The 5 Big Names in Canadian Insurance (2024)

Across the world, insurance companies have combined with brokerage companies, banks,and other financial institutions to build their business and offertheir 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 total assets in 2022.

Revenue (or income) figures are provided as well. Revenue amounts can reflect insurance premiums charged to policyholders, earnings from investments, and other financial products embedded in investment products, such as mutual funds.

It's important to note that some financial firms might be larger than the companies listed here, but their insurance businesses, if they have them, are not a major driver of their revenue.

This list focuses on diversified insurance companies and reports figures as of the end of 2022. Figures are stated as provided by each company, whether in Canadian dollars and converted to U.S. dollars, or as U.S. dollars alone. Conversion is approximately C$1 to $0.73 U.S. dollars.

Key Takeaways

  • 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.
  • Coming in at number three, Desjardins Group offers a mix of insurance, wealth management, and personal and business services.
  • Fourth on the list, Sun Life Financial, based in Toronto, is one of the oldest insurance providers, having been established in 1865.
  • Fairfax Financial is a relative newcomer to the insurance scene, having been founded in 1985.

1. Manulife Financial Corp.

Manulife Financial (MFC) is the largest insurance provider in Canada. It also offers other financial services such as financial advice, wealth management, and asset management solutions. Manulife's total assets as of the end of 2022 were C$848.94 billion ($622.92 billion U.S.).

Headquartered in Toronto, the company earnedC$17.14 billion in revenue ($12.58 billion U.S.) in 2022, 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 Hanco*ck subsidiary. At the end of 2022, the company served over 34 million clients with the help of over40,000 employees and more than 116,000agents.

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 the company approvalto open a branch in Guangzhou. It was the first license granted to a foreign-invested joint-venture life insurance company to open a branch in China.

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 Winnipeg, Canada and operates as a holding company for six subsidiaries. It provides insurance to customers in North America, Europe, and Asia.

In 2022, Great-West Lifeco had C$701.45 billion ($514.36 billion U.S.) in total assets. It generated C$44.66 billion in revenue ($32.79 billion U.S.), which included insurance premiums, deposits, and income from investments such as dividends.

Great-West Lifeco offers a variety of insurance policies, including life, health, and disability insurance.

The company employes more than31,000 people and has 234,500 advisor relationships serving 38 million customers.

3. Desjardins Group

Desjardins is an insurance provider headquartered in Quebec, Canada. It offers insurance products as well as a full range of other financial services, including wealth management and personal and business services.

In 2022, it had 58,774 employees and 7.5 million members and clients. At the end of 2022, its total assets were C$407.1 billion ($298.78 billion U.S.). Its total income was C$18.04 billion ($13.23 billion U.S.).

Desjardins has more than 58,774 employees and 7.5 million members and clients throughout Canada.

Insurance companies make money by charging customers fees (called premiums) for various types of financial protection (or coverage) and then investing those amounts to generate additional returns.

4. 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 andthe United Kingdom, as well as in North America.

Sun Life Financial had 52,400 employees, 85 million clients, and 97,400 advisors as of the end of 2022. Its total assets were C$330.9 billion ($242.66 billion U.S.).

Total revenue was C$23.32 billion ($17.09 billion U.S.), including insurance premiums and segregated fund deposits, which are life insurance products embedded within mutual funds.

5. Fairfax Financial Holdings

Fairfax Financial Holdings has its headquarters in Toronto, Canada. Its major focus is property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, plus the related investment management.

As of the end of 2022, Fairfax Financial had total assets of US$92.12 billion. Total revenue was US$28.05 billion.

Fairfax Financial was founded in 1985 on the principles of fair, honest dealings and friendly acquisition of companies.

It operates in a decentralized fashion, with each of its companies run by its own President but overseen from a financial review and performance standpoint by Fairfax Financial.

How Big Is the Insurance Industry in Canada?

Measured by revenue, the Property, Casualty, and Direct insurance industry was $77.1 billion in 2022.

What Is the Largest Insurance Market in the World?

The U.S. is the largest, with revenue from life and non-life insurance of $2.8 trillion. China and Japan are the next largest markets.

Where Does Canada Rank Among the World's Insurers?

Canada is the ninth largest market in the world, as measured by life and non-life premium value.

The Bottom Line

Canada's insurance industry has grown and diversified in recent years. Some companies have added wealth management, asset management, and personal and business financial products and services to their range of insurance offerings.

The top five Canadian insurance companies as of the end of 2022, as measured by total assets, are Manulife Financial Corp., Great-West Lifeco, Desjardins Group, Sun Life Financial, and Fairfax Financial Holdings.

