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Co-Operators Life Insurance: A Comprehensive Review for Canadians (2024)

Co-Operators Life Insurance: A Comprehensive Review for Canadians (2024)
Co-Operators Life Insurance: A Comprehensive Review for Canadians (2024)

Co-Operators is one of the largest and oldest insurance providers in Canada. As a policyholder-owned co-operative founded in 1945, it offers a unique member-benefit structure compared to other insurers.

In this extensive review of over 3,000 words, we’ll analyze Co-Operators’ wide range of life insurance products for Canadians. You’ll learn about policy options, pricing, pros and cons, and how Co-Operators Life Insurance compare to competitors in the Canadian insurance market.

A Background of Co-Operators Life Insurance in Canada

Co-Operators Life Insurance was first formed in 1945 as a co-operative owned by farmers who struggled to obtain affordable coverage. It has since grown into a full-service insurance and financial services provider for Canadians.

Co-Operators Insurance at a Glance

  • Founded in 1945 in Guelph, Ontario
  • Headquartered in Guelph with locations across Canada
  • Assets of $42 billion and over 50,000 advisors [1]
  • Policyholders are members and part-owners
  • Products include home, auto, life, travel, and commercial insurance
  • Rated A (Excellent) by AM Best [2]

As a co-operative, Co-Operators give policyholders membership status. Members can receive annual dividends and have a democratic say in governance. This structure provides unique benefits compared to publicly traded insurers.

Overview of Co-Operators’ Life Insurance

Overview of Co-Operators' Life Insurance
Overview of Co-Operators’ Life Insurance

Co-Operators Life Insurance provides a wide range of individual and group life insurance solutions for Canadians. Let’s look at the various products available.

Individual Life Insurance Plans

Co-Operators offer both term and permanent life insurance on an individual basis:

Term Life Insurance

  • Term Life 1: Annually renewable term life up to $475,000 [3]
  • Versatile Term: 10, 15, 20, and 30-year renewable terms up to $5 million [4]

Permanent Life Insurance

  • Whole Life: Offers lifetime coverage and guaranteed cash value [5]
  • Universal Life: Flexible premiums with adjustable death benefit [6]

Final Expense Insurance

  • Protection Term: Budget policies from $25,000-$150,000 [7]

No Medical Life Insurance

  • Protection Plus: Up to $50,000 without medical underwriting [8]

Group Life Insurance Plans

In addition to individual policies, Co-Operators also offer employer-sponsored group life and disability products, including:

  • Group Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment
  • Long-Term Disability
  • Critical Illness
  • Out-of-Country Medical

Group plans provide more simplified underwriting. Employees can typically get guaranteed coverage without a medical exam during open enrollment.

Additional Insurance Offerings

Beyond life insurance, Co-operators provide:

  • Home Insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Travel Insurance
  • Commercial Insurance
  • Farm Insurance

This wide range of offerings makes them a “one-stop shop” for many Canadians’ insurance needs.

What Products Do Co-Operators Life Insurance Offer?

What Products Do Co-Operators Life Insurance Offer?
What Products Do Co-Operators Life Insurance Offer?

Now, let’s take an in-depth look at the various individual life insurance policies offered by Co-Operators for Canadians.

Term Life Insurance From Co-Operators

Term life insurance provides affordable pure life insurance protection for a set coverage period, known as the “term.” After the term expires, coverage ends unless renewed.

Co-Operators offer both short 1-year terms as well as longer 10-30-year terms.

Term Life 1

Term Life 1 is an annually renewable term life policy with some unique features:

  • 1-year coverage terms
  • Renewable annually to age 85
  • Available for ages 18-60
  • Face amounts from $5,000 to $475,000
  • Cannot be converted to permanent insurance
  • Only requires answering three health questions [3]

Term Life 1 offers a quick and low-cost way to obtain smaller amounts of temporary coverage each year. The short 1-year term is rare among Canadian insurers.

However, the maximum $475,000 coverage is low for term insurance. For higher protection amounts a longer-term policy is required.

Versatile Term

Co-Operators Versatile Term offers more traditional term lengths of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Key features include:

  • Term lengths of 10, 15, 20 or 30 years
  • Face amounts from $100,000 up to $5 million
  • Renewable to age 85 without medical underwriting
  • Convertible to permanent life insurance before age 70
  • Available for ages 18-65 [4]

These longer terms are better for higher amounts of coverage. The 30-year maximum term is shorter than some insurers that offer 35 years.

