When and Why You Should Conduct an Insurance Audit

As our lives grow and change with variable circumstances, new additions, and job transitions, our needs for insurance will also evolve. Additionally, economic fluctuations and external circumstances that influence your insurance policy will need frequent re-evaluation to ensure that you are making the most appropriate and financially favorable decisions. Perhaps you aren’t sure whether you should conduct an insurance audit or not. The following scenarios are usually a good indication that you should thoroughly assess and review your current policy contract: 

  • Bringing new life into your family? A new baby may not only prompt you to adjust your beneficiary information, but it is likely to change or influence your coverage needs.

  • Changing jobs? Probationary periods may not provide the same level of disability or accident insurance.

  • Is your policy nearing the end of its term? Be sure to compare prices for new policies as they can sometimes be more affordable as compared to renewing the current plan.

  • Has your marital status changed? Your insurance policy will likely need updating to reflect such.

The specific type of insurance policy you carry as well as personal details certainly influence coverage and premium prices, so if any of the following factors apply to you, be sure to update your policy accordingly. You might be eligible for a rate reduction. 

  • Changes to your overall risk assessment like smoking cessation, dangerous hobbies, high risk profession etc.

  • If you have experienced improvements to a previously diagnosed health condition.

  • Do your policy’s investment options still fall in line with current market conditions?

  • Have you used your insurance policy as collateral for a loan? Once that loan is paid off, collateral status should be taken off the policy.

Insurance policies generated for business purposes should also be regularly reviewed to make sure the policy still offers adequate coverage to meet the needs of the company and includes the appropriate beneficiary information. With life happening so quickly, it can be easy to forget about keeping insurance policies up to date, however, major changes can have a profound impact on coverage and premiums. Be sure to conduct insurance audits often to ensure your policies are still meeting your needs. 

Contact us to see how we can help. 

The Best Way to Buy Mortgage Insurance

Before buying insurance from your bank to cover your mortgage, understand the difference between self owned mortgage life insurance and bank owned life insurance. The key differences are ownership, premium, coverage, beneficiaries and portability.

Ownership:

  • Self: You own and control the policy.

  • Bank: The bank owns and controls the policy.

Premium:

  • Self: Your premiums are guaranteed at policy issue and discounts are available based on your health.

  • Bank: Premiums are not guaranteed and there are no discounts available based on your health.

Coverage:

  • Self: The coverage that you apply for remains the same.

  • Bank: The coverage is tied to your mortgage balance therefore it decreases as you pay down your mortgage but the premium stays the same.

Beneficiary:

  • Self: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.

  • Bank: The bank is beneficiary and only pays off your mortgage.

Portability:

  • Self: Your policy stays with you regardless of your lender.

  • Bank: Your policy is tied to your lender and if you change, you may need to reapply for insurance.

We’ve created an infographic about the difference between personally owned life insurance vs. bank owned life insurance.

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Passive Investment Income Limit

Morneau’s federal budget announced earlier this year informed us how the government will treat passive income in a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation. (CCPC) The government’s main concern was that under the current rules a “tax deferral advantage” exists since tax on active business income is usually lower than the top personal marginal tax rate. Therefore if the corporate funds were invested for a long period of time, shareholders might end up with more after-tax amount than if it was invested personally.

 

Limiting Access to the Small Business Tax Rate

A key objective of the budget is to decrease the small business limit for CCPCs with a set threshold of income generated from passive investments. This will apply to CCPCs with between $50,000 and $150,000 of investment income. It reduces the small business deduction by $5 for each $1 of investment income which falls over the threshold of $50,000 (also known as the adjusted aggregate investment income). This new regulation will go hand in hand with the current business limit reduction for taxable capital.

 

The time to act is now, since these changes will be effective January 1, 2019, a discussion and plan should be prioritized now, since 2018 will be the “prior year” of 2019. To avoid the reduction of income eligible for the small business tax rate, business owners need to minimize or keep the amount below $50,000 of the “adjusted aggregate investment income” (AAII) in 2018. 

 

We’ve listed some solutions on how to do this:

 

1)   Corporate Owned Insurance: Exempt life insurance does not produce passive investment income unless there is a disposition. Put a portion of the corporation’s passive investments into a life insurance policy and reduce passive investment income and limit the erosion of the small business limit. Insurance concepts:

●     Insured retirement program: Provide additional retirement funding through transferring excess corporate funds into whole life or universal life insurance. The funds inside the policy grow “tax free” to create significant cash value. At some point when there is a need for cash, the policy is pledged as collateral for a bank loan. The bank loan doesn’t need to be repaid until the life insured dies and the death benefit is used to repay the loan. Any remaining death benefit is paid out.

●     Estate bond: Transfer corporate wealth to the future generation by utilizing whole life or universal life insurance. Essentially replace taxable investment with life insurance, increase funds for a future generation upon death, reduce tax and create a strategy to move funds out of the corporation tax free (through the Capital Dividend Account.)

●     Corporate held Critical Illness with Return of Premium: Purchase corporate owned critical illness, since it doesn’t produce any investment income.

 

2)   Pay enough salary/dividends to maximize RRSP and TFSA Contributions: A salary of $145,722 will allow the max 2018 RRSP contribution is $26,230 (18% of $145,722). Make sure you also pay enough salary/dividend to maximize your annual $5,500 TFSA contribution.

3)   Individual Pension Plan (IPP): The corporation contributes to the IPP and income earned in the IPP doesn’t belong to the corporation. This should only be considered when the AAII is over $50,000.

4)   Deferred Capital Gains: Capital gains are 50% taxable and are only 50% included in the AAII.

 

Talk to us, we can help you figure out the best solution for your unique situation.