ING (U.S.) and Manulife Financial sign employee benefits agreement

Companies to work together to serve employee benefits clients in the U.S. and Canada

WATERLOO, ON, May 21, 2003 – ING’s employee benefits division, a unit of ING’s U.S. financial services operations, and Manulife Financial have entered into an agreement to allow the two companies greater cross-border accommodation for their respective clients with employees in both the U.S. and Canada.

The agreement will strengthen the bond the two companies share through their membership in MIA Benefits, a network of insurance companies that provide employee benefits in more than 30 countries. Because of their membership in the Brussels-based insurance network, both ING and Manulife have strong backgrounds creating cross-border employee-benefit plan solutions.

However, the new agreement will streamline their processes to allow for broader, more consistent coverage for employers having personnel in both countries.

“Because of our global operations, we are presented with many opportunities for cross-border arrangements,” says Curt Olson, senior vice president for ING Employee Benefits, “The leadership at ING’s and Manulife’s employee benefits divisions, however, recognized that our clients’ needs are predominately within North America. It was that realization that inspired us to forge this agreement.”

“ING has excellent name recognition in our market and a strong reputation with our clients,” notes Geoff Crickmay, senior vice president, Group Benefits for Manulife Financial. “This agreement will give employers in Canada and the United States confidence that their employees are well-protected when they’re working on either side of the border.”

The agreement creates a simplified method through which ING and Manulife can facilitate a proposal process to accommodate companies with employees in Canada and the U.S. (Both companies offer proposals only in the country in which they are licensed to do business.) Meanwhile, the parties have also entered into reinsurance agreements which will allow ING insurance companies and Manulife to share some of the risk involved and to create guaranteed issue amounts (non-medical limits in the Canadian context) appropriate for each country while maintaining a simpler underwriting structure.

According to Olson the ING-Manulife relationship means simplification for the customer, “Simply put, it means that companies receive an integrated approach to managing their benefits, and covered employees receive a plan that is consistent with the expected benefits for their country.”

“As client organisations expand their operations, they’re drawn logically into neighboring markets,” said Crickmay. “Having the ability to provide consistency in employee benefit coverage, and to extend that effectively across all our market segments gives our clients a business advantage.”

ING Employee Benefits

ING Employee Benefits ( offers an array of both traditional and voluntary employee benefit products through ReliaStar Life Insurance Company and ReliaStar Life Insurance Company of New York. In addition to employee benefits, ING’s U.S. financial services operations ( offers a comprehensive array of products and services, including retirement plans; life insurance; fixed and variable annuities; investment advisory services, and mutual funds, through a variety of distribution channels and affiliates. ING U.S. Financial Services is part of Amsterdam-based ING Groep N.V., one of the largest integrated financial services organizations in the world.

About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group 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 were Cdn$141.6 billion as at March 31, 2003.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as “MFC” on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under “0945” on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at