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Empire Life Reviews! We Have Answers to Your Questions

We give Empire Life 4 stars. As one of Canada's 6 largest insurers, Empire Life has a long history and a full range of products. This excellent carrier also has very affordable term insurance coverage. They've made our 2020 list of top life insurance companies in Canada!

Are you scouring the internet for Empire Life Reviews to figure out if they’re the right life insurance company for YOU? 

If so, you need to read this article right now!

Sure, Empire Life is known as one of the best life insurance companies in Canada AND they have affordable rates. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right choice for your personal circumstances.

One thing I want to make clear to all of our readers. Life insurance companies are NOT created equal. Each one approaches underwriting differently.

This means the information you get on the web is great in theory, but not necessarily in practice.

So let’s check out Empire Life right now to see if they MAY be the right choice to protect your loved ones. 

“The key to making sure you find the sweet spot between being underinsured and over insured is working with an expert who knows about your niche industry. An independent agent—one who represents multiple insurance agencies—is typically a good resource for a business owner to identify the best policy at a good rate.”

 

How to Know if a Business Insurance Agent Is Actually Good, Nav.com

Empire Life Insurance Company So What's the Deal?

Empire Life was established in 1923 and has an interesting history that includes a series of mergers and acquisitions that led up to the establishment of E-L Financial Corporation in 1969.

With additional acquisitions in 1987, the company adopted the name Empire Financial Group.

Rebranded as Empire Life in 2006, the corporation continues to grow.

Empire’s Head Office is located in Kingston, Ontario since 1936. As a privately owned corporation, Empire is controlled by three generations of the Jackman family since the mid-’50s and has a very small amount of publicly traded stock. 

Not beholden to shareholders, Empire Life takes a more long-term perspective concentrating on the business at hand and sustainable growth.

So far so good!

Accolades 

This insurer has been in business for almost a century and has nearly 900 employees across the country. They currently manage assets of more than $17 billion.

  • In 2013 & 2014, World Finance Magazine named Empire the Best Canadian Life Insurance Company.
  • The Insurance Canada Business Awards recognized Empire Life as 2019’s Life and Health Insurer of the year (the third time in four years Empire received this honor).
  • In 2022 they received the Fundata FundGrade A+ Award.

These honors acknowledge the work Empire Life has done to further their vision of becoming Canada’s most convenient insurance and investment company.

With press like this, it’s hard not to get excited!

Where can I sign on?   

Hold on buster not so fast! Just because they've won some awards doesn't mean they're the company for you. It's always important to do ALL your research before you sign on the dotted line. 


Empire Life Financial Rating 

Ok, guys, it’s really important to scope out the financial rating of any company you’re considering signing on with. 

Why?

Because this is a very big part of your due diligence process.

The financial stability of the institution you select is important because at some point you want them to be able to make good if your family needs a payout.

This is a long-term investment which means you should pick an insurer with a very solid foundation.

….and these ratings are certainly sweet! A.M. Best gives them an A rating and DBRS echoes that sentiment with another A rating.  

The good news is if you sign on with Empire Life, rest assured your premiums are safe with them.

Empire Life Insurance Financial Rating

Note: I have some good news for you. While you never want to deal with an insurance company that goes belly up, there are safeguards in place to make sure your family isn’t out of luck. 

Alrighty then, there you have it! Empire Life is the company for me...

Nope! We're not done. There's a lot more to consider my friend. We aren't even half way through this Empire Life Review. 

 

Empire Life Insurance Reviews Online

Ok! Before I get started on this section, I want you to know one thing. People LOVE to complain when things go wrong AND when things go smoothly, they rarely talk about it. 

It’s just part of human nature. This has become more apparent to me as I work my way through this series of reviews. Most of the large companies have a bunch of complaints. 

So, what’s my advice when it comes to using them as a barometer for choosing life insurance?

Keep it in perspective. Remember people who are contacting life insurance companies are doing so during stressful circumstances. Don’t forget that little detail. 

Also, companies like Empire Life carry different kinds of insurance. Make sure the review is in keeping with the product you’re interested in. If there are red flags take note of them. 

…but for me, it’s all about balance. 

The Google Reviews

Empire Life Insurance received 3.5 stars out of 5. 

To be perfectly honest this a pretty good result. If you take a closer look at the actual reviews, you’ll see a couple of complaints about customer service that really bring their overall rating down. 

As I mentioned above it’s really important to put Google reviews in perspective. 

