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Empire Life Review Life Insurance Canada

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Empire Life Insurance Review (2023)

Named best Canadian life insurance company in 2013, 2016, 2018, and 2019, Empire Life began its illustrious career as a little insurance provider in 1923 Toronto, Ontario. Within a decade of its founding the company had expanded across two provinces and eventually merged with the Commonwealth Life and Accident Insurance Company.


  • Empire Life has been named the best Canadian life insurance company four separate times. 
  • The range of life insurance products is vast and includes term, whole-life, no medical, and participating policy options. 
  • As well as individual insurance, Empire Life is perhaps best recognized for its variety of group insurance plans for companies.
  • Their term life insurance policies have become very competitively priced.
  • They offer a multi-life policy which allows you to insure two people separately on one policy for additional savings.

In This Article

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What term lengths does Empire Life offer?

A: Empire life offers 10, 20, 25 and 30 year term lengths. In addition, Empire Life is unique in that they are one of the few providers to offer ART (Annual Renewable Term) life insurance. Unlike a majority of the providers, Empire Life does not offer a 15 year term length. 

Q: Does Empire Life offer any ongoing discounts?

A: Empire Life does offer a multi-life discount if more than one individual is applying for life insurance. Many clients like this feature because they only pay one policy fee instead of two.

Q: Are Empire Life’s term life insurance rates guaranteed?

A: Yes, the rates (and coverage amount) are guaranteed for the entire length of the initial term.

Q: What is the average underwriting time for Empire Life?

A: There are numerous factors that play a role in the length of time that it takes from when an application is submitted to when it is approved. We typically see policies get approved within 5 – 15 business days with Empire Life after all requirements have been met.

Q: Does Empire Life charge fees to cancel a life insurance policy?

A: No, there are no penalties or fees to cancel a life insurance policy from Empire Life (regardless if it is a term or permanent life insurance policy).

Q: Does Empire Life allow annual payments?

A: Yes, you can either pay your insurance premiums on a monthly or annual basis. You will receive a discount if you pay annually compared to monthly (you save almost one month’s premium!).

Q: Does Empire Life allow for credit card payments?

A: No, Empire Life does not accept credit card payments for either monthly or annual premium payments. 

Empire Life: Company Overview

  • Year Founded: 1923
  • Head Office: Kingston Ontario
  • AM Best Rating: A
  • Assets: Over $18 B
  • Annual Premiums:
  • Website:

Named best Canadian life insurance company in 2013, 2016, 2018, and 2019, Empire Life began its illustrious career as a little insurance provider in 1923 Toronto, Ontario. Within a decade of its founding, the company had expanded across two provinces and eventually merged with the Commonwealth Life and Accident Insurance Company. This initial merger began a busy period of acquisitions: the company purchased the Canadian Order of Odd Fellows in 1934, and the Mutual Relief Life Insurance Company shortly afterwards. After this dramatic portfolio expansion, the company moved its headquarter to Kingston, Ontario, where it quickly became a pillar of the community. 

With newfound financial strength from these major acquisitions, Empire Life could broaden its range of products. In 1957, the company began selling group insurance and in 1963, it bought its first computer to improve the purchasing process. The range of products attracted leagues of customers and by 1970, Empire Life had over $1 billion worth of active life insurance policies. This spearheaded a new era of major expansion. Between 1987 and 2000, Empire Life took control of six separate insurance divisions through mergers and acquisitions before being amalgamated with Concordia Life Insurance Company in 2002. 

In the last two decades, Empire Life has made a name for itself in the investment sector as well as the life insurance business. Empire Life makes a substantial amount of money from selling segregated funds. These are accounts that combine some of the features of mutual funds with certain aspects of insurance contracts. When you purchase a seg fund, you invest money and get certain guarantees including a maturity guarantee (which make sure you don’t lose money even if the market falters) and a death benefit. In 2007, Empire Life set a company record when they surpassed $1 billion in segregated fund sales. They continue to pioneer seg fund management and in 2008 launched a brand new, industry leading app precisely for these kinds of investments. So, if you’re considering estate planning, Empire Life will guarantee expert service!

Empire Life: Pros & Cons

– User friendly electronic application process
– Ability to choose between paper or electronic delivery of policy documents
– Can receive instant approvals for insurance applications
– Online portal to access policy documents
– Wide range of life and critical illness products to choose from
– Can exchange term insurance policies to longer policies (e.g. switch a 10 year term to a 20 or 30 year policy)
– Offers a unique ART (Annual Renewable Term) life insurance product which is very rare in todays insurance industry.
– Although very competitively term insurance, there are typically more affordable options
– Does not offer a standalone disability insurance product
– Preferred life insurance rates are not available for all coverage amounts

Empire Life: Insurance Products

Although perhaps best known for its extremely varied range of group insurance products, Empire Life also supplies excellent individual life insurance policies. These include: term insurance, permanent coverage, participating life insurance and a guaranteed policy. Below is a quick run down of what each of these entails…

Term Life Insurance

There are several term life insurance products available rom Empire Life, each named after the length of the term they provide. Empire Life has named their term life insurance product the “Solution Series”.