Permanent Life Insurance From Co-Operators

For lifelong coverage, Co-Operators provides both participating whole life and universal life insurance options:

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance offers permanent, lifetime coverage with level premiums that never increase. It also builds guaranteed cash value that grows on a tax-deferred basis.

Co-Operators offers two whole life insurance products for Canadians:

  • Protector Whole Life: Basic permanent protection with cash value [5]
  • Ascend Whole Life: More premium payment flexibility [9]

Both options allow policyholders to access cash value through withdrawals or policy loans if needed during their lifetime.

Whole life insurance is a good option for estate planning and leaving a legacy or inheritance for beneficiaries. The death benefit passes tax-free to heirs.

The main downside to whole life is the higher upfront premium cost compared to term insurance. However, the guaranteed cash value helps offset this over the long-run.

Universal Life Insurance

Co-Operators provide two main universal life insurance options:

  • Flex Term Universal Life: Convertible term coverage [10]
  • Protection Universal Life: Permanent lifetime coverage [6]

With universal life insurance, the death benefit, premiums, and cash value are all flexible and adjustable. This flexibility comes at the cost of higher fees compared to whole life.

Universal life combines lifelong coverage with flexible investment-linked cash value. It can be used to supplement retirement income if structured properly. But the investment performance is not guaranteed.

Both whole and universal life can provide permanent coverage from Co-Operators. Weigh the pros and cons of each carefully based on your specific needs and goals.

Final Expense and No Medical Insurance

In addition to traditional life insurance, Co-Operators also offers budget-friendly final expense and no medical exam options:

Protection Term

Protection Term is designed to cover funeral costs and final expenses only:

  • Face amounts from $25,000-$150,000
  • Available for ages 45-80
  • Permanent, level premiums
  • No medical exam required [7]

This simplified issue insurance only requires answering health questions. It provides smaller permanent coverage amounts.

Protection Plus

If you want an even simpler option, Protection Plus does not require any health questions or medical exam:

  • Up to $50,000 in coverage
  • Available for ages 50-80
  • Permanent life insurance
  • No health questions or medical exam
  • Not available in Quebec [8]

Protection Plus offers easy-to-obtain life insurance for older Canadians but has maximum death benefit caps.

What Optional Riders and Benefits Do Co-Operators Offer?

To customize and enhance their life insurance policies, Co-Operators offer several optional riders, including:

  • Accidental Death: Additional payout if death is accidental
  • Disability Waiver: Waives premiums if disabled
  • Children’s Insurance: Covers newborns and adopted children
  • Guaranteed Insurability: Increase coverage in future without underwriting
  • Critical Illness: Payout if diagnosed with critical disease

Riders allow you to tailor your policy to your specific situation and concerns. Discuss options with an advisor when applying.

How Does Co-Operators Critical Illness Insurance Work?

In addition to life insurance, Co-Operators offers critical illness insurance to Canadians. This coverage provides a tax-free lump sum payout if diagnosed with certain covered conditions.

The payout can be used for any purpose, such as paying medical bills, covering lost income, or household expenses.

Co-Operators provide two main critical illness insurance options:

Critical Assist

  • 25 covered critical conditions
  • Available for ages 18-65
  • Coverage amounts from $25,000 to $2 million [11]

Critical Assist – Head Start for Children

  • Covers 32 child-specific critical conditions
  • For children ages 30 days to 18 years
  • Coverage amounts up to $250,000 [12]

The Head Start version offers enhanced benefits focused on illnesses affecting children. All plans offer a 10% partial payout for additional conditions that don’t meet the full criteria.

Critical illness insurance is a beneficial supplement to disability and life insurance for Canadians wanting an extra layer of financial protection.

What Do Co-Operators Life Insurance Policies Cost?

The cost of Co-Operators life insurance depends on several factors:

Age: Rates are significantly higher as you get older.

Health: Medical underwriting will determine your risk class rating.

Lifestyle: Tobacco use, high-risk hobbies, or driving history.

Type: Permanent insurance costs more than term insurance.

Amount: Higher death benefits mean higher premiums.

Here are sample monthly rates for different ages and terms from Co-Operators using $400,000 of coverage:

Age20-Year Term30-Year TermWhole Life

Whole life rates are the highest since they offer lifelong coverage. Term premiums start low but increase with each renewal.

Getting a personalized quote requires going through full underwriting. Contact Co-Operators or an independent broker to start the process.

