Some insurance companies have combined with brokerage companies, banks and other financial institutions to offer their customers a wider range of services. That is certainly the case for the Canadian insurance industry, which has experienced a number of acquisitions and mergers.
The five biggest Canadian insurance companies are Manulife Financial Corp. (NYSE: MFC), Power Financial (TSE: PWF.TO), Sun Life Financial, Inc. (NYSE: SLF), Fairfax Financial (TSE: FFH.TO) and Industrial Alliance Insurance (TSE: IAG.TO).
Manulife Financial Corp.
Manulife Financial is an insurance company and a provider of financial services headquartered in Toronto. It has a market cap of nearly $46 billion as of Sept. 2018. The company operates in Asia as well as in the United States through its John Hancock subsidiary. By the end of 2017, the company employed about 35,000 workers and had about 73,000 contracted agents.
The firm was established as The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company in 1887 and sold its first out-of-country policy in Bermuda in 1893. In 2002, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) granted a branch of the company, approval to open a branch in Guangzhou. This was the first license to open a branch in China granted to a foreign-invested joint-venture life insurance company. As of this writing, the company had licensed branches in 51 cities on the Chinese mainland.
Power Financial is a management and holding company with substantial interests directly and indirectly in companies invested in the financial services sector, including insurance companies. As of Sept. 2018, it had a market cap of more than $21 billion. It operates under several segments, including IGM and LifeCo. IGM offers investment products and financial planning services. LifeCo is its primary insurance segment, providing clients with a wide range of investment and retirement products, though life insurance is its primary business. It also provides specialty general insurance and reinsurance policies to businesses, individuals and public organizations in Canada, Europe, Asia, and the U.S.
Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial has a market cap of more than $31 billion as of Sept. 2018. It is primarily a life insurance provider, and one of the largest in the world in terms of assets. It also is one of the oldest, having been established in 1865. In addition, it offers health insurance policies, investment products and wealth management services. The company offers these services to clients around the world, including in Asia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. The company was ranked number 265 on the Forbes Global 2000 list for 2019. Sun Life Financial is based in Toronto.
Fairfax Financial is a Toronto-based holding company that manages life, casualty and property insurance and reinsurance. It also provides investment management services and operates through a number of subsidiaries around the world. It had a market cap of more than $18 billion as of Sept. 2018. Fairfax Financial had about 8,200 employees worldwide in late 2018, with more than 5,000 of them based in the U.S.
iA Financial Group
Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services do business as IA Financial Group. It had a market cap of more than $5.6 billion as of Sept. 2018. The company offers a wide range of insurance and financial services to its clients, including businesses and individuals. In 2015, the company began focusing its efforts on building its base in the U.S. to take advantage of perceived growth opportunities. Founded in 1892, the company has its headquarters in Quebec City.