Empire Life Reviews: What Do Their Employees Think?

Empire Insurance has a lot of mid to long term employees which makes me think their turnover may be at the lower end of the scale.

Others say this is more a result of their head office being located in a smaller city (Kingston) where the competition for good jobs is higher.

Recently, Empire Life Insurance Company was named as one of Canada’s top employers by Forbes.

Along with being rated 3.9 stars out of 5 on Glassdoor.ca and 3.7 stars on Indeed.ca, it’s safe to say employees like working at Empire Life!

Oh my, you're right! Customer reviews are very hit and miss! 

They are indeed! Now let's dig into their products

Empire Life Insurance Products 

If you are perusing Empire Life Reviews their products will be of great interest.

Empire Insurance is a large company with an extensive offering. 

There are a lot of products to go through so fasten your seatbelt!

I’m of two minds when it comes to this. Part of me is impressed by their extensive offering but the other part of me worries when carriers don’t specialize.

That being said, in Empire Life’s case, their expertise (and revenue) is evenly diversified across their three product lines: investments, employee benefits, and life insurance.

Let’s take a peek under the hood!

Empire Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance provides coverage until the day you die.

This is one of the biggest selling points of this type of life insurance along with the cash value component.

I won’t give you all my thoughts about permanent coverage right now, but I’ll say that it’s not always right for most people. 

Don’t get me wrong, small final expense policies are not what I’m talking about.

There are very specific circumstances where it works like a charm. Clients who consider permanent insurance typically use it to as coverage for large estates, business and trusts. 

Let’s check out Empire Life’s offering right now:

Empire Permanent Non-Participating Whole Life Insurance

Empire Life Insurance Company

Solution 100 

Empire Life’s Solution 100 is a permanent non-participating whole life insurance policy that covers you for life (payable to 100 years of age).

Features include: 

  • Fully guaranteed rates and coverage 
  • Guaranteed cash surrender values available after 4 years
  • You are free to add CI Protect (critical illness) or other Solution plans as a rider to save fees

Empire Permanent Participating Whole Life Insurance

Empire Whole Life insurance is designed for estate protection and wealth accumulation.

With the potential for dividends, policyholders have the opportunity to share in Empire Life’s participating profits.

There are two types of Empire whole life policies: Estatemax and Optimax Wealth. Both of these coverages are known as cash value life insurance and may earn annual dividends which can be:

  • paid to you
  • used to purchase additional life insurance coverage
  • placed in savings
  • used to pay policy premiums 

Both plans have 4 guaranteed payment options: 8- Pay, 10-Pay, 20- Pay and Pay- 100 (life pay).

Empire Estatemax

  • Fully guaranteed rates and coverage 
  • Guaranteed cash surrender values available after 4 years
  • You are free to add CI Protect (critical illness) or other Solution plans as a rider to save fees

Empire Optimax Wealth

  • Fully guaranteed rates and coverage 
  • Guaranteed cash surrender values available after 4 years
  • You are free to add CI Protect (critical illness) or other Solution plans as a rider to save fees

Combines the benefits of life insurance coverage with the opportunity for savings. This policy is designed for individuals looking to grow their money in the short term through guaranteed cash value and the accumulation of annual policy dividends.

As such the monthly costs are higher than Empire Life’s Estatemax.

Empire Life Term Insurance

Please take note if you are looking through Empire Life Reviews.

Term life insurance is the product that I recommend most. It’s pure insurance which means it covers you for a period of time when you’re most vulnerable.

You pay premiums for a designated period of time: 10, 20, 30 years, etc. If you die during that term the insurance company pays out cash, tax-free, to your family. Also, your monthly costs are guaranteed to stay the same for the duration of the term no matter what.

Unlike permanent insurance, Term has no investment component.

It’s used primarily to replace the loss of income from a breadwinner’s untimely death. For 90% of people, this is the most important issue: making sure their family continues to get an income should they die prematurely.

All Empire Life term insurance offers:

  1.  Level & guaranteed premiums for the length of term
  2. Renewable premiums beyond the original term, guaranteed for life

Solution 10 

Empire Life Insurance 10 year term

Empire Life’s Solution 10 offers guaranteed monthly costs for 10 years after which the premium increases for another ten years and so on. The final premium increase occurs after age 75. 

