What are the biggest life insurance companies in Canada? – Updated Feb. 2024


Canada Life is Canada’s largest insurance company, collecting almost $60 billion in premiums yearly. Manulife, Sun Life, Industrial Alliance (iA), and Desjardins are among the Top 5 biggest names in Canadian insurance.


The biggest life insurance companies in Canada are Canada Life, Manulife, Sun Life, Industrial Alliance, and Desjardins, if you only look at their annual premiums.

Keep reading to see a full list of The 30 Biggest Life Insurance Companies in Canada and a brief overview of each one. This information can help when you’re thinking about which insurer you should choose.

But keep in mind that you may want to look at other factors aside from size too.

Related: Expert reviews - Top 30 Best Life Insurance Companies In Canada
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What are the Biggest Life Insurance Companies in Canada 2024?

The top 5 biggest life insurers in Canada are:

  1. Canada Life
  2. Manulife
  3. Sun Life
  4. Industrial Alliance (iA)
  5. Desjardins
This chart shows the top five biggest life insurance companies in Canada based on annual premiums.

Canada Life is Canada’s largest insurance company overall. They collect almost $60 billion in premiums every year.

Manulife is the biggest life insurance company in Canada based on total assets, with almost $850 billion in assets.

Many of the insurance companies that are connected to banks are among the smallest life insurers in the industry. They often do not have large amounts of annual premiums or total assets.

According to the CLHIA, there are more than 150 life and health insurance providers in Canada, which means Canadians have many options to choose from!

Full List: 30 Biggest Life Insurance Companies Canada by Annual Premiums – February 2024 

Below is a full list of The 30 Largest Life Insurance Companies operating in Canada, based on premiums and assets.

The Biggest Life Insurance Companies in Canada in 2024
by Annual Premiums

Company Founded/HQ Rating Annual Premiums Total Assets
Canada Life 1846

Toronto, ON

A+ $58 B $394 B
Manulife 1887

Toronto, ON

A+ $44 B $849 B
Sun Life 1865

Toronto, ON

A+ $29 B $331 B
Industrial Alliance 1892

Quebec City, QC

A+ $14 B $87 B
Desjardins 1948

Levis, QC

$12 B $407 B
Beneva 1941

Quebec, QC

A $7 B $25 B
RBC Insurance 1864

Toronto, ON

A $5 B $23 B
Wawanesa 1896

Wawanesa, MB

A $4 B $12 B
BMO Life 1817

Toronto, ON

A $2 B $13 B
Equitable Life 1920

Waterloo, ON

A $2 B $7 B
Empire Life 1923

Kingston, ON

A $1 B $17 B
Foresters 1874

Toronto, ON

A $1 B $17 B
The Co-operators 1945

Guelph, ON

A $1 B $19 B
ivari 1927

Toronto, ON

A+ $989 M $12 B
Blue Cross Canada 1939


A- $743 M $2 B
Securian Canada 1955

Toronto, ON

A $364 M $0.3 B
Primerica 1977

Duluth, GA

A+ $362 M $4 B
Chubb Life 1882

Toronto, ON

A+ $308 M $ 0.2 B
TruStage Life 1902

Toronto, ON

A- $290 M $2 B
Combined of America 1922

Chicago, IL

A+ $269 M $1 B
UV Insurance 1889

Drummondville, QC

$217 M $2 B
Assumption 1903

Moncton, NB

A- $206 M $2 B
Knights of Columbus 1882

New Haven, CT

A+ $201 M $4 B
Humania 1874

Saint-Hyacinthe, QC

A+ $197 M $0.7 B
American Income 1951

Waco, TX

A+ $173 M $0.6 B
TD Life** 1855

Toronto, ON

$155 M $0.2 B
Serenia Life 1972

Waterloo, ON

$38 M $0.4 B
CIBC Life** 1961

Toronto, ON

$34 M $0.1 B
Reliable Life 1887

Hamilton, ON

$5 M $0.01 B

Source: Company annual reports, OSFI financial data, A.M. Best Company

** Financial metrics displayed for life insurance businesses of the respective companies. Founding dates of respective parent companies.

Compare the biggest insurance companies in Canada: company profiles

Our list of insurance providers shows much more than who is a top 5 insurance company in Canada. Some of these companies are amongst the largest insurers in the world.

You may recognize many of the companies that top the list. Names like Manulife, Sun Life, Desjardins, iA Financial Group, and RBC Insurance are well-known. But the list also has many names that are not so familiar to the entire country.

