Have you heard of Western Life Assurance (aka Western Life Insurance)? If you live on the east coast then maybe not, but this company is the largest insurance broker in western Canada!
If you come to my site, you know I’m working my way through Canadian Life Insurance Company reviews, to give you a better idea of what’s out there. There are so many choices! Some are very well known because they have a long and venerable history along with a sizeable marketing budget while others up and coming.
The thing is, name recognition isn’t everything. Each and every life insurance company has areas they specialize in so just because they’re well known doesn’t mean they are the right insurer for you. That’s why you need a GREAT independent life insurance agent, like those at Policy Architects. We know the ins and outs of the best insurance companies and will share our insight with you.
So let’s take a gander at Western Life Insurance to see if they are a company you should consider!
I'm Jame Heidebrecht, the Founder of Policy Architects
....but before we dig into all the details I'd like to share a little bit of information about me - and why I care. Policy Architects is my company and I absolutely LOVE what I do. Helping people find the RIGHT protection for their family is truly a satisfying profession.
Planning for the future when it comes to your finances is a no brainer! So why doesn't this advice apply to your death? Very few of us would enter our retirement years without a savings - so it seems absurd that we wouldn't plan for our final expenses or the chance that something unforeseen could happen.
If you're the main breadwinner how will your family continue to live the life they've become accustomed to if your pay check suddenly ceases. Ouch!
Life Unfolds as It Pleases....
Sure we can make plans until the cows come home, but the reality is life happens. It really does! There’s not a person on the planet that plans to be in a fatal car crash. That’s where life insurance comes in.
You can sleep a lot better knowing that you put a safety net in place should a worst-case scenario unfold. It’s hard enough to lose a loved one – but then to deal with extreme financial distress? This is just unfathomable.
It’s why I love my job. Every day I work with families just like you to make sure that a tragedy doesn’t get compounded.
When you think about pedestrian accidents, you may imagine someone crossing the street at a crosswalk or otherwise walking in the path of traffic. However, pedestrian accidents can happen even when you think you are out of the way of danger. In fact, many pedestrian accidents happen when someone is simply walking to their car in a parking lot or in another seemingly safe situation.
Western Life Insurance: Who Are They?
Western Life Insurance – which is technically Western Life Assurance has a long and interesting history. This insurer started out as Federated Insurance of Canada which was the Canadian branch of Federated Mutual a US – a company that goes back as far as the 1890s. Their original business model provided fire insurance to hardware and farm implement dealers.
Their expansion into life insurance didn’t happen until 1961, with the formation of Federated Life Insurance Company of Canada. In 1990 Federated Insurance Company of Canada and Federated Life Insurance Company became Canadian owned subsidiaries of Fairfax Holdings Ltd and in 2003 Northbridge Financial Corporation was formed to act as the holding company.
In 2004 Federated Life Insurance of Canada was sold to Western Financial Group. Their offices are headquartered in Winnipeg and the company now operates as Western Life.
I love to see the evolution of these ever-changing companies. Western Life Insurance has 40 solid years in the life insurance industry and it looks like they have many more ahead.
That's awesome! Do they Have a good reputation?
Thats's an great question. Have you been reading my company reviews? If not you're a savvy shopper!
Western Life Insurance Reviews: Financial Rating
Checking out the financial ratings of the insurer you’re considering is a big part of the due diligence process! It makes sense to do your homework after all. If you’re going to make this sort of long term investment in your future it’s good to know you’re doing so on solid financial ground.
In 2009, Western Life Financial which owns Western Life Insurance was given a B rating by AM Best. Desjardin Financial Group, which manages assets of $300 billion and is rated A+ by Standard & Poors, acquired Western Life Financial and Western Life Assurance in 2010 for $443 million. This might have something to do with their upgraded rating of A- (Excellent) in 2011 but it doesn’t end there. Trimont Financial, a subsidiary of Wawanesa Mutual Insurance, purchased Western Financial Group and Western from Desjardins Group in 2017.
Needless to say, Western Life Assurance is on a solid financial footing.
Hmmmm yeah - so what about their past clients?
Yep, that's EXACTLY where we are going with this...
Western Life Assurance Online Reviews
Life insurance reviews are inherently unpredictable and not necessarily as much of a red flag as you may think. Yea I know – coming from someone doing a review that seems like a strange statement...
…but hear me out. People who take the time to draft reviews are often irritated. How many amazing transactions have you had – that you just sort of glossed over. When you’re mad, however, that’s another thing altogether!
This is even more of an issue for a life insurance company. People simply expect smooth transactions but when there’s a snag, because of the stressful nature of the biz they lash out.
There are a lot of excellent life insurance companies that get slammed on Google. So while I think it’s important to check out these reviews do so with a critical eye.
