Press Releases

Here's an interview from August 2007 called Alternate Jobs For An Actuary

While I helped write press releases, quotes were rarely attributed to me :(

National Life Unveils NL Pick-A-Term, The Most Flexible Term Life Plan Available

NL Pick-A-Term provides advisors with a customized term life insurance solution to recommend to their clients

TORONTO, Nov. 4, 2004 /CNW/ - National Life announces the launch of NL Pick-A-Term, the most flexible term life plan available to the Canadian marketplace. This new product enables advisors to provide their clients with tailored insurance protection to suit their specific needs.

"NL Pick-A-Term gives you the flexibility to customize the length of coverage to the number of years you require from as short as 10 years to as long as age 85," says Promod Sharma, Actuary Individual Insurance. "This is in contrast to conventional term life insurance where if you require coverage for 14 years you must buy Term 10 and pay high renewal premiums or buy Term 20 and pay higher initial premiums," he continues.

NL Pick-A-Term features and guarantees:

Coverage Starts at $100,000 and the Death Benefit is Tax-free
NL Pick-A-Term coverage starts at $100,000 and the Death Benefit the policyholder's family receives in the event of death is tax-free. This Death Benefit can cover immediate and ongoing expenses such as funeral costs, mortgages and loans or provide the policyholder's family with a continuing income. The payment of the Death Benefit also bypasses the costly probate process typically associated with estate assets.

Renewable and Convertible
Policyholders can extend their coverage beyond the Policy Term on a Yearly Renewable Term basis as well as convert their policy to a permanent life plan prior to turning 65, or on the second policy anniversary if you are over 65.

Quick Pay Premiums
Premiums can be quick paid in as little as three years, which means policyholders can pay for their coverage in a shorter period than the Policy Term, which saves them money in the long term. Premiums set when the policy is issued are guaranteed never to increase and will not change. Premium bands start at $100,000, $200,000 and $500,000.

Policyholders can pay premiums by Pre-Authorized Chequing or by annual direct billing. In addition, NL Pick-A-Term provides policyholders with a 30-day grace period between when the premiums paid are no longer sufficient to pay for their policy and when the policy will lapse. This allows them to resume making deposits without penalty to keep the policy in force.

Guaranteed Surrender Amounts
Should the needs of policyholders change after they have quick paid their policy, NL Pick-A-Term offers Guaranteed Surrender Amounts typically based on 90% of unused premiums. These are available if policyholders surrender their policy, let it lapse or reduce their coverage. Guaranteed Surrender Amounts assist policyholders and their families when circumstances change.

Policy Options
NL Pick-A-Term offers three policy options: Single Life, Joint First To Die (which is a policy on two people and pays the Death Benefit on the first death), and Joint Last To Die (also a policy on two people but pays the Death Benefit on the last death). Issue ages range from 0 to 70 for all three policy options.

Death Benefit Types
Three Death Benefit types are available: Level, Indexed and Mortgage Protection. The Level Death Benefit offers clients a specific amount of insurance while the Indexed Death Benefit allows the amount of coverage to increase or decrease by 1% to 8% each year. Upon purchasing a NL Pick-A-Term policy clients choose the length of the indexing period they desire, up to the duration of the Policy Term. The Mortgage Protection Death Benefit provides clients with insurance that reflects a declining mortgage balance.

Optional Benefits
NL Pick-A-Term provides four optional benefits: Accidental Death Benefit, Children's Term Benefit, Waiver of Premium on Disability and NL Pick-A-Term Level Benefit. The NL Pick-A-Term Level Benefit is only offered on a Level Death Benefit. Up to five NL Pick-A-Term Level Benefits are available per policy and they can be added to both Single Life and Joint Life coverage.

"With its flexibility, quick pay premiums, guaranteed surrender amounts and selection of policy options, death benefit types and optional benefits, NL Pick-A-Term is an insurance solution advisors will want to recommend to their clients," states Promod Sharma. "If clients require lifetime protection, permanent life insurance is available and if they want additional investment options there is universal life. But for every other insurance need NL Pick-A-Term is an excellent choice," he adds.

National Life
National Life has been a strong performer in the financial services industry for over a century, offering individual insurance, group life & health insurance, and retirement & investment products across Canada and in parts of the Caribbean. With a reputation for service excellence and product innovation, National Life works in partnership with top independent brokers and consultants to provide long-term wealth management solutions and health benefit plans to clients.

National Life has been rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company, the oldest insurance rating agency in the world. First rated in 1992, we have maintained an "A" rating each year. National Life is a member of the Industrial Alliance Group of Companies, which is the fifth largest life and health insurer in Canada, based on assets.

For further information: Janice Wong, Corporate Communications Manager, National Life, 522 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Y7, Tel: (416) 585-8086, E-mail: ac.efillanoitan|gnow.ecinaj#ac.efillanoitan|gnow.ecinaj

National Life Improves Its Universal Life Products Flex Account and eUL

Lower insurance premiums for death benefits over $500,000 with Level Cost Of Insurance

TORONTO, Feb. 6, 2003 - National Life has reduced its Level Cost of Insurance (COI) rates for their universal life product Flex Account and e-Universal Life (eUL) at many ages. Policies with a death benefit of $500,000 or more feature lower premium costs, especially for people who are over 50 years of age or smoke.

"We continually look for ways to improve our products. Our rate changes are another example," says Promod Sharma, Actuary, Individual Insurance, National Life. "The new improved rates for Flex Account and eUL can reduce life insurance premiums significantly for many people."

