Northbrook, Il.-based Allstate Corp. announced on Thursday that it is expanding its benefits division into Canada, by making its group critical illness (CI) insurance product available to employers in Canada.

It is the first group voluntary product to be offered in Canada by Jacksonville, Fl.-based American Heritage Life Insurance Company, a.k.a. Allstate Benefits, which is one of the largest voluntary benefits providers in the U.S.

“We have proven experience as a provider of critical illness benefits as evident of the more than 40,000 employers and three million employees we help take care of in the United States,” said Gregory Guidos, Allstate Benefits president.

The CI product includes essential and comprehensive coverage options. The product covers such conditions as heart attack, stroke, major organ failure, kidney failure, invasive cancer, advanced Alzheimer’s disease, and more, depending on which coverage is selected.

“The benefit payments received from this coverage can go towards experimental treatment, drugs, clinical trials, expenses related to caregivers including family members,” says Guidos. “It provides some peace of mind by knowing the cash benefit can help cover some of the everyday expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, daycare fees or utility bills.”

The CI product can be offered by employers at affordable rates on either an employer-paid or employee-paid basis.

In the U.S., Allstate Benefits offers a variety of group voluntary products and plans in addition to CI, including universal life insurance, term life, disability insurance, dental benefits and more.

Allstate has been offering property and casualty insurance in the Canadian market for more than 60 years through Markham, Ont.-based Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. It operates in the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, through more than 80 agencies and 1,700 insurance agents and employees.

“We are pleased to announce this new Canadian initiative offered by our Allstate Benefits division,” says John O’Donnell, president and CEO of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada.