When Canadians purchase life insurance now, their broker typically hands them an industry form letter promising that “any insurance product I recommend will be the one I deem to be best suited to meet your needs, without regard to the compensation practices of any one company.”

But the promise does not reflect the reality of the business for the big underwriters, such as Manulife Financial Corp., Sun Life Financial Inc., Great-West Lifeco Inc., Standard Life Assurance Co. of Canada, and Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc., and the thousands of brokers across the country.

Rather than scouring the market to find the best coverage, and the best price, for the clients sitting across from them, many independent agents and brokers steer all their business to just one or two insurers, according to a number of high-ranking insurance executives interviewed by The Globe. They favour the ones that reimburse them most generously in commissions, bonuses and perks, such as those all-expenses-paid trips to break up the monotony of a long Canadian winter.

Read full article here.

Grant Robertson and Tara Perkins – Globe and Mail – December 21, 2010.


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