Majority of Canadians have life insurance but may not keep their coverage current

Many Canadians have difficulty choosing the right coverage, RBC Insurance survey shows

Mississauga, October 27, 2004 – Most Canadians understand that life insurance is an important component of any comprehensive financial plan. But according to a recent RBC Insurance/Ipsos-Reid survey, while 70 per cent of Canadians have life insurance, 61 per cent of those who have coverage review it less than once a year.

“Having the correct amount and type of life insurance is important and keeping your coverage up to date ensures that it doesn’t fall short when it’s most needed,” said Neil Skelding, president and CEO, RBC Life Insurance Company. “Canadians should review their insurance coverage on a regular basis, particularly around major life events, such as a marriage, the purchase of a home or the addition of children. Making sure you have enough insurance can make a big difference if you ever need to use it.”

The survey also found that many Canadians have concerns when it comes to choosing the right life insurance coverage.

When asked what they consider to be the most difficult part about buying life insurance, Canadians with coverage offered a variety of responses, but the most prominent relate to difficulty choosing the right coverage and policy terms (34 per cent), which includes deciding on the right kind of coverage (16 per cent), deciding on the amount of coverage (11 per cent) and understanding the policy (7 per cent).

“It’s important for people to have updated life insurance coverage because research shows that individuals who do not review their insurance regularly have coverage that is less adequate than those who do look at it on an ongoing basis,” said James Mitchel, vice president, Markets Research for LIMRA International. “Premature death can deliver a major economic hit to a family, particularly when you consider that LIMRA International research found that 45 per cent of widows and 37 per cent of widowers said that the life insurance coverage their spouse had was inadequate. Consumers need to make sure they understand – and regularly review – their life insurance needs and work with an appropriate representative to ensure any questions they have are answered.”

Majority of Canadians buy life insurance on their own

Half (48 per cent) of Canadians say they purchased life insurance on their own, one quarter (26 per cent) say they have coverage both at work and on their own, and 24 per cent say they only have coverage through work.

Quebecers most likely to have life insurance coverage

Regionally, the survey found that Quebec residents are most likely to have life insurance coverage (78 per cent), while residents of British Columbia and Alberta are least likely (62 per cent). These numbers compare to Saskatchewan and Manitoba (64 per cent), Ontario (71 per cent) and Atlantic Canada (67 per cent).

These are the findings of an RBC Insurance/Ipsos-Reid poll conducted between August 10 and August 12, 2004. The poll is based on a randomly selected sample of 2,000 adult Canadians. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to 2001Census data.

For tabular results, please visit the Ipsos-Reid website at News Releases are available at:

About RBC Insurance

RBC Insurance, through its operating entities, including RBC Life Insurance Company, provides a wide range of creditor, life, health, travel, home, auto and reinsurance products to more than five million North American clients. As one of the top 10 life insurance producers and the leading provider of individual living benefits in Canada, RBC Life Insurance Company offers a comprehensive portfolio of individual and group life and health insurance solutions. These products are distributed through more than 17,000 independent brokers affiliated with producer groups, financial planning firms and stock brokerage firms, as well as through direct sales and a network of career sales representatives. For more information, please visit