The good news is Western Life Insurance is well reviewed on Google! They have 4 stars which is better than a lot of the other life insurance companies I have reviewed. There is one issue though – I have no idea what products the reviewers were talking about because there was very little information in the comment section.
Note: They also have an A+ BBB rating.
Did you know…70% of online complainers are hoping to receive a response to their negative review. This means that you can avoid some bad reviews simply by reaching the client to discuss and rectify their experience before they have the chance to share their irritation with the Internet. Understanding Why Clients Post Negative Reviews Online
Alrighty then! So what sort of products do they have?
Ahh now this is my favourite part! I love to go through the different offerings. So let's check 'em out now.
Western Life Insurance Products
Life insurance companies all handle products differently. When it comes to life insurance some insurers specialize ONLY in life insurance, while others are seriously diversified and offer all different kinds of coverage.
I’m a little torn about this…
While there’s something to be said about specialization, I can see why someone would like the convenience of a one-stop shop. Personally, I prefer to deal with a company that concentrates on one area. Maybe it’s just me, but it gives me a sense of security that they are dealing with a niche and doing well.
I guess this really comes down to personal preference.
Western Life Assurance has basic individual life insurance, a critical illness offering with some optional coverage enhancements and group benefits. Let’s take a closer look…
The @pprove Application Process for Individual Life Insurance
Our world is moving increasingly toward tech solutions. This trend shows no sign of slowing down in the future. Western Life Assurance is keeping up with its competitors by offering the @pprove system.
@pprove allows you to apply for critical illness coverage, 10,20, 30 and 100-year term online. Another selling feature is that most of their products don’t require a medical exam and simple transactions are conducted in about 15 minutes.
While I think this is a terrific system for some people, I personally believe that nothing beats the personal touch of an independent agent. A fully underwritten policy with a medical exam for an otherwise healthy individual is also less costly.
So let’s take a peek at their offering:
Western Life Insurance: Individual Term Insurance 10, 20 & 30 Year Terms
Term insurance works well for most people – most of the time. Western life insurance offers three standard terms: 10, 20 and 30 years. Coverage is provided until your 85th birthday. After the expiry of every term, your contract is renewed at a higher rate without a medical exam. You may convert your policy prior to your 65th birthday to permanent coverage and as I mentioned above you may complete the application process through @pprove.
Western Life Insurance Term 100: Permanent Insurance
While it doesn’t appear that Western Life Assurance offers permanent life insurance “Term 100” is functionally that. It’s confusing because it has the word “term” in it but make no mistake, Term 100 or “Term to 100” is a type of permanent insurance. It’s designed to cover you for life and there is a guaranteed payout as long as you keep making your monthly payments. With Term 100, you pay the pure cost of insurance so there is NO cash value like there can be with Whole Life or Universal Life Insurance.
Your premiums are guaranteed to remain level until your 100th birthday. After this time your policy is paid up.
If you’d like to understand more about cash value life insurance, read my post here.
Optional Coverage Enhancements
While life insurance is an incredible product, there are other areas of life that need protection. In order to fill the gaps, life insurance companies offer additional riders to protect you from accidents, critical illness, disability, and dismemberment. Let’s take a look at the additional benefits Western Assurance offers to supplement your life insurance now!
Accidental Death Benefits
If you happen to die in an accident your beneficiary receives a $250,000 benefit payment. This option is available for Term 100 Life Pay, Term 10, 20, 30 and Critical Illness Insurance to Age 10 and Age 75.
Child Critical Illness Benefit
This rider provides $10,000 or $20,000 of coverage if your child is diagnosed with a covered critical illness condition before the age of 21 or 25…if they are going to school full time. This option is available for Term 100 Life Pay, Term 10, 20, 30 and Critical Illness Insurance to Age 10 to Age 75.
Child Protection Benefit
This rider provides $10,000 or $20,000 of life insurance coverage for all your children that are younger than 21 OR 25 if they’re a full-time student. This option is available for Term 100 Life Pay, Term 10, 20, 30 and Critical Illness Insurance to Age 10 and Age 75.
Critical Illness Rider
This critical illness rider provides $50,000 coverage if you’rediagnosed with one of the defined 25 critical illness conditions. If you’re diagnosed with one of the 4 early diagnosed conditions you will receive $5,000 of coverage. This option is available for Term 100 Life Pay, Term 10, 20, 30.
Return of Premium on Death Benefit
You may choose this rider and the premiums paid under your Critical Illness policy are returned to the beneficiary if no claim for critical illness benefit (except for early diagnosed benefit) is made under the policy. This option is available for Critical Illness Insurance to Age 10 and Age 75.
Waiver of Premium Benefit
If you’re disabled this rider pays all premiums due so you can maintain your coverage. This option is available for Term 100 Life Pay, Term 10, 20, 30 and Critical Illness Insurance to Age 10 and Age 75.