Solution 10

  • This ten-year policy guarantees your premiums for the length of the term which in this case is 10 years.
  • The premiums will increase every 10 years if you do not make any changes to the plan, with the final increase at age 75. 
  • Coverage amounts available from $25,000 to $10,000,000.
  • You have the ability to layer this policy with longer term life insurance plans- all within one policy. This is also called “laddering” insurance.
  • This shorter-term length (10 years) is great protection for term loans, such as mortgages or car payments. 
  • This plan is ideal for: new families on a tighter insurance budget, small business owners looking for help covering startup fees, or individuals needing support in covering the last few years of their personal debts. 

Solution 20 

  • This twenty-year policy guarantees your premiums stay level for every 20 years, with the final increase occurring at age 65. 
  • Premium costs will increase every 20 years if you continue to keep the policy.
  • Coverage amounts available from $25,000 to $10,000,000.
  • You also have the ability to layer this policy with longer term life insurance policies, all within one policy. For example, you can purchase the Solution 20 (20 year term life insurance policy) and add Solution 30 (30 year term life insurance policy) all within the same policy, including permanent insurance. Consult an advisor to learn more about this as it should be used in unique situations only.
  • This type of policy is great to cover any longer-term debts or family income replacements.
  • This policy is ideal for: families with a new mortgage, larger business owners with longer term business loans, or individuals looking for affordable coverage without being locked in for life.

Solution 25

  • Very similar product to Solution 10, Solution 20 and Solution 30.
  • Rates are level for every 25-year term with the final increase up to age 85. Your coverage will continue to age 100 at which point the policy will be fully paid up.
  • Coverage amounts available from $25,000 to $10,000,000.
  • Once again, this policy can be layered with other kinds of coverage to create a personalized insurance plan. Consult with an advisor if interested.
  • This longer-term coverage is great to insure possible family income replacement (e.g. family with young children) and outstanding mortgage payments. 
  • This policy is designed for mortgage protection and young families looking for affordable income replacement in the event of unexpected death. 

Solution 30

  • The longest-term policy available from Empire Life, but you can still layer it over other coverages.
  • Provides guaranteed level premiums and coverage for 30 years.
  • Coverage amounts available from $25,000 to $10,000,000.
  • The rates operate along the same rules as Solution 25. So, after your 85th birthday, you can rest easy knowing you won’t face any more increases. Coverage available up to age 100.
  • Once again, this policy is excellent for anyone (especially new families and home-owners) looking for affordable protection against personal debts as well as family income protection. Enjoy longer-term protection without committing for life. 

Solution ART

This is an interesting one: 

  • The ART policy is the shortest term life insurance available. 
  • The premium rates remain steady for the first three years and then increase every year starting at the beginning of year four. The last increase happens at age 85. 
  • After age 85, the premium rates stay level until age 100 at which point the policy is paid up, premiums stop and the coverage stays in force for the rest of the insureds life.
  • Convertible to a permanent life insurance (whole life) policy until age 75.
  • Coverage amounts available from $25,000 to $499,000.
  • This policy was designed for those who may not be in the best health (eg. a smoker intending to quit) but who require temporary coverage nonetheless. 
  • This plan is ideal for those intending to improve their lifestyle and health to eventually convert to a longer-term policy, or those who require very short-term business loan coverage. 

Empire Life: Non Participating Permanent / Whole Life Insurance

Empire Life provides a competitive line of permanent life insurance products when it comes to pricing and features. Let’s start with their non-participating products.

Solution 100
  • If you can’t guess, this policy offer protection all the way to age 100 without any increase in your premiums. 
  • With this policy, you get guaranteed cash surrender annuities starting at year 10 of the policy. 
  • You can add other insurance policies (e.g. 20 year term life insurance) and additional riders to personalize your financial protection.
  • This policy is designed for: mature clients looking to secure their estates for their beneficiaries, cover final expenses (funeral costs), young children needing long-term value, or individuals looking for affordable financial planning strategies. 

Participating Permanent / Whole Life Insurance

Participating life insurance is a permanent life insurance policy (also referred to as whole life insurance) that allows you to make a profit through your payments. Part of your premium is set aside and accumulates value over time. There are two kinds of participating life insurance available from Empire Life: 


  • This policy protects you for life and guarantees annual dividends. 
  • There are five dividends options to choose from and you can access this cash value to purchase more insurance, reduce your premium costs or simply save it. 
  • Coverage amounts available from $25,000 to $10,000,000.
  • There are four payment options which guarantee your premiums for 8, 10, 20, or 100 years. Depending on which option you choose, you will either pay higher premiums for a shorter amount of time or less for longer. For example, if you choose a 10 year pay you will stop paying for the policy after 10 years, but your coverage stays in force for your entire life.
  • You can always layer on additional life insurance (e.g. term life insurance) or critical illness coverage without incurring additional policy administration fees.
  • This plan is tailored to: young families looking for affordable long-term coverage with higher cash values in the later years of the policy, small business owners looking for permanent protection with the option to access their cash savings, or retired clients hoping to preserve their estates and legacies. 

