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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Life Insurance - Canada market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

The market for life insurance has enjoyed continued growth in recent years. Canadians own around $4.8 trillion in life insurance protection, annual premium revenues exceed $100 billion and around 22 million Canadians have some life insurance coverage.


This Report aims to get a consumer perspective of life insurance with regard to ownership, choice of company, reasons for purchasing/not purchasing life insurance, interest in app features and attitudes towards life insurance. It also looks at key industry developments in life insurance from a consumer angle and market factors that determine the future outlook for the industry

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Sanjay Sharma, a leading analyst in the Financial Services sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Knowledge and trust deficits around life insurance are inhibiting growth in ownership Sanjay Sharma
Senior Financial Services Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

      • Regional classifications
        • Income
          • Glossary
            • Annuities
              • Term life insurance
                • Whole life insurance/Permanent life insurance
                  • Universal life insurance
                  • Executive Summary

                      • The issues
                        • Around two in three Canadians have life insurance
                          • Figure 1: Life insurance ownership, December 2019
                        • Cost/affordability and lack of knowledge inhibit ownership
                          • Figure 2: Reasons for not owning life insurance, December 2019
                        • Manulife and Sun Life are the leading consumer choices
                          • Figure 3: Choice of provider for life insurance bought directly, December 2019
                        • Majority interested in at least one app feature
                          • Figure 4: Interest in app features, December 2019
                        • The opportunities
                          • Human contact is important when buying life insurance
                            • Figure 5: Buying preferences, December 2019
                          • Trust is a barrier although less among Quebecers and over-55s
                            • Figure 6: Perceptions about the life insurance industry (% agree), December 2019
                          • Small business/gig segment is an opportunity
                            • Figure 7: Life insurance ownership through employer, by type of employment, December 2019
                          • Claims is a key area for digitization
                            • What it means
                            • Market Factors – What You Need to Know

                              • Canada’s population is ageing
                                • Increased diversity means greater considerations for life insurance companies
                                  • InsurTech and life insurance
                                    • Market impact of InsurTech
                                      • AI and life insurance
                                      • Market Factors

                                        • Immigration is fuelling Canada’s population growth…
                                          • Figure 8: Percent of Canadians who are visible minorities or not visible minorities, by age, 2016
                                        • …and Asia is the primary source
                                          • Increased diversity means greater considerations for life insurance companies
                                            • Canada has more seniors than children
                                              • Figure 9: Population aged 0-14 and 65+, 1995-2035*
                                            • Opportunities and challenges come with an ageing population
                                            • What’s New – InsurTech

                                              • InsurTech and life insurance
                                                • AI and life insurance
                                                  • Life insurance and big data
                                                    • InsurTech companies in life insurance
                                                      • RateHub: online comparison platform
                                                        • Canadian robo-advisor launches Invisor TermLife
                                                          • Other Canadian players
                                                            • Sherpa (UK): a trusted personal guide
                                                              • Untangler (UK)
                                                                • Haven Life (US)
                                                                  • Ethos and Bestow (US)
                                                                  • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                                    • PolicyAdvisor aiming to digitize life insurance
                                                                      • Element AI announces first product for the insurance market
                                                                        • SSQ and La Capitale announce merger
                                                                          • Philip Morris entering life insurance
                                                                            • Ontario launches new insurance regulator
                                                                            • Innovations & Industry Developments

                                                                              • PolicyAdvisor aiming to digitize life insurance
                                                                                • Element AI announces first product for the insurance market
                                                                                  • SSQ and La Capitale announce merger
                                                                                    • Philip Morris entering life insurance
                                                                                      • Ontario launches new insurance regulator
                                                                                      • Marketing Campaigns

                                                                                        • Manulife’s Life Lessons Scholarship Program
                                                                                          • Figure 10: Manulife Life Lessons Scholarship, August 2019
                                                                                        • Diversity and life insurance
                                                                                          • Figure 11: Manulife/CPA Term Life direct mail campaign, November 2019
                                                                                        • Babylist and Prudential partner to bring life insurance to new parents (US)
                                                                                          • Figure 12: Prudential/Babylist life insurance offering, July 2018
                                                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                        • Around two in three Canadians have life insurance
                                                                                          • More Canadians buy life insurance directly than through employer
                                                                                            • Cost/affordability and lack of knowledge inhibit ownership
                                                                                              • Manulife and Sun Life are the leading consumer choices
                                                                                                • Majority interested in at least one app feature
                                                                                                  • Human contact is important when buying life insurance
                                                                                                    • Life insurance literacy gap exists
                                                                                                    • Life Insurance Ownership

