If you are regularly talking to people about life assurance packages, there is a very slim chance that you haven’t come across SSQ insurance. The insurance company is one of the few giants in the insurance industry that deal with life insurance. Their plans are mostly customizable to fit you and match all your needs all the while offering you protection against some, if not all, of life’s greatest hazards and risks.
In 1992, the company ventured into life insurance, deviating from its original pursuit of providing group insurance. This was as a result of SSQ insurance acquiring AXA individual life insurance business. Asides from life insurance and group insurance, the company also provides general insurance, investment opportunities, and real estate services to its customers.
SSQ Insurance’s main insurance product, Term Plus, is a product that serves many purposes that offers life coverage along with a lot of options that will add extra protection against things you probably have not thought that you will ever need protection from.
So who is SSQ Insurance, what are their products, what makes them so special and is SSQ insurance the right insurance company for you? All these and more will be discussed in this review, so let’s get to it.
One of Canada’s relatively young insurance Companies, SSQ Insurance has come a long way from the small company founded by Dr. Jacques Tremblay in 1944.
The company was born from a need to help out Quebec’s working class in that time and hence Cooperative de Sante du Quebec was founded.
The cooperative changed its name in 1945 to Les Services de Sante Du Quebec, which later served as the inspiration for the name SSQ insurance.
The company shifted its focus in the 1950s and went from just providing medical care to its members and customers to also developing business and providing customer-specific services.
Since its inception, SSQ has always been adaptable to the current situation, and in 1974, the company morphed into a mutual life insurance company that also provided loans and was active in the real estate market.
By the 2000s SSQ, in a partnership with a Canadian group that operated all over the country, was able to widen its area of influence and began to acquire businesses one after the other.
In 2018, the name was officially changed to SSQ insurance, with its headquarters in Sainte-Foy–Sillery–Cap-Rouge, Quebec.
The company lays claim to providing its services to over three million (3000000) customers and can brag of staff strength of about 2000 employees. The company has a business volume that is just a little shy of $3 billion and has assets that are worth well over $11 billion, effectively sealing its place as one of Canada’s largest companies.
Its size is so large it ranks in the top 500 largest companies in Quebec and in 2018, it was ranked 79th on this list. Thanks to this massive size, SSQ Insurance is one of Canada’s representatives on the rankings of prominent cooperatives in the world.
SSQ Insurance Products
SSQ Insurance is first and foremost an insurance provider. The company provides group insurance to its customers, this includes life insurance policies too. It also provides individual insurance products as well as general insurance to its customers. Asides insurance, SSQ insurance also gives its customers the opportunity to invest their money and provides many accounts to facilitate these investments.
SSQ is also involved in real estate, and the company prides itself on its development and management skills. It does this majorly in Quebec City, Longueuil, and Toronto provinces.
Let’s talk about these products.
With life insurance, you can get coverage for a lot of things including income replacement, estate planning, and final expense coverage. This is part of what makes life insurance a particularly great product. There are two main kinds of life insurance; term insurance and permanent insurance.
If you are more interested in getting income replacement coverage, you would be best to go with term insurance. It offers you coverage for a temporary period of time. In situations where you also feel like you might come under threat, getting term insurance is very ideal.
Permanent insurance on the other will offer you coverage for the entirety of your life right from the day you take out the policy. Permanent insurance will guarantee a payout for your loved ones. It is the best way to ensure that there is something substantial left over to provide for your family even after you have died.
The main difference between the two kinds of life insurance lies in the amount of payout. Permanent insurance coverage will give a much larger payout than the term insurance. This unavoidably makes it more complex and more expensive than its counterpart.
Before you decide on which to go with, you should speak to an expert like an independent life agent. This will help you pick the best life insurance policy that will suit you.
SSQ insurance has both term and permanent insurance available to its customers. There is also a third life insurance that it makes available to its customers too, the SSQ Universal Life Insurance.
Let’s talk about SSQ’s life insurance policies.
SSQ Term-Plus Life Insurance
SSQ’s term insurance is available for people of all ages and the insurance policy can cover you for 7 different terms lengths.
