COMPARE BENEFITS PROVIDERS – Sun Life, Chamber, Manulife, Great-West Life
In this group benefits provider comparison, we have included 7 insurance carriers that hold a combined 80%+ of the benefits market share. To simplify the search for the best benefits plan, we have compared the features and services offered by each insurance provider. The below chart applies for small to medium size employee groups. Please click on the blue button below if you would like to request quotes specifically for your business. Enhanced plans in 2018 start at as little as $77/month for a Single employee. We will compare benefits quotes from our partner insurance carriers for free.
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|COMPARISON OF BENEFITS FEATURES AND SERVICES||Great-West Life||Manulife Financial||Sunlife Financial||Chamber of Commerce||Equitable Life (My Flex)||Encon||Empire Life|
|Plan Design Flexibility||A+||A||A-||B+||B-||A||A+|
|Employee Choice of Benefits||F (company decides on plan)||F (company decides on plan)||F (company decides on plan)||F (company decides on plan)||A+||F (company decides on plan)||F (company decides on plan)|
|Ease of Plan Administration||A+||B-||A||A||A+||A||A|
|Easy Online/Mobile Claims Submission||A-||A||A||A||A+||A||A|
|Renewal Rate Stability||B-||B||A||A+||A+||B-||B|
**Please note that the above chart is based on our personal experience and comments from other firms over the last 10 years. Experience may vary. Please contact us if you have any comments/additions. We are happy to include them!
INDUSTRY RATINGS EXPLAINED
Three group benefits insurance carriers hold approximately 70%+ of the market share in Canada. These three are Great-West Life, Sun Life Financial and Manulife Financial. The rest of the insurers hold small shares but that does not mean they are not worthy rivals of the big 3.
GREAT-WEST LIFE | SUN LIFE FINANCIAL | MANULIFE FINANCIAL
The top 3 insurers work much in the same way. They have a lot of plan design flexibility and are willing to go the extra mile to get exceptions and implement exactly the plan of your choice – especially if they are competing with another insurer. It is to your benefit to work with a consultant who knows how they work in order to get to the YES. Often, there is nothing impossible. They are industry leaders in technology, services and care about their reputation. There are some differences in their product shelves. For example, Manulife offers complimentary HR services and support, Great-West Life offers a health spending account which works with a smart VISA card which recognizes medical expenses. When recommending one of the top three, fit is very important. Depending on your industry and number of employees, one of the top three maybe a better fit. The initial rates proposed are a very small fraction of what a business should consider when implementing or changing insurance carriers.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PLAN | EQUITABLE LIFE
We are putting these two insurers in the same commentary due to their “Rate Stability” promise. They both offer what is called a ”pooled plan”. This means that your claims go in the same pool as all other groups which usually works out to an increase between 3% and 6% annually. So which is better? We still say, Equitable Life. Why? Until recently, Chamber was the only insurance carrier which did not offer online/paperless claims. Now that they do have this service, but we still say Chamber plans are usually limiting. They often put plan design restrictions to limit scope of risk exposure. With Equitable, businesses not only receive a comprehensive plan but also employee may choose to upgrade their plan individually and pay for the upgrade via payroll deduction.
***Please note, we are not a licensed Chamber of Commerce consultant. They have a designated advisor for each area. If you already have a Chamber quote, we can review it and compare their offering to the rest of the market for free. Please contact us directly for such a comparison by filling out the Quote Request Form.
Even though their service is not local, they have remote/online representatives who provide high levels of service. The benefit of Encon over other insurers is when a smaller, healthy, older group has very low claims. Other insurers do not count this positive claims experience toward the rates. Encon has very favourable renewal factors for smaller groups.
Empire is also a great choice. They offer many of the same services as all other insurers but their account executives have a lot more authority to make exceptions on claims and servicing. Their service and underwriting teams are very flexible and responsive.
HOW OBTAIN QUOTES AND COMPARISONS
As aforementioned, enhanced plans in 2018 start at $77/month. The type of plan you would get for this price would depend on the size, the average age and the industry of your employee group. Every carrier has slightly different rates when pricing. To get exact quotes from all of our partner carriers and compare what the market has to offer, please click below on the blue button and fill out our Quote Request Form. We will get in touch to discuss your options shortly after receiving your preferences.