All over the world, insurance companies have in recent years joined forces with brokerage firms, banks and other financial institutions to offer a wide range of services to their customers. That is certainly the case for the Canadian insurance industry, which has experienced a number of acquisitions and mergers in recent years.
Below are the five largest Canadian insurance companies as defined by their annual revenue in 2019. Income figures mostly include insurance premiums collected from policyholders, earnings from investing those premiums and other insurance products embedded in investment products such as mutual funds.
It is important to note that many insurance companies offer other financial services, such as wealth management. As a result, some financial companies may be larger than the companies listed here, but their insurance businesses are not one of the largest components of their revenue.
All numbers reported are in Canadian dollars and US dollars at a rate of $1.30 Canadian per US dollar.
Manulife Financial is the largest insurance provider in Canada and offers a broad range of financial services.
Great-West Lifeco, Inc., the second largest insurance company, acts as a holding company for six subsidiaries.
Sun Life Financial, based in Toronto, is one of the oldest insurance providers, having been established in 1865.
1. Manulife Financial Corp.
Manulife Financial (MFC) is the largest insurance provider in Canada and also offers financial services. The company is headquartered in Toronto, and had $61 billion Canadian in revenue ($47 billion US) in 2019, including insurance premiums and income from investing those premiums.
Manulife operates in Canada, Asia and Europe as well as the United States through its John Hancock subsidiary. As of the end of 2019, the company employed about 38,000 people and had about 98,000 agents. Manulife had $1.2 trillion Canadian ($920 billion US) in assets under management.
The firm was founded in 1887 as The Manufacturers’ Life Insurance Company and sold its first overseas policy in Bermuda in 1893. In 2002, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) allowed the company to open a branch in 1887. Guangzhou. It was the first license to open a branch in China granted to a foreign-invested joint venture life insurance company. Manulife now has licensed branches in more than 50 cities on the Chinese mainland.
2. Great-West Lifeco
Great-West Lifeco, Inc. is a financial services provider headquartered in Canada and acts as a holding company for six subsidiaries, which provide insurance to customers in North America, Europe and Asia. Great-West Lifeco offers a variety of insurance policies including life, health and disability insurance.
As of the end of 2019, the company employed about 24,000 people and had consulting relationships serving 30 million customers.
Great-West manages $772 billion Canadian ($594 billion US) in assets under management.
Great-West generated about $50 billion Canadian in revenue ($38 billion U.S.), including income from investments such as insurance premiums, deposits and dividends in 2019.
3. Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial (SLF) is based in Toronto and is one of the oldest insurance providers established in 1865. It offers health insurance policies, investment products and wealth management services. The company has customers in Asia and the United Kingdom as well as North America.
Sun Life Financial has more than 40,000 employees and around 126,000 advisors as of the end of 2022.
Sun Life had $1.1 trillion Canadian (about $850 billion US) in assets under management. Revenue from insurance-related products was about $38 billion Canadian ($29 billion US) in 2019, including insurance premiums and segregated fund deposits, which are life insurance products embedded in mutual funds.
4. iA financial group
Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services (IAG.TO) does business as IA Financial Group. The company offers a wide range of insurance and financial services to its customers, including businesses and individuals.
In 2015, the company began focusing its efforts on building its base in the U.S. Founded in 1892, the company is headquartered in Quebec City.
IA Financial Group has more than $189 billion Canadian ($145 billion US) in total assets under management, and in 2019, earned $11.4 billion Canadian ($8.8 billion US) in premiums and deposits.
The industrial alliance has more than 8,000 employees and 25,000 representatives serving four million customers.
5. Desjardins Group
Desjardins provides financial services and insurance products and had $313 billion Canadian ($241 billion US) in total assets under management as of the end of 2019, Desjardins has more than 48,000 employees and seven million clients across Canada.
Income from insurance premiums totaled $9.4 billion Canadian ($7.2 billion US) in 2022.