You can take out a policy that covers you for 10, 15, 20, 30, 35, and 40 years.
The maximum amount that you can take out as coverage is $10,000,000 and the initial term policy can be renewed every five (5) years, up to the age of 85.
The policy can be converted into SSQ permanent life insurance. This is provided that you meet the required state of health and are not older than 70 years of age. A medical exam that meets SSQ’s standards will be carried out to establish your state of health.
SSQ’s term plus insurance comes with a selection of customizable options that you can use to tailor the policy to suit you perfectly. To make things even better, the policy is low cost and is affordable to most people.
Advantages of SSQ Life Term Insurance
It comes at a low cost.
The amount you pay as premium is assured for as long as the policy lasts.
You can easily renew the policy easily every 5 years. This will allow you to adjust your policy to match any changes in your mortgage plans as well.
There is a chance for you to increase the amount you insure your life for, by up to 25%.
You can also add riders to your policy. This includes child insurance and disability protection.
In some cases, there is a chance for you to convert your term insurance into permanent life insurance without needing a medical examination. This is subject to certain terms and conditions. (For more information on this, check here.)
SSQ Permanent Insurance
SSQ’s permanent insurance is not different from any other permanent insurance. It will allow you to offer a degree of provision and protection to your loved ones, even in your absence.
You are allowed to pay your insurance premium for a period of 20 years or at most until you turn 100. It does not matter if the cash value is associated with it or not.
Just like the term insurance your premium payments are guaranteed along with payouts.
If you decide to take out SSQ’s permanent insurance policy, then you are also guaranteed cash values that will be accumulated and calculated by the tenth anniversary of you taking out the policy.
You also stand the chance of getting reduced paid-up protection, and after your policy’s tenth anniversary, you will no longer need to make payments.
The policy also has an extreme disability benefit. This will ensure that you receive 50 percent of the value of the life insurance policy if you end up with an extreme disability.
Advantages of the SSQ Permanent Insurance
The premium you have to pay are fixed and guaranteed.
The policy is available with or without a cash surrender value. This increases over time and by the tenth year of your policy, you can get the guaranteed accumulated sum.
You are also able to change the amount you have insured based on your will.
There is also the chance to add riders such as critical illness insurance and child insurance to your policy.
The extreme disability benefit comes at no extra cost to you.
Types of SSQ Permanent Life Insurance
SSQ offers three types of permanent life insurance to its customers. They are Whole Life 20, Whole Life 100, and the Term 100
Whole Life 20 comes with the chance to pay out the policy after 20 years have passed. This will help you provide lifetime protection for those you care about.
Whole Life 100 is suitable for those who own businesses. This type of permanent life insurance will help you keep the business alive even if a partner dies. It comes with a tax-free death benefit and helps you plan for how business shares are to be distributed.
If a partner retires, you can also take advantage of the guaranteed cash surrender values that come after the tenth year anniversary as compensation too.
The Term 100 insurance can be likened to the traditional kind of permanent life insurance. If you are looking for simple and yet comprehensive insurance coverage, that is also affordable, then this is the option for you.
Universal Life Insurance
If you are interested in an insurance policy that comes with a tax-sheltered savings product, then Universal Life Insurance is the plan for you. The policy is designed to not only effectively match your finances, but also boost your estate value.
The Universal Life insurance policy effectively adjusts its content to match your needs. The first thing to do is to decide how you want your premiums to be paid. There are two possible ways to go about this, you can pick to pay in an increasing manner or in a uniform manner.
Choosing to go with the increasing manner of payment will let you start your payments at a low rate while steadily increasing the amount as you grow. This lets you grow your savings at the initial point of your insurance policy.
The Uniform manner, on the other hand, means that the amount you pay as your insurance premium will never change for as long as you have to pay premiums.
There are also two manners in which your death benefit can be paid to any beneficiary of your choosing. These are the increasing manner and level manner.
An increasing death benefit translates to your beneficiary receiving an amount that is equal to the amount of insurance added to the amount that you accumulate in savings.
