Despite their risk averse natures, many Canadians are leaving themselves open to unnecessary financial risk and worry, a new poll suggests, and this presents advisors with an opportunity to broach the topic of life insurance with their clients.

According to the TD Insurance Risky Business Poll, the majority of Canadians say they’re cautious and risk-avoiders (55%), with only 8% saying they are risk-takers. However, the same poll finds that 3-in-10 Canadians don’t have life insurance and 6-in-10 don’t have critical illness insurance.

“Canadians may say they’re risk averse, but when it comes to insurance many are making choices that would be outside of their comfort zone,” says Dave Minor, vice president, TD Insurance.

Of the 31% of Canadians who do not have life insurance, 40% say they don’t think it’s necessary, 23% admit they probably should have it and another 23% feel they can’t afford it. Additionally, one-third of Canadians worry they aren’t adequately protected by their insurance policies.

“There are enough things in life to worry about, your insurance coverage shouldn’t be one of them,” says Minor. “With insurance, something is always better than nothing. Whether you need a policy to cover basic expenses or something more sophisticated, it’s worth contacting your insurer to find out how to make investing in insurance work for you, rather than leaving yourself open to risk and worry.”

Who’s taking the most risks?
Younger Canadians are the most likely to be taking risks and the least likely to have life insurance. Fifteen per cent of Canadians 18-29 consider themselves risk-takers. However, only 59% of Canadians in this age group have life insurance, compared to 77% of Canadians 30 -39, 78% of those 40 – 49 and 75% of those 50 – 59.

Who’s riskier, men or women?
Canadians agree men are riskier than women when it comes to a number of activities. Eighty-one per cent think men are riskier when it comes to outdoor activities, 72% say men are riskier drivers, 56% think men are riskier eaters and 51% also say men are riskier when it comes to travelling. Only in terms of taking care of their health are men and women perceived to be relatively close in risky behavior, with 48% saying men are riskier and 44% citing women as riskier.

Life’s milestones
Advisors have an opportunity to bring up the need for life insurance by focusing on the changing milestones in a client’s life.

When asked what life events have changed their appetite towards risk, the top answer from Canadians was having children (48%), followed by buying a house (23%) and getting married (18%).

“Life is always changing and your insurance needs change with it,” adds Minor. “Whether you’re hitting one of life’s milestones or not, it’s important to re-evaluate your insurance from time to time to make sure that it still suits your needs.”

Results for the TD Insurance Risky Business Poll were collected through an Environics Research Group telephone omnibus, conducted October 27 – November 11. A total of 1,500 completed surveys were collected with Canadian adults.