The use of digital technology is rapidly expanding at a large Canadian life and health insurer.

Great-West Lifeco is following iA Financial Group’s example by letting financial advisors in on its shift to digital technology.

The holding company disclosed that more than 80 per cent of the individual life insurance applications it receives in Canada are processed digitally. Great-West's senior management shared the figure during a conference call with financial analysts following the release of its first quarter 2021 results.

The executives also discussed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. CEO Paul Mahon confirmed an upward trend in sales and quotes. Asset retention is also good, particularly in wealth management, the firm’s financial documents indicate.

Mahon added that business momentumand his sales pipeline remain strong. He is also confident in the resiliency of his business.

Market activity is approaching normal, and pandemic-driven digital advancements are enduring, the insurer's presentation states.

Record sales in individual wealth management  

Great-West Lifeco also reported record sales in Canada in individual wealth management, which combines segregated fund and mutual fund sales. Total sales topped $3.2 billion in the first quarter of 2021, versus more than $2.7 billion in Q1 2020 and more than $2.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. The insurer also generated positive sales flows in the first quarter of 2021.

Also in Canada, the holding company reports an improvement in long-term disability experience. In addition, repricing actions brought about business gains.