Great West Life Insurance is a very well known company!
Marketing works wonders, their green key logo really makes you think they have the answers to your life insurance needs.
But do they?
If there is no other message you get from my website, I want you to understand that all life insurance companies aren’t created equal!
Sure you can get yourself a free quote and on first glance, the prices seem VERY similar. But you need to qualify for the rate you selected. Yep!
…and each company has different underwriting guidelines.
Not to the mention the fact you haven’t even taken a peek at their products and those also vary substantially from insurer to insurer. So let’ see if Great West Life Assurance is one of the best life insurance companies in Canada, right now!
So Who Am I & Why Do I Care?
My name is James Heidebrecht and I'm the founder of Policy Architects...
...AND an independent agent.
This means I'm not tied to any particular company and will give you the whole picture when it comes to your choice of insurers.
Remember friends, always seek the advice of an independent life insurance agent. If you read my blog regularly this will be a recurring theme!
Now let's dig in!
An independent agent is your best bet if you might have trouble qualifying for affordable coverage because of a health condition, such as diabetes, or a risky hobby, such as scuba diving. A good independent agent will know the rate-setting guidelines at different insurers and steer you to the one most likely to offer the best-priced coverage. How to Find the Right Life Insurance Agent or Broker, Nerd Wallet
Hmmm so this means you have some skin in the game right?
I sure do! That's pretty clear! The thing is if you benefit I benefit. I look at life insurance clients as clients for life. If you're happy then you recommend me to friends and family. It's a long term relationship.
That’s the problem with call center agents or tied agents. They have one product to sell and have quotas to meet.
Commissions are tied to performance. So the temptation is there to push you toward a policy that is expensive that may not fit you like a glove.
Hey, I’m not dissing tied agents, I’m just pointing out the cold hard truth. You won’t get personalized assistance if you take this route.
What if I told you that calling an independent agent today could save you 10’s of thousands of dollars over the term of your policy? Bet you’d get on it right now!
The thing is this isn’t an exaggeration!
A Few Words About Great Life Assurance Company
Great West Life Insurance was founded in 1891! So they aren’t new to the life insurance business.
I personally like to see this because they’ve been around the block and know the industry intimately…
…not to mention the fact that they’re still in business.
In 1893 Great West Life Insurance paid out their first $1000 claim to the widow of a man who died in a bicycle accident! Since then this company has been providing dependable services to policyholders.
By 1897, this insurer spread its wings by establishing a presence in all the Canadian provinces. Hey if you think their growth stopped there think again! Great West Life Insurance hopped the border into the US by 1906, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Presently, Great West Life Insurance Company is owned by Great-West Lifeco, which also owns London Life, Canada Life Financial, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance and Putnam Investments. Power Financial Corporation, the 2nd biggest insurance holding company in Canada, has a 67.7% stake in Great West Lifeco.
OK sure a long an venerable history is all well and good but I don't know a thing about this company.
SMART! You're completely right. A long history is a pro but it's not enough to base your life insurance decisions on. So let's check out their rating!
Great West Life Insurance Financial Rating
Hey, check it out! Great West Life Assurance Company has some pretty nice ratings! AM Best gives them an A+! In fact, they’re well reviewed by all of the financial agencies.
So why does that matter to you?
It means that they’re a financially sound company. If you’re going to invest money for 10, 20 or 30 years to protect your family you want to make sure they have a solid monetary foundation. Come on no one wants to the life insurance company they invested in to go belly up. That’s disconcerting, to say the least.
Note: If the worst case scenario were to happen there are protections. It’s just not something you want to have to navigate.
And Great West Life Insurance Has a Heart Too!
Yes, they do!
Great West Life Insurance company pioneered a student loan repayment plan!
Employees get some much-needed help with their student debt through employer-matched contributions while saving for retirement at the same time. Pretty cool!
This creative company also launched a cutting-edge virtual healthcare service in 2017. Customers get an online consultation and health assessment from top doctors through this program.
Great West Life Insurance obviously cares about the future of our planet too! They recently earned an A rating from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) making it the only Canadian financial services company to be included in the “Climate A-List”.
These accolades show a commitment to the wellbeing of clients that extends well past issuing policies.
Hmmm now you're talking, socially responsible and fiscally responsible...
But we aren't done. Not even close. Let's see how they show up from a consumer perspective!
