Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/18/2012 -- Key Insights And Key Risks
Although the details vary from quarter to quarter, newsflow from Canada's insurance sector continues, in mid-2012, to highlight its strength and dynamism. In both the non-life and the life segment, the main players have scale, access to capital (even if they are mutuals), financial strength, well recognised brands, and clearly enunciated strategies for growth. In each case, business is developing as a result of at least one of the following factors: increased numbers of policies and policy-holders; firming prices; changes to distribution arrangements; product innovation; acquisition of rival businesses in Canada, and expansion in markets overseas in ways that exploit the competitive advantage of the company in question. As has been the case for a while, a major challenge comes from pervasive low interest rates and, for some companies, the general volatility of equity markets.
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The comments of the major life companies in relation to their operations through the first three months of the year highlight how demand for long-term savings products continues to grow. In part because of the general shift from defined benefit to defined contribution solutions, in part because of the greying of the population and in part because of the opportunities seen by the distributors of the products, each one of the major players in the segment is reporting good growth in at least part of its business. In many cases, particular lines are (not) growing because of active decisions to focus on areas that are particularly profitable. Virtually all the players are benefiting from not being 'pure' Canadian life insurance companies, in that they have (very) substantial operations outside the country and/or see life insurance as a part of a much wider offering of financial services solutions.
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