The latest statistics published by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) reveal a growing industry, including year-over-year premium growth led by annuities and life insurance, followed by health insurance.
Total premiums rose to $122 billion in 2019, up from $117 billion the previous year, CLHIA said in its annual industry facts document published on Tuesday. (Those amounts included $3.5 billion and $3.2 billion, respectively, in revenues from foreign branches operating in Canada.)
The year-over-year premium growth was led by annuities including segregated funds (up 5.2%), and life insurance (up 5.1%), followed by health insurance (up 4.1%).
In the previous year (2018), yearly growth was led by health insurance (up 7.8% that year).
The document also said Canada’s life and health insurers paid a record $103 billion in benefits last year, up from $98 billion in 2018 and up 60% over a decade.
Benefits paid included $53.3 billion in retirement annuity payments (both employer-sponsored and individual), as well as $12.1 billion in life insurance benefits.
Individual life coverage keeps growing
Individual life insurance equalled 63% of total policies in force in 2019, up from 55% a decade ago and driven mostly by term insurance over that period, the document said.
Individual term represented 38% of life coverage in 2019, compared to 30% in 2009.
The proportion of individual universal and whole life coverage has been fairly stable over the last decade, and was 13% and 12%, respectively, of life insurance coverage in 2019.
The average life insurance protection per Canadian household in 2019 was $432,000 — about five times household income. That coverage was up from $423,000 in 2018.
The median age of clients with life insurance varied by province from age 34 in the territories to age 47 in Newfoundland.
For full details, read the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Facts, 2020 Edition.