Great West Assurance Company
What Do Their Customers Think?
Ok so before I get started on this section I want to proffer a warning.
People don’t usually talk about things that run smoothly…
…on the other hand, complaints are commonplace! Yeah, it’s unfortunate but TRUE! So please bear this in mind when you check out the consumer reviews for ANY big life insurance company.
It’s VERY unlikely you’re going to hear about the thousands of people that had a terrific experience. Not to mention the fact that collecting a claim is triggered by a stressful event. Death or poor health don’t typically calm nerves. That being said. let’s check out their reviews!
Insureye - Great West Life Reviews
OUCH! Whoa, the Insureye reviews are NOT good. 1.4 stars out of 5 and some of the customers are irate.
From what I can see a lot of the reviews are connected to health insurance claims. This is another thing you have to keep in mind. Some of these big companies offer a lot of different kinds of insurance and Great West Life Insurance is one of them.
So be sure to check out the reviews for the TYPE of life insurance you’re considering. To be honest these complaints are a little bit of a warning for me. But no review is going to be all roses.
Well I see what you mean. I'm not that impressed with the customer reviews but it seems a lot of the complaints are about their health coverage and I'm looking for life insurance so let's soldier on!
GREAT choice. I do think Great West Life Insurance is a very good company so let' take a peek at their line of products!
Great West Life Insurance Products
Great West Life Assurance Company is a mega company! They have a big offering and I’m of two minds when it comes to this.
On the positive side, there’s a LOT of choices! They provide different types of insurance and could be a one-stop shop for your coverage needs.
On the negative side, there is something to be said for selling one type of product and knowing it inside and out. It’s the difference between a specialist and a generalist. If it were left to me and I was looking for coverage for my family – I would likely pick a company that ONLY offers life insurance.
…but that’s just a personal preference!
So let's check out what they have on the menu right NOW!
Great West Life Insurance: "Universal Life Insurance"
If you’re looking for coverage until the day you die, a permanent life insurance option like Universal Life might be just what the doctor ordered.
Universal Life Insurance is a bit more flexible that it’s Whole Life counterpart but there are many different variations available.
The thing is when I look for more information on the Great West Life Insurance website I’m provided with VERY little information.
In my humble opinion, this is a tactic to get people to contact their agents so they can sell policies. I personally prefer transparency and want to know a little more about an offering before I speak to an agent.
For me this a red flag.
Great West Life Insurance: "Term Life Insurance"
Great West Life Insurance has a term offering but once again I’m struggling to get more information. Sigh.
They offer 10 and 20 year terms that are renewable at policy anniversary closest to age 85. After that nothing. Find out more about term life insurance for seniors here.
First of all, I would like you to take note that 30 and 40 year terms are not available.
Secondly, they provide no information about maximum coverage. There is no way for me to assess their product properly with the information they provide on the site.
Great West Life Insurance: "Participating Life Insurance"
So what the heck is a participating policy? Well, it’s an insurance contract that pays dividends to policyholders.
These dividends are paid out by the life insurance company based on profits they generate from investments. These are typically paid out on a yearly basis.
At the end of the policy, there is typically a final payment that is paid out. It really depends on how it’s structured. There are contracts that may include a guaranteed dividend figure. All of this would be negotiated before you sign on. This type of arrangement is known as a cash value life insurance policy.
Once again I was struck by the lack of information. Which means I don’t have sufficient information to opine about this offer.
Great West Life Health Insurance &
Great West Life Insurance: "Disability Insurance"
Disability insurance offers great protection…
…especially if you own your own business.
If you’re unable to work due to a disability, you’ll receive a monthly payment to help subsidize your outgoings. Even if you have work-related disability insurance, additional coverage can help overcome shortcomings of the original policy.
Typically you select a coverage period and face value before you sign on the dotted line.
Unfortunately once again, the website doesn’t give you a whole lot of information.
If you are self-employed, look into an individual disability insurance policy. Unlike a group plan, these types of plans don’t come with guaranteed underwriting so you have to qualify for the coverage through a physical health check and proof of earned income. How Disability Insurance Can Protect Your Income, Morning Star
Great West Life Insurance: "Critical Illness Insurance"
Did you know that advances in technology make it more likely that you’ll survive a bout with serious illness? That’s great news but if you do, the bills don’t pay themselves.
No one plans to be gravely ill but it happens to the best of us at the worst of times.
