Quebeckers are more likely to own life and disability insurance (DI) products, but less likely to own health insurance, than Canadians in the rest of the country. These findings were drawn from recent research conducted by Mississauga, Ont.-based Credo Consulting Inc. for the ongoing Financial Comfort Zone Study, a national consumer survey conducted by Credo in partnership with Montreal-based TC Media’s investment group. (TC Media publishes Investment Executive.)

Residents of Quebec participating in the survey also were more likely than other participating Canadians to say that they had a good understanding of the financial matters they needed to address at their stage in life, and that they avoid financial risk.

This edition of the survey examined differences in the attitudes of Canadians regarding financial products and advice in four major regions: Western Canada (the four western provinces), Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada (the four Atlantic provinces).

Among survey participants, 68% of Quebeckers said they owned insurance products vs 67% of Atlantic Canadians, 61% of Ontarians and 60% of Western Canadians.

Among all survey participants who said they owned insurance, 78% in Quebec said they owned life insurance vs 70% of Atlantic Canadians and 64% of both Western Canadians and Ontarians. In addition, 30% of Quebec participants said they owned DI , vs 29% of Atlantic Canadians, 27% of Western Canadians and 20% of Ontarians.

These results don’t surprise André Langlois, executive vice president of individual insurance with Desjardins Group in Montreal, who suggests Quebec has long been a strong insurance market. Part of the reason for that may be a tendency among Quebeckers to be conservative in their financial decisions.

“Historically, in Quebec, investors have been risk-averse,” Langlois says.

Among surveyed Quebeckers, 44% strongly agreed with the statement: “I avoid financial risk.” In comparison, just 39% of Atlantic Canadians, 36% of Ontarians and 34% of Western Canadians said they strongly agreed with the same statement.

In addition, among surveyed Quebeckers, 47% said that they strongly agreed with the statement: “I have a good understanding of the financial matters I need to address at this stage in my life.” In comparison, just 43% of Atlantic Canadians, 42% of Ontarians and 40% of Western Canadians said they strongly agreed with the same statement.

Another reason for the relatively high ownership of life and DI products among Quebeckers, Langlois says, might be the proliferation of creditor insurance products in the province. He cites his firm’s product reach as a case in point: “[Desjardins’] high market share in terms of mortgage insurance may translate into higher ownership of life or DI products.”

The trend favouring insurance ownership in the province, however, does not extend to health insurance,as the survey found. Among survey participants in Quebec, just 50% said they owned health insurance. In comparison, 66% of Atlantic Canadians, 65% of Western Canadians and 53% of Ontarians said they owned health insurance.

Langlois suggests that the relatively low rate of health insurance ownership in Quebec could be because some residents believe that publicly provided coverage will be sufficient for their needs.

Says Langlois: “Some [Quebec] clients will ask us, ‘Why would I buy such an insurance product if the government covers it?'”

Below are some findings from the other three regions:

Ontario. Ontarians were far more likely than Canadians in the other three regions to say they know how much they pay their financial advisor and also more likely to be considering finding a new advisor.

Ontarians who work with an advisor gave an average score of 6.53 out of 10 – with 10 indicating the strongest agreement – to the statement: “I know how much I pay my financial advisor.” In comparison, Atlantic Canadians gave a 6.30 score; Western Canadians, a 6.29 score; and Quebeckers, a 5.59 score.

In addition, Ontarians who work with a financial advisor gave an average score of 3.22 out of 10 to the statement: “I am considering finding a new financial advisor.” In comparison, Western Canadians gave a 2.67 score; Quebeckers, a 2.63 score; and Atlantic Canadians, a 2.27 score.

Western Canada. Western Canadians are more likely to work with a financial advisor, and to have TFSAs and RRSPs vs Canadians in other regions.

Among survey participants in Western Canada, 49% said they work with a financial advisor, compared with 48% of survey participants in Ontario, 47% in Quebec and 45% in Atlantic Canada.

As for TFSA ownership, 60% of Western Canadians participating in the survey reported having one, vs 59% of Ontarians, 52% of Quebeckers and 50% of Atlantic Canadians.

Among survey participants in Western Canada, 60% reported having an RRSP, vs 58% of Ontarians, 56% of Quebeckers and 49% of Atlantic Canadians.

Atlantic Canada. Although survey participants in Atlantic Canada were the least likely among Canadians surveyed to say they work with an advisor, those who did were more likely to indicate they had a strong relationship with their advisor vs survey participants in other regions of Canada.

The online Financial Comfort Zone Study has polled 18,000 Canadians thus far. The survey is meant to gain insight into the relationships among financial advice, financial well-being and overall life satisfaction in Canadian society. Canadians are polled monthly, and the number of survey participants will increase each month.

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