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CLHIA marks its 125th year of promoting the financial security of Canadians

News Release

Release Date: 05/03/2019
Staff Reference: Kevin Dorse

(Toronto, May 3, 2019) – The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association is proud to mark our 125th anniversary representing the diverse and innovative companies that provide life insurance, health benefits, retirement solutions and other products to over 29 million Canadians.

One of the country’s oldest associations, the CLHIA was founded on May 5, 1894 by eight executives representing Canadian-based life insurance companies. Their association was created as a forum to share information about a young industry that had previously been dominated by much larger US and British firms. The Canadian Life Managers Association as it was then called, was the first of its kind in the insurance sector in North America.

“Our country and our industry were very different in 1894; average household savings was $12 and very few employers offered health benefits or insurance of any kind,” Stephen Frank, CLHIA’s President and CEO said. “But the idea of pooling risk to plan for unexpected illness, premature death, and life beyond one’s working years makes as much sense today as it did then.”

Over the years, the CLHIA has contributed to significant advances for the industry and the well-being of Canadians, including:

  • Persuading the federal government in 1919 to allow insurers to offer group life insurance, so businesses can provide health and life insurance as a benefit to their employees,
  • Leading health promotion initiatives in the 1920s and 30s including child welfare clinics and funding to combat tuberculosis and other diseases,
  • Publishing in 1937 the guidebook What to Eat to be Healthy - a bestseller and predecessor to the federal government’s Canada Food Guide,
  • Mobilizing the support of insurers in 1988 to contribute more than $1.14 million for AIDS research,
  • Leading a commitment by insurance companies to adopt measures in 2009 to raise awareness and sensitivity to mental health in the workplace, and
  • Creating in 2013 the world's first private national drug pooling solution to help Canadians continue to afford the medications they need.

“CLHIA and our members are proud of our first 125 years of supporting the financial security of Canadians, and we are looking forward to many, many more,” Frank said.

CLHIA has launched a timeline of the association’s 125 years at Also be sure to follow @CLHIA on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for anniversary facts and trivia this year.

About the CLHIA

Celebrating its 125th year in 2019, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada's life and health insurance business. The industry provides a wide range of financial security products such as life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance to more than 29 million Canadians. It also holds over $860 billion in assets in Canada and employs more than 155,000 Canadians.

For more information:
Kevin Dorse
Assistant Vice President, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
(613) 691-6001 /