Planning for a time where you are no longer around can be difficult. But if something were to happen to you, your family might be relieved that you had a life insurance policy in place.
Life insurance is important, there are no two ways about it. It is even more so, if someone depends on you for their financial well-being.
But the question is — with scores of companies offering life insurance in Canada, how can you pick the right provider?
SSQ Insurance is one company you may want to keep at the top of your list. They have been underwriting policies since 1944 and offer affordable term and permanent life insurance plans.
Keep reading for a detailed SSQ life insurance review.
Who are SSQ Life Insurance?
With 12 billion dollars in assets, SSQ is one of the largest insurers in Canada. The company was founded in 1944 and is headquartered in Quebec. As well as individual life insurance, SSQ also sells group insurance, investment products, property and casualty insurance.
SSQ Facts & Financial Information
- Founded: 1944
- Head Offices: Quebec, Canada
- AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A
- Financial Assets: $12 billion
- Insurance Premiums: N/A
SSQ Insurance Reviews
Online insurance reviews, though useful, are not completely reliable. That is because:
- Only 2% of consumers ever leave a review. So you do not know what 98 out of 100 customers feel.
- Anyone can leave a review online. There is no way to be sure about whether the reviewer is a customer at all.
- Insurance companies usually sell a range of financial products apart from life insurance. If you look at the reviews closely, you may well find most are not related to the product you intend to buy.
Coming back to SSQ Insurance, how are they seen online?
Their online reviews are not good. The company is rated only 1.6 stars out of 5 on Google Reviews and 1 star out of 5 on Insureye.
While these scores do not look good, we advise against using online reviews as the only measure for judging an insurer. They rarely (if ever) give the true picture.
Products and Features
As you would expect from a top life insurance company, SSQ Insurance provides the full range of life insurance solutions: term life, whole life, universal life, and critical illness insurance.
Term Life Insurance
Most people prefer to purchase term life insurance — and understandably so. It is cheaper, easy to understand, and offers coverage only for those years when you need it.
SSQ Insurance has two term life insurance options:
- Traditional life insurance (involves a medical exam)
- Simplified life insurance (does not require a medical exam)
SSQ Term Plus Life Insurance
This is a traditional life insurance plan, so you will have to undergo a medical exam to prove eligibility.
- Available for the following terms — 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, 30 years, 35 years, and 40 years
- You can renew coverage every 5 years
- Convert to a permanent life insurance policy, but you may have to take another medical exam
- Includes the insurability benefit feature. It gives you the option to increase the coverage amount by 25% or $100,000, whichever is less
- Includes the extreme disability benefit. In the event of extreme disability, the insurer will release up to $250,000 of your policy benefit amount to you
- Ability to add various riders to enhance your coverage. Examples include critical illness rider, waiver of premium, accidental death & dismemberment, and more
Simplified Term Life Insurance
If you are averse to taking medical examinations, consider simplified life insurance. It does not require a medical exam, only that you answer a few health questions.
- You may get a policy within 60 minutes of applying
- No medical exam
- No need to schedule an in-person meeting. You can buy the plan over the phone
- Designed for healthy applicants who want to forgo a medical exam and to fast-track the approval process
Permanent Life Insurance
People with unique needs — like someone who has a special needs child or wants to leave a legacy for their heirs — may find permanent life insurance a better option.
These policies do not come with an expiry date. Your beneficiary will receive the policy amount regardless of when you die. Many of these policies also build cash value.
However, perks like permanent coverage and cash value do not come cheap. The premium for a permanent life policy is 6 to 10 times more than that of a comparable term life policy.
Permanent life insurance is available in two types: whole life and universal life. SSQ Insurance, like any other major life insurance company, offers both.
Whole Life Insurance
Regardless of which whole life insurance plan you pick, SSQ Insurance offers you the following benefits:
- Guaranteed premiums: Your premium rate is guaranteed. That is, the insurer will not increase it even if your health changes.
- Guaranteed protection: You know beforehand how much money you will leave to your loved ones.
- Competitive guaranteed cash values: Starting from the 10th policy anniversary, you can obtain a guaranteed accumulated amount.