A Level death benefit means your beneficiaries will receive an amount that is equal to whichever is greater between your insurance payment and your accumulated savings. If your insurance needs are not likely to change over time, then this is probably a suitable choice for you.
Advantages of Universal Life Insurance
The amount that you pay on your policy and the amount you pay as the premium can be changed at your own convenience.
There is also a chance for you to pick if you want to reinvest or pay your premiums from your accumulated funds.
As with all other policies, there is a chance to add riders to this policy. These riders include a term or critical illness insurance.
Critical Illness Insurance
While not as popular as the other types of life insurance policies, critical illness life insurance is slowly gaining popularity with SSQ’s customers. It was born out of a need to fill the gap that life insurance cannot fill in the lives of those who survive some very critical illnesses.
If you want to find out more about these critical illnesses, then you can check here
The critical illness coverage comes in three types:
SSQ Basic Critical Illness Insurance
SSQ Enhance Critical Illness Insurance
SSQ Enhanced Childhood Critical Illness Insurance
Each type comes with its special features which we will now discuss.
SSQ Basic Critical Illness Insurance
This policy covers stroke, heart attacks, and cancer cases and has two term-lengths of 10 and 20 years.
The policy comes with a supplementary benefit that is beneficial to those with skin cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and coronary angioplasty.
There are also additional benefits that can cover various forms of medical assistance.
SSQ Enhance Critical Illness Insurance
There is coverage for 25 conditions under this policy.
The conditions are Alzheimer’s disease, aortic surgery, aplastic anemia, bacterial meningitis, benign brain tumour, blindness, cancer, coma, coronary artery bypass surgery, deafness, heart attack, heart valve replacement, kidney failure, loss of independent existence, loss of limbs, loss of speech, major organ failure on the waiting list, major organ transplant, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, occupational HIV infection, paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, severe burns, and stroke
It also comes with the same supplementary benefits to people suffering from breast cancer, prostate cancer, coronary angioplasty, and skin cancer.
The policy can also last for 10 or 20 years. Just like the basic critical illness cover, it also comes with assistance benefits.
SSQ Enhanced Childhood Critical Illness Insurance
This policy alongside the 25 conditions listed above, also covers three additional illnesses, which are autism, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy.
It also lasts just as long as the previous two covers, (10 or 20 years) and comes with both the supplementary benefits and assistance benefits that accompany the other two.
For more information on SSQ Critical Insurance Coverage, click here.
Other SSQ Insurance Products
Asides Life insurance policies, SSQ also provides Auto, Home, Loan, and Travel insurance to its customers all over Canada. Let us talk briefly on some of these policies
SSQ Auto Insurance
This policy offers all the basic protection that comes with regular auto insurance policies. SSQ takes things a step further by providing multiple ways for its customers to save money. These discounts all require particular criteria before you can qualify for them.
Here are some ways you can save on your auto insurance
You can save $60 when you request a quote online.
You can save up to 20% if you bundle both your home insurance and your auto insurance.
You can also opt for a two-year policy and you get your premium frozen even after you have made a claim.
There is a chance to save on premium payments if your car is a hybrid or an electric vehicle.
As a customer of SSQ, you get a $25 multiproduct discount. This also applies if you are a shareholder of the Fonds de Solidarite FTQ.
Your deductible also gets reduced each time you renew it without making a claim.
The auto insurance also comes with 24/7 assistance in Canada and the US.
This includes assistance with towing, jump starts, flat tires, gas deliveries, and being locked out of your car. All these can be simply requested online or by placing a call.
SSQ Home Insurance
SSQ’s home insurance can be taken out on your home, a condo, an apartment, or an entire building. The features of your coverage will vary depending on what exactly you are insuring.
For instance, the home insurance will cover your dwelling, personal property, and any private that is on the same premises as the home you are insuring.
It will also cover any living expenses that you have to pay while living outside of your house thanks to a covered risk. If you are renting out space and for some reason lose rental income, then the coverage will cover that too
The home insurance comes with options for easy pay. These options include preauthorized debits from your account and paying online in installments. The preauthorized debits come with no fees or interests.
If you want more information on the online payments, then click here.
