Chris Hamilton is the insurance whisperer. He has extensive expertise with the triple combo - life insurance, critical illness insurance, and disability insurance - and works closely with physicians and other professional business owners to achieve highly profitable results in these areas. “Leveraging life insurance premiums and tax reduction are a key focus of my practice,” the Senior Financial Advisor explains.
Chris completed his degree from The University of Western Ontario with a double minor in Statistics and Psychology which allowed him to not only learn the numbers, but how they affect the person in question. “Because I understood statistics I knew the probability of getting ill or hurt. This knowledge, plus having to make an insurance claim after a horrific skiing accident, solidified my belief in the merits of insurance.”
Chris has had to face some challenges in his life. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 18 month’s old. At the age of 17, while playing Triple A hockey, he suffered a severe concussion from an illegal hit from behind. This pretty much ended his hockey career. At the age of 25, while skiing in Utah, he shattered his femur that almost cost him his life. “Luckily I had purchased travel insurance. The premium cost me $21. My U.S. medical bills totaled over $180,000. The travel insurance paid every cent.”
“As a result, I am pretty much ‘uninsurable.’ Luckily, I had a modest group disability policy in the years before my skiing accident. The money I received from that policy lasted two years. The only problem was I couldn’t work for three. We almost lost our house. My number one regret is that I didn’t purchase a more adequate disability insurance package before I was 25, when I was still relatively healthy.”
Unfortunately, Chris’ biggest challenge lay ahead of him. In order for his leg to properly heal, he had to take doctor prescribed, pain medication for almost 2 years. The withdrawal was excruciating as he slowly weaned himself off all prescriptions; an experience he wouldn’t wish on anyone! However, as with all challenges in life, Chris feels he is a stronger person having conquered these bumps in the road and often counsels young adults to never give up when facing adversity.
The Hammar Time Triple Combo
Chris affectionately calls the three key types of insurance - life, disability, and critical illness insurance - as the “Hammar Time Triple Combo or HTTC for short.” “Besides making clients laugh, one of my overriding objectives and key success indicators is to invest for the future and protect clients’ life style so that they are covered, no matter what happens to them. To do so, all three insurance categories are needed. A lot of my time is spent educating clients to make good decisions. Professionals have sacrificed a lot and have worked hard. I don’t want the same thing that happened to me to happen to anyone else.”
Chris is insurance licensed in all provinces except Quebec. He also has access to almost every insurance carrier operating in Canada. “This allows me to price shop. Even the most affluent client likes a good deal.” Given today’s demanding and fast-paced lifestyles, time is often just as important as money. Most people, especially busy professionals, don’t have the time to sit around the kitchen table discussing insurance, as they did in days gone by.
Chris recognized this and was one of the first advisors in Canada to operate virtually, with forward-thinking online applications and systems and the telephone. “I do a lot of work with physicians. We can have a phone appointment, any time that works with their schedules. It’s very efficient and clients appreciate this. The fact that a virtual practice also respects the environment is the cherry on top.”
Most people think life insurance is a way to take care of their spouse, kids and estate. Although true, that is only part of the story. With Participating Whole Life, the policy is set up on either 10 or 20 pay chassis, the premiums are invested by the insurance company, the investments grow tax-free and the policy is completely paid for within 20 years. There are strategies the policy holder can use to access this money without paying personal income tax. This makes life insurance, one of the best, and most tax efficient ways to save money for retirement in Canada.
Let’s say you are a 40-year old physician. All of the insurance premiums are paid up in 15 years, when you are 55. Let’s say you didn’t make any claims during this period. I work with a number of insurance carriers where you can get 100% of your premiums back. “You shouldn’t be hindered for creating a tax free cheque if you never got sick. Just think of it as a signing bonus. And, if you do get sick, your critical illness coverage pays 100% of the policy amount,” Chris says.
Medical students graduate with hundreds of thousands of dollars in school debt which is why medical schools encourage graduating students to purchase disability insurance. Chris has created a specialized product with a large insurance company which makes it very easy for medical students to get approved. There are also a number of special perks and discounts associated with the product. “I am one of the top advisors for living benefits in Canada.”
This helps everyone. Medical residents only make about $60K/year when they are resident. It is important to protect that income. “If you get sick or disabled your disability insurance covers your income so that you can honour your financial commitments, including education debt. So, no matter what happens you are safe and secure.”
Chris has always recognized that he can’t do it all himself and works with a few junior advisors and, Katie Redford, a Business Operations Specialist. Katie has been with Chris for four years now. “To maintain excellent client communication is important as the majority of my business is conducted online or on the telephone. Katie is very good at both.”
As a last word, Chris says, “In Canada, insurance is one of the most tax efficient and stable investments you can make. With products like Participating Whole Life and Segregated Funds (an investment only offered by insurance companies that comes with capital guarantees) I am able to provide my clients with peace of mind knowing that when the time comes, the money will be there!
Up Close & Personal
Chris is one of the youngest members of the firm to be inducted into the Diamond Club. To achieve this, he had to be one of the top thirty advisors in the country – five times! He finally made it last year at the age of 34. This is quite an accomplishment in an industry where the average age is 60. “We need more young people to get licensed and educated.”
Chris has two dogs – “Jimmie,” a Maltese and “Harley,” a comfort retriever and personal therapy dog. Harley is being trained to recognize the scent of pheromone changes and to bark when Chris’ glucose levels get too high.
Chris went back to skiing in 2017 and he purchased a time share in Utah. “I love the Rocky Mountains. They are so large, they make me and my life problems seem insignificant.” His hobbies include following all sports, (including fantasy drafts), fishing with his father, golfing and spending time at the family cottage on Georgian Bay. “I get up early everyday eager to face whatever the world is going to deliver to me that day. I truly feel blessed.”
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category.
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