Features include: 

  • Shorter-term coverage to protect you from mortgages, debts & final expenses 
  • You can add Solution 10 to one of their other Solution Series products or CI Products to create a comprehensive insurance package and save on fees 
  • Convert your Solution 10 to Solution 20 or Solution 30 coverage within the first 5 years of your policy under Empire Life’s Term Exchange Program

Solution 20 

Empire Life Insurance 20 year term

With Empire Life’s Solution 20 your rates increase every 20 years and the last premium increase occurs after age 65.

Features include: 

  • Longer-term protection from loss of income or debt 
  • This product can be converted to a permanent product if you still need coverage
  • Add to another Solution Series product or CI products to create a comprehensive insurance package and save on fees 

Solution 30

Empire Life Insurance Term Insurance

Empire’s Solution 30 offers guaranteed level premiums for 30 years.

You’re eligible to apply up to age 55. You can renew the coverage for life after 30 years with premium increases yearly until age 85, after that, the premiums remain the same to age 100

Features include: 

  • Conversion to a permanent policy if you still need coverage 
  • Ideal for people who need temporary insurance 
  • Add another Solution Series product or an Empire Life critical illness rider to create a comprehensive insurance package and save on fees

Solution ART

Empire Life’s Solution ART offers guaranteed premium rates with no increases for the first three years.

Your premiums increase every year thereafter, with the last premium increase occurring on the premium renewal at age 85.

Features include:

  • Conversion to a permanent policy if you still need coverage 
  • Ideal for people who need temporary insurance to cover a loan, etc.
  • Add another Solution Series product or an Empire Life critical illness rider to create a comprehensive insurance package and save on fees
  • Convert your Solution ART to Solution 20 or Solution 30 coverage within the first 5 years of your policy under Empire Life’s Term Exchange Program

Guaranteed Issue Permanent Life Insurance Protection

Empire Life recently entered the Simplified-Issue market by introducing their Guaranteed Life Product in November of 2018.

What is no medical life insurance? This is protection for people with insurability issues, who don’t want to answer health questions and may be looking to cover debts and final expenses.

Similar to other products on the market like Canada Protection Plan’s Guaranteed Acceptance Life, Empire’s guaranteed life product comes with a 2-year waiting period.

How does it work? if you die within the first 2 years of the policy, Empire will NOT pay out the death benefit. They will, however, pay back all the premiums you paid to date – minus interest.

If you make it past the 2-year mark, you’re good to go.

They also pay the death benefit out within 2 years if you die as the result of an accident. 

The best part? Most other Guaranteed life insurance products in the Canadian market cap out at $25,000. Empire Life’s Guaranteed Life Product provides coverage up to $50,000 if you’re between the age of 40 and 50.

Other Features Include: 

  • Premiums paid to age 95 (many other carriers have premiums paid to 100)
  • Guaranteed cash surrender values starting in the 5th policy year
  • Rates never increase no matter what
  • Reduced paid-up values available beginning in the 8th policy year
  • Minimum application age requirement is 40 years

Check out my post about No Medical Life Insurance here.

Empire Life Critical Illness Insurance

Empire Life Critical Illness insurance is designed to pay you a tax-free, one-time, lump sum when you develop a critical illness as defined by your policy.

It was invented by a South African doctor who noticed his patients’ outcomes were affected by financial stress when they had to stop working to focus on fighting their illnesses.

Statistics tell us that the majority of people survive a serious illness, but their finances often don’t.

Critical illness coverage is ideal and most affordable for someone who’s healthy and wants to safeguard their family’s lifestyle against the threat of a serious illness.

Empire Life CI Protect 

Empire Life CI Protect Critical Illness Insurance is a renewable product that covers 4 conditions:

  • life-threatening Cancer
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke

This type of protection is designed with level monthly costs in 10-year increments. At the end of each 10-year term, the coverage renews automatically and the monthly cost increases. 

For example, a healthy, 37-year-old female non-smoker pays $29 per month for $75,000 of Empire Life CI Protect.

In ten years when she’s 47 and the policy renews, the monthly premium is $49.39 and so on up to age 75.

Between ages 67 and 75, the monthly is $193.57.

This is ideal for someone looking at affordable critical illness coverage in the short term and guaranteed insurability long term. The maximum coverage amount is limited to $75,000.

Empire Life CI Protect Plus

Empire Life CI Protect Plus Critical Illness Insurance is more comprehensive coverage. It protects you for 25 insured conditions and is available in 10-year term, 20-year term and term to age 75.