Critical Illness Insurance
Critical illness is something we all should think about. While life insurance is my gig, I have a personal relationship with Critical Illness Insurance. My wife has been working for herself for many years now. While you’re young and healthy there’s nothing to worry about, but as we age things change. In fact, because technology has come so far, chances are if you have a serious brush with an illness you will survive. But what happens if you aren’t able to work throughout your recovery?
If you have a very serious illness you need some time out and if your paycheck is a necessity…well then that’s a serious problem. For just this reason my wife opted for critical illness protection. Which means if she is diagnosed with one of the defined illnesses covered in the policy money will continue to come in to help us keep up with the bills.
Western Life Assurance offers critical illness insurance. Here are the deets:
Term 10 Critical Illness
You’re eligible to keep this critical illness coverage in place until the year following your 75th birthday. Your contract automatically renews every 10 years at a higher premium based on your age. However, you don’t have to provide any medical evidence or have a blood test, etc to renew the coverage. Before your 60th birthday, you can exchange this insurance for a Level Premium Critical Illness policy. This means your monthly costs will stay the same guaranteed up to age 75 when the contract expires. This option to exchange is known as a conversion option.
Level Premium Critical Illness
If you can afford the premiums, this really is the best way to go for long term affordability. Level Premium Critical illness protection is provided at the same monthly cost up to age 75. That means for example, if you apply for coverage in your 30’s while you’re young and healthy, the low rates you pay will be guaranteed never-to-change up to age 75. You’ll pay a lot less – we’re talking thousands of dollars! – over the life of this type of policy than you will if purchase term 10 and renew every 10 years.
Western Life Insurance - Group Benefits
We live in a very competitive world. If you want to hire top-notch employees you have to offer something better than your competitors. A good way to do this is through benefits.
Healthcare is costly, even when you have a nationalized health care system. Additional protection really comes in handy if something major transpires.
Western Life Assurance offers group benefits. Let’s check them out now!
Traditional Group Benefits for 3 or More Lives
If you’re a business owner you’ll be interested to see that Western Life Assurance offers the following protection:
- Life Insurance
- Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
- Dependent Life Insurance
- Short & Long Term Disability
- Extended Health & Prescription Coverage
- Dental Coverage
- Critical Illness Coverage
- HSA Health Spending Account
- Arrive Employee Assistance Program
If you run a company (one or more employees) you can select CoreHealth+. This plan is flexible and offers the following options:
- You choose the premium
- Employees choose their own plan design
- No medical underwriting
- No Quotes
- All industries accepted
- No hidden charges
coreHEALTH+ is another creative solution from Western Life Assurance that combines insured coverage with a “Pay-as-you-go” Health Spending Account.
Western Life Insurance: Application Process
Like many companies, Western Life Assurance is moving toward an electronic system for life insurance applications. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dig up a lot of information. I think one thing that is confusing for people reading about these new tech-based solutions is that you won’t personally be able to access the quick e-process. You have to contact an agent and they will go through it with you. If you know nothing about life insurance you may end up looking around the site for the application process needlessly.
I think insurers should make the process very clear from the get-go. Sadly this is not the case so a lot of people might leave the site feeling a bit confused.
Western Life Insurance @pprove allows agents to qualify, rate quote and deliver the policy in a matter of minutes. WriteNow is the Platform used to provide this functionality.
Although I love the ease and speedy turnaround, there is something to be said for taking your time when it comes to your coverage. When I meet with clients, what they think they need and what they REALLY need are two different things and quite often very important details don’t come out until later in the process.
If you require coverage fast this is a neat solution, but if you have the time take it. We have all types of products that can be used to save you lots of cash and access to multiple companies that will fit your personal needs.
The Human Touch & Estate Planning
It’s tough to beat the human touch. If you’re planning for the end of your life there are a lot of nuances. Funerals, debt, dependents, business interests, real estate…
…and that’s if things are straightforward! But what if you have a child with special needs or a charitable interest you would like to give money to?
Not to mention the fact that it’s great to have an independent insurance agent for life. According to statistics, the average life insurance consumer will purchase 7 insurance products in their lifetime. That’s a huge investment if you add the monthly costs over decades. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an experienced, trustworthy insurance advisor in your corner? If you’re in the beginning stages of a family your life insurance needs will inevitably grow and change. It’s awesome to have an agent that will follow up with you about your policy long after they sold it to you.
Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I tech-adverse, that’s just silly. BUT I do think using an independent life insurance agent will get you the best possible coverage for the best rates every time.
Western Life Insurance Rates
To give you an idea of Western Life Insurance rates as of May 25th 2018 I'm providing a chart for men and women throughout the decades. I use a standard rating for non-smokers which means if you are in terrific health you can do even better. In fact this is another issue I will explore more below!