For example, an insurance company like Beneva — which was formed when SSQ Insurance and La Capitale merged together. Or a company like Wawanesa. Not a lot of people in Ontario may know them, but they are some of the largest Canadian insurance providers. Both of these companies and others collect billions of dollars in premiums every year.

Read on for an overview of each company that made the list.

The Canada Life Assurance Company (Canada Life, Great West Life, London Life) overview

Canada Life is one of the oldest and most stable life insurers in the country. Up until recently, it came second to Manulife in number of annual premiums — which was no surprise given that Manulife is one of the largest companies in the world.

But, in 2020, Great West Life merged with its sister companies London Life and Canada Life into the single Canada Life Assurance Company brand. That merger pushed Canada Life to the top of the charts.

If you want to know more about Great West Life insurance or London Life insurance, speak with Canada Life.

Canada Life Insurance product offerings:

Canada Life offers a wide range of insurance products and other financial solutions, including:

Read our full Canada Life Term Life Insurance Review

The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife) overview

Manulife started in 1887 as the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. They were the largest insurance company in Canada until just a few years ago. But they still have the most assets out of any other Canadian insurer.

Manulife Canada is a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, a Canada-based multinational insurance company and financial services provider.

They do a lot of business in South East Asia and also in the United States, where they operate through a brand called John Hancock.

Manulife product offerings:

The Manulife insurance company offers several types of policies and investment plans, including:

Manulife also operates Manulife Bank, which offers chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, and mortgages.

Read more about Manulife's CoverMe life insurance productRead our full Manulife Term Life Insurance Review

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada overview

Sun Life Financial, Inc. is one of the largest life insurers in the world, and also one of the oldest, with a history spanning back to 1865.

Apart from Canada, they have a presence in the US and in seven Asian markets, including China and India.

Sun Life Insurance product offerings:

The Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada offers a wide variety of products, including:

Read our full Sun Life Insurance Review

Industrial Alliance Life Insurance Company overview

iA Financial Group is one of the largest insurance and wealth management groups in Canada. They also have operations in the United States. It was founded in 1892 and offers both individual and group benefits products.

iA is more than an insurance company — they also work in property management and real estate. They rent out many office spaces in major cities across Canada.

iA Financial Group product offerings:

Industrial Alliance offers a wide variety of products, including:

Read our full iA Term Life Insurance Review

Desjardins Financial Security Insurance Company overview

Desjardins offers a lot of insurance products and financial services in Canada. They mainly focus on life, health, and home insurance, and wealth management services.

They also offer business services like point-of-sale payments and cash management.

Desjardins Insurance is well known across Canada. They mostly operate through a network of financial advisors in Quebec and Ontario.

Desjardins product offerings:

Desjardins offers a full suite of insurance and finance products and services, including:

Read our full Desjardins Insurance Review

Tip: Size isn't everything

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.

Beneva Inc. Insurance Company overview

Beneva became the 6th largest insurance company in Canada in 2023 after a major merger between Quebec-based companies SSQ Insurance and La Capitale.

SSQ Insurance was founded in 1944 while La Capitale was founded just a few years earlier, in 1940. Both companies were founded and operated on mutualist values, which have carried on with their merger into Beneva. This makes it one of the biggest mutual insurance companies in the country.

Beneva Insurance product offerings:

Beneva offers the same high-quality products and services as its parent companies, including:

What happened to La Capitale?Read our full Beneva Life Insurance ReviewWhat happened to SSQ Insurance?

RBC Life Insurance Company overview

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is one of the most well-known financial companies in North America. RBC Insurance is the part of RBC that sells insurance to people and businesses.

They offer an enormous range of products and financial services, and even reinsurance. They also have an added option of RBC Private Insurance, which is a thorough and customizable package designed to give you the most protection against risks.

RBC Insurance product offerings:

RBC Insurance’s extensive list of offerings includes:

Read our full RBC Term Life Insurance Review

Wawanesa Insurance Company overview

Wawanesa Mutual is the parent company of Wawanesa Insurance, which sells life insurance and other products. It was founded in 1896 and is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

They also operate as Wawanesa General in the US. They mostly sell P&C insurance in California and Oregon.

Wawanesa product offerings:

Wawanesa Insurance offers a good selection of products, including:

Read our full Wawanesa Term Life Insurance Review

BMO Life Assurance Company overview

BMO Financial Group is one of the largest financial institutions in Canada, if not the world. It was founded in 1817 as Bank of Montreal.

BMO Insurance is the part of BMO that sells insurance policies and similar services.

BMO Insurance product offerings:

BMO offers a few different types of insurance policies and financial services, including:

Read our full BMO Term Life Insurance Review

Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada overview

Equitable Life Insurance Canada is the largest life insurance company in Canada that is federally regulated, meaning it follows rules set by the federal government.

