If you’re not too familiar with life insurance, working with an advisor can streamline the process and help you to find the right policy. With their expertise and industry experience, they’ll be able to recommend a policy tailored to your unique needs — but there may be fees involved.
What does a life insurance advisor do?
Think of a life insurance advisor as a broker. They have a deep knowledge about multiple insurance companies, so they can sift through the options to pair you with the best provider for your needs.
What’s the difference between a life insurance agent and advisor?
A life insurance agent typically works for one insurer, and their job is to sell products from that one company. While an agent might only be concerned with earning commission by selling the most expensive product, an advisor is more likely to look at your situation in a holistic way. It might be helpful to think of an agent as a salesperson and an advisor as a counselor.
What is a fiduciary advisor?
A fiduciary advisor is obligated to put their clients’ best interests above their own. Fiduciaries pledge to act in good faith, and cannot use a clients’ financial assets to directly benefit themselves.
If you’re looking for a financial advisor, opt for a fiduciary if possible — these individuals tend to be more transparent, because they are bound by fiduciary duty to make the best recommendations for you.
What to watch out for
While a life insurance advisor can make the process of buying life insurance easier, look out for these red flags:
- Charges too many fees. Initial talks with a life insurance advisor should be free, and there is absolutely no obligation to sign up for a policy when enquiring.
- Recommends products too quickly. An advisor’s job is to consider your situation as a whole, fine-tuning recommended products to match your larger financial picture. If turnaround time is too quick, that may signal an advisor that’s just trying to cut a deal.
- Practices that are licensed. Before trusting someone with your hard-earned cash, you’ll want to verify that they are legally allowed to sell life insurance in Canada. According to the Insurance Institute of Canada, life insurance brokers need to pass the Life Insurance Qualification Program (LLQP) to become licensed. This involves taking courses as required by the province or territory in which the broker works (exact course requirements vary by location).
Look for agents/brokers that are members of the CIP Society (Chartered Insurance Professionals), the professional association of the Insurance Institute of Canada.
- Avoids communication. A good advisor should be relatively easy to get in touch with, since their job is to answer questions and guide you through the process.
- Doesn’t listen to your needs. If an advisor recommends products that conflicts with what you’d asked for, don’t just accept it and move on. Their job is to match your needs exactly.
How to buy life insurance
How do I estimate my life insurance needs?
Each plan should be tailored towards your financial situation is the first step in finding the right policy. So going into a meeting with a life insurance adviser with a rough idea of what you’re looking for is always a good idea. Adding up your debt, cost of income replacement, and major upcoming expenses is the first step towards calculating how much of a benefit to leave behind.
How does life insurance work?
Compare life insurance advisors
If you’re on the search for life insurance advice, an independent advisor is your best bet at bias-free guidance. But if you’re looking to dip a toe in on your own, compare life insurance providers to see what’s out there.