This week, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (“Sun Life”) announced significant individual insurance underwriting changes and enhanced life insurance products in Canada to make it easier and more convenient to access insurance, including enhancements to their policies that include more than $3 million in available HIV life coverage and simplified application process for clients

The changes include offering life insurance coverage of more than $3 million for people living with HIV, providing the most coverage for the broadest range of ages in the Canadian industry. Sun Life is rolling out HIV life coverage in other markets around the world. Sun Life has been a proud supporter of the Canadian Foundation for Aids Research (CANFAR) since 1996 and a sponsor of CANFAR’s Bloor Street Entertains since 2004. As well, underwriting requirements such as medical exams, ECG, stress ECGs, oral fluid samples and urine HIV tests will no longer be routinely required for either critical illness or life insurance. Sun Life will now only need an application (no fluids or blood samples) from the majority of Canadians applying for these products. Over three-quarters of Sun Life’s critical illness insurance clients and half of life insurance clients will benefit from these changes.

Sun Life’s announcement follows a similar change in policy at Manulife back in April of this year. They were proudly the first to underwrite eligible Canadians who test HIV-positive, breaking the traditional approach to insurance. The company now accepts life insurance applications from persons who have tested positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the first insurer in Canada to do so.

“Manulife was the first insurer to underwrite people with diabetes, and we are continuing in that tradition by making life insurance a possibility for the more than 75,000 Canadians* who have tested HIV positive,” said Marianne Harrison, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Canada. “This is the result of work completed by our Research and Innovation team and working closely with our colleagues in the United States at John Hancock.”

Manulife looked at the latest mortality and long-term survival rates of HIV-positive Canadians and with enhanced analytics, gained a better perspective on individual risk profiles.  As we continue to build on the strength of our analytics, we will rely less on traditional underwriting – leading the industry in providing coverage customized to consumer risk.

Applicants who have tested HIV positive, are between the ages of 30 and 65, and meet certain criteria, can apply for individual life insurance for up to $2,000,000.

While this is great news, insurance companies in the United States have been offering this same coverage for years, including Aequalis, the first company in the U.S. to fully underwrite a standard life insurance policy for people living with HIV.



About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.