- Extreme disability benefit (EDB): This built-in rider allows you to receive a cash benefit of 50% of the coverage amount in the event of extreme disability.
In addition to these, you have the option to add various riders to your plan for more comprehensive coverage. These include:
- Critical illness rider
- Child rider
- Waiver of premium in the event of total disability
- Benefit in the event of a fracture
- Accidental death and dismemberment
SSQ offers three traditional whole life insurance plans — Whole Life 20, Whole Life 100, and Term 100 — and one universal life policy. In addition, it also offers simplified life insurance or guaranteed issue life insurance.
Whole Life 20
- Premium payable for 20 years. You will pay the premiums for the first 20 years only. The coverage, however, will last your entire lifetime
- Your premiums are fixed and guaranteed
- Cash value
Whole Life 100
- Your premium stays fixed for your lifetime
- You can buy it as an individual policy or a joint policy. Both joint first to die and joint last to die options are available
- The plan is a good option for both individuals who want to leave a legacy and business owners with key employees
- Cash value
Do not be confused by the word “term” here. This is a permanent life plan like the other two. The only difference is that Term 100 does not build cash value while the others do.
- The premiums are level for the rest of your life
- The death benefit is level and will not change
- The coverage lasts your entire lifetime
- You can buy it as an individual policy or a joint policy, both joint first to die and joint last to die options are available
- Does not build cash value
Simplified Life Insurance (Permanent)
Simplified life insurance lets you forgo a medical exam. Your eligibility is evaluated based on your response to a few simple health questions. A simplified permanent policy could make sense for those who are in good health but want to avoid taking a physical exam.
- Most applicants receive the policy within 60 minutes of applying
- No medical examination
- No need to schedule an in-person meeting — you can buy the policy remotely
- Aimed at people who are healthy and want to keep things simple
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance (Permanent)
The plan is designed for people with a medical condition that disqualifies them from buying a fully underwritten or simplified plan. You do not have to undergo a medical exam or answer health questions to prove eligibility. Acceptance is guaranteed as long as you are in the right age group. On the downside, the coverage amount is low and premiums higher than other policies.
- Aimed at high-risk applicants
- No medical exam
- No health questions
- Acceptance is guaranteed if you are under a certain age
Universal Life Insurance
Universal life insurance works pretty much the same way as whole life, but it offers more flexibility. With universal life, you get lifelong protection and cash value, as well as the freedom to decide how you want to invest your money. You can also increase or decrease your premium amount and death benefit within a certain range.
SSQ universal life plan is a good option for those looking for a flexible way to get permanent coverage and accumulate cash value.
Critical Illness Insurance
Since we do not know what the future has in store for us, ensuring our financial safety is our best bet. If you become seriously ill, critical illness insurance enables you to focus on recovery rather than worry about how you will cover the medical expenses, loss of income, or both.
While many think their health or life insurance will fully cover them in the event of a critical illness, that might not be the case. By providing a tax-free lump sum, critical illness insurance helps cover gaps left by health and life insurance.
SSQ offers three critical illness plans: Basic Coverage, Enhanced Coverage, and Children Protection. The insurer will pay you a cash benefit if you develop an illness that is included in your plan and survive the waiting period.
SSQ Basic Critical Illness Insurance
- This plan covers three medical conditions: heart attack, stroke, and cancer
- Available in 10-year or 20-year terms
- Option to add a premium refund rider. If you do not file a claim during the policy term, SSQ will refund the premiums paid when the coverage expires
- A built-in supplementary benefit. You will receive an additional payment — up to 10% of the policy amount or $50,000, whichever is less — if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer, or coronary angioplasty
- Assistant benefit is included. You can avail of services like second medical opinion or psychological assistance free of cost
SSQ Enhanced Critical Illness Insurance
- Covers 25 medical conditions
- You can opt for a 10-year or 20-year critical illness insurance plan
- You can add a premium refund rider. You receive the premium dollars paid if you do not make a claim during the policy term
- Includes a supplementary benefit that gives you an additional cash payment (10% of your policy’s face value or $50,000, whichever is less) if you develop skin cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and coronary angioplasty
- Comes with an assistant benefit feature, which gives you access to various services, like medical referral, free of cost
SSQ Enhanced Childhood Critical Illness Insurance
- Apart from the 25 medical conditions covered in the previous plan, the Enhanced Childhood plan covers three additional conditions. These are muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, and autism
- Two terms available: 10 and 20 years
- Option to add a premium refund rider. If you do not file a claim, the insurer will refund the full premium amount
- Include a supplementary benefit. You are eligible for an additional payment (10% of your insurance amount or $50,000, whichever is less) if are diagnosed with breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, or coronary angioplasty
- You can access additional services, like medical assistance, for free
Riders offered by SSQ Insurance
Life insurance riders are additional features that can help modify your life insurance policy to better suit your needs. Some riders may be built into your policy; others you can add by paying a small fee.
