The strength of the Canadian life and health insurance industry continued through 2014, despite the climate of slow growth and prolonged low interest rates. The industry built on its past solid performance with strong asset and premium growth during the year.
Industry assets in Canada rose 11.5 per cent during 2014 to $721.2 billion. Accounting for almost two-thirds of the total, general fund assets rose 12.2 per cent to $448.4 billion. Meanwhile, segregated fund assets increased 10.5 per cent to almost $272.8 billion, buoyed by continued strength in equity markets.
During 2014, total premiums and premium equivalents (for all lines of business) grew at a pace not seen since 2007, up 7.7 per cent to $99.4 billion. Growth in annuity premiums led the increase (up 13.9 per cent) totalling more than $42.5 billion as investor confidence recovered along with demand for wealth management and retirement products. At the same time, life insurance premiums grew to $18.1 billion (up 5 per cent), and health and disability insurance premiums showed a modest increase to almost $38.8 billion (up 2.9 per cent).