The biggest life insurance companies in Canada are Manulife, Canada Life, Sun Life, Desjardins and Industrial Alliance, based on the annual premiums they bring in and according to Insurance Business Magazine.1
Here's the full list of the largest life insurance companies in Canada:
*SSQ and La Capitale merged and are now Beneva Insurance as of 2023.
These companies have a solid reputation and offer a wide range of policies to meet different needs. Let's take a look at some of the largest life insurance companies in Canada:
Here are the largest to smallest life insurance companies in Canada:
While these are the biggest life insurance companies in Canada. It's important to research and compare various options to find the best fit for your specific needs. Remember to consider factors such as policy features, financial strength, customer reviews, and the expertise of the company's advisors when making your decision.
BMO is the largest life insurance companies in Canada, with $39.2B in annual premiums and $200B in total assets as of 2022.
Some Canadians feel more comfortable going with a big bank for their life insurance, either directly or through a broker.
It's also possible to go with an online insurance solution, like PolicyMe, or an online broker like PolicyAdvisor, which both have 5-star or almost 5-star customer ratings on Reviews.io.
PolicyMe is also backed by insurance giant Canadian Premier, for an extra layer of security.
Quick facts about the Canadian insurance industry:
There are 77 life insurers in Canada as of 2022.2
There are actually 47 life insurance companies; the remaining 30 are subsidiaries and affiliates, according to the Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association's (CLHIA) 2022 report.
This number is sometimes mistakenly reported as 150; the truth is that there are over 150 life and health insurers total in Canada and 77 of them are life only.
66 per cent of life insurance is sold through group plans; 34 per cent is sold as individual policies, according to the CLHIA.
Most Canadians have individual term life insurance, meaning they buy a term life insurance policy just for themselves or their family.
A group policy, like you get through work, covers many people under one contract.
Here's the breakdown of the most commonly purchased life insurance products, calculated by the value of total policies in force in Canada:
PolicyMe sells term life insurance that's simple, affordable and reliable. Apply online in 20 minute or less, save 5 to 10 per cent, on average, from comparable policies and get free advice from our non-commissioned advisors, if you want it.
Choosing the best life insurance company is crucial for your peace of mind and financial security. Here are some reasons why you might consider coverage from a large insurance company.
Large insurance companies tend to be financially stable. They have substantial resources and a diverse customer base, which lets them withstand economic fluctuations and unforeseen events. This stability means that they can meet their financial obligations, such as paying claims promptly and efficiently.
You can research financial stability by looking up a company on AM Best, the largest credit rating agency in the world that specializes in insurance.
Example: Canadian Premier was rated ‘A’ (Excellent) by credit rating agency AM Best.
A large insurance company, such as a big bank, typically offers a wide range of coverage options to suit different needs.
This can mean larger coverage amounts, more add-ons to choose from like child coverage, or the option to bundle with related products like disability or critical illness insurance. Some companies such as Manulife offer unique products like Synergy that roll life, disability and critical illness coverage into one policy.
Big insurance companies can also serve as a one-stop shop where you can get auto insurance, home insurance, or business insurance too. Think any of the big banks, or insurers like Co-operators.
Insurance is all about protecting yourself from potential risks. In the unfortunate event that you need to file a claim, a large insurance company is better equipped to handle it efficiently. They have dedicated claims departments with experienced professionals who can guide you through the process, ensuring a smooth and timely settlement. Additionally, their financial strength allows them to handle multiple claims simultaneously without compromising their ability to meet obligations.
Example: Canadian Premier, PolicyMe's insurance partner, has paid 99 per cent of term life claims since 2019.*
*Based on Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company’s group creditor protection line of business. As of September 13, 2021.
Large insurance companies often have a long history and established reputation within the industry. Their track record speaks volumes about their reliability and customer service. That said, you should always do your own research, read customer reviews and look up their Better Business Bureau rating.
Dealing with insurance matters can be complex and overwhelming. Large insurance companies typically have extensive customer support infrastructure in place. This includes customer service representatives who can answer your questions, assist with policy changes, and provide guidance throughout your insurance journey. Their focus on customer support ensures that you have access to the assistance you need, enhancing your overall experience.
Yes, but: High call volumes for large companies can sometimes result in long wait times to get customer service on the phone. Take a peek at InsurEye if you want to check out customer reviews.
Large insurance companies often invest heavily in technology to streamline their operations and enhance customer experience. They may offer online platforms or mobile apps that allow you to manage your policies conveniently, access policy information, file claims, and even receive real-time updates. Embracing technology makes it easier for you to interact with your insurance company, saving you time and effort.
Yes, but: Some companies like BMO require you to do the process over the phone with an advisor, instead of online. If you prefer that, then that works too!
When it comes to life insurance, you may want to consider a smaller insurance company for a variety of reasons, such as:
Smaller life insurance companies often prioritize providing personalized service to their customers. Since they have fewer clients compared to larger companies, they can give you more individual attention. This means you may receive more tailored advice and assistance in selecting a policy that fits your specific needs and financial situation.
Smaller insurance companies may offer more competitive pricing compared to their larger counterparts. They often have lower overhead costs, which can result in more affordable premiums for life insurance coverage. This affordability can be especially beneficial if you're on a tight budget or looking for cost-effective options.
Smaller life insurance companies may be more flexible when it comes to policy customization. They are often open to adapting their coverage options to accommodate unique circumstances or specific requirements. This flexibility can be advantageous if you have specific preferences or need a policy tailored to your individual circumstances.
Dealing with a smaller insurance company can make communication easier and more straightforward. Since they have fewer customers, you may find it easier to reach a representative when you have questions or need assistance. This direct line of communication can enhance your overall experience and provide a greater sense of accessibility.
Some smaller life insurance companies specialize in serving niche markets or specific demographics. For example, they may focus on providing coverage for individuals with unique health conditions or those in high-risk professions. If you fall into one of these categories, a smaller company with niche expertise may better understand your circumstances and offer more tailored coverage options.
Before making a decision, evaluate your needs and preferences to determine if a smaller insurer aligns with your goals and provides the coverage and service you require.
In Canada, the insurance industry is closely regulated to ensure consumer protection. If an insurance company faces financial difficulties and is unable to meet its obligations, there are safeguards in place to help policyholders like you.
To protect yourself proactively:
Sun Life has one of the biggest payout options in Canada. Their SunTerm and SunSpectrum Term policies offer coverage up to $25M, and their permanent policies can also go up to $25M if you apply with an advisor (not available online).
Here's a complete list3 of all major life insurance companies in Canada:
* Great-West Life and London Life merged with Canada Life in 2019 to form The Canada Life Assurance Company.
** Standard Life Assurance Company became part of Manulife in 2015. CAA Life Insurance is underwritten by Manulife.
First published in May 2023. All information has been fact-checked against reputable sources.