Opting for Term 75 means your monthly costs are guaranteed to remain the same up to age 75 after which, the policy terminates.

What if you don’t develop a critical illness? Is there a way to get your money back?

Yes, you can elect to pay a slightly higher monthly cost and if no claim is made, you get a portion of your premiums back within prescribed limits. This is known as a Return Of Premium (ROP) option. 

Empire Life CI Protect Plus Non-Life Threatening Illness Feature is a lump sum benefit of 15% of your coverage amount paid to you if you develop one of 6 non-life threatening conditions as defined in your contract.

The best part? This benefit does NOT reduce your base coverage amount. 

Who needs to read the rest of this review? What more could I want? Solid financials...lots of choice and a great rating... 

 

Oh no, we are still not done. I told you this is the king of Empire Life Reviews. Remember what I said - not all life insurance companies are created equally.

Let's check out their application process. 

Empire Life Application Process

One of the areas that really interests me is how an insurance company handles its application process. Transparency is really important.

Which means I want to find out as much information as possible from a company without having to contact them before I want to.

So far, Empire Life offers a lot of information about their products online. There are clear descriptions, and their website is sleek and easy to navigate. 

When you get to the point where you’ve done some research and you want to find out more information including the cost, etc. this is what you encounter:

Provide Your Contact Information

Search For and Find an advisor 

Meet with advisor in person or on phone 

Fill out an application 


Don't get me wrong it's a sophisticated and easy to use system...BUT 

What if you’d like to be able to dig up more information without handing out your personal details. 

Why does it work this way?

Empire Life doesn’t have captive brokers, which is good. They distribute their products through a nationwide network of more than 29,000 independent agents, brokers, and advisors.

In order to get hooked up with one of these brokers, they have to ask you for information beforehand including a form that requires your first, last name, phone number, email, postal code and signed consent.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a general idea of rates before you have to give away your personal deets?

To be frank, this is why it’s preferable to contact Policy Architects directly because you can call us to chat.

We don’t require you to send us any personal data to give you pertinent information. In fact, you can run your own free quotes using our life insurance quoter here.

So how do I find out more information about the cost of Empire Life Insurance because this is a big issue for me... 

That's an awesome question and one of the reasons we like to investigate the insurance rates of all the carriers we review! 

Empire Life Insurance Rates

This table above illustrates why it's a good idea to get long term life insurance in place when you're younger. You can see how expensive it can get if you wait to get coverage!

Age

Policy Architects White Logo 2

$250,000

$500,000

35 Year Old Male 

$19.53

$31.95

35 Year Old Female

$15.07

$23.85

40 Year Old Male

$27.45

$45.90

40 Year Old Female

$20.48

$34.65

45 Year Old Male

$42.52

$70.38

45 Year Old Female

$30.38

$53.55

50 Year Old Male

$70.42

$126.45

50 Year Old Female

$47.92

 $85.05

55 Year Old Male

$125.33

$214.20 

55 Year Old Female

$83.93

 $152.55

60 Year Old Male

$225.90

$403.65

60 Year Old Female

$150.97

$281.70

65 Year Old Male

$374.62

$681.30

65 Year Old Female

$251.78

$474.30

*Quotes above are for Empire Life's Solution 20, monthly, Standard Health Class, non-smoker. Your rates may differ depending on your unique circumstances, March 2022 

Empire Life Insurance Pros

Easy To Do Business With 

According to their web site, Empire's vision is to be Canada's most convenient insurance and investment company.

Well, it looks like they're making some good progress in that direction. As 2019's Life and Health Insurer of the Year (The Insurance Business Canada Awards), word on the street is that Empire Life is an easy company to do business with for both advisors and customers.

Why should you care if it's easier for your advisor to work with Empire Life Insurance? A smooth agent/ company process means a quicker more effective transaction for you.

Anecdotally, I've heard other advisors say it's easy to get a hold of someone over the phone at Empire Life when you have an issue - Calls do get returned!

Excellent E-Application & User Experience

Empire Insurance's Fast and Full Life Application Process is one of the best in the Canadian marketplace.

There's a provision that makes it simple for you to share your agent's computer screen when you're doing a non-face-to-face application. The best part? It doesn't require you to download any software, you just have to open a link in your internet browser and you're good to go.

As increasing numbers of us become comfortable with digitalization and using online tools to perform transactions, Empire Life shows up as a digital leader in the Canadian life insurance space.