SSQ Insurance, like any other top-ranking life insurance company, offers a wide range of riders, including:
- Child rider: With this rider, you can add life insurance for your children to your policy. All your children — biological, adopted, and stepchildren — are covered up to age 25. If your family grows while the policy is active, your future children will get added automatically. In the event of death, the insurer will pay a small benefit amount to help cover funeral costs and/or loss of income resulting from an extended time off work.
- Critical illness rider: If you develop any covered critical illness, SSQ Insurance will pay a cash benefit. The coverage amount is capped at $20,000.
- Waiver of premium in case of total disability: This add-on prevents your life insurance policy from lapsing in the event of total disability, meaning you are no longer able to pay the premiums. SSQ will waive off the future premiums in the event of total disability.
- Accidental death & dismemberment: Your beneficiaries will receive an additional payment on top of the death benefit if your death occurs due to a covered accident. The rider also pays a cash benefit to you if you lose a limb or function — like speech or sight — due to an accident.
- Fracture benefit: Protects you from financial hardship resulting from a fracture.
SSQ Term Life Insurance Rates
How much in premiums will you pay if you pick SSQ Insurance as your provider? To help you get an idea, we collected multiple quotes from the insurer.
These quotes are for $400,000 in coverage over a 20-year term length. Our sample applicants were healthy, non-smoking men and women of different ages.
Term Life Insurance Review - Price Comparison vs. Competitor Products
Want to get pay the lowest-possible premium rate for term life insurance?
Do some comparison shopping. Comparing rates of different providers is the only way to ensure you do not pay a penny more for life insurance than you have to.
We twice compared SSQ Insurance against Manulife, and both times the former came out a winner. A healthy 60-year-old woman looking to buy a 20-year term policy of $400,000 can save nearly $4,000 in premiums over the course of the policy term by picking SSQ Insurance.
The price gap between the rates for the same coverage for 40-year-old men is small but not insubstantial. Namely, SSQ Insurance is $790 cheaper than Manulife for such applicants.
Why We Like SSQ Insurance
SSQ has been in business since 1944. When you buy from them, you can rest assured knowing they are here to stay.
SSQ is on a solid footing financially. AM Best recently upgraded them from A- to A. You can be confident that your investment is in good hands.
Want great value for your money? Keep SSQ at the top of your list since its rates are very competitive.
A wide range of products
Whether you want term life or whole life, universal life, or critical illness insurance, SSQ has got your back. They also offer simplified and guaranteed issue policies for those who want to skip a medical exam.
What We Did Not Like about SSQ Insurance
Their website is not informative
While the SSQ website is easy to navigate, it does not provide much information about their products. For instance, we could not find how much coverage is available with their term life or permanent life products.
It seems that SSQ’s whole aim is to have you call one of their agents.
No online quote
Even though SSQ has an online quote form — a very basic one at that — you cannot get an instant quote. To get a price estimate, you must call one of their advisors. So their “online insurance quote” tab is actually misleading.
And since SSQ does not provide online quotes, comparing their rates with others is not simple.
Conclusion – Is SSQ Insurance Right for You?
If you are looking to buy an affordable term or permanent life plan and do not mind speaking to an insurance advisor over the phone, SSQ could be a good choice for you.