Manulife Financial, Zurich Canada form unique alliance giving small business owners added convenience in insurance shopping

Toronto, ON (June 7, 2001) — Manulife Financial and Zurich Canada, two of Canada’s leading insurance companies, have formed an alliance that gives small business owners across the country broader access to a full range of insurance products.

Under the agreement, Zurich Canada brokers will refer clients who want to buy group life and health insurance products to Manulife advisors. In turn, Manulife advisors will refer small businesses that need property and casualty products to Zurich Canada brokers.

The two insurers will pilot the alliance across Ontario this summer and will roll it out nationally by year end.

Small employer benefits

“By offering small business owners easy access to a wider range of business insurance, we’re giving them one less thing to worry about,” says Barry J. Gilway, president and chief executive officer of Zurich Canada. “Our alliance will make it more convenient for entrepreneurs to buy insurance and give them more time to run their business.”

“We’re basically bringing together products offered by two leading insurers in the small business market,” says Bruce Gordon, Manulife Financial’s Executive Vice President of Canadian Operations. “This arrangement will clearly make it easier for small business owners to access a full range of products that they might need through their existing advisors or brokers.”

April acquisition

The product distribution alliance stems from the sale of Zurich Canada’s group life and health employee benefits business to Manulife Financial on April 2, 2001.

“The purchase of Zurich Canada’s group life and health employee benefits business has added a significant amount of high-quality, small-employer business to Manulife’s group business in Canada,” Mr. Gordon said. “Zurich has an excellent global reputation .”

“The sale of our group life and health employee benefits business fits our overall strategy to focus on businesses where we can develop a sustainable competitive advantage,” says Mr. Gilway, of Zurich Canada. “We are also pleased to work with Manulife, since they share our passion for client service.”

About Zurich Canada

Zurich Canada ( has provided insurance protection to Canadians and Canadian businesses for more than 75 years. Its product range includes life, home, auto, small business and commercial insurance. Working in partnership with PEOPLEPLUS Insurance Company, Zurich Canada offers employers and associations car and home insurance. Zurich Canada is part of Zurich North America and the Zurich Financial Services Group.

The Zurich Financial Services Group ( is a global leader in the financial services industry, providing its customers with solutions in the area of financial protection and asset accumulation. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, it has offices in more than 60 countries reaching 35 million customers and employing 73,000 people. Based on consolidated figures for 2000, the Group achieved gross premiums of USD 50 billion and the net income amounted to USD 2.33 billion. On December 31, 2000, the Group had USD 440 billion of assets under management of which USD 259 billion represent funds managed for third-party institutional and retail customers.

About Manulife Financial

Beyond being Canada’s largest life insurer by balance sheet assets, income, shareholder equity and market capitalization, Manulife ranks among Canada’s top three providers of group life and health insurance, offering coverage to a full range of small, medium and large employers.

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services company operating in 15 countries and territories worldwide. Through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners, Manulife Financial offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services. Funds under management by Manulife Financial (Manulife Financial Corporation and its affiliated companies) were Cdn$124.2 billion as of March 31, 2001.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSE, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at