This insurance covers a specific group of illnesses. If you come down with one of them you’ll be issued a predetermined lump sum payment. This money can help you get the treatment you need, pay your bills and take care of business.
Hey, who needs to worry about finances – when you should be thinking about your recovery.
Once again there are very few details about the Critical Illness Insurance on the Great West Life Insurance website.
Great West Life Insurance: "Great West Life Health Insurance"
If you don’t have benefits through your work or think you need more than they offer Great West Life Health Insurance fills in the gaps.
Sonata Health, a third-party provider is actually the company that offers their health and dental coverage. When you’re dealing with large companies that sell lots of varied insurances this often happens.
Another product is offered by PlanDirect. This company offers dental and medical insurance to those over the age of 60. Losing your benefits isn’t one of the best parts of retirement. There is one hitch however you have to apply for coverage 60 days prior to losing your current coverage.
Once again I wish there was more information but my guess is you can obtain more if you visit PlanDirect or Sonata.
Great West Life Insurance: Various Coverage
Great West Life Insurance: "Great West Life Group Insurance"
If you’re an employer Great West Life Groups Insurance may help you attract great employees! It’s one of those perks that’s really meaningful.
Great West Life Insurance is one of the biggest providers of group benefits. They offer the following:
- A platform that provides easy access to your benefit information
- Eclaim filing
- Access to generic drugs for savings
- The DrugHub App
- Great West Center for Mental Health in the Workplace
- Personal Health Risk Assessment
- Fraud Protection
Great West Life Insurance: "Business Owner Insurance"
Businesses have a lot of moving parts.
…and if you’re a business owner you’re well aware of this. There are a lot of responsibilities to consider from tax liability to key people!
The thing is, stuff happens and life doesn’t stop ticking even if you die. So if you want to protect your interests and the people who depend on you, life insurance is the way to go. Great West Life Insurance offers the following products to business owners:
- Life Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Critical Illness Insurance
...and that's not all Great West Life Insurance provide Wealth Management Services and Group Retirement Services. This is outside of my wheelhouse so I am going to give this a miss today.
Great West Life Reviews - Application Process
So I was keen to find out what the application process is like for Great West Life Insurance. Because there is so little information on the website about their products I wanted to see if their application process is quick and easy. But there isn’t one.
The only I option I saw was a contact advisor button.
When I clicked on the button I was brought to a page that asked me a couple of brief questions.
They want to know first of all what insurances I’m interested in. So I clicked life insurance and critical illness insurance.
You Need to Provide Your Personal Information to Get in Touch with an Agent.
Then they ask me if I already have benefits. I answered no.
This is the information you have to provide to get in touch with an agent:
- First & Last Name
- Phone Number
- City & Postal Code
- Your Birthday is Optional
I pressed submit and voila my details are off to an agent. This is when someone will contact you and provide you with more information than the website I assume.
I liked their contact process. It’s automated, sleek and easy to use.
…but to be frank, though I think they would be better served if they were more transparent and had an online quote or application form.
Clearly, their main goal is to get me to a Great West Life Insurance rep as soon as possible. Buyer beware, do NOT get sucked into signing on to a Great West policy without speaking to an independent agent first.
If you don’t comparison shop I guarantee you’ll spend more than you have to!
...The thing is Great West Life Insurance Company may not be a good fit for you!
Rember what I said above? All life insurance companies all approach underwriting differently.
Yes indeed. They have a tendency to find niches. So if you have a higher risk condition like diabetes and apply to a company that is tough on diabetes you run the chance of dropping down a rating class.
This can cost you 10’s of thousands of dollars over the course of your term. At Policy Architects we do a full financial assessment. If you have any medical concerns we can even test out the waters to see what the likely decision will be.
A tied agent simply can’t give you this type of service. So let’s take a look at their rates to see how they compare right now!
Great West Life Insurance Rates
Empire Life Term Insurance
To give you a peek into Great West Life Insurance rates I am going to use a 42 year old non-smoking man who is in great health. He applied for coverage at Policy Architects. After scanning the market we decided Empire Life is the way to go! They gave him a Preferred Plus rating and his premiums for a 20 year term are $45.90 per month. He also has the option to select a 30 year term if he so desires.
