher renewal premiums that you may not be able to afford when you’re older. It could force you to try to get insurance again when you’re older, which could be harder or impossible to do if your health has changed. So making sure you’re getting good advice during the purchase process is very important and can help you provide the best value and potentially save more money in the long run.
How do I choose a life insurance company, or do I rely on my financial advisor for that?
Choose an advisor wisely. That person will help you choose a company to work with that will suit your needs. You want an advisor who can provide you with a full financial plan and who will sit down with you to discuss all aspects of your finances and what you want in the future. They will help you assess your current situation, the gaps that may exist in your finances and help you look at options. Above all, your advisor is there to help educate you so you can make informed decisions. The advisor is not the person making decisions—you are. If your advisor is not doing that, keep looking for one who can help you do the proper planning that’s needed to take care of your financial future.