Life