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Manulife Financial Corp. has named Cleveland Clinic Canada as its new medical director for group benefits, the insurer said in a release on Thursday.

The collaboration allows Manulife to leverage the academic medical centre’s experts and research.

“Working with Cleveland Clinic Canada will assist Manulife in achieving its goal of helping Canadians prevent, treat and recover from physical and mental health complications,” the release said.

Mental health claims, in particular, have soared since the pandemic. In 2021, Canada’s insurers paid $580 million for mental health claims — up by 75% from 2019, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association said in the 2022 edition of its annual update on the industry. For comparison, physiotherapy and chiropractic claims are about $700 million each.

Manulife has about five million group benefits customers, the release said.