Financial needs of baby boomers further transforms insurance industry

SLF Canada President Kevin Dougherty highlights changes to industry and importance of financial security at Vancouver Board of Trade speech

Vancouver, June 11 2010 – From music in the 60s, to fashion in the 70s, to technology in the 80s, baby boomers have had a major impact on society as they move through each stage of their lives. With boomers on the cusp of retirement, their impact on the insurance industry and financial planning is evident in the products that have been developed and the questions that need to be answered, according to Kevin Dougherty, President, Sun Life Financial Canada.

“Thinking back 15 or 20 years ago, the insurance industry was all about answering the question ‘What if I die?’ – have I provided security for my family. Today, the question for many baby boomers is ‘What if I live?’ – will I have enough money to live comfortably in retirement and am I confident I have financial security that will last my lifetime,” said Dougherty.

Noting a number of circumstances that have created a perfect storm around financial security – economic shocks, health care concerns, pension reform questions and increasing life spans – a number of solutions have been put forth by the industry including:

  • Creation of a Registered Health Savings Plan (RHSP) – this would be a federal savings plan, to complement the current provincial plans, that would allow Canadians to create a health spending account using pre-tax dollars that could be withdrawn for approved health care costs on a tax-free basis in retirement.
  • Pension Reform – workplace retirement savings plans can play a key role in helping people save for a secure retirement. For the 3.5 million private sector workers who do not have access to a workplace pension plan, and who are not likely saving enough for retirement, introduce multi-employer plans where the self-employed and other working Canadians can participate. In addition, features such as automatic enrolment at a pre-set contribution rate and automatic contribution increases have proven to be highly effective ways to increase participation and the rate of savings in several countries and if introduced in Canada, will go a long way towards helping Canadians achieve the lifetime financial security they need.

“These are easy changes to make to regulations. And no doubt they would serve to improve the financial security of Canadians immediately without hindering our ability to improve government programs,” said Dougherty. “Living longer should not be a burden. Instead this should be an opportunity for us to step up to the challenges of making financial security a reality.”

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2009, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $433 billion. For more information please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.