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Canadians receive nearly $100 billion in benefits during the pandemic

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on October 25, 2021

Canada’s life and health insurers were instrumental in helping Canadians get through the COVID-19 pandemic, a report by the Canadian Life Health and Insurance Association (CLHIA) confirmed.

CLHIA’s annual publication, Canadian Life & Health Insurance Facts, revealed that Canadians received over $97 billion in benefits from life and health insurance products in 2020, a period that included the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic economic slowdown. Highlights of the report showed that insurers paid out:

  • over $12 billion in prescription drug claims
  • $950 million in travel insurance claims — largely for trip cancellations
  • $154 million in life insurance claims from deaths related to COVID-19
  • $420 million in psychology-related claims to support mental health
  • An additional $150 million in disability claims, over and above what was projected to support workers while they recovered

Insurance benefits remained remarkably resilient, the report found. Because of actions taken by insurers, employers and other plan sponsors, over 26 million Canadians benefited from access to health benefits at the end of 2020 — the same as before the pandemic.

“Millions of Canadians rely on life and health insurance products during times of crisis; for all of us 2020 was one of those times 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.” Stephen Frank, CLHIA President and CEO

Additionally, insurers provided $46 billion in annuity payments, $37 billion in supplementary health benefits, and $14 billion in life insurance benefits. Life and health insurers also remained well capitalized through the crisis, with regulatory capital levels well above government targets.

“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,” Stephen Frank

CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies, including Medavie Blue Cross, account for 99% of Canada's life and health insurance business. These insurers provide a wide range of financial security products including life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance to over 29 million Canadians. They hold over $1 trillion in assets in Canada and employ more than 158,000 Canadians.

CLHIA’s full publication is available at

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