List of the Biggest Life Insurance Companies in Canada (Updated for 2023)

In This Article

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

The biggest life insurance companies in Canada

Here's the full list of the largest life insurance companies in Canada:

  1. Manulife
  2. Canada Life
  3. Sun Life
  4. Desjardins
  5. Industrial Alliance (iA)
  6. RBC Insurance
  7. SSQ*
  8. La Capitale*
  9. BMO Life
  10. Co-operators
  11. Foresters

*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:

  1. Manulife Financial: Manulife Financial is one of the leading life insurance providers in Canada. With a rich history dating back over 130 years, Manulife offers a diverse portfolio of life insurance products, including term life, whole life, and universal life policies. Their strong financial stability and customer-centric approach have made them a trusted choice for many Canadians.
  2. Canada Life: Formerly known as Great-West Life, Canada Life is a major player in the Canadian life insurance industry. With a history spanning more than 170 years, Canada Life provides a comprehensive range of life insurance policies, investment products, and retirement solutions. Their strong financial performance and excellent customer service make them a reliable choice for individuals and families seeking life insurance coverage.
  3. Sun Life Financial: Sun Life Financial is another prominent name in the Canadian life insurance market. Established in 1865, Sun Life has a wide array of insurance options, including term life, permanent life, and critical illness coverage. The company's commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction has helped them earn the trust of millions of policyholders across the country.
  4. Desjardins: Established in 1900 in Quebec, Desjardins Group is the largest federation of credit unions in North America. It's gained recognition as one of the world's top 50 safest banks and financiers. What sets Desjardins apart is its cooperative structure, where customers hold a small unit of the company and have the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes that shape its operations.
  5. Industrial Alliance: Industrial Alliance (iA Financial Group) is a well-established life insurance company that has been serving Canadians for over 125 years. They offer a broad range of life insurance options, including term life, universal life, and critical illness coverage. iA Financial Group is known for its competitive rates, flexible policy features, and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Here are the largest to smallest life insurance companies in Canada:

a diagram of the biggest life insurance companies in canada with concentric circles showing the largest, Manulife, followed by Sun Life and Canada Life

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.

What is the largest life insurance company in Canada?

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

PolicyMe is also backed by insurance giant Canadian Premier, for an extra layer of security.

The Canadian life insurance industry

Quick facts about the Canadian insurance industry:

  • There are 22 million Canadians with life coverage, with $5.3T in total coverage.
  • Insurers paid out $14.3B in life insurance benefits: $8.8B in death benefits and $5.5B to living policyholders as dividends, cash surrenders or disability benefits.2

How many life insurance companies are there in Canada?

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.

What is the most commonly purchased life insurance product in Canada?

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.

Why should you consider coverage from a large insurance company?

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.

1. Financial stability

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.

2. Lots of coverage options

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.

3. Higher claim settlement capacity

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.

4. Established reputation

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.

5. Strong customer support

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.

6. Technological advancements

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!

Why you may want to consider a smaller life insurance company

When it comes to life insurance, you may want to consider a smaller insurance company for a variety of reasons, such as:

1. Personalized service

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.

2. Competitive pricing

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.

3. Flexibility and customization

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.

4. Ease of communication

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.

5. Niche expertise

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.

Why consider PolicyMe?

  • 5 to 10 per cent more affordable than comparable term life policies
  • 10 per cent couples discount in the first year
  • $10,000 in free child coverage, for each child
  • Most eligible applicants can apply online in 20 minutes or less
  • Non-commissioned advisors available for advice
  • Claims process includes a personal concierge

What if your insurance company goes out of business?

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.

  • Assuris Coverage: Assuris is a not-for-profit organization that provides additional protection to policyholders when their insurance company fails. Assuris protects the policyholders' benefits, including death benefits, disability benefits, and certain annuity benefits. Their coverage applies to a wide range of life insurance policies, segregated funds, and annuities. The coverage provided by Assuris helps ensure that policyholders continue to receive the benefits they are entitled to, even if their insurance company goes out of business.
  • Seek Legal Advice: If your insurance company goes out of business, and you have concerns about the handling of claims or the protection of your rights, it may be advisable to seek legal advice. A lawyer specializing in insurance matters can help you understand your options and rights, and guide you through any potential legal proceedings.

To protect yourself proactively:

  • Research Insurance Companies: Before purchasing insurance, it's essential to research and choose a reputable insurance company. Look for well-established insurers with a solid financial track record and positive customer reviews. This reduces the risk of dealing with a financially unstable company.
  • Review Insurance Policies Regularly: Stay vigilant by reviewing your insurance policies periodically. Ensure that the coverage is still suitable for your needs and that the insurer remains financially stable. If you have any concerns or questions, reach out to your insurance agent or company directly for clarification.

What life insurance company offers the biggest payout option?

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).

List of Canadian life insurance companies

Here's a complete list3 of all major life insurance companies in Canada:

  1. Acadia Life
  2. Aetna Life Insurance Company
  3. Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
  4. Allstate Life Insurance Company of Canada
  5. American Bankers Life Assurance Company of Florida
  6. American Health and Life Insurance Company
  7. American Income Life Insurance Company
  8. Assumption Life
  9. AWP Health & Life SA
  10. Beneva (formerly SSQ and La Capitale)
  11. Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada
  12. BMO Life Insurance Company
  13. Brookfield Annuity Company
  14. Canada Life Assurance Company*
  15. Canada Protection Plan
  16. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  17. Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company
  18. Canadian Tire Bank
  19. Canassurance Insurance Company
  20. Chubb Life Insurance Company of Canada
  21. CIGNA Life Insurance Company of Canada
  22. Combined Insurance Company of America
  23. CompCorp Life Insurance Company
  24. Connecticut General Life Insurance Company
  25. Co-operators Life Insurance Company
  26. Cover Direct Insurance Agency
  27. Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company
  28. Empire Life Insurance Company
  29. Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of Canada
  30. First Canadian Insurance Corporation
  31. Foresters Life Insurance Company
  32. Green Shield Canada
  33. Humania Assurance Inc.
  34. Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.
  35. Ivari
  36. Jackson National Life Insurance Company
  37. Life Insurance Company of North America
  38. LS-Travel, Insurance Company
  39. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company
  40. Manulife Assurance Company of Canada **
  41. MD Life Insurance Company
  42. Medavie Inc.
  43. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
  44. National Bank Life Insurance Company
  45. New York Life Insurance Company
  46. Pavonia Life Insurance Company of Michigan
  47. PBC Health Benefits Society o/a Pacific Blue Cross
  48. PolicyMe Inc.
  49. Primerica Life Insurance CFompany of Canada
  50. RBC Life Insurance
  51. Reliable Life Insurance Company
  52. Scotia Life Insurance Company
  53. Serenia Life Financial (formerly FaithLife Financial)
  54. Sun Life Insurance (Canada) Limited
  55. TD Life Insurance Company
  56. Trans Global Life Insurance Company
  57. TruStage Life of Canada
  58. The Union Life, Mutual Assurance Company (UV Insurance)
  59. Union of Canada Life Insurance
  60. United American Insurance Company
  61. Viaction Insurance inc.
  62. Wawanesa Life Insurance Company

* 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.





Update history:

First published in May 2023. All information has been fact-checked against reputable sources.

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

About the Author

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