The following information will assist you in understanding the Canada Life Vanishing Premium Class Action Settlement.
All information you need to make a decision on how to proceed and on what steps you need to take, if any, follows below.
1. WHO QUALIFIES/ELIGIBILITY?
a. Anyone who owns a participating whole life insurance policy issued in Canada by the Canada Life Assurance Company (“Canada Life”) between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1997;
b. The policy must have been in effect on February 1, 2001 (if the policy terminated between January 1, 1992 and February 1, 2001 because it lapsed or was surrendered, some benefits may be available as set-out below under the lapsed/surrendered policies heading).
A participating whole life policy is a whole life insurance policy where accumulated and future policy dividends are used to off-set or pay future premiums commencing on a specified date.
If you have received a mailing package from Canada Life, you qualify for the class action settlement benefits.
If you have not received a mailing package from Canada Life, call Canada Life for an explanation — toll free at 1-866-285-5502.
2. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
There are general and individual benefits:
a. Policyholders will get an increase in annual policy dividends of 0.25% higher than would otherwise have been paid by Canada Life for 3 years commencing on the policy anniversary date in 2002. For example, if a policy was issued on May 1, 1987, the increased annual policy dividend will apply commencing May 1, 2002, for 2002, 2003 and 2004.
b. If your policy uses policy dividends to buy additional 1 year term insurance (known as “Enhanced Coverage Option”), Canada Life will reduce the cost of this term insurance by 10% of the rate otherwise payable according to the Canada Life rate scale in effect on January 1, 2001 for a 3 year period.
a. Policyholders who believe that a misrepresentation was made to them by a Canada Life sales representative prior to the sale of the policy or at any time up to 10 days following delivery of the policy that premiums would stop on a certain date, can apply to an independent party (Global Resolutions Inc.) to review the circumstances related to the purchase of the policy.
Global Resolutions Inc. is an independent mediation/adjudication service agreed to between Class Counsel and Canada Life with respect to processing of individual claims.
b. Following a review of the written information provided by the policyholder, Global Resolutions Inc. will place the claim into one of 4 categories (categories A, B, C, or D). Each category will have a different level of benefits. The level of benefit depends on the strength of the proof of misrepresentation and the specific circumstances.
3. HOW DO I GET THE BENEFITS?
You do not have to do anything to receive general benefits. General benefits automatically apply to all policyholders who qualify.
No action whatsoever is required by you to receive general benefits. You do not have to call, register or apply. The benefits will be granted to you automatically.
You must apply for individual benefits.
To do so, complete the Policyholder Option Form (see sample below) which you received as part of the mailing package. Complete Option 2 on the Policyholder Option Form. You must sign the form and send it to:
Canada Life Premium Offset Settlement Team
P.O. Box 4525
CANADA LIFE MUST RECEIVE THE COMPLETED POLICYHOLDER OPTION FORM BY SEPTEMBER 6, 2001.
We strongly recommend that you send the Policyholder Option Form to Canada Life by no later than August 20, 2001 to ensure that it will be received by Canada Life in time.
Once Canada Life receives your Policyholder Option Form with Option 2 checked-off, Canada Life will send you a Claims Package for you to complete and be returned.
Once you receive that Claims Package, we can assist you in understanding the Independent Review Process.
This process is structured so that you receive relief consistent with what would be granted in a civil court, i.e. the greater proof available in support of your position, the greater relief available for you.
Under this process, you can achieve a full measure of relief, ie. being granted exactly what was promised at point of sale — for example, if you were promised a premium off-set date of 12 years and you have sufficient qualifying evidence/proof, you will be granted the premium off-set date of 12 years promised when you purchased your policy.
This remedy was fashioned so as to allow access to justice for a large group of people in a streamlined fashion which achieves judicial economy.
If you apply for relief under this process and are not happy with the outcome, you can appeal to the Court, however, you appeal will be successful only if the decision of the Independent Adjudicator was clearly unreasonable.
The following information relates to claims under the Independent Review Process and need not be reviewed at this time. This information is relevant only if you check Option 2 on the Policyholder Option Form and only after you have received the Claims Package from Canada Life and are in the process of filing your actual claim with the Independent Adjudicator, Global Resolutions Inc.
CATEGORY REQUIRED WRITTEN INFORMATION BENEFITS
REQUIRED WRITTEN INFORMATION
PLUS FACTORS/MINUS FACTORS
Global Resolutions Inc. will assess the Policyholder Claim Form and the information contained therein which will be awarded plus and minus factors with a scoring of plus 1 for a Plus Factor and a minus 1 for a Minus Factor.
A single piece of evidence or information will not be taken to satisfy more than 1 factor category.
(Please note, an unaltered original Canada Life standard form illustration and/or sales materials will neither constitute a plus or a minus factor.
a. A written misrepresentation made to the policyholder by a sales representative which supports but does not clearly and unambiguously confirm the misrepresentation.
b. A sworn Sales Representative Form confirming that he/she made the alleged misrepresentation.
c. An affidavit from a third party witness at the sales presentation which independently establishes that the alleged misrepresentation was made.
d. The premiums payable under the original premium off-set date where prepaid at the time of issue or within 6 months of the policy.
e. The Canada Life original standard form illustration was materially altered by the sales representative prior to the issue of a policy or at any time up to 6 months thereafter.
a. Written representation made to the policyholder which tends to contradict but does not clearly an unambiguously contradict the misrepresentation.
b. A sworn Sales Representative Form denying that he/she made the alleged misrepresentation.
c. An affidavit from a third party witness present at the sales presentation denying the alleged misrepresentation.
d. Prior to purchasing the policy, the policyholder received advice with respect to the cost and value of the policy from an accounting, tax, legal, financial, insurance, actuarial or estate advisor not associated with Canada Life.
e. The policyholder received more than 1 illustration which differed only with respect to dividend scale.
As a result of Canada Life converting from a mutual life insurance company in November, 1999, to a company owned by shareholders, eligible policyholders received a fixed number of shares as well as a number of variable shares of Canada Life Financial Corporation.
Where a policyholder received more than 1,000 variable shares, the individual benefits to the policyholder will be adjusted resulting in a later guaranteed premium off-set date than would otherwise have been awarded under Categories A, B and C.
Where a policyholder lapsed or surrendered his/her participating whole life insurance policy between January 1, 1992 and February 1, 2001, he/she is entitled to the following benefits:
a. The former owner may apply for a new individual life insurance policy currently offered by Canada Life with a total face amount of not more than the death benefit of the lapsed policy with a discount of 50% applied to the first years’ premium.
In the case of universal life policies, this will be based on the minimum premium.
Standard Canada Life underwriting and issue requirements will be required.
b. A former owner will be entitled to individual benefits where:
i. the former owner establishes that the lapsed or surrendered policy was as a direct consequence of the reliance by the former owner of a misrepresentation of a Canada Life Sales Representative; and
ii. the former owner restores the participating whole life insurance policy in accordance with the standard requirements of Canada Life and at the expense of the former owner.
A policyholder who does not wish to participate in the Settlement Agreement must complete Option 3 of the Policyholder Option Form and must send the form to Canada Life and be received by Canada Life on or before September 6, 2001.
4. WHEN DO I RECEIVE BENEFITS?
The General benefits will automatically apply commencing on your policy anniversary date in the year 2002.
Following receipt of the sworn Policyholder Claim Form, the independent adjudicator, Global Resolutions Inc., shall make a determination of your additional benefits within a reasonable period of time.