Home insurance also comes with ways to save money. You can earn a 20% discount on your payments by bundling your home and auto insurance.
You can also earn a $25 multiproduct discount if you are an SSQ customer or a shareholder of the Fonds de Solidarite FTQ.
You can combine both the home and auto insurance to pay only one deductible in situations where both your house and vehicle are lost or damaged. Installing an SSQ approved prevention system in your home will earn you a lower premium charge.
If you would like more information on Home, auto, and any other insurance products that SSQ insurance provides, then check out the company website here.
Applying for an Insurance plan and making a claim
If you want to apply for an insurance plan with SSQ, there are two ways to go about it currently. You can either pick up your phone and place a call to the company or visit the company website.
Choosing to go with the call option will put you on the phone with one of their agents who will then attempt to guide you. This option is not for everyone as some people are not really comfortable with not being able to do things themselves.
That’s why the online option is there. The website is clean and simple and once you have filled in the required information, an account is created for you and then you can choose which insurance product or any other product you are interested in.
Making a claim is more or less the same process. You place a call to one of the agents and provide all necessary information relating to the events leading up to the claim. Once this is done, the agent will inform you of when to expect to hear next from them.
Under normal situations, there is a chance for you to visit their offices and gains further information. Click here for a list of their offices across the provinces in which SSQ operates.
Pros and Cons of SSQ Insurance
Years of experience: while the company is relatively young when compared to some other companies, the insurance company still has many years of experience under its belt. The longevity of the company also gives the impression that they must really be doing something right.
Financial Strength: When it comes to financial strength, the company has some strong talking points. It has even managed to change an A- rating from A.M. Best to an A rating. This suggests that the company has enough funds to not only handle claims but also diversify into other areas.
Competitive rates: When compared against other insurance providers, SSQ’s rates are not in any way lacking. The rates are definitely competitive.
Product Limit: Despite being an insurance giant, SSQ’s product list is definitely lacking when compared to others. The company also places most of its focus on Life Insurance and thus the other insurance products end up lacking.
Information on the application process is non-existent: the application is simple and straightforward, yet there is no guidance for it on the company website. It is almost as if they would prefer if all their customers applied via the call centers.
Bad Reviews: while taking negative reviews to heart might make you lose out on a great product, it becomes alarming when all you see are negative reviews. The bulk of these bad reviews are on customer services and not on the products themselves, so you can be assured that the products are still top-notch. SSQ should probably launch an inquiry into these complaints though, it would benefit them greatly.
With the number of pros and cons even matched and the cons being mostly negligible then, it is safe to assume that SSQ’s services are not so bad.
With years of experience and a foundation of being helpful to all its customers, SSQ Insurance has definitely come a long way. The insurance company has also earned multiple awards over the years that boost its already impressive status. Some of these awards include
The Elite Health Enterprise Certification awarded by the Bureau de normalization du Quebec in 2011,
The Canada Award for Excellence, Healthy Workplace, in 2012, awarded by Excellence Canada.
The Sustainable Building Innovation Award for Cite Verte in 2012 awarded at Gala Habitation 2012 event
The Quebec City’s Merites d’architecture in 2014.
The Maestria award and a special mention in the major donor’s category in 2015. This was awarded by the Quebec et Chaudier-Appalaches chapter of Centraide/United Way of Canada.
With all these and many more unmentioned, it is easy to see that SSQ definitely knows what it is doing in the insurance industry.
If you are looking for a life insurance provider or any other type of insurance at all, then you can depend on SSQ’s service. They are also experienced in investments and real estate ventures, which makes diversification pretty easy.
Thank you for reading the article! Please let me know your thoughts and comments below.
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Sagar Sridhar is a personal finance blogger from Canada. His genuine passion for personal finance coupled with his unique style of writing is what stands out. Professionally, he is a computer engineer, agile certified and has a master’s degree in Project Management. His writing has been featured or quoted in the leading Canadian publications such as Credit Canada and many other personal finance publications. While he is juggling between his day job and blogging, he is the main author on this blog and has miles to go before making the final pit stop.