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Wawanesa Life Insurance Company Review (2021)

12 Minute Read

Published
Highlights
  • Wawanesa provides an expansive range of life and property insurance products.
  • Their life insurance plans prioritize level premiums and guarantees as you reach old age.
  • Wawanesa life insurance policies come with simplified options for those difficult to insure.
  • One of the most competitive priced term life insurance products in Canada.
  • Provides a combination of term and permanent life insurance policies.

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In This Article
Frequently Asked Questions
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Wawanesa Life: Company Overview
  • Year Founded: 1896
  • Head Office: Winnipeg Manitoba
  • AM Best Rating: A
  • Assets: Over $1.5B
  • Annual Premiums: Over $280M
  • Website: https://www.wawanesalife.com

Wawanesa was born in — you guessed it — Wawanesa, Manitoba in 1896. Alonzo Fowler Kempton and his partner Charles Kerr originally founded the company as a mutual insurance company with investment money from local farmers. The men rented a small office above a drugstore as their base of operations. Within a fortnight, the duo had completed their first insurance policy: cover for a $600 grain thresher at $24 a year for three years. From here, they began issuing insurance to farmers regularly. Here was the catch: farmers often didn’t have the money to pay for their policies until after harvest dates. As a result, Wawanesa’s first insurance policies were issued without set premiums. 

Today, Wawanesa is a large and quickly growing insurance company in Canada offering coverage for home, auto, condo, farm, tenant, commercial business and life insurance (the reason why you are most likely reading this). Wawanesa recently purchased the Western Life Insurance business and is currently finishing up the merge of the life insurance customers and products from Western Life and Wawanesa Life together. Once completed, all products will be branded under the Wawanesa Life Insurance brand.

Wawanesa is quickly making a name for themselves in the term life insurance market in Canada as they provide very competitive premiums and service. We encourage you to continue reading to learn more about the company and their products.


Wawanesa Life: Pros & Cons
ProsCons
– Financially strong and able to pay claims quickly

– One of the most competitively priced term life insurance products in Canada

– Wide range of options available within their term life insurance product

– No policy fees which allows them to be priced aggressively amongst other companies

– Level of support provided to brokers and clients is above standard

– Flexibility to customize insurance products where you can ladder multiple term insurance coverages with different lengths within one policy

– Accepts DocuSign for electronic signatures on policy documents

– Ability to qualify for life insurance up to $1M without having to complete a medical exam
– Smaller insurance company compared to other insurance giants such as Manulife, Sun Life and Canada Life

– Does not offer an electronic or digital platform for accessing policy documents

– Smaller product shelf in comparison to other insurance companies

– Limited options for converting term life insurance policies to permanent / whole life insurance policies


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Wawanesa Life: Insurance Products

Wawanesa offers two kinds of life insurance: term insurance and permanent life insurance (whole life). Term life insurance protects the policyholder for a set amount of time whereas permanent insurance will cover you from the day you purchase your policy right up until you pass away, whenever that may be. Generally speaking, permanent insurance is more expensive than term coverage.

Let’s have a quick look at the respective advantages of each type of policy.

With term coverage:

  • You maintain a certain amount of freedom and flexibility. Rather than locking yourself into a permanent contract with a single insurer, you get to try the coverage out to see if it fits your needs properly while maintaining the ability to switch plans or providers at the end of your term.
  • You can tailor your insurance to fit personal loans. If you purchase your first home with a mortgage that you intend to pay off over 20 years, you can tailor your coverage to protect your home for the same amount of time, thus making sure your family home is safe even if you can’t be there.
  • These factors make term insurance ideal for those who a) are new to the insurance market and aren’t sure about their needs, and b) new families juggling young children and loans wanting to stick to a tighter budget.

With permanent insurance:

  • You get peace of mind for your entire life. If you don’t want to worry about having to renew your coverage or purchase it from a different insurer later in life, permanent coverage is ideal.
  • You will be able to make concrete long-term financial commitments. This is excellent for anyone planning their retirements or estates and wanting to guarantee a substantial payout to their beneficiaries.
  • This makes permanent insurance the ideal product for those who are financially stable and who have a good idea of exactly what they need from their coverage.

Now let’s get back to Wawanesa. The company offers three kinds of term insurance and two kinds of permanent coverage.

Wawanesa Life: Term Life Insurance

Wawanesa has one main term life insurance products called Lifetime Term which is a renewable and convertible life insurance product.

Wawanesa Lifetime Term
  • This policy is available in terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. Alternatively, you can purchase a policy that covers you until your 80th birthday.
  • Maximum amount of coverage of $10,000,000.
  • This policy guarantees a level term and steady premiums.
  • At the end of the term period, you are able to renew your policy every year up until age 100 (at increased costs).
  • Term to age 80 guarantees level terms until your 80th birthday, at which point you can renew your insurance to age 100. If you turn 100, you will no longer have to pay premiums and essentially have free coverage.
  • All plans come with four optional riders to maximize coverage, the option to renew or convert to permanent coverage at any time, and the option to layer with other kinds of coverage.
Wawanesa Lifetime Term – Preferred Underwriting

If you are applying for Wawanesa Lifetime Term (see above), you can potentially qualify for preferred underwriting which will lower the original quoted premium. This is called Preferred Underwriting of Lifetime Term. It is the above product, Wawanesa Lifetime Term with discount rates. You are being rewarded for living a healthier lifestyle compared to the average person.

