Sun Life launches new diabetes insurance solution for Canadians

Sun Life Term Insurance for Diabetes claims to offer a higher chance of approval for term life insurance coverage and affordable premiums

Sun Life launches new diabetes insurance solution for Canadians
Michael Van Alphen, vice-president of insurance solutions at Sun Life

In an effort to address the insurance needs of the millions of Canadians living with diabetes, Sun Life has launched a novel retail insurance product specifically tailored for individuals with diabetes. Sun Life claims that their new Term Insurance for Diabetes product represents a significant shift in the insurance industry, aimed at improving accessibility and affordability for a demographic that has traditionally faced challenges in securing life insurance coverage.

Michael Van Alphen, vice-president of insurance solutions at Sun Life highlights Sun Life Term Insurance for Diabetes has been a few years in the making. The development of the product was informed by a pilot program launched in 2021 known as the Diabetes Signature Solution.

“The pilot program was not just about insurance, it was about how we think about innovation, creative and holistic solutions designed to address the health, wealth and protection needs of Canadians that are living with diabetes,” he says. “Really good results came out of that pilot which gave us the confidence to design a solution that would actually make sense and work for Canadians.”

Such results from Diabetes Signature Solution showed a 30 percent increase in the number of clients who disclosed living with type 2 diabetes, along with a 15 percent improvement in the offer rate. Van Alphen also noted one-third of previously declined applicants were able to participate in the pilot and have since taken steps towards improving their health.

“When you tie it back to the overall purpose of our organization to help Canadians and our clients achieve that lifetime financial security and have healthier lives, that really is why we’re now out with this solution,” Van Alphen said.

According to Sun Life, 1 in 3 Canadians are affected by diabetes or prediabetes, conditions that significantly complicate their ability to obtain life insurance. Traditionally, individuals with diabetes have encountered higher decline rates and premium costs. Van Alphen notes that Sun Life Term Insurance for Diabetes aims to mitigate these issues by offering a higher likelihood of approval and more affordable premiums compared to standard life insurance policies.

The centrepiece of this new offering is also the inclusion of the Sun Life Diabetes Care Program, designed to aid insured individuals in managing their diabetes. The program provides clients with personalized care plans, one-on-one coaching, and access to virtual education sessions conducted by healthcare professionals. These resources are intended to support clients in achieving their health goals, thereby potentially improving their insurability.

Additionally, Sun Life has also created Sun Life Evolve Term Insurance, which is “designed to keep up with life's changes and milestones,” Van Alphen says. Evolve Term Insurance gives Canadians the option to increase coverage at certain life stages, such as marriage, childbirth, or home purchases, through a simplified underwriting process.

Sun Life’s Evolve Term Insurance solution also features various configurations that tailor coverage options based on the underwriting process. For certain clients, the product may be offered as non-renewable and non-convertible, which helps in reducing the cost of premiums. Depending on the results of the underwriting process, clients may gain access to the diabetes care program, which allows for ongoing monitoring and management of their condition.

“We've also introduced what we're calling a bridge-term product,” Van Alphen explains. [The product] provides a one-year term insurance coverage that, if clients were to be declined or postponed through the underwriting process, because of an outstanding surgery, [for example], they could get access to this one-year coverage while they wait for any outstanding medical requirements to complete.”

“It's really part of our overall vision of providing holistic solutions for Canadians when we think about the broader Evolve Term Insurance offering,” he added. “The solution helps Canadians protect themselves and their loved ones when they need it the most.”

An integral aspect of this initiative is its holistic approach. Van Alphen says the launch of the solution is part of a broader commitment to health and wellness, which aligns with their corporate philosophy of supporting lifetime financial security and healthier lives for clients. He points to Sun Life's substantial philanthropic contributions to the global fight against diabetes, totalling more than $50 million.

“At the end of the day, as we think about helping Canadians achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives, we believe this is a great solution that helps move us further along that ambition,” Van Alphen said.