Western Life Assurance, Male & Female, 30 Year Term, Standard, Non-Smoker Rates
*Quotes above are for Western Life Assurance Term 30, monthly, Standard Health Class, non-smoker. Your rates may differ depending on your unique circumstances. May 10, 2019
Nice! So you can see how much a life insurance policy through Western Life Assurance is gonna cost 'ya.
...BUT these might not be the best possible rates!
This is why you need to work with an independent life insurance agent. We have access to the top life insurance companies in Canada. The thing is not all insurers are created equal. If you’re healthy the company you choose will be different than if you have a medical condition. Each insurer has a niche and some more lenient than others when it comes to specific health ailments.
So how does this apply to Westen Life Assurance?
Let me show you how this works.
40 Year Old Male, Standard (There is NO Preferred Plus), Non Smoker
Western Life Assurance $1 Million Coverage
Western Life Assurance uses the @pprove process. Which means don’t undergo a full medical exam. Underwritten policies offer the best rates – so you already know a Western Life Insurance Policy isn’t going to be the least expensive in the market. Remember more risk means your premiums are higher. So a super healthy 40 year old male will pay the same as a 40 year old male in average health. This can cost you a bomb.
So let’s take a look at what he will pay $207.01 per month:
40 Year Old Male, Preferred Plus, Non Smoker
RBC Life Insurance
Ok, so this same client comes to me instead of working with the @pprive system. He is as fit as a fiddle and wants to find the best possible rates. I go through all of his options and we decide to apply to RBC and he is approved for preferred plus rates. Hurrah! His lifestyle and has really paid off. He is paying $138.78 per month!
My Client Saves $25,562.80 !
So now you see my point very clearly. Someone in great health isn't going to use a company that throws them into a pool of less healthy applicants. This means more costly premiums every single time.
...but what if we compare apples to apples?
How does Western Life Assurance stack up?
40 Year Old Male, Standard, Non Smoker
Western Life Assurance
40 Year Old Male, Standard, Non Smoker
RBC Life Insurance
RBC is still much cheaper- $20 per month. At standard rates you will save $9,200 over the life of your policy! What would you do with all that extra cash?
The moral of the story? Do your homework! Work with an independent life insurance agent. While quick and easy has its benefits doing some research and taking your time can really translate into 10’s of thousands of dollars in savings.
Western Life Insurance Pros
I admire all of the companies that are keeping up with the times when it comes to offering services that save you time and money. If time is of the essence and you have some medical issues that prevent you from getting a fully underwritten policy this MAY be the right choice for you. That being said, you may be able to do better. Give us a call at Policy Architects to see how we can help.
Western Life Assurance isn't the most expensive insurer on the block. If you are looking for life insurance without a medical exam they are competitive when it comes to premiums especially if you are in average health.
Good Customer Reviews
The have 4 stars on google. For a life insurance company this is pretty good. It seems like people who deal with them seem relatively satisfied.
Quick & Easy Coverage
If you're in a rush and need coverage today you can get it. This works for people who have an immediate need.
Western Life Insurance Cons
To be perfectly honest I was not aware of this life insurance company prior to this review. I think they have a very big following out West but they would do well to market more to the eastern provinces.
Western Life Assurance does not have a vast selection of life insurance products. If you're looking for a lot of options that will allow you to use life insurance as a tool this isn't the company for you.
Not the Most Competitive Insurance Company for Healthy People
Sure if you're looking for quick and easy coverage and maybe you have some medical issues that make a medical exam seem daunting this may be the insurer for you. The thing is if you're healthy I would call the independent life insurance agents at Policy Architects. We can help.
The @pprove is not Transparent
Yes you can get approved and covered in minutes, but don't be fooled, you need to contact an agent to go through this process. I would love to know more about this @pprove but there's almost no information available.
Is West Life Insurance: Is it the Company for You!?
Wow! Another review bites the dust. I really enjoy checking out all these great life insurance companies. While I may not have dealt with Western Life Assurance before, their @pprove system is really inspiring.
If you’re looking for quick and easy coverage and price really isn’t a concern their term 10, 20, 30 and 100 may be the product for you. Also if you have some medical concerns, the no exam approach may be very appealing.
However, chances are you’re healthier than you think which means you can save a bomb if you do your homework to find the perfect company for your particular needs. As you can see the savings can be in the 10’s of thousands of dollars.
Remember not all life insurance companies are created equal. So it’s VERY important to find the right fit for your family and budget.
That's where Policy Architects Comes to the Rescue!
There are a lot of terrific life insurance companies out there. Yep…
…but they all specialize in different areas. If you have diabetes, elevated cholesterol or are simply worried about your medical exam (get in line because this is more common than not) call us now. We have agents that know the ins and outs of the underwriting processes of all the best life insurance companies.
We’ve got you covered.