critical illness special needs

Critical Illness Coverage For Children With Special Needs

Just awhile ago, I was sitting across a coffee table in my client’s house. This is a family of three people, where the husband works a manager of a franchise store, the wife is a waitress of a local restaurant, while the son is 9 years old diagnosed with autism. The son was approved with the disability tax credit a few years ago, so we setup a RDSP account for him back then.

Lately, the parents had been reading some papers about critical illnesses, and they were concerned if their son were unfortunately to be diagnosed with critical illness, this could bring a severe negative impact to their financial situation. Should such a situation really happen, the parents expected one of the them would need to take time off work to take care of the son. Although, OHIP might cover a lot of the medical expenses, but the loss of income would be devastating to this family, as their monthly cash flow is already very tight. Not to count there will be extra costs in transportation and parking fees to bring the child to the hospitals for treatments.

They consulted me if there were any coverage to protect his son if he were diagnosed with critical illnesses. I didn’t have any recommendation right off the spot, but promised them I’ll look into this. When I got back to office the next day, I immediately started the researching process. I contacted different underwriters from insurance companies that our agency carries. For full underwriting plans, the underwriter stated that they would not considered application from this child due to his autistic condition.

The next step I took was to look into “Simplified Issued” plans. Just like its name, “Simplified Issued” plans are coverage that have a less strict underwriting requirements. Although it could be easier to get approved, it could have less covered conditions, higher premium or different terms and conditions when comparing to a full underwriting plan. I look into these plans from different insurers that specialized in writing “Simplified Issued” critical illness plan. To my surprise, most of their minimum issue age started at age 18. In this case, this did not work for my clients, since their son is only 9. I continued to dig further into the researching process, and also discussed this case with our in-house insurance product trainer. After several discussion, we found an insurer who could underwrite policy for minor children with autism. That is IA Excellence.

This is a company founded at 1963, it has deep roots in Quebec’s life and health insurance industry, but iA Excellence has expanded its operations Canada-wide in order to serve clients from coast to coast. It was acquired by Industrial Alliance back in 2007. Industrial Alliance is one of the fourth largest life and health insurance company in Canada.

One of their Simplified Issued plan is called CancerGuard. CancerGuard is an insurance plan that would payout a lump sum of payment if the insured is diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. They do not have any restriction on how the benefit is used, and the payment is tax-free. To give you an example, a $25000 coverage that last until age 75 for a non-smoker male currently 9 years old, the monthly premium is only $11.75. Should the insured diagnosed with life-threatening cancer, (given all claim requirements are fulfilled), the insurance company will pay out a lump sum of $25,000 to the beneficiary.

The base plan itself only cover the life-threatening cancer condition, but with extra premium, if the insured is able to pass a few more underwriting questions, they could add more covered conditions (i.e.: stroke, heart attack, coronary artery bypass surgery, paralysis, coma) and increase the coverage amount. The maximum coverage amount is $100,000, which is a pretty decent coverage for many families, especially given the benefit is paid out tax-free.

One thing I like about this plan is that the underwriting process is very simple and straight forward. There is no medical exam, no blood test, no extensive questionnaire. Answer two eligibility questions, then it covers up to $25,000. Answer two additional eligibility questions, it covers up to $100,000.

Just like any other insurance policies, IA Excellence’s CancerGuard also has specific definition in the policy for each covered condition. Exclusions would be involved such as the Moratorium period and Pre-existing condition (24/24), so it is important to review over the policy contract for exact wordings.

Going back to my client’s case, with this simplified issued coverage, beside self-insuring their son with their own savings, they now have another option to protect against the unexpected situation.


[note] What to obtain more details about the CancerGuard coverage? Please click here [/note]



  • Above is for educational purposes, and not intend to provide any specific financial advice. Individual’s insurance needs could be different, one should always consult with a financial professional before making any decision.
  • There are specific definition for the covered conditions, exclusions and other terms and conditions of the above mentioned insurance plan, please always review over the policy contract for exact wordings. The premium is quoted on June 3rd, 2016 with IA Excellence’s rate table sheet.
  • Details of this post could be subjected to change without further notice. Although, we intended to share this information as accurate as we could, but it is not guaranteed to be error-free.


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