Canadian insurance group Sun Life Financial (SLF) has said that its US business group has launched Sun Care Whole Life, a single premium whole life insurance policy with a linked benefit that owners can apply to long-term care.

The long-term care costs includes in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home facilities.

An estimated 70% of people over 65 will eventually need long-term care, often for daily activities such as eating, bathing or getting dressed, according to a report from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Sun Life said.

The insurer said Sun Care Whole Life, currently available in in 39 US states, may provide a long-term care benefit equivalent to as much as three to seven times the value of the premium, depending on factors such as the riders selected, age, gender and smokig status.

According to Sun Life, if the insured passes away without exercising the long-term care benefits, a death benefit will go to the beneficiaries, free of income tax.

The policy also provides, for an additional fee, an optional return-of-premium feature, which if elected, allows policy holders to recoup the value of their original premium.

Sun Life’s individual life insurance division vice president Bob Klein said once the policy owner pays the single premium, the policy is guaranteed to provide a benefit, either to the individual or the beneficiaries.

"This offers several possible advantages over traditional long-term care insurance, which only provides a benefit if the client makes a long-term care claim, requires ongoing premiums to fund the policy, and provides no death benefit if a policy owner never needs long-term care," Klein said.