                                                                                                      • Around two in three Canadians have life insurance
                                                                                                        • Figure 13: Life insurance ownership, December 2019
                                                                                                      • Younger consumers more likely to own term and older permanent/universal insurance
                                                                                                        • Figure 14: Life insurance ownership, 18-44s vs over-45s, December 2019
                                                                                                      • Men, parents and higher-income households have higher ownership
                                                                                                        • Figure 15: Life insurance ownership, by gender, December 2019
                                                                                                      • Financial health also drives ownership
                                                                                                        • Figure 16: Life insurance ownership, by financial health, December 2019
                                                                                                      • Quebecers also have higher ownership
                                                                                                      • Direct vs Employer Purchase

                                                                                                        • More Canadians buy life insurance directly than through employer
                                                                                                          • Figure 17: Direct vs employer purchase, December 2019
                                                                                                          • Figure 18: Type of life insurance purchased, by channel, employer vs direct, December 2019
                                                                                                        • Older more likely to buy directly; younger more reliant on employer coverage
                                                                                                          • Figure 19: Direct vs employer purchase, by age, December 2019
                                                                                                        • Small business/gig segment is an opportunity
                                                                                                          • Figure 20: Life insurance ownership through employer, by type of employment, December 2019
                                                                                                      • Reasons for Not Owning

                                                                                                        • Cost/affordability and lack of knowledge inhibit ownership
                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Reasons for not owning life insurance, December 2019
                                                                                                        • Lack of knowledge is a barrier to product sales
                                                                                                          • Figure 22: “I don’t know enough about life insurance” as a barrier to ownership, by age, December 2019
                                                                                                        • Men more likely to have been declined coverage
                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Reasons for not owning life insurance, 18-44s vs over-45s, by gender, December 2019
                                                                                                      • Choice of Provider

                                                                                                        • Manulife and Sun Life are the leading consumer choices
                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Choice of provider for life insurance bought directly, December 2019
                                                                                                        • Bank insurance subsidiaries favoured by younger
                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Choice of provider for life insurance bought directly, 18-44s vs over-45s, December 2019
                                                                                                        • Sun Life, Canada Life and Manulife are leading employer insurance choices
                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Choice of provider for employer coverage, December 2019
                                                                                                      • Interest in App Features

                                                                                                        • Majority interested in at least one app feature
                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Interest in app features, December 2019
                                                                                                        • Younger consumers are more interested
                                                                                                          • Parents with young children are more open to app features
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Interest in app features, parents vs non-parents, December 2019
                                                                                                          • Asian Canadians also have a higher interest
                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Interest in app features (select), Asian Canadians vs overall, December 2019
                                                                                                          • Claims is a key area for digitization
                                                                                                            • TURF Analysis
                                                                                                              • Interest in life insurance mobile app features
                                                                                                                • Figure 30: TURF analysis – interest in mobile app offerings, December 2019
                                                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                                              • Buying Preferences

                                                                                                                • Human contact is important when buying life insurance
                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Buying preferences, December 2019
                                                                                                                • Brokers remain a dominant channel for life insurance
                                                                                                                  • Younger consumers and men, in particular, prefer buying through associations and online
                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Buying preferences (% agree), 18-44s vs over-45s, by gender, December 2019
                                                                                                                • General Attitudes

                                                                                                                  • Life insurance literacy gap exists
                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: General attitudes towards life insurance, December 2019
                                                                                                                  • Nearly two in five 18-44s consider life insurance a “waste of money”
                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: General attitudes (select) towards life insurance (% agree), 18-44s vs over-45s, December 2019
                                                                                                                  • Around half of men feel life insurance matters only for those with children
                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: General attitudes (select) towards life insurance (% agree), by gender, December 2019
                                                                                                                • Industry Perceptions

                                                                                                                  • Two in three feel life insurance customers are treated fairly
                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Perceptions about the life insurance industry, December 2019
                                                                                                                  • Trust is a barrier, although less so for Quebecers and over-55s
                                                                                                                    • Trust is on the future agenda
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms

                                                                                                                          About the report

                                                                                                                          This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                          • The Consumer

                                                                                                                            What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                          • The Competitors

                                                                                                                            Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                          • The Market

                                                                                                                            Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                          • The Innovations

                                                                                                                            New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                          • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                            Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                          • The Trends

                                                                                                                            What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                          Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

                                                                                                                          Description