Blue Cross (Quebec Blue Cross and Ontario Blue Cross) will stop selling three individual life and health insurance products as of June 1, 2023, according to an internal memo obtained by The Insurance Portal.
The first product Blue Cross lists in its message to distributors is Blue Flex (including the Express Plan, Flex Plan and SME Plan versions). This product consists of guaranteed renewable disability insurance with non-guaranteed premiums, available with accident only or accident and illness coverage. The Blue Cross website states that the Express Plan version offers a monthly benefit of up to $1,500 per month. In the other two versions, the maximum monthly disability benefit is $10,000.
As for the other two products that will not be sold beyond June 1, Mortgage Plan protects the ability to repay a mortgage loan or home equity line of credit in case of total disability, for up to $6,000 per month.
The third product is AMI, a personal individual health insurance plan that requires no medical exam or questionnaire.
The insurer explained this decision in a message signed by Joanne Parent, Regional Vice-President, Business Development, Health Insurance Quebec, at Blue Cross. “Following a thorough analysis of our product offering, we have determined that the volume of our life insurance and living benefits portfolio is insufficient to provide the quality of products and services that we wish to offer to our clients and partners,” the text reads.
In the frequently asked questions that follow its message, Blue Cross adds that it made this decision to focus on its travel and health insurance expertise, “in order to provide an enhanced customer experience.”
This is not the first time Blue Cross has shelved individual insurance products. On October 1, 2021, the insurer stopped selling Tangible, a long-term care insurance product that offered life, critical illness and disability insurance coverage as options.
Committed to independents
The decision to curtail sales of those products is not related to its financial stability, Blue Cross stresses. “We are a strong, reliable organization with proven expertise in travel and health insurance. We have no plans to discontinue any other products or lines of business at this time,” it says.
The insurer adds that it remains committed to working in partnership with its distribution network “to provide the best possible products and services.” “The broker distribution network is important to us and will remain so. Our intention is to continue to work together successfully, particularly via the distribution of our new Blue Cross Health product line that is now available,” the insurer points out.
For all three products, Blue Cross mentions that applications signed by June 1 can be processed until June 15.
The insurer confirms that its in force business will be unaffected. “We are maintaining our contractual obligations and your clients are keeping their contracts,” the message reads. A list included in the message indicates that clients will still be able to modify an existing contract.
However, there are many exceptions to the list of permitted changes. For example, clients cannot add a new benefit or increase the insurance amount. Nor can insured change the duration of the monthly disability benefit, index it, or change the occupation class. In the SME Plan, no new employees can be added after June 1, 2023.
In its message, Blue Cross takes the opportunity to announce that it will stop selling its Association Program on December 31, 2023. Any application signed before December 31, 2023 can be processed until January 15, 2024.
Josiane Cousineau, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Quebec at Blue Cross, told The Insurance Portal that the program offers individual insurance products to members of the same professional association. “The benefits offered under this product are Term Life 65, Disability due to accident and illness, Overhead Expenses, Extended Health and Dental Care,” Cousineau explains.
The Insurance Portal will soon publish a more detailed interview on the changes in Blue Cross’s individual product line.