The 5 Big Names in Canadian Insurance (2024)


What are the top 5 life insurance companies in Canada? ›

Canada Life, Manulife, Sun Life, Industrial Alliance, and Desjardins are Canada's biggest life insurers, but you should look at more than just size when deciding which provider would be best for your coverage needs.

Who is the biggest insurer in Canada? ›

Key Takeaways. Manulife Financial is the largest insurance provider in Canada and offers a broad range of financial services.

What are the most important lines of insurance in Canada? ›

The key lines of business in the Canadian general insurance market are property, motor, liability, financial lines, MAT, and general insurance PA&H.

What insurance companies are in Canada? ›

  • ​Belair Insurance Company Inc.
  • ​Intact Insurance Company.
  • ​JEVCO Insurance Company.
  • Johnson Insurance.
  • The Nordic Insurance Company of Canada.
  • ​Novex Insurance Company.
  • ​Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.
  • ​Trafalgar Insurance Company of Canada.

Who is the No 1 life insurance in Canada? ›

Manulife. Manulife is the largest life insurance company in Canada.

What are the big 4 insurance companies in Canada? ›

The top insurance providers in Canada are Manulife, Canada Life (subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco), Sun Life Financial, Desjardins, and IA Financial Group (aka Industrial Alliance). Smaller insurers include those operating as subsidiaries of banks, such as CIBC Insurance and TD Insurance.

Who is the best insurance company in Canada? ›

The Co-operators is the top-rated car insurance provider in Canada, with other highly rated providers including The Personal, RBC Insurance, and Economical Insurance.

What is the oldest life insurance company in Canada? ›

The Canada Life Assurance Company™, Canada's first life insurance company, began in 1847 in Hamilton, Ontario.

What are the big 3 insurance companies? ›

  • #1: United Health Group (UNH)
  • #2: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. ( BRK.B)
  • #3: CVS Health Corp Group (CVS)
  • #4: The Cigna Group (CI)
  • #5: Elevance Health Inc. ( ELV)
  • #6: Centene (CNC)
  • #7: Ping An Insurance (PNGAY)
  • #8: Allianz (ALIZY)

Does Canada have Medicare? ›

About Medicare. Medicare is a term that refers to Canada's publicly funded health care system. Instead of having a single national plan, we have 13 provincial and territorial health care insurance plans.

Who is the largest P&C insurer in Canada? ›

Intact Group was once again the largest property/casualty insurance company in Canada, representing 14.3% of the market and writing $10.3 billion in direct premiums - $4.6 billion more than its nearest competitor, Desjardins Group ($5.7 billion).

What is Canada's insurance called? ›

Canada has universal health coverage funded through a health system called Medicare. It was created from the Canada Health Act and must comply with the five pillars of that act.

Who is the top 10 insurance company? ›

Largest Car Insurance Companies: A Closer Look
  • #1 State Farm: Editor's Choice. ...
  • #2 Geico: Affordable for Most Drivers. ...
  • #3 Progressive: Low Rates for High-Risk Drivers. ...
  • #4 Allstate. ...
  • #5 USAA: Low Rates for Military. ...
  • #6 Liberty Mutual: Good Programs for Young Drivers. ...
  • #7 Farmers Insurance. ...
  • #8 Travelers: Most Coverage Options.
Apr 11, 2024

What are the top 5 insurance rating agencies? ›

Each of the ratings agencies, A.M. Best, Moody's, Fitch and Standard and Poor's are a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO).

Who controls insurance companies in Canada? ›

The federal and provincial governments regulate the P&C insurance industry. The provincial governments regulate market conduct, and the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is the industry's primary prudential (solvency) regulator.

What is the best life insurance provider in Canada? ›

But, if you're looking for term life insurance coverage, our team recommends:
  • Humania: Best for quick issue.
  • Industrial Alliance: Best for flexibility.
  • ivari: Best for layering.
  • Manulife: Best for digital innovation.
  • RBC: Best for value for money.
  • Sun Life: Best for buying in-person.
  • Wawanesa: Best for price.
Apr 5, 2024

Which insurance company is best at paying claims in Canada? ›

Best Car Insurance in Canada

The Co-operators is the top-rated car insurance provider in Canada, with other highly rated providers including The Personal, RBC Insurance, and Economical Insurance.

What are the largest life insurance companies in Canada? ›

Manulife, Canada Life Assurance Company, Sun Life Financial, IA Financial, and Empire Life are the five biggest life insurance coverage companies in Canada based on total assets.

What is the number 1 life insurance? ›

As the largest life insurer by market share in the U.S., Northwestern Mutual is an established choice with a proven record.

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