Canadians Underestimate Risk of Disability

By Andrew Rickard | September 24 2014 01:16PM

Almost half of Canadians believe that disability only occurs infrequently, when in fact one in seven people are currently disabled and one in three people will be disabled for more than ninety days during the course of their working lives.

A survey conducted by Ipsos for RBC Insurance revealed that Canadians do not have a good understanding of what constitutes a disability. While many of those surveyed identified physical accidents (72%) and workplace related accidents (64%) as causes of disability, they were less aware of issues such as depression (45%), anxiety (30%) and diabetes (21%).

"There is a mistaken perception that disabilities tend to be catastrophic in nature — caused by one-time, traumatic events," comments Mark Hardy, senior manager of life and living benefits at RBC Insurance. "Most Canadians don't recognize that common, chronic conditions such as mental illness cause the majority of disabilities. In fact, less than 10% of disabilities are caused by accidents."

When asked why they had not purchases individual disability, the top response from those surveyed was that they thought they had enough coverage through their employers. RBC points out, however, that many group benefit plans limit the amount of insurance that is provided.

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