Concentration remains stable­, but a new top ten

By Ian Bolduc | October 26 2003 07:17PM

The level of concentration in the Canadian life insurance industry remained stable in 2008. The ten main players in the market collected 84.5% of the premiums, which was similar to 2007 and 2006.

There were, however, several changes in the Canadian top ten. BMO Financial Group made its entry into the top 10, ranking seventh. Its higher position is due to the acquisition of AIG Life Canada at the beginning of 2009. This subsidiary boosted its premium volume by 76% between 2007 and 2008. With this acquisition, the company’s premium volume exceeded $1.2 billion in 2008. Beforehand, BMO Life had only generated $65.8 million.

Medavie Blue Cross also managed to make it into the Canadian top ten, landing in ninth place thanks to an increase of 10.8% in premium volume.

But not everyone climbed the ranks. RBC Life Insurance dropped from seventh to 10th place. Its premium volume decreased by 13.3% compared to 2008. The Aegon Group was pushed out of the top 10. In 2008, it saw its premium volume lower by 1.32% compared to 2007. Its Canadian Premier Life Insurance subsidiary performed well, increasing its premium volume by nearly 28% (equal to a dollar amount of $56 million), but this was not sufficient to keep Aegon among the leaders.

Great-West Life kept its first place ranking. The insurer reached a new milestone of $10 billion in premium volume, growing by 5.7% over 2007. As for Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial, they each surpassed the $7 billion mark, gaining by 7.5% and 5% respectively. Taken together, these three insurance giants collected 56.9% of all the premiums in the market. Industrial Alliance and Desjardins Financial Security saw their premium volumes increase by 11.4% and 11% respectively.