Like Beneva, Equitable is also a mutual company that is partly owned by some of its clients.

Equitable Life product offerings:

Equitable Life Insurance Company offers insurance products such as:

Read our full Equitable Life Insurance Review

The Empire Life Insurance Company overview

Empire Life was founded in Kingston, Ontario, in 1936. They have services, sales, and marketing centres throughout Canada.

They sell a wide range of financial products and services. But they are most well known for their permanent participating life insurance policies.

Empire Life Insurance Company product offerings:

Empire Life offers a wide variety of products and services for personal finance needs, including:

Read our full Empire Life Insurance Review

Foresters Financial Insurance Company overview

Foresters Financial is a company that offers financial services in Canada, the US, and the UK. It was founded over 140 years ago, in 1870.

Many of Foresters’ life insurance products help charities. When you buy these products, the company donates to a charity you choose.

Foresters underwrites the insurance policies offered by Canada Protection Plan.

Foresters Life Insurance product offerings:

Foresters offers a limited range but strong quality of products and services, including:

Read our full Foresters Term Life Insurance Review

Co-operators Insurance Company overview

The Co-operators Group Limited is a leading Canadian co-operative company that sells multiple lines of insurance. They have more than $41.7 billion in assets and many subsidiary companies.

They mostly offer life insurance, home insurance, asset management, and brokerage services. Most of their products are sold through a network of financial advisors and insurance brokers.

Co-Operators product offerings:

The Co-operators Insurance Group offers a wide range of financial services and insurance products, including:

Read our full Co-Operators Life Insurance Review

ivari Insurance Company overview

Ivari used to be called Transamerica Life Canada. It is now owned and operated by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CCPIB).

They have been operating for more than 80 years, offering a variety of insurance policies and investment products.

ivari Insurance Company product offerings:

ivari offers insurance and investment solutions such as:

Read our full ivari Term Life Insurance Review

Blue Cross Life Insurance Company overview

There are many different Blue Cross member plans in Canada. The Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans is the group that represents all of them independently.

Blue Cross is best known for group insurance and travel insurance. Canadians who are Blue Cross members can save money on insurance for things like vision, medical, and more through their Blue Advantage program.

Blue Cross product offerings:

The Blue Cross insurance company offers insurance products such as:

Author Photo
The best type of life insurance company and policy depends on your own circumstances, needs, and goals. It will be different for everyone. If you’re unsure, book some time with us to get expert advice on the best options for you and your family.
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Carly Griffin
Senior Insurance Advisor, LLQP

Securian Canada Insurance Company overview

Most people know Securian Canada by its old name, Canadian Premier Life. It is a company that offers financial management services and several insurance products.

Securian Canada product offerings:

Securian offers several insurance products for individuals and businesses, including:

Read our full Securian Canada Life Insurance Review

Primerica Life Insurance Company overview

The Primerica Canada Insurance Company was started in 1986. It’s a subsidiary of Primerica Life Insurance Company, offering insurance and other financial services.

Primerica Canada Insurance Company product offerings:

Primerica offers products and services such as:

Read our full Primerica Life Insurance Review

Chubb Life Insurance Company overview

Chubb Life Insurance Company was founded in 1882. Now, they’re a trusted and reliable provider of insurance in Canada. They have offices in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Chubb Insurance Co. of Canada product offerings:

Chubb Life offers many standard insurance products, including:

TruStage Life (Assurant Life) Insurance Company overview

The insurance company known as Assurant Life rebranded into TruStage in 2022 after it was bought by CUNA Mutual Group.

Assurant first began in 1902 as a family-owned funeral business. As an insurance company, they specialized in selling insurance for end-of-life planning, like funeral insurance and executor protection insurance. They also offer services like assessing and handling final documents — wills, trusts, etc.

Now, TruStage sells its products through a network of more than 300 insurance brokers across Canada.

TruStage product offerings:

TruStage Life sells insurance policies and offers financial services including:

Combined Insurance Company of America Insurance Company overivew

Combined Insurance Company of America is owned by Chubb Insurance Company in the US. It was founded in 1922 and sells insurance to people and businesses.

Combined of America Company product offerings:

Combined Insurance, a Chubb company, offers mostly supplemental insurance products, including:

UV Insurance Company overview

UV Insurance, formally known as UL Mutual, was founded in 1889 in Quebec. They are the 5th oldest insurance company in Canada.

