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Canada Life Insurance: Key trends and Opportunities to 2025

The total gross written premium of the life insurance market in Canada was valued at $45.50 billion in 2020. The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 3% during the period 2021-2025. Life insurance growth momentum is expected to pick up in 2021 with a slow but gradual recovery in the economy and the further normalization of activities. In 2020, in the life insurance market in Canada, under the line of business segment, Other Life Insurance was the largest segment followed by Life PA&H and General Annuity. Despite being a mature and competitive market, Canadian insurers are expected to generate new business premiums through innovative product launches over the forecast period.

Overview of the life insurance market in Canada

Overview of the life insurance market in Canada

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What are the market dynamics in the life insurance market in Canada?

Insurers adopted an accelerated underwriting method in the absence of more concrete and standard COVID-19 data on mortality. An additional challenge that underwriters faced while determining the mortality rate is the effect that COVID 19 may have on pre-existing conditions and co-morbidities. Besides, the uncertainty in capital markets, which led to a decline in interest rates and bond prices, also posed a challenge. This led life insurers to reconsider their pricing. Over the year, however, buyers benefitted from favorable annuity terms characterized by lower prices, accompanying high-quality bonds due to a rise in fixed income asset credit spread by insurers. 

Telemedicine adoption: The advent of COVID 19 accelerated the growth of virtual healthcare across the country. For instance, the Toronto-based company Maple Corporation saw quadrupled visit volumes, at over 3,000 per day, in March 2020. The company’s custom telehealth solutions for governments and hospitals also helped to raise US 75 million from DrugMart Inc. in September 2020.

GIG Insurance: The GIG economy is an example of a new economic sector that has gained notable momentum. In Canada, gig workers represented over 10% of the total workforce. The pandemic further drove demand for gig worker-based businesses such as urban and suburban delivery services. Insurers are innovating to provide flexible policies for non-salaried and gig economy workers. For instance, Uber Eats offers insurance to its bike couriers, in collaboration with Chubb Life.

Hyper-personalization: Technological advancements are allowing insurers to customize requirements through which a personalized insurance proposition can be presented to enhance customers’ experience. AI, natural language processing, predictive analytics, and machine learning are a few technologies that insurers are adopting to provide hyper-personalization with behavior-based insurance products to customers. In addition, regional markets of the US and Canada are mature markets, and apart from frequent natural catastrophes, complex risks along the lines of D&O, professional liability, and E&S liability, supported the demand for reinsurance in the region.

What is the line of business classifications in the Canadian life insurance market?

In 2020, Other Life Insurance accounted for the highest share in Canada’s life insurance market.

General annuity insurance market in Canada: The annuities market is expected to remain steady over the forecast period, with more defined benefit plan sponsors opting to cut down their liabilities However, the prominence of target yield funds, which offer a potential higher return compared to insurance, are expected to create competition. SMEs accounted for the majority of the share of the private employer-sponsored pension assets managed by life insurance companies.

Life PA&H insurance market in Canada: Packaged plans are gaining popularity in Canada, which includes one plan for medical, death, accident, disability, death, and dismemberment. Coverage under plan changes from province to province, but it generally includes all the coverage mentioned above. Besides, travel insurance, critical illness, accidental death, and disability insurance are other personal accident and health insurance products available in the market.

Other life insurance market in Canada: Term life, universal life, and whole life are some of the popular forms of insurance. Term life demand is the driver for retail insurance. Over 20 million had life insurance covering death, disability, and other benefits in 2020.

Life insurance market in Canada, by Line of Business

Life insurance market in Canada, by Line of Business

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Which are the major market players in the life insurance market in Canada?

In 2020, the Canada Life Assurance Company is the leading market player in the life insurance market in Canada followed by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Canada), The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, RBC Life Insurance Company, and The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada. The top five companies held over 70% share in the life insurance market in Canada. M&A activities remained strong during the review period. Notable transactions include the merger of Great West Life Assurance Co., London Life, and Canada Life in 2019 to form Canada Life Assurance.

Life insurance market in Canada, by key players

Life insurance market in Canada, by key players

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Market report scope

Market size (Year-2020) $45.50 billion (Gross Written Premiums)
Growth rate (CAGR) >3%
Base year for estimation 2020
Forecast period 2021-2025
Segmentation by Line of Business General Annuity, Life PA&H, and other Life Insurance
Key players The Canada Life Assurance Company; Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Canada); The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company; RBC Life Insurance Company; The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada; The Empire Life Insurance Company; BMO Life Insurance Company; Co-operators Life Insurance Company; Ivari Insurance Company; Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada; Brookfield Annuity Company; Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company; American Bankers Life Assurance Company of Florida; Primerica Life Insurance Company of Canada; SCOR SE(Canada)

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the life insurance segment in Canada.

  • Provides historical values for Canada’s life insurance segment for the report’s 2016-2020 review period, and projected figures for the 2021-2025 forecast period.
  • Offers a detailed analysis of the key categories in Canada’s life insurance segment and market forecasts to 2025.
  • profiles the top life insurance companies in Canada and outlines the key regulations affecting them.

Reasons to Buy

  • Make strategic business decisions using in-depth historic and forecast market data related to Canada’s life insurance segment, and each category within it.
  • Understand the demand-side dynamics, key market trends, and growth opportunities in Canada’s life insurance segment.
  • Assess the competitive dynamics in the life insurance segment.
  • Identify growth opportunities and market dynamics in key product categories.

Key Players

The Canada Life Assurance Company

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada

Manufacturers Life Insurance Company

RBC Life Insurance Company

Equitable Life Insurance Company

Empire Life Insurance Company

BMO Life Insurance Company

The Co-operators Life Insurance Company

Ivari Insurance Company

Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Economy Overview

Regulatory and Compliance

Key Market Trends

Summary Trends and KPIs

Key Trends by Line of Business

General Annuity

Life PA&H

Other Life Insurance

Distribution Channels

Competitive Landscape

Competitor Profiles

Reinsurance

Regulatory and Compliance

Competitive Landscape

Competitor Profiles

Insurtech

Appendix

Frequently Asked Questions

The total gross written premium of the life insurance market in Canada was valued at $45.50 billion in 2020.


The life insurance market in Canada is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 3% during the period 2021-2025.

Key line of business in Canada’s life insurance market includes general annuity, life pa&h, and other life insurance.

The Canada Life Assurance Company is the leading market player in the life insurance market in Canada followed by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Canada), The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, RBC Life Insurance Company, and The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada.

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