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Alberta Life Insurance Brokers: Your Best Insurance Advice

When shopping for life insurance, disability insurance or health insurance you might

have been approached by any number of agents representing different companies to offer you advice and insurance products. Very often agents who represent only one company cannot offer you the same quality and selection of life insurance and health insurance products in Alberta that would suit your needs, or be the most competitively priced.

An Alberta life insurance broker will be able to offer you the best insurance advice, be able to shop the entire Canadian life insurance market on your behalf, and knows which insurance companies would be best suited to your needs. Not all life insurance brokers are created equal, however. Let us look at some basic characteristics that make an Alberta life insurance broker the expert that can serve your needs.

Access To All The Major Life Insurance Companies

An Alberta life insurance broker should have access to any of the major life insurance companies in Canada. There is a core list of the top companies that your broker should have contracts with in order to get you the best insurance deal. Here is a list in alphabetical order: BMO Insurance, Canada Life, Desjardins, Empire Life, Equitable Life, Industrial Alliance Pacific, Manulife Financial, RBC Insurance, Standard Life, Sun Life, and Transamerica.

These are the top 10 life insurance companies in Canada today (Canada Life is the brokerage arm of Great West Life, and their products are very similar). There are a number of life insurance companies that recruit only career agents and train them to sell selective products not offered to the brokerage market. These companies include Freedom 55, Primerica and Sun Life Career Sales (some unique products). There are also career agents who only represent certain companies, even if those companies allow brokers to also sell their products. These captive agent companies would be RBC Insurance Career Sales, Desjardins, Industrial Alliance Pacific, Sun Life Career Sales and World Financial Group (sells main Transamerica policies).

If you are dealing with a captive agent, you will not have access to the entire Canadian marketplace to find the cheapest life insurance policy that meets your needs. And in some cases, like with Primerica, the life insurance policies are inferior to the standard policy sold in the market (in Primericas case, the company only sells term life insurance and has no permanent policies to convert the term to later in life).

If your insurance broker or agent does not have access to at least 8 of the top ten companies, you could be buying a policy that will cost you much more than you should be paying in a competitive life insurance market.

Access To Specialty Insurance Companies

Not everyone fits into the "average" Canadian mould. There are a number of specialized insurance companies that would be able to offer unique benefits for situations out of the ordinary. Below is a list of companies in the specialty market and what kinds of unique benefits they offer our clients in Alberta.

Assumption Life: very good for foreign travel: even insuring Albertans living overseas as ex-patriots. Can do online/telephone applications for clients in remote locations.

Canada Protection Plan: the best non-medical life insurance company in Canada. Offers different types of plans for different types of health risks. If you are unhealthy and cannot qualify for regular life insurance, CPP will probably be able to offer you a policy.

The Edge Benefits: the best specialty disability and living benefits insurance company for blue collar workers and trades people in Canada. Specialty products designed for higher risk jobs.

Access to these specialty carriers will round out your broker's offering and make his/her advice appropriate for any situation. If you fit into an abnormal category, like travelling overseas regularly or you have a major health issue, your life insurance broker should be able to offer you some options.

Having technical expertise and negotiating power ia another important factor of an insurance brokerage. Unfortunately, not all brokers have the kind of support they should have to best serve their clients. In the Canadian brokerage world, agents and agencies work with larger brokerage shops called Managing General Agencies (MGAs). These MGAs have build solid reputations with life insurance companies over time and have a large number of life insurance agents who process business through them.

The MGA provides ongoing training, expertise in designing complex insurance policies, ability to negotiate problem cases with the underwriters of a particular insurance company, and an efficient and up-to-date back office administrative system. Financial Management, a PPI Solutions Company, is a geat example of a strong MGA. Financial Management is now the largest MGA in all of Western Canada, and partnered with PPI Solutions makes it is the largest MGA in Canada. They have a deep relationship with insurance companies going back 35 years. They offer insurance agents and agencies the best back office support, state of the art online administrative and tracking systems, and the technical and underwriting support needed to get clients the best policies.

Your Best Alberta Life Insurance Broker

If you are already working with a life insurance broker, check to see if they offer you all the options and support mentioned above. If you are working with a captive life insurance agent, you would be wise to get a second opinion before you buy (or on the insurance product you have already bought).

Try to find an insurance broker who can offer you all these options; top life insurance companies and specialty carriers in Canada; technical excellence, underwriting support and negotiating power, and a high level of customer service is what you should expect in the industry.

by: Mitch Reynolds
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