UV Insurance product offerings:

UV’s product offerings include:

Assumption Mutual Life Insurance Company overview

Assumption Life is best known for its no-medical term life plans. They were founded in 1903 in New Brunswick, Canada. But they were originally a fraternal society in Massachusetts, USA, before they decided to start selling insurance.

Assumption Mutual Life Insurance product offerings:

Assumption Life offers the following products:

Read our full Assumption Life Insurance Review

Knights of Columbus Insurance Company overview

Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal organization. It started in 1882 as a mutual benefit society for Catholic people who moved to the US. The company sells insurance and financial services, but also does a lot of charity work.

Knights of Columbus Insurance product offerings:

Knights of Columbus offers several insurance and personal finance products, including:

Humania Assurance Inc. Insurance Company overview

Humania Assurance was founded in Quebec in 1874 as a mutual society. They offer a lot of no-medical life insurance options and are best known for how quickly they issue policies.

Humania Assurance product offerings:

Humania Life Insurance offers insurance products including:

Read our full Humania Term Life Insurance Review

American Income Life Insurance Company overview

American Income Life was founded in 1951. The company now sells insurance in Canada, the US, and New Zealand. They focus on helping working families and members of credit unions, labour unions, and other associations get insured.

American Income Life Insurance product offerings:

American Income offers the following insurance products:

Serenia Life Insurance Company overview

Serenia Life is a US fraternal benefit society that sells insurance in Canada. It was founded in 1972 and used to be called Faithlife Financial up until 2008. Their company is inspired by Christian values.

Serenia Life Insurance Company product offerings:

Serenia Life offers the following insurance products and financial services:

CIBC Life Insurance Company overview

CIBC Insurance is a part of CIBC (the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce), one of Canada’s biggest banks. The bank itself was formed in 1961 after two older Canadian banks merged into one. They later started selling insurance products too.

CIBC Life Insurance product offerings:

CIBC offers insurance products such as:

Read our full CIBC Insurance Life Insurance Review

Reliable Life Insurance Company overview

Reliable Life has been helping Canadians with insurance since 1887. They’re also part of a company called the Old Republic International Corporation, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Reliable Life mostly sells travel insurance and accident insurance for students.

Reliable Life Insurance Company product offerings:

Reliable Life offers insurance products such as:

More choice. Lower price.
PolicyAdvisor saves you time and money when comparing Canada’s top life insurance companies. Check it out!

Methodology: What do we define as a big insurer?

We rank each insurance company based on different metrics:

  • How much premiums they collect from their clients annually
  • How long they’ve been in business
  • Financial strength (such as AM Best, S&P, Moody’s, etc.)
  • Grades given to them by independent rating agencies
  • And other factors

Is it better to choose a bigger insurance company? 

Buying a policy from the biggest Canadian life insurance provider may not always be the best choice. Just because a company is the biggest, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right company for your needs. Sometimes, going with a smaller company may be to your advantage.

This is why it’s best to speak with our licensed advisors. They have intimate knowledge of the Canadian insurance market and can recommend the best provider for your specific needs.

largest life insurers in Canada

What should you consider when choosing an insurance company?

There are 5 main factors you should look at when you’re choosing the right insurance provider:

  1. Size
  2. Ratings and reviews
  3. Product availability
  4. Coverage options
  5. Price

1 Size

The size of an insurance company matters because it affects the customer service you receive, the types of products they can offer, and how much or how little they will charge you.

A bigger, more established provider may have more staff and more resources to offer a bigger variety of products and services.

2 Ratings and reviews

There is no end to online insurance reviews you can check out. Whether it be ratings from AM Best or other providers of financial strength ratings, online reviews (Google, TrustPilot, and others), or word of mouth from friends and family who have already purchased coverage and can recommend insurance brokers.

3 Product availability

You’ll want to make sure the company has the type of insurance products that you want, and the right features for your needs. For example, someone who has health problems should choose a provider who offers a special type of insurance policy called no-medical, which won’t ask you to do a medical exam.

Innovative, Canadian, online life insurance brokers like PolicyAdvisor can help you check out what different companies have to offer, so you can find the best fit for your needs.

4 Coverage options

It’s also important to think about what kind of coverage you can get: how much or how little, whether you can change the type of coverage, and more. Depending on your needs, you may want to pick a policy provider that can:

  • Give you a high coverage amount
  • Let you add more coverage later on if you need it
  • Let you convert your term life policy into a whole life policy

These options can help you narrow down which provider you should choose.

5 Price

How much your policy will cost is a major deciding factor for most people. Some insurance companies can charge higher premiums than others, depending on what kind of plans and features they offer.