There are three preferred underwriting classes for non-smokers and even two preferred underwriting classes for smokers- most insurance companies do not offered preferred rates for smokers.

Those with few health risks reduces the amount of risk that the insurance company is taken on, thus resulting in a lower premium. The healthier you are, the lower your premium can potentially be.


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Wawanesa Life: Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance provides you with lifetime life insurance protection from the time that you purchase the policy, until the day that you pass away regardless of when that time is. There are a variety of permanent life insurance products available in Canada with the main three being whole life insurance, universal life insurance and Term to 100.

Let’s take a deeper look into the permanent life insurance products which Wawanesa offers,

Wawanesa Whole Life Insurance

Believe it or not, for a smaller life insurance company Wawanesa Life has a very strong whole life insurance product. It is definitely worth while considering if you are looking at different options for whole life insurance. Here’s a quick breakdown of the product.

  • Two payment options are available: either pay a level premium up to age 100, after which you will have paid off your plan. Or, you can choose to pay a larger premium amount over twenty years and pay off your policy premiums quicker.
  • Whichever payment option you choose, your premiums are guaranteed to remain steady. If you choose the 20 year payment option, your policy will still be in force until the day that you pass away even after the 20 years of premium payments.
  • This policy includes a participating option. This means that a portion of your life insurance payments will be deposited into an account where it will accumulate cash value. Depending on the companies participating account performance, you are eligible to receive dividends which can be used to purchase additional insurance. Most insurance companies declare dividends for participating whole life insurance policies annually.
Wawanesa Instant Issue Life Insurance

This product is designed for customers aged 45 to 75 who are perhaps a little harder to insure due to past or existing health conditions. It is a no medical policy, which means that you do not need to complete any medical exams or lengthy health questionnaire to qualify. Simply answer 5 qualifying questions and get guaranteed acceptance.

  • Choose coverage amounts between $5,000 to $50,000.
  • Premium payments are guaranteed and required for 20 years.
  • If death occurs by non-accidental means in the first two years, you receive the return of premiums plus 10% interest.
  • If death occurs after two years, you receive the full death benefit amount
  • If death occurs as a result of an accident, you will receive twice the face amount (under age 75) or the face amount (age 75 and older).
Wawanesa Life: Quick Issue Critical Illness

Although Wawanesa lists this policy as a term plan, this is not a life insurance product. Critical Illness (CI) Insurance consists of a living benefit rather than a death benefit. This means that it pays out while you are living and not at death. Critical Illness Insurance is designed to help support you financially in the event of your diagnosis with a covered critical illness condition.

There are three kinds of critical illness coverage offered from Wawanesa Life,

  • 10 Year Term (Renewable to Age 75)
  • Level Term to Age 75
  • Level Term to Age 75 with Flexible Return of Premiums

The period of time from the date of diagnosis to the payout from the insurance company is called the “waiting period” or “elimination period”. This is typically 30 days, but there are a few exceptions,

  • The waiting period for loss of speech is 6 months.
  • The waiting period for paralysis is 90 days.
  • The policy does not cover cancer diagnoses made in the first 90 days of your policy.

That sums it up. A quick review of all of Wawanesa’s top life and critical illness products. We are here to help guide you through all of these products and answer any questions that you may have. Click here to contact us to speak with a broker to determine what is right for you.


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Wawanesa Life: Customer Satisfaction

Reviews on Wawanesa are somewhat split, especially when it comes to home and life insurance policies. Many verified users describe their experience with advisors as quick and efficient, even remarking on how fast the company was to respond to claims.

One customer reports his pleasant surprise: after filing one claim for damages to his rental property, he had to do it again. Most of the time, filing multiple claims on the same property makes it extremely difficult to get compensation. However, this customer (and a couple of other in similar circumstances) reported that advisors responded promptly and positively to the repeat request.

One of the benefits of working with a life insurance broker (like us) is that we can take care of all communication between yourself and Wawanesa Life. This is one of the added benefits of dealing with us at no extra cost.


Wawanesa Life: Customer Criticism

Remember: always take negative reviews online with a grain (or pinch) of salt. That being said, one of the most obvious concerns customers have is with the lack of a mobile app. Despite being one of the nation’s largest insurance providers, Wawanesa has not yet developed its own app for customers to keep track of their active policies and investments. Beyond this technological deficit, Wawanesa has truly polarized users when it comes to the claims process.

While some clients report their claims being processed seamlessly and quickly, others face lengthy battles with claims adjusters and difficulty with reaching their advisors. Interestingly, many of these criticisms seem to come from clients who suffer weather damage to their property (hail, wind, ice, etc.). This is somewhat unsurprising because large insurance providers tend to design policies quite broadly so that they suit as many people as possible. The upshot of this is that policies sometimes fail to take into account localized threats to people living in more extreme climates. So, if you live somewhere with particularly severe weather, you may want to compare Wawanesa policies with other local insurance providers who might have a better feel for your specific circumstances.

That’s all folks! We hope you’ve enjoyed this review of Wawanesa Insurance and that you soon find your perfect insurance coverage.

Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.


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