Canada’s aging population and economic environment: Impacts on insurance

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 58, No. 3, April 2016, Pages 152-153 News

According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s population is aging. The average age of Canadians will increase to 42.2 in 2021 (up from 39.9 in 2011). An older population will pay higher rates for life insurance and long-term disability insurance. A 1-year increase in the average age of a group is estimated to result in a 5% to 10% rise in insurance rates. 

The cost of health care is also on the rise due to our aging population, and governments must either raise taxes or cut costs to deal with rising health care spending. Cutting costs includes delisting some health services that are currently covered by government and pushing the coverage for those services to private health care insurance plans, thereby driving up costs for those plans.

In addition, declining interest rates affect an insurance company’s profitability and the cost of insurance. The Bank of Canada’s lending rate has been trending at less than 1% in order to stimulate growth. This is bad news for Canada’s insurance industry, as insurance companies rely on investment interest to bolster profits. Revenues from insurance premiums are invested in bonds, and the interest generated from these bonds goes to cover the costs of claims, liabilities, and other administrative expenses. The funds left over translate into insurance company profits. Due to the low interest rate environment, these profits are down, forcing insurance companies to charge higher premiums. 

We can expect to see rising premium rates in the next decade due to these demographic changes, health-care cost increases, delisted services, and declining insurer profits.

The good news: Doctors of BC members have access to exclusive insurance plans, where premium costs are monitored closely by an Insurance Committee made up of physicians. These plans are exclusively designed for and competitively priced to meet the needs of physicians. For information on available plans and to meet with one of our in-house advisors, contact the Doctors of BC Insurance Department by e-mail at
—Kim Pelletier, CEBS
Insurance Program Manager

Kim Pelletier, CEBS,. Canada’s aging population and economic environment: Impacts on insurance. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 3, April, 2016, Page(s) 152-153 - News.

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