Manulife Financial introduces long term care insurance with unique design and benefits for Canadians and their partners



    TSX/NYSE/PSE: MFC; SEHK: 0945

    WATERLOO, ON, Nov. 8 /CNW/ - Manulife Financial has introduced LivingCare
long term care insurance, with a unique Shared Coverage option, to help
Canadians meet their rising needs for elder care and protect their retirement
savings.
    "Canada's aging population, increased life expectancy and need for elder
care all suggest Canadians should account for long term care costs when
they're planning for retirement," explains Paul Smith, Vice President of
Marketing and Product Development, Manulife Financial.
    "LivingCare provides individuals and/or couples with the money required
to help support quality care. Its unique Shared Coverage option for couples
(married or common law) helps support quality care for one or both partners.
This long term care insurance product provides a monthly income, whether the
care is at the insured's home or within a care facility."
    The person insured under the policy can use the monthly income as they
choose to provide the services they need to remain at home. Services could
include non-professional or professional in-home care services, home
modifications or medical equipment. The monthly income amount doubles when
facility-based care is necessary.
    In developing LivingCare, Manulife Financial leveraged its strength as a
global company and consulted with colleagues in its US operations, John
Hancock, a company that has years of long term care insurance expertise and a
leadership position in the US market. Manulife Financial also focused on a
number of key concerns among Canadians in developing LivingCare.
    "We commissioned a survey(1) that found Canadians are worried about long
term care, not only for themselves, but also their partners," adds Smith.
"Fifty-seven percent of Canadians between the ages of 35 to 75 reported
they're worried that their partners or they will need long term care and
they're concerned about their ability to pay for it. We developed LivingCare
and, in particular, the unique Shared Coverage option for couples, in response
to these concerns."
    Smith further explained that the research revealed a number of long term
care insurance issues that would motivate Canadians to purchase long term care
insurance. Topping the list were: not being a burden to family (82 percent);
the option to choose where to receive care (80 per cent); and control over
care decisions (76 percent).

    Only 21 per cent of Canadians factored long term care costs into
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    retirement planning
    -------------------
    Despite concerns about their ability to pay for future care, only 21 per
cent of survey respondents said they accounted for long term care when
estimating funds needed for retirement.
    "It's not surprising to find that so few Canadians have factored long
term care costs into retirement planning," comments Mark Halpern, CFP, founder
of illnessPROTECTION.com and an independent financial advisor. "In my
experience, most people spend less than five minutes per year thinking about
their financial situation and how they will weather their retirement if
something goes wrong, like getting sick or outliving their savings."

    As Manulife's survey shows, Canadians are counting on a variety of
sources to pay for long term care:

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        How will Canadians pay for long term care if they          Canadians
        need it?                                                  age 35 - 75
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Use savings or retirement income                              80%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Rely on government programs                                   61%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Use the equity from their home to cover costs                 53%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Rely on financial assistance from family                      22%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    According to Smith, purchasing LivingCare is a good strategy for planning
for retirement, particularly when you consider Statistics Canada's
projections. By 2021, there will be nearly seven million seniors for health
care systems to support, representing 19 per cent of Canada's total
population.
    Halpern agrees. "We can't rely on government to take care of us in old
age. We are living longer, have fewer, more mobile children to rely on, so we
need to think about how we're going to enjoy a good quality of life," says
Halpern.
    "If someone is forced to pay for long term care out of their after-tax
savings, there could be considerable loss to estate value, and funds may be
completely depleted. A long term care facility costing $4,000 per month over
10 years adds up to nearly $500,000. When care needs for an elderly couple are
considered, asset depletion can become even more rapid."
    "LivingCare offers Canadians peace of mind when it comes to their
potential long term care needs. Not only can they be more secure that their
retirement savings will be preserved, they can rest assured that they have a
plan in place to gain greater control over care decisions without burdening
family or friends," says Smith.

    About Manulife Financial
    ------------------------
    Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group
serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide.
Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John
Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of
financial protection products and wealth management services through its
extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under
management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$410 billion
(US$386 billion) as at June 30, 2007.
    Manulife Financial is one of only two publicly traded life insurance
companies with 'AAA'-rated insurance subsidiaries, the highest rating for
financial strength at Standard & Poor's Rating Services.
    Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE,
and under '0945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet
at www.manulife.com.

    (1) Manulife Financial Survey 2007
    Manulife Financial commissioned Market Probe Canada to conduct a research
    survey among a random national sample of 1,008 Canadians. All respondents
    were between ages 35 and 75 with annual household incomes of $50,000 or
    more. Interviews were conducted between May 4 and 27, 2007. Results'
    margin of error: +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.





For further information:

For further information: Tom Nunn, Manulife Financial, (519) 594-8578,
tom_nunn@manulife.com; Maureen Meehan, Jennifer Meneses, PraxisPR, (905)
949-8255 (extensions 238/221), meehan@praxispr.ca, jennifer@praxispr.ca


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