Optimax Wealth 

  • This is a cash value focused plan, meaning you are guaranteed a dividend scale above zero (and so guaranteed to receive dividends). 
  • Cash values start building quickly in the early years of the policy compared to the EstateMax product which builds cash value in the later years of the policy.
  • Coverage amounts available from $25,000 to $10,000,000.
  • Choose between the four payment methods mentioned above: 8 Pay, 10 Pay, 20 Pay, or Life Pay. 
  • This policy is optimized for short term cash value growth, which makes it ideal for those looking to grow their wealth in a shorter time span (cash benefits in the first 20 years). 
  • You can add Empire Life’s CI Protect (Critical Illness) or one of the Solution term insurance plans to enhance your coverage. Empire CI Insurance starts as low as $3.65 a month! 
  • This policy is ideal for: parents or grandparents who want to contribute to their beneficiaries’ education and/or lifestyle costs.

Guaranteed Life Protect 

  • This is a simplified life insurance policy. This means individuals are guaranteed approval and don’t have to answer any medical questions. 
  • Coverage amounts available from $5,000 to $50,000.
  • The compromise is the amount of coverage you receive. You will receive differing amounts in your payout depending on when and how you pass away: 
    • Death by natural causes within 24 months of the policy: Amount limited to paid premiums without interest. 
    • Accidental death with 24 months: You receive the face amount of the policy with some restrictions. 
    • On or after the second policy anniversary: You receive the full face amount. 
  • This policy offers coverage for life with premiums paid up until age 95.
  • Provides guaranteed cash values that start after the 5th policy year and paid-up values that start after the 8th policy year.
  • Guaranteed Life is perfect for: more mature clients who need fast coverage, or anyone who has been rejected by insurance providers in the past because of health issues, occupation or extreme sports.

Critical Illness Insurance

The list of available products from Empire Life continues on with their critical illness insurance product which is called CI Protect and CI Protect Plus.

CI Protect
  • Critical illness insurance policy which provides coverage for four (4) conditions which are cancer, heart attack, stroke and coronary artery bypass surgery.
  • Offered as a 10-year or 20-year term both of which are renewable at the end of the term without having to complete any health questions or medical exams.
  • Coverage amounts available from $25,000 to $75,000. If you require more coverage you should consider the CI Protect Plus product (see below).
  • The policy terminates at age 75 and all coverage ceases.

CI Protect Plus

  • Critical illness insurance policy which provides coverage for 25 covered conditions with the main three conditions being heart attack, stroke and cancer.
  • Policy options are 10-year term, 20-year term, term to age 75 and term to age 100 with 15 years of payments required.
  • Term policy options are renewable which means that you can continue your policy at the end of the term without having to complete any health questions or complete a medical examination.
  • Coverage amounts available from $25,000 to $2,000,000.
  • Has a unique built-in life insurance death benefit which will pay $1,000 if the insured dies from any cause, prior to the policy terminating and if there has not been a payout for an illness. This basically means that Empire Life gives you $1,000 of life insurance coverage with your critical illness insurance policy.
  • Has a non-life threatening illness benefit built-in as well. This provides a lump sum benefit of 15% of the coverage amount of the policy (up the maximum benefit amount of $50,000) if the insured is diagnosed with any of the following conditions: chronic lymphocytic leukemia, coronary angioplasty, ductal breast cancer in situ, prostate cancer, malignant melanoma and thyroid cancer.

Besides life and critical illness insurance, it’s worth noting Empire Life’s offers an impressive array of investment products and group insurance plans. 

Empire Life: Customer Satisfaction

First and foremost, employee reviews paint a promising picture of Empire Life. With an average rating between 3.6 and 3.7, the company seems as though it’s trying hard to provide a positive work environment. This almost always translates to happier customers. 

While there isn’t a huge amount of feedback from customers, the company’s impressive range of term, permanent and group products impress time and again. Clients go on to praise Empire Life’s simplified and no medical options (not always available from standard insurance providers), as well as their intuitive electronic contract application and delivery.

Empire Life: Customer Criticism

Just as a reminder, disgruntled customers are far more common on review sites than happy customers. That being said, there isn’t a huge amount of negative feedback for Empire Life. There do seem to be a few communications issues with some individuals stating they have had trouble reaching the company once they begin the claims process. 

You’ve reached the finish line! We hope this Empire Life insurance review has been helpful and brought you closer to your perfect policy.


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