Canada is home to over 150 life and health insurance providers, all of which provide a competitive Canadian market with a range of financial security products for businesses and individuals. Their products include employee benefit packages as well as individual plans for over 28 million Canadians. These products offer health insurance protection, life insurance protection, and retirement savings solutions.

With this much selection available, finding just one insurance provider can seem like a daunting task, which is why it is important to understand the benefits of all of the major Canadian providers. 

These are Canada’s largest insurers:

manulife_financial
  • Market type: Independent agency broker
  • CEO: Roy Gori
  • Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario
  • AUM: $935 billion CAD (2015)
  • Total assets: $705 billion CAD (2015)
  • Revenue: ‎$53.3 billion CAD (2016)
  • Net income: $2.2 billion CAD (2015)

As Canada’s largest life insurance company by revenue, Manulife Financial is known for all of its wide-reaching insurance products. They reported a consolidated revenue of $40.4 billion in 2014, making it one of Canada’s 10 biggest companies in any industry. Manulife also has an American subsidiary, John Hancock, which reported written life insurance premiums of more than $4.7 billion in the United States.

Manulife also offers group benefits and retirement plans, investment products and wealth management services. Their bank, Manulife Bank, is federally regulated and offers services across the provinces and territories. They are also involved in real estate on a global scale, and international reinsurance, with substantial business interests in North America and Asia.

Manulife acquired The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada in 2015, adding 1.4 million additional customers and additional assets totaling $20.5 billion. They also purchased New York Life’s American retirement services division that added another $50 billion in pension assets.

great_west_lifeco
  • Market type: Independent agency broker
  • CEO: Paul A. Mahon
  • Headquarters: Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • AUM:$596 billion CAD (2013)
  • Total assets: $264.158 billion CAD (2013)
  • Revenue: $10.529 billion CAD (2013) 
  • Net income: $1,103 million CAD (2013)

An international financial services giant operating out of Canada, Great-West Lifeco has a consolidated revenue of over $29.7 billion per year, with a reported premium income on Canadian life insurance policies of $2.7 billion. The company also owns a subsidiary in the U.S., Great-West Life and Annuity Insurance Company, with reported additional written life insurance premiums of almost $1.5 billion on U.S. policies.

Overall, Great-West Lifeco is a holding company for six subsidiary insurance providers offering services in North America, Europe and Asia. These subsidiaries offer many life and health insurance policy options, such as general health, disability and critical illness insurance products. This is on top of the many investment services, savings and retirement income products, pension plans, wealth protection and management services offered. The company also participates in international reinsurance markets.

sun_life_financial
  • Market type: Career agent broker
  • CEO: Dean A. Connor
  • Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario
  • AUM: $975 billion CAD (2017)
  • Total assets: $258.238 billion CAD (2016)
  • Revenue: ‎$28.573 billion CAD (2016)
  • Net income: $2.581 million CAD (2016)

Canada’s third-largest life insurance company, Sun Life Financial reported consolidated revenue of $19.5 billion in 2014, with an additional Canadian life insurance premium income of $1.7 billion. Sun Life Financial also owns a US subsidiary with written life insurance premiums of more than $1.1 billion. The company also has significant operations in North America, Europe, India, China, the Philippines and other countries. Many of its products are made available through independent agents operating internationally.

They also offer more than just life insurance, such as health, dental and disability insurance, investment and retirement savings products, and financial planning services. Sun Life Financial has over 37 million customers worldwide, serviced by nearly 28,000 employees working at dozens of subsidiary and joint-venture companies around the globe.

ia_financial_group
  • Market type: Independent agency broker
  • CEO: Yvon Charest
  • Headquarters: Quebec city, Quebec
  • AUM: $71.516 billion CAD (2011)
  • Total assets: $35.3009 billion CAD (2011)
  • Revenue: ‎$3.681 billion CAD (2011)
  • Net income: $531.4 million CAD (2017)

Industrial Alliance Financial Group (often simply called “IA Financial”) conducts almost all of its business in Canada, which puts it in stark contrast to Canada’s other major insurance providers. The group reported consolidated revenue of $7.3 billion in 2014, with $940 million in life insurance premium income. In America, IA American Life Insurance Company reported about $151 million of written life insurance premiums.

IA Financial has many different insurance products and financial services that it offers to customers across Canada. IA Financial sets itself apart with its property and casualty insurance, which aren’t offered by its larger competitors. Other products include mortgages and loans, savings and investment products, group pension plans and financial planning services.

rbc_insurance
  • Market type: Career agent
  • CEO: Neil D. Skelding
  • Headquarters: Mississauga, Ontario
  • Total assets: $9.066 billion CAD (2013)
  • Revenue: ‎$3.76 billion CAD (2014)
  • Net income: $96.589 million CAD (2013)

A wholly-owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada, RBC Insurance reported total revenue of $3.76 billion in 2014, including $457 million in Canadian life insurance premium income. RBC insurance offers life insurance and health insurance products, domestic insurance products, home and auto insurance policies and even travel insurance. As the insurance company of Canada’s largest bank, it also offers wealth management products, including annuities and segregated funds. They also feature credit protection plans for eligible Royal Bank of Canada financial products. The company operates internationally as well, including reinsurance operations offering annuity.

empire_life
  • Market type: Independent agency broker
  • CEO: Mark Sylvia
  • Headquarters: Kingston, Ontario
  • AUM: $16,051 million CAD (2016)
  • Total assets: $16 billion CAD (2016)
  • Revenue: ‎‎$1.4 billion CAD (2016)
  • Net income: $152.7 million CAD (2016)

A subsidiary of E-L Financial Corp, Empire Life posted consolidated revenue of $1.46 billion in 2014 and life insurance premium income of $300 million. The company focuses almost entirely on the Canadian market with no significant international operations. Products available fall into three major categories: individual insurance products, group benefit plans and wealth management products.

Empire Life also offers life insurance options, including critical illness insurance, flexible group benefit plans for small-to-medium-sized businesses, mutual funds, annuities, segregated funds and savings plans.

Canada’s major insurance companies grew organically, with acquisitions helping drive them to new levels of success. Now, they own the majority of the market while offering many of the insurance products Canadians, and Canadian businesses, require.

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