For example, on a policy with a death benefit of $500,000, a 60 year old male smoker sees a 10 per cent reduction in his cost of insurance. A 50 year old female smoker gets a 19 per cent reduction. The advantage for policyowners improves further on policies for $1,000,000 or more: Male nonsmokers and smokers between the ages of 50-80 see a drop in rates ranging from 8 to 14 per cent. Rates for female nonsmokers and smokers between the ages of 50-80 have reductions of up to 21 per cent lower than current rates.

"By offering these lower rates, National Life is raising the bar on providing competitive premiums," Mr. Sharma notes. "There are also better rates for older non-smokers, which is a positive reflection of our population."

New changes to 10 year term insurance benefits on Flex Account and eUL policies

National Life has also reduced many premium rates for 10 year term insurance benefits which can be added to Flex Account and eUL policies. The rates are now based on the separate National Life Term plan which is already available. For a $100,000 policy, the initial rates decrease up to 31% for males and females. Coverage is now available for five additional years, ending at age 85.

Flex Account and eUL are available through selected distribution partners. For more information, visit

About National Life:

National Life has been a strong performer in the insurance and financial industry for over a century, with a reputation for service excellence and product innovation. Providing individual insurance, group life and health insurance, and retirement and investment products across Canada and in parts of the Caribbean, National Life is a trusted name in the financial industry.

Working in partnership with the industry's top independent producers, National Life's network of expert resources provides long-term wealth management solutions to clients. The company was rated A (Excellent) by the A.M. Best Company, the oldest insurance rating agency in the world and has been recognized as one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" for the past three years by MediaCorp. National Life is a member of the Industrial Alliance Group of Companies, with over $16.3 billion in assets under management and under administration.

Term life insurers tailoring policies to your health

Tuesday, July 17, 2001 – Print Edition, Page B14

(While I was interviewed and provided the National Life information which makes up most of the article, my name didn't appear in print —- Promod)

Ah, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

You feel good, you look good and, quite possibly, you pay lower rates for your term life insurance.

It used to be that life insurance companies assessed risk according to age, gender and whether or not people smoked. Now, many companies further divide these categories into a standard group, a preferred group and a preferred plus group, also called elite or super preferred.

Whatever the name, the point is to offer cheaper policy premiums to people who are less likely to cash in — that is, cash in their chips and their insurance policy — because they're so healthy.

The savings available from a preferred plus policy as opposed to one at a lower classification can be substantial.

Consider these numbers from National Life, which recently introduced term insurance with six
different classifications — standard, preferred and preferred plus for both non-smokers and smokers.

National says a 40-year-old male non-smoker would pay $460 a year for a 10-year, $500,000 policy under the elite category, $525 under the preferred category and $610 for standard.

A 40-year-old male smoker would pay $815 for the same policy under the elite class, $965 under preferred and $1,115 under standard. To qualify for an elite or preferred plus policy you can't have any personal history of diabetes, cancer or heart disease. No immediate family member can have been diagnosed with or died from heart disease or several kinds of cancer before age 65.

On the matter of smoking, National's elite class requires that you not have used tobacco in any form for the previous five years. Included here are cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, marijuana and hashish.

There are also requirements for blood pressure, cholesterol and weight in relation to your height. Forget about elite if you're a six-foot-tall male who weighs 210 pounds — the cutoff is 202 pounds.

As you've probably gathered, you won't qualify for preferred plus without some kind of medical
inspection. It may be as simple as a urine test or blood profile for smaller policies, or as involved as an electrocardiograph and medical exam for large ones.

There's more to all of this than just health. National Life is fairly typical in that it will enquire about your record as a driver. More than three moving violations in the past year will disqualify you, as will a loss of licence or driving under the influence within the past five.

National will also ask about a criminal record. If you committed an offence in the past 10 years, no elite status for you.

Think you measure up? National Life expects that 40 per cent of policies will be in the elite class, while 15 per cent will be preferred and 45 per cent will be standard.

As appealing as preferred plus policies sound, some experts aren't crazy about the product.
"I hate selling it," says Ian Polzin, a Pickering, Ont., insurance broker who runs an on-line quote service called

In Mr. Polzin's experience, fewer than 20 per cent of clients who are older than 40 qualify for the top category.

For those who do qualify, there's the question of whether they will be able to keep their preferred plus status when they renew their policies. "With most people who qualify for it, their health changes and they can't requalify," he said.

The premiums on a term life policy typically jump significantly upon renewal. If you have to renew a preferred plus policy at a regular preferred or standard rate, the cost increase would be all the higher.

In National Life's case, customers can keep their elite status through a policy renewal. Even so, it's important to ask how much premiums would rise after renewal.

Here are some other things Mr. Polzin said you should be aware of with preferred plus status:
The definition and health requirements are different from company to company, which makes it
difficult to compare.

Some companies may only offer preferred plus on policies of a certain amount, say $500,000 or $1-million. National Life's elite class is available for $100,000 or more.

If you decrease the amount of coverage at policy renewal time, you may not be able to keep your preferred plus status.

If you want to convert your term policy to a universal or whole life policy, you may not be able to do so if you're in a preferred plus class.

"The end result," Mr. Polzin says, "is buyer beware of the super preferred rating."

By all means ask about preferred plus if you want term insurance, but don't expect your agent or broker to make a big deal about the potential savings. It's just bad marketing to promise low rates and then have to disappoint because a client's health doesn't measure up.

From The Globe and Mail — Canada's Most Trusted News Source

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