Why should you care? Depending on the circumstances, a life insurance application can take a long time to vet. Do you really want to wait 6 to 8 weeks to find out if your insurance has been approved?

Empire Life's Fast and Full, like the name suggests, helps speed up the process. Now and then, wait times are unavoidable, especially when you have health conditions but all things considered equal, I'll take the fast route!

Speaking of health conditions...check out my post on life insurance for high risk people here.

Wide Selection of Products Including Group Benefits 

Empire Insurance's offerings include life insurance, critical illness coverage, investment options and employee benefits plans.

 Sometimes too many products on the shelf can indicate a company is spread too thin. Not in this case.

Empire Life is equally diversified across its three main product categories: Individual Insurance, Employee Benefits and Wealth Management.

Each one of these lines makes up approximately 33% of Empire's revenue and premium income making the company strong and balanced.

One of The Best Performing Whole Life Products in Canada

Along with Equitable Life, Empire whole life insurance has performed well for policy holders long term. Empire Life's participating account has an average rate of return of 7.44% over the past 30 years and 5.99% over the last 10 years. Not bad! Also, Empire  is one of only carriers with the option to pay up the policy in 8 years, giving consumers an opportunity to optimize growth. 

Solid Financials

Speaking of strength, Empire Life Insurance is Rated 'A' by Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS) and A.M. Best Company. This carrier is going to be around for a long time. 

It feels good to know your investment in your family's future is safe!

Higher Term Coverage Age (85)

For term insurance, Empire Life covers you up to age 85. That means you're still eligible to apply for a term 30 policy with Empire when you're 55 years old.  

Why is this important? More of us are living longer and starting families later in life (Heck, I became a father for the first time at age 47).  This means we may be carrying longer mortgages than our parent's generation.

It's nice to know that you can get term coverage that will take you to age 85! With some carriers, when you're over 50, getting long term protection can be a challenge.

Check out my article on term life insurance for senior citizens.

Affordability

When comparing cost with other carriers for term, whole life or critical illness, Empire life consistently comes out in the top 5 for affordability.

Remember, price isn't the only metric by which to measure an insurer. However,  if you can save $10 per month on your life insurance,  that can add up to thousands of dollars over the life of your policy. 

Empire Life Insurance Cons

A Huge Selection of Products

This is only a partial Con because there's no question - Empire Life has a very impressive range of products and they're well diversified. The question is, is it possible to do a good job servicing them all? 

No Universal Life Product

This is a partial Con too as Empire Life does have very solid Permanent products, including Estatemax & Optimax Wealth participating whole life.

However, if you're looking for the flexibility of a Universal Life product, you'll have to look elsewhere. They phased out their Universal Life insurance a few years ago. 

Poor Customer Online Access To Accounts

I know, I'm splitting hairs on this one but Empire has so many "Pros", I had to come up with something else. 

...for a company that is truly a digital leader in the Canadian life insurance market, they've got to improve their customers' online access.

Is Empire Life The Right Company For YOU!?

We have the most comprehensive review out of the Empire Life Reviews because we take time to go through all the factors that make companies good. 

…and to be completely honest here Empire Life Insurance is one of my favorite companies at the moment. They truly are a terrific option for people who are looking to provide protection for their families. And Empire’s term insurance is always among the most affordable in the country. 

First and foremost, they are an insurer built on a solid financial foundation…

….and they have a terrific selection of products delivered with a competitive price tag. 

Empire Life is a forward-thinking company that will expand into the future, and I feel confident when I recommend them to my clients. 

That being said, they are not for everyone. For example, if you have well-managed diabetes, I can think of other carriers that may view you more leniently.

James Heidebrecht Empire Life Reviews

All Life Insurance Companies Are NOT the Same! 

As I’ve repeated ad nauseam, every life insurance carrier is unique, and Empire is no different. 

The challenge is to find the company that will view you in the most favourable light. 

If you have no health issues whatsoever, then I recommend shopping mostly on price and when it comes to Empire Insurance, they have that in spades. 

The thing is a $10.00 savings on your premiums may not seem like a lot of money but if you are looking for coverage for 30 years it builds up. 

In the end, you are looking at $3600.00. I bet you can think of better ways to spend that hard-earned cash. So you can see why I stress the importance of finding the right insurance carrier for YOU.

We work with the best life insurance companies in Canada. If you’re looking for an Empire Life Insurance quote, click the button below or schedule a no-obligation call here.

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