Great West Life Assurance Company Term Insurance
So this same man gave Policy Architects a miss. Hey, he has his heart set on Great West Life. So if he retains the Preferred rating that Empire life gave him he’ll shell out $62.55 per month.
Right out of the gate the gentleman is paying $16.65 more per month. A small amount right? Sure but after 20 years this figure builds up. Policy Architects could have saved him $3996.00 over the course of his term. He’s also limited to a 20 year term so he’ll never know he could have affordably been protected for another decade.
The thing I found most interesting is Great West Life Insurance charges someone who is rated preferred plus as much as someone who is rated standard. So if you are in good health this is absolutely NOT the life insurance company for you.
Great West Life Insurance Pros
Great West Life Insurance Company is one serious insurer. They have been around for more than 100 years and show no sign of losing steam.
Their ratings are solid so you can sleep well knowing you are protected if you opted to buy a Great West Life Insurance policy.
A Company with a Conscience
Great West Life Assurance Company cares about the future and they show this through their actions. They manage their carbon footprint, are concerned about student debt and want their policyholders to stay healthy and happy.
I like this a lot!
Diverse Selection of Products
This is a mixed bag for me. I like to see different kinds of insurance - but at the same time there is something to be said for specializing.
Sometimes I think these companies cast their net out too far...
But I do like the fact that you can get wealth management advice along with your life insurance.
Great West Life Group Insurance
If you're an employer Great West Life Group Insurance provides a comprehensive platform for group benefits.
This is not my area of expertise so I will leave this to the pros to assess but from the outside looking in, this company seems to be on top of their game.
Great West Insurance Cons
Lack of Information
Sadly Great West Life insurance doesn't share a lot of information about their products. I think the entire goal is to get potential customers to speak with one of their agents.
I'm personally a fan of transparency so for me this is a con.
No Online Application Process
Great West Life Insurance has an electronic form that sends your basic details to a tied agent.
While I appreciate how easy it is to get in touch with an agent - I don't love that you have to share all of your contact information beforehand!
This adds time and hassle to the application process. Plus your information is out there whether you opt for a Great West Policy or not.
Their Life Insurance Products Are Limited
Hmmm I don't love their life insurance offerings. First of all Term coverage only goes up to 20 years. So if you are looking for 30 or 40 you need to check out another carrier.
Great West doesn't appear to have any Simplified- Issue coverage although the high cost of their Term life insurance would lead you to believe that it may be a no medical product.
As for their permanent products, they seem sparse and I simply don't have enough intel.
If you're healthy and looking for Term coverage this definitely is not the company for you. I can't speak to much else because they don't provide enough information for me to talk about their products knowledgeably.
As I mentioned above if you're in good health it's likely you will pay more for your Term insurance. My guess is if you shop around you can find better rates.
But once again I'm limited by the sparse information they provide about all their products.
Their Agents are Captive
Tied agents sell their company's products period. No if's ands or buts about it. If you're lucky you'll get the right policy but it's a gamble.
The best way to find the most affordable AND comprehensive policy is to shop around. This requires the help of an independent life insurance agent. Policy Architects will find you the company that is most lenient for your particular health circumstances.
Making the right choice here can literally save you 10's of thousands of dollars.
As I mentioned above bad news travels fast - so I have to say I don't always put a lot of stock in the consumer reviews I see online.
Especially when I'm dealing with a large insurer that handles multiple products.
Great West Life Insurance is one of those companies. I am however mentioning this as a con because there are a LOT of negative reviews. Especially when it comes to their Great West Life Health Insurance.
Is Great West Life Insurance Canada a Fit for YOU!?
Well first let me start off by saying Great West Life Assurance Company is a financially stable company with a very long history.
You can sleep well knowing your investment in your family’s future is safe. This is a very big issue for most of us. Who wants to see their life insurance company blow up in smoke.
Also if you’re an employer Great West Life Group Insurance may be a star. As far as I know, they are one of the largest providers of this service in Canada.
If however, you’re looking for term life insurance, I would see the help of an independent life insurance agent. Great West Life Insurance Canada does NOT offer 30 or 40 year terms.
I also have no idea what the details are for most of their products because they don’t provide a lot of information.
All Life Insurance Companies Are NOT the Same!
Remember not all life insurance companies are created equal. They have different products and individual underwriting guidelines.
Even if you have your heart set on Great West Life Insurance, give Policy Architects a call to see if it’s a perfect fit for YOU!