More Canadians Are Considering Life Insurance Since COVID-19 Began

A new survey conducted by PolicyMe, among members of the Angus Reid Forum, found that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians are thinking more about life insurance. Almost one quarter (24%) of Canadian adults who did not have life insurance prior to the pandemic reported either purchasing it, or considering purchasing it, since the onset of COVID-19.

PolicyMe commissioned the survey to shed light on Canadians’ shifting attitudes towards life insurance and to inform the public what to consider when looking for coverage to suit their needs. Among Canadians who said they have recently begun considering life insurance, 67 per cent report doing so because of COVID-19-related concerns. Below are the top reported COVID-19 concerns that are driving Canadians to consider or purchase life insurance coverage:

  • They have become more aware of threats to life (36%)
  • The current economic climate has forced nearly one-third (29%) to re-evaluate their financial situation, including life insurance
  • Loss or fear of losing job, and by extension, losing employer-provided life insurance coverage (12%)
  • Risk of becoming ill with COVID-19 (8%)
  • Concern that if I get COVID-19, I won’t be eligible for life insurance (4%)

“We’re seeing a new dialogue emerge around mortality, illness, and job security like we’ve never seen before," says Andrew Ostro, Co-Founder & CEO of PolicyMe. “COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the threats that we face and the need to safeguard against them. In the past few months, we’ve seen a doubling of the number of life insurance applications. Protecting loved ones is on the minds of Canadians, and in a time of economic uncertainty, it’s important for people to realize that doing so is easier and more affordable than they’ve been led to believe by the life insurance industry."

Attitudes toward life insurance in Canada

The survey also discovered that 41 per cent of Canadian adults do not have life insurance, despite rising household debt levels and growing economic uncertainty. Among those who do not have coverage and are not considering buying it, 49 per cent reported feeling they do not need it, while 35 per cent said they could not afford it out-of-pocket. In fact, the age group most concerned about affordability — aged 35-54 — is the group that typically has the greatest need for coverage. Yet 45% of this age group feels it is too expensive. Given that people tend to think life insurance is more costly than it really is, this finding suggests a need for expanded education and increased transparency within the industry.

“What’s interesting is that the actual need for life insurance hasn’t changed with the pandemic. Those who need life insurance now almost certainly needed it before," says Ostro. “The difference is that people are becoming more aware of that need — and they’re acting on it. This is a very positive thing, as more Canadian families are getting the protection they need."

While the social climate in Canada has changed dramatically in light of COVID-19, PolicyMe’s commitment to providing honest life insurance advice has not. They insist that not all Canadians require life insurance — they advise roughly 26 per cent of their users against purchasing coverage — but that those with partners, children, or ageing parents who depend on them for financial support should absolutely be covered.

About the Survey

These are the findings of a study/survey conducted by PolicyMe from May 1 to May 3, 2020 with a representative sample of 1,505 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French.

About Angus Reid Forum surveys:

The precision of Angus Reid Forum online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/-2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled; +/-4 percentage points for the sub-group without life insurance. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About the Angus Reid Forum:

The Angus Reid Forum is Canada’s most well-known and trusted online public opinion community consisting of engaged residents across the country who answer surveys on topical issues that matter to all Canadians.