Some companies give people who live healthier lifestyles lower life insurance premiums so they don’t pay so much. This is often called a preferred rating, but different companies can sometimes come up with their own unique name for it.

Our licensed advisors give you expert tips on how to choose the best insurer in this video.

Choosing a bigger versus a smaller insurance company

Whether you would be best served by choosing a large or a small insurance company as your provider comes down to what matters most to you and your family. There are advantages and disadvantages for each one, so the right choice will depend on you.

Below, we’ve provided some tips to help you choose. But you can also book a call with us if you need one-on-one help with deciding.

Why choose a bigger insurance company?

There are many reasons to choose a large company for your financial security needs, such as knowing you’ll be working with experienced professionals who have been in the field for a long time. Here are some of the major benefits.

Most of Canada’s largest insurance companies have been in business for decades — some from as long ago as the mid-1840′s. When a company has been around for that long, you can trust that they know how to do business in the industry very well.

Big providers like this know the ins and outs of Canadian insurance, and their history of meeting long-term financial obligations means it’s not risky to do business with them. There’s a good chance they know how to manage your policy well, and that they’ll be around for years to come.

Read more: What to do if my insurance company goes out of business?

The biggest insurance companies can offer you the most choice for the type of product you buy and how much you’ll be covered for.

For example, you can get more than just term insurance and will probably have options to convert your policy into a permanent plan. It can be convenient to get all of your different insurance policies in one place.

And, you can get higher coverage amounts for life insurance. While a smaller insurer may only be able to cover you for up to $500,000, a bigger provider can probably offer you millions — if you need that much.

Bigger insurance providers are usually open later and longer, and are available on the weekends too. Because they’re so large, they usually have offices all over Canada, employ a lot more people, and have brokers selling their products on their behalf. This means you, the customer, can speak to an agent faster whether over the phone, online, or in person.

Another huge advantage of choosing a bigger insurance company is that they have more money to spend on upgrading their technology. They can improve the way their customers do business and make it easier to do things like get quotes, buy a policy, change your plan, submit a claim, get help, or anything else you need.

Why choose a smaller insurance company?

Working with a smaller insurance company can be a good thing, too. A lot of them are just as stable as the bigger providers, and they can give you more specific products and personalized service. Here are some of the major benefits.

Smaller insurance companies may not charge you as much for some insurance products as the bigger ones in Canada do.

This can be for a lot of different reasons. For example, bigger companies may have to meet certain government requirements or they may need more funds to upgrade their technology like we talked about earlier in this article.

But just be aware that although you can save some money if you choose to work with a smaller insurance company, the cost of term life insurance policies is about the same for all the top insurance providers in Canada. So, you may not want to choose on price alone.

Canada’s largest life insurance companies can be slow to decide what products or services to introduce. But a smaller insurance company can be quicker and more easily offer tailored solutions.

Many Canadian insurers of all size offer extra options called life insurance riders that can help you make a custom plan. But smaller companies may have unique features that fit your needs better.

Life insurance is a long-term agreement, so you’ll want to choose a company that knows how to value its customers. A small or medium-sized company can often give you personalized service that a bigger company may not be able to.

They may not have as many clients or hundreds of spread-out employees and representatives, so their service may have more of a personal touch.

And, they can quickly make changes to their products or services based on what customers want. For example, if you want an e-policy or if you don’t want to answer too many health questions, a smaller company may be able to give you those options.

Some Canadians choose to work with smaller companies just as a matter of their own principles. Some want to support a smaller, local company as much as they can. Or they may want to choose a mutual insurance company, like Wawanesa or Beneva.

As well, some may want to work with a company that has the same ethical beliefs they do, like Christian-based companies Serenia Life Insurance or the Knights of Columbus.

Still comparing the biggest life insurers in Canada?

If you’re still not sure whether one of the biggest life insurance companies in Canada is right for you, our advisors are happy to help you out! Book a call and let our experts answer your questions about what is offered by Canadian insurance companies — big and small.

Online insurance brokers like let you compare insurance quotes from 30 of the country’s best insurance companies. Schedule a call or try out our instant insurance quoting tools to see how much you can save by comparing quotes online.

Need help?
Call us at 1-888-601-9980 or book time with our licensed experts.

  • Manulife, Canada Life, Sun Life, Desjardins, and Industrial Alliance (iA) are the top 5 biggest life insurers in Canada
  • SSQ and La Capitale's merger into Beneva made them the 6th largest life insurance company in the country
  • Many bank-affiliated insurers are among the smallest life insurers in the industry

By Jiten Puri
CEO & Founder, Insurance Advisor, LLQP
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