First hand experience proves value of critical illness insurance

By Susan Yellin | June 18 2013 06:56PM

George Sigurdson has sold many different insurance products throughout the 43 years he’s been in the business, but nothing prepared him for the peace of mind he would get from buying critical illness insurance for himself.That is until a year and a half ago when he went to see his doctor and was told he had cancer. He went through radiation, chemo and an operation. During that time, Mr. Sigurdson, the founder and president of Winnipeg-based Sigurdson Financial Group Inc., received hundreds of get well wishes and cards, he told the Canada Sales Congress in May.

“But the most famous card I got came from Canada Life. It didn’t wish me ‘get well’ but it gave me a cheque for $350,000. It changed my life. I was able to pay the mortgage on my building, pay my secretary and staff for the year and pay my Visa bill.”

It’s the reason Sigurdson encouraged those attending the Toronto convention to suggest to clients the benefits of buying CI and other kinds of insurance.

He outlined a few products and tips:

Juvenile insurance: Mr. Sigurdson said he talks to his clients about getting “immortality” insurance for their grandchildren, like he has for his own grandchildren. “There are two kinds of grandparents: one who buys toys and the other who buys fewer toys and a life insurance policy for their grandchild,” he said. “You think if my grandchildren get $7 million when they are age 90 that there’s a chance they will forget my name?” He said the insurance can be bought in different amounts from $25 a month to $2,500 a year. He personally puts in $5,000 a year for his grandchildren.

Sign them up when they’re young: If you can sign up someone between 15 and 35 there’s a much better chance they will pass the medical.

Teach young people: Mr. Sigurdson said he likes to sit down with young people and teach them the importance of compound interest to both save money and to build up a bank to buy more insurance for themselves.

Value of segregated funds: Segregated funds, with their guaranteed death benefit, is an important legacy to leave to children and will keep the family together longer, he said. If a beneficiary is named the death benefit doesn’t have to go through a lengthy probate process. “The quicker a cheque is paid out after the death of an older person the less chance there is of a family being split up.” From a corporate perspective, segregated funds may be protected from creditors in the event of a bankruptcy.

Final word: “Those with money make the rules in life; those without money follow the rules. You decide which one you want to be.”