Manulife reducing premiums on some term life policies

Almost three-quarters of Saskatchewan residents are opposed to their provincial government’s decision to apply provincial sales tax (PST) to a range of insurance products, according to a recent survey the Financial Advisors Association of Canada (a.k.a. Advocis) commissioned.

In the survey of 600 Saskatchewan residents, conducted in early August by Ottawa-based public affairs firm Maple Leaf Strategies Inc., 73% said they oppose or strongly oppose taxing insurance.

Saskatchewan’s decision to apply its 6% PST to insurance premiums, including individual and group life and health insurance, was revealed in the province’s 2017-18 budget in March and took effect Aug. 1.

The life insurance industry has opposed the move vocally, arguing that the tax will make insurance less affordable and represents an unfair tax on savings.

“People use insurance as a way to protect their family’s financial future in the event of an accident, illness or loss of life. They also use insurance as a way to save,” says Greg Pollock, president and CEO of Advocis, in a statement. “Taxing savings makes no sense. It puts the financial future of families at risk.”

Of the Saskatchewan residents surveyed, 77% said taxing insurance is “unfair” and 73% said they believe it will cause individuals to reduce or cancel their insurance coverage.

“Opposition to taxing insurance crosses every demographic and political category,” says Dimitri Pantazopoulos, partner with Maple Leaf Strategies, in a statement. “Moreover, there is a high level of awareness of this issue among the electorate.”

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