Across the world, insurance companies in recent years have combined with brokerage companies, banks, and other financial institutions to offer their customers a wider range of services. 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 defined by their annual revenues in 2019. The revenue figures mostly include insurance premiums charged to policyholders, earnings from investing in those premiums, and other insurance products embedded in investment products such as mutual funds.
It’s important to note that many insurance companies offer other financial services, such as wealth management. As a result, some financial firms might 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 U.S. dollars at a rate of $1.30 Canadian per U.S. 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 insurer, operates 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 in 2019 earned $61 billion Canadian in revenue ($47 billion U.S.), which included insurance premiums and income earned from investing those premiums.
Manulife operates in Canada, Asia, and Europe as well as in the United States, through its John Hancock subsidiary. By the end of 2019, the company employed about 38,000 people and had nearly 98,000 agents. Manulife had $1.2 trillion Canadian ($920 billion U.S.) in assets under management.1
The firm was established as The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company in 1887 and sold its first out-of-country policy in Bermuda in 1893. In 2002, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) granted a branch of the company approval to open a branch in 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 operates 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.
By the end of 2019, the company employed about 24,000 people and had advisor relationships serving 30 million customers.2
Great-West manages $772 billion Canadian ($594 billion U.S.) in assets under management.3 Great-West generated nearly $50 billion Canadian in revenue ($38 billion U.S.), which included insurance premiums, deposits, and income from investments such as dividends in 2019.4
3. Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial (SLF) is based in Toronto and is one of the oldest insurance providers, having been established in 1865. It offers health insurance policies, investment products, and wealth management services. The company has clients in Asia and the United Kingdom as well as in North America.
Sun Life Financial has more than 40,000 employees and nearly 126,000 advisors as of the end of 2019.5 Sun Life had $1.1 trillion Canadian (nearly $850 billion U.S.) in assets under management. Revenue from insurance-related products was nearly $38 billion Canadian in 2019 ($29 billion U.S.), including insurance premiums and segregated fund deposits, which are life insurance products embedded within mutual funds.
Sun Life also earns revenue from fees for providing insurance management for company benefit plans, which is called an administrative services only (ASO)6 agreement.
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 clients, 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 has its headquarters in Quebec City.
IA Financial Group has more than $189 billion Canadian ($145 billion U.S.) in total assets under management, and in 2019, earned $11.4 billion Canadian ($8.8 billion U.S.) in premiums and deposits.7
Industrial Alliance has more than 8,000 employees with 25,000 representatives serving four million customers.8
5. Desjardins Group
Desjardins provides financial services and insurance products and had $313 billion Canadian in total assets, ($241 billion U.S.), under management as of the end of 2019. Desjardins has more than 48,000 employees and seven million customers throughout Canada.9