How Do Co-Operators Life Insurance Rates Compare?

While Co-Operators offer competitive rates, they are not the cheapest insurer in every scenario. When comparing costs, some key observations:

  • For term insurance, Co-operators are more expensive than leading discount insurers like Canada Protection Plan.
  • For smaller whole life amounts below $500,000, Co-Operators is reasonably priced.
  • For larger permanent policies, competitors like Foresters or ivari offer better rates.
  • Critical illness rates are competitive for Co-Operators but higher than some providers.

Here is a sample monthly premium comparison to competitors for a 30-year-old non-smoking male:

Company20-Year TermWhole LifeCritical Illness
Canada Protection Plan$25$165$33

In summary, Co-Operators’ pricing is good but not the cheapest in most scenarios. Compare quotes across 3-4 insurers to find your best option.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Co-Operators Life Insurance?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Co-Operators Life Insurance?
What Are the Pros and Cons of Co-Operators Life Insurance?

Co-Operators have a long history in Canada, but is it the right life insurance provider for you? Here are some of the key pros and cons to consider:


  • Longstanding co-op with 75+ years in Canada
  • Policyholders become members and owners
  • Wide range of policy types and benefits
  • Online quoting available for Term Life 1
  • Access to group life insurance options
  • Critical illness insurance is available
  • Options for no medical exam insurance


  • Limited ability to purchase online
  • Term lengths max out at 30 years
  • Permanent policy rates are not the cheapest
  • Claims processing is slower than leading insurers [13]
  • Fewer rider and customization options
  • Mixed customer service reviews [14]

The biggest advantage of Co-Operators life insurance is the member-owned structure. But competition has caught up on pricing and features. Make sure to compare your options.

Is Co-Operators Life Insurance The Best Provider for You?

Co-Operators life insurances are a great option for certain situations, such as:

  • You want short-term, 1-year renewable coverage
  • You qualify for competitively priced group life insurance at work
  • You value the member-owned co-op business model
  • You have an existing relationship or bundle policies with Co-Operators

However, they are likely not the best choice if:

  • You want longer 35-year term insurance
  • You need a jumbo permanent policy over $1 million
  • Getting the absolute lowest rates is your top priority
  • You want an easy and fast online application process
  • Responsive customer service is critical

Canadians are often best served shopping around with various providers and brokers to find the right fit. Be sure to get multiple quotes before deciding.

How to Buy Co-Operators Life Insurance in Canada

There are a few ways that Canadians can buy life insurance policies from Co-Operators:

Apply Online

One convenience Co-Operators offers is the ability to get quotes and buy Term Life 1 coverage completely online. By visiting their website and entering just a few details, you can get an instant quote and purchase 1-year term life insurance in minutes using eApproval.

However, this is currently only available for the Term Life 1 product. For other policies, you need to connect with an advisor.

Work with an Advisor

To explore additional individual or group life insurance options, you need to connect with a licensed Co-Operators advisor. The advisor can guide you through the options and application process, which involves full medical underwriting.

Finding an advisor is easy by using the “Find an Advisor” tool on their website.

Go Through an Independent Broker

An independent life insurance brokerage can provide quotes and applications for Co-Operators policies. The broker acts as an impartial advisor and will compare Co-Operators to other top Canadian life insurers to find you the best fit.

Working with a broker is the best way to conduct an unbiased review of the life insurance marketplace.

What Tips Should Canadians Follow When Purchasing Co-Operators Life Insurance?

If considering Co-Operators life insurance, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Take time to understand the differences between term, whole, and universal life insurance.
  • Make sure to account for future needs – don’t just think about today.
  • Compare quotes from at least 2-3 other top insurers in addition to Co-Operators.
  • Ask about member dividends – this unique benefit may save you money.
  • Inquire about group life options from your employer, if available.
  • Bundle policies together for potential discounts.
  • Be thorough and honest during the health assessment – it saves you money.
  • Review the policy document thoroughly to ensure it matches your needs.
  • Add riders such as critical illness insurance to enhance your coverage.

Doing your homework upfront and understanding all options ensures you end up with the right life insurance coverage for your specific situation.

Should You Choose Co-Operators Life Insurance?

Co-Operators is one of the longstanding life insurance providers in Canada. While not always the cheapest, they offer a wide range of policies. Their unique member-owned structure also provides advantages.

For Canadians seeking an established insurer with medium pricing, Co-Operators is a solid choice. Before deciding, be sure to compare quotes from other top insurers as well to find the best fit.

Working with an experienced broker like Lifebuzz is the easiest way to review all your options and get optimized personalized policy recommendations. Contact us today to get started!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the maximum coverage amount for Co-operators term life insurance?

The maximum coverage for Co-Operators Versatile Term life insurance is $5 million. For Term Life 1 policies, the maximum amount is $475,000.

Does Co-operators offer guaranteed issue life insurance?

Co-operators does offer guaranteed issue life insurance through its Protection Plus plan which provides up to $50,000 in coverage without requiring medical underwriting.

How long does it take to get approved for Co-operators life insurance?

The approval process for Co-operators life insurance takes an average of 2-6 weeks depending on the type of policy. Simplified issue plans are faster while permanent policies require full underwriting.

What is the phone number to call for Co-operators life insurance?

You can reach Co-operators life insurance at 1-800-510-8372. Their head office is located in Guelph, Ontario.

Can I manage my Co-operators life insurance policy online?

Yes, Co-operators offers an online customer portal where you can access policy documents, make payments, change personal details, and manage beneficiaries.

How do I find a Co-operators life insurance advisor near me?

You can find a local Co-operators advisor by using the “Find an Advisor” tool on their website and entering your postal code.

Does Co-operators sell mortgage life insurance?

Co-operators does not offer mortgage life insurance specifically. However, their term life insurance can provide similar coverage to pay off a mortgage if you pass away.

Is Co-operators life insurance renewable?

Most Co-operators life insurance policies are guaranteed renewable up until age 85 or 100 depending on the policy. Term Life 1 renews annually.

Can I get a senior life insurance policy from Co-operators?

Yes, Co-operators offers permanent life insurance, final expense policies, and simplified issue plans for seniors over age 50 without medical exams.

How do I contact Co-operators life insurance customer service?

You can contact Co-operators customer service by calling 1-800-510-8372 or emailing them at [email protected] regarding your policy.

What is the Co-operators life insurance complaint process?

To file a complaint, you can call Co-operators at 1-888-767-3909 or submit a written complaint by mail to their head office in Guelph, Ontario.

How fast does Co-operators pay out life insurance claims?

Co-operators pays out most life insurance claims within 1-2 weeks. However, some claims may take longer during the review process, often 4-6 weeks.

Can I get a discount for paying Co-operators life insurance premiums annually?

Yes, Co-operators provides an annual premium discount for customers who pay their entire policy premium in one lump sum rather than monthly installments.

Does Co-operators use reinsurance for their life insurance policies?

Yes, Co-operators does use reinsurance through partners like SCOR Global and RGA to share the risks on their life insurance policies.

What is the Co-operators dividend scale for participating whole life?

Dividend scales vary based on age and other factors. Historical dividend rates are between 5-7% for participating whole life policies. Final dividends are declared annually.

Can I insure my parents with Co-operators life insurance?

Yes, Co-operators offers coverage for seniors including final expense insurance for older parents. For younger parents, term or permanent life insurance is available.

What is the credit rating for Co-operators Life Insurance company?

Co-operators holds an A+ rating from Standard and Poor's showing excellent financial strength to pay out future claims.

Does Co-operators allow third party life insurance policy ownership?

Co-operators does permit third parties like trusts or corporations to own life insurance policies, subject to additional application questions and approval.

How often has Co-operators increased their life insurance premiums?

Co-operators has increased premiums selectively over the years, but most policyholders have not seen increases. Term life premiums also naturally rise at each renewal as you age.

Article Sources:

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  1. Co-operators Group Limited 
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Written by Ben Nguyen

Ben Nguyen is an award-winning insurance expert and industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. He is the chairman and director of IDC Insurance Direct Canada Inc., one of Canada's leading online insurance brokerages.

Ben is renowned for his extensive knowledge of life, health, disability, and travel insurance products. He is the prolific author of over 1,000 educational articles published on LifeBuzz, BestInsuranceOnline, and InsuranceDirectCanada. His articles provide Canadians with advice on making smart insurance decisions.

With a Bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA) designation, Ben is frequently interviewed by media as an insurance industry spokesperson.

He has received numerous honors including the Insurance Council of Canada’s Pivotal Leadership Award, the Canadian Insurance Hall of Fame induction, and the President’s Medal from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Ben continues to shape the vision and strategy of IDC Insurance Direct as chairman. He is dedicated to advancing the insurance industry through his insightful leadership.

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