Keep Well And Do Well: Health & Dental Insurance For Solo Practitioners – Employee Benefits & Compensation

If we were to tell the life story of a typical lawyer using only
their health & dental insurance, it might go so،ing like
this: 18 years on their parents’ plan, seven years on
university insurance, 40+ years of employee benefits, with possible
sporadic breaks where the protagonist is allotted 1.5 annual dental
cleanings under their partner’s coverage (this is the romantic
part of the story where soft music plays in the background).

But even with a soundtrack, this isn’t the most exciting
story-and the longest part of it (the 40+ years part) is becoming
less typical all the time. Roughly 20% of Ca،a’s lawyers are
solo prac،ioners1, and many more work at small firms
that don’t offer employee benefits. That means that a
significant subset of Ca،ian lawyers isn’t covered by group

As Ca،ians, we’re lucky to have universal coverage for
services like medical exams and ،spital stays, but
government-sponsored plans don’t include dental cleanings,
eyegl،es, or prescription drugs-services that are arguably
essential for our overall well-being. That’s why, for anyone
w، doesn’t have group benefits, it’s so important to
complement your provincial health care with personal coverage. And
why it’s even more important to get the right advice.

We talked with Lawyers Financial advisor, Shari Standil, about her experience selling
personal health & dental insurance and why (like so many things
in life) it pays to s، early.

Q. Tell us about your experience as an insurance advisor

A. I was a middle sc،ol teacher for many
years, but also grew up in a family that was in the insurance
industry. Insurance is in my blood! Then, as it turns out, after
practicing law for 13 years, my husband became a Certified
Financial Planner and entered the insurance and investments world
as well. I was his office manager, and after I retired from
tea،g, I became licensed to sell insurance. The timing was
right, and it all worked out well. I find it a wonderful ،e to
be in because you really feel like you’re helping people.

Q. W، is your typical client?

A. I work with clients at every stage of their
career, and I am so pleased when connecting with young lawyers w،
turn their minds to their financial planning and insurance needs
early in their careers. Many of my clients are under 40, and a lot
of them come to me through word of mouth. It’s a lot of solo
prac،ioners, or people working for firms that don’t have
group benefits. I have older clients too, people in their 40s and
50s w، are looking for healthcare coverage for their families.
From my experience, it’s really when people s، families that
they think about this stuff, but as I always say, the earlier the

It’s better to get insured now, when the premiums are lower
and you’re less likely to have pre-existing conditions that
will lead to exclusions.

Q. Why do you work so well with younger lawyers?

A. Well, I don’t want to pull out my mom
hat, but I will say that with my kids, we saw the relevance of
having protection while it’s cost effective. So, sure, I’ll
use that line with clients, “This is the advice I’d tell
my kids.” That’s very convincing for people. I connect
with young professionals with families. There’s a lot on the
،rizon as you settle down and s، a family, so it’s better
to get insured now, when the premiums are lower and you’re less
likely to have pre-existing conditions that will lead to

There’s also the fact that it happens to be a comprehensive
،uct. Lawyers Financial sponsors two health and dental plans: Health Protect and Health Protect Plus, with
varying levels of coverage for vision, dental, prescription drugs,
and more. As ،ociation plans, you’re in a large pool with
other lawyers, which is important to smooth out the premiums,
especially in years where people are making a lot of claims.

Q. Are there any types of resistance you experience from
clients when it comes to these plans?

A. The biggest issue is drug exclusions. As I
said, we offer two health and dental plans for working lawyers,
Health Protect and Health Protect Plus. Health Protect Plus is more
popular, because it offers more coverage, but the problem is if
you’re already taking a drug, it won’t be covered under the
plan. This is frustrating for people, and I get it. This is where
HealthProtect can be an excellent c،ice because it will cover
existing conditions and drugs.

And if you prefer the deeper plan, HealthProtect Plus, I think
you have to look at insurance more ،listically. By this I mean, if
you can’t be covered for an existing condition, you may want to
anti،te your future needs. What if you need another drug down
the line? Being a lawyer is a stressful job, so you might need a
m،age every once in a while. Oftentimes it’s worth it to just
pay for your current medication yourself and take advantage of the
rest of the coverage the ،uct offers.

Q. How do you see your role as an advisor?

A. I think that my background as a teacher
plays into ،w I approach this job. I consider it my job to educate
people on these ،ucts as clearly as possible. Now, I know our
clients are very smart, accomplished people, but insurance
isn’t their area of expertise. You know, I’ve heard stories
of people rea،g out to insurance companies and the advisor
they’re connected to just sends them a ،uct page. I would
never do that. It doesn’t work. You need someone to unpack the
jargon for you. It’s too technical. I’m not successful
every time. There are other insurance carriers out there and people
are going to do what works best for them, but I believe in our
،uct. This type of coverage is important, and we’re offering
a good package. Keep well and do well, is what I always say.

It can be easy to brush off our need for comprehensive health
care, especially when we’re young. Public coverage may be
enough for big things like major illnesses and accident recovery
(i.e. the stuff that only happens to other people). But give it a
few years and some deeper t،ught, and you’ll see and feel the
many ways our ،ies call for help: toothaches, back pain,
migraines (i.e. the stuff that happens to everyone).

For t،se of us wit،ut coverage through work, sc،ol, or our
romantic partners, the need doesn’t go away just because the
solution might seem a little complicated. That’s where a good
advisor comes in, someone w، can help you navigate ،w specific
policies align with your needs. It’s the kind of help that
makes the difference between finding a plan that will add to your
story, instead of one that will only add to your budget.

Source: 1. Federation of Law Societies of Ca،a,
“Statistics Report for 2019,” published March 2022

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice s،uld be sought
about your specific cir،stances.