Life insurance plans

The life insurance benefit is one that is paid out to your designated beneficiary in the event of your death.

McGill provides a basic benefit equal to 1x your salary. The plan also gives you the flexibility to purchase up to $1,000,000 in optional coverage.

Basic coverage

As an eligible employee, you are automatically covered under the McGill Basic Life Insurance Plan. The amount of coverage you receive depends on your age as outlined as follows:

While working under age 65:

  • 1x salary* to a maximum of $130,000
  • McGill pays the full cost of this coverage

If working at age 65 or older:

  • 1/2 x salary* to a maximum of $50,000
  • McGill pays the full cost of this coverage

*"Salary" refers to your regular annualized salary.

Optional coverage

Depending on your personal circumstances, the basic coverage may provide all of the financial protection you need. If not, you may purchase optional coverage.

Again, the amount of coverage available under the optional plan depends on your age:

While working under age 65:

  • Option to purchase up to $1,000,000 in units of $5,000
  • You pay the full cost of the amount you choose

If working at age 65 or older:

  • You have the option to maintain the optional life insurance you purchased before age 65 - maximum of $100,000
  • You pay the full cost of the amount you elected

Optional contribution rates

You are responsible for the full cost of this coverage. See Rate Summary for more information. The cost to you will depend on your age and your chosen amount of coverage. Each time you move to the next age group, your premium will be adjusted accordingly.

Purchasing or increasing optional life insurance

Before selecting your coverage under the optional plan, there are a few things you might want to consider:

  • Are you currently supporting any dependents? A spouse, children, or both? And to what degree do they depend on your income for financial security?
  • Do you require coverage above the basic benefit provided by McGill?
  • What other sources of income are available to your survivors: personal insurance policies, mortgage insurance, survivor pension benefits, personal savings, investments, real estate? Will this income be enough?

You will have to provide Evidence of Insurability for any requested increase to your Optional Life Insurance coverage.

If you are an active employee under 65

If you are an active employee under 65, you may purchase up to $100,000 in coverage under the Optional Life Insurance Plan without providing evidence of good health, provided you purchase your coverage within 60 days of first becoming eligible.

If you miss the 60-day window, or you want to purchase optional coverage in excess of $100,000

If you miss the 60-day window, or you want to purchase optional coverage in excess of $100,000, you will have to provide what is known in the industry as Evidence of Insurability (EOI) — that is, proof of good health. You must complete a comprehensive questionnaire (Evidence of Insurability form) and send it directly to the insurance carrier for review. Depending on the information provided in the questionnaire, the insurer may require you to undergo a physical examination or other medical tests (at the insurer's expense) before your application can be considered for approval.

You can obtain an Evidence of Insurability questionnaire directly from the Human Resources Service Centre by calling (514) 398-4747 or by emailing [at] HR will complete the Policy Holder Statement section of the form and then forward it to you to complete and send directly to the insurance carrier.

If you are under age 65 but are on leave

You may apply to purchase optional coverage or increase current coverage, however, coverage will only take effect on the date you return to active work.

Decreasing or cancelling optional life insurance

You can decrease or cancel your optional life insurance coverage at any time by written request to the HR Service Centre.

What the plan does not cover (exclusions)

If you die by suicide - no matter the circumstances - during the first 12 months of coverage under the Optional Life Insurance Plan (whether purchasing or increasing coverage), no benefit will be paid. Your beneficiary will receive a refund of your premium payments.

If you are retired (under 65 or 65+) 

Refer to the section Life Events-When you retire for more information.

Designating a beneficiary

The life insurance benefit is paid out to your designated beneficiary in the event of your death. You can name one or more individuals to receive your Basic and Optional Life Insurance benefits, eg. spouse, estate, family member. When designating a beneficiary, you must indicate whether the designation is revocable or irrevocable. To change your beneficiary, use the Change of Beneficiary Form.

Revocable vs irrevocable beneficiary

  • Revocable: can be changed at any time.
  • Irrevocable: can only be changed following a divorce, the death of the designated beneficiary, or if the designated beneficiary signs a waiver relinquishing their rights.


You can change your designation as long as you respect the laws governing the designation of beneficiaries.

In Quebec, the designation of a spouse, excluding a common-law spouse, as a beneficiary is irrevocable unless you indicate that the designation is 'revocable'. An irrevocable can only be changed with your spouse's consent.

If designating an individual as your beneficiary, please show all given names of the beneficiary and specify their relationship to you. This will ensure there will be no difficulty in identifying the proper person in the event of your death. 

If naming more than one beneficiary, indicate the share (%) of the life insurance proceeds payable to each. If the respective share is not indicated, the life insurance proceeds will be paid in equal shares.

If naming your Estate, be sure that your will provides for the disposition of the life insurance proceeds.

If you do not designate a beneficiary

If you do not designate a beneficiary, your beneficiary designation will automatically default to Estate.

Important: We strongly recommend that you review your beneficiaries when a major life event occurs, such as the birth of a child or a change in your marital status (eg. divorce, death of spouse).

If you become disabled

Your coverage under the Basic and Optional Life Insurance Plans will continue while you are eligible to receive benefits under the Long Term Disability (LTD) Plan. Your coverage level will be based on your salary when you became disabled.

In addition, the cost will be waived while you are receiving LTD benefits — that is, you will not be required to pay for your coverage. This waiver will end if you:

  • are no longer totally disabled as defined in the LTD Plan
  • fail to provide proof of the disability as required by the insurer
  • fail to submit to an examination by a physician designated (and paid for) by the insurer
  • reach age 65 (or retire, if earlier)
  • are incarcerated for a criminal offence for which you are found guilty

When coverage ends

Your coverage under the Basic and Optional Life Insurance Plans will end when:

  • you leave McGill for whatever reason, other than retirement
  • you no longer qualify as an eligible employee

In addition, your coverage under the optional plan will end if you fail to make the necessary premium payments.

If you leave the university before retirement

If you leave McGill before retirement and are under 65, you may convert your coverage (to a combined maximum of $200,000) to an individual policy. You must apply for coverage directly with the insurance carrier and pay the required premium within 31 days of your departure. If you die during this 31-day period, your beneficiary will receive the full value of your coverage, regardless of whether you apply for the conversion or not.

Converting your life insurance

The application form is available from the HR Service Centre ( [at] or 514 398-4747) or online here: life insurance conversion form.

The 'Policyholder' section of the form must be completed by the HR Service Centre. You can send the completed and signed application form to the insurance carrier by email to assurancecollective [at]

In the event of your death

The life insurance benefit will be paid out to the beneficiary(ies) you have designated. You can confirm your beneficiaries on MINERVA using your PIN and McGill ID number. Go to Employee Menu, Benefits Menu and Your Benefits.