Life and health insurers made record pay outs and covered more Canadians than ever in 2022

Canada's life and health insurers paid out more than $312 million a day in benefits last year, with increases across all benefit types

Life and health insurers made record pay outs and covered more Canadians than ever in 2022

Canadians received a record $114 billion in benefits from life and health insurance products last year – up 10 per cent from 2019. This included payments for health insurance claims, life insurance, and insurance-based retirement products, says the 2023 edition of ‘Canadian Life & Health Insurance Facts’ from the Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association (CLHIA).

The report shows that last year, life and health insurers:

  • provided coverage for over 29 million people – or 74 percent of Canadians, up nearly two million in the past decade
  • paid a record $43.9 billion in claims for supplementary health, disability, and accident coverage – up eight percent
  • paid out $14.3 billion in prescription drug claims – up eight percent
  • paid $650 million in mental health support claims – up 10 percent and nearly double since 2019
  • employed over 170,000 Canadians – up more than 3,000
  • provided insurance products to over 100 million people worldwide

The number of Canadians covered by health insurance surpassed 27 million for the first time. Driven by increased employment following the pandemic, an additional 600,000 were enrolled in workplace health plans in 2022.

“During a year when many households faced higher prices and tough choices, over 29 million enjoyed the added financial protection that these products offer,” says Stephen Frank, president and CEO of CLHIA. “These families had prescriptions that were more accessible, retirement that was more secure, and greater certainty that financial support would be available for their loved ones.”

Benefit coverage increases

Twenty-two million Canadians had $5.5 trillion in life insurance coverage, with life claims increasing about 12 per cent. As well, insurers provided retirement solutions to over nine million Canadians, paying out over $53 billion in retirement benefits.

Claims paid for health, drugs, and dental care grew nearly seven percent to a record $32.5 billion. Continuing a trend that began during the pandemic, claims for mental health counselling and therapies continued to grow, reaching $650 million, nearly twice the level of 2019. Payouts for travel insurance grew 60 percent to $680 million as more Canadians opted to travel again in 2022.

Supplementary health insurance plans provided 27 million Canadians with access to a wide range of prescription drugs, including specialty medications to treat serious, chronic, and complex health conditions. Drug claims grew 7.6 per cent in 2022 as both coverage and the number enrolled in workplace plans increased. Drugs to treat inflammatory conditions, diabetes, and depression accounted for nearly one third of all drug benefits paid.

“Life and health insurers know Canadians are counting on them and their products to be there when they need them,” says Frank. “That’s why insurers continue to maintain strong capital levels, well above regulators’ expectations.”