Some 22 million Canadians owned some form of life insurance in 2019, according to industry figures. There are some 150 life and health insurers competing in the Canadian market, including domestic and foreign companies.
In total, these insurers reported premiums totaling $110 billion per year. These top insurers are all diversified financial services companies offering their customers much more than life insurance. This list introduces each of these top companies, with notes on market position and product offerings.
1. Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is Canada’s largest insurance company as measured by revenue, generating $58.4 billion over the last twelve months. It reported $1.36 billion in core earnings for its Canadian market in 2018. In addition to the Canadian premiums, Manulife’s American subsidiary, John Hancock, generated core earnings of $1.83 billion in the U.S.
2. Great-West Lifeco, Inc.
Great-West Lifeco, Inc. is an international financial services giant headquartered in Canada. Great-West Lifeco operates as a holding company for six subsidiary companies that market insurance and financial services products in North America, Europe, and Asia. In the insurance area, Great-West Lifeco subsidiaries offer a wide variety of life and health insurance policy options, including general health, disability, and critical illness insurance products.
3. Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial, Inc. (SLF) ranks as a major life insurance company in Canada, reporting almost $30 billion in revenue over the last twelve months. Sun Life Financial is a global financial services company with substantial operations in North America, Ireland and the United Kingdom, and valuable businesses in India, China, the Philippines, and more than a dozen other countries.
4. IA Financial Group
In contrast to the international giants that make up the above spots on this list, Industrial Alliance Insurance, and Financial Services, Inc., which operates under the IA Financial Group brand, conducts almost all of its business in Canada. It collected over $10 billion premium in premiums during 2018. The company reported about $830 million of premiums in the U.S. market.
5. Empire Life
Empire Life Insurance is a subsidiary of the publicly listed holding company, E-L Financial Corp. Ltd. The company does not have any substantial international business operations.