Life and health insurers withstood pandemic test, says CLHIA

Industry association reports nearly $100 billion in benefits paid out during 2020's economic and health crisis

Life and health insurers withstood pandemic test, says CLHIA

Last year, Canada’s life and health insurance firms proved their worth as they provided much-needed assistance for consumers going through unanticipated difficulties, according to the industry’s national association.

In its latest annual report, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) said that Canadians received more than $97 billion in benefits through life and health insurance products last year.

"Millions of Canadians rely on life and health insurance products during times of crisis; for all of us 2020 was one of those times," said Stephen Frank, president and CEO of the Canadian Life Health and Insurance Association.

According to the report, prescription drug claims paid out in 2020 reached $12 billion. Travel insurance claims, mostly for trip cancellations, totalled $950 million.

Due to the stress and other psychological tolls of the pandemic, psychology-related claims for mental health support rose nearly 25% year on year to reach $420 million. Life insurance claims from COVID 19-related deaths, meanwhile, added up to $154 million.

By the end of 2020, over 26 million Canadians were able to receive health benefits – the same yearly total as before the pandemic.

"Insurers can be proud of the proactive steps they took through premium reductions and deferrals to help employers through the pandemic, and to protect the workplace drug and health benefits their employees count on," Frank said.

In addition to those, the CLHIA said insurers made $46 billion in annuity payments, $37 billion in supplementary health benefits, and $14 billion in life insurance benefits.

The association also made note of the healthy capital levels among life and health insurance companies, as they were able to maintain capital levels comfortably above the targets set out under prudential regulations.

"The pandemic has tested and demonstrated the resilience of life and health insurance industry and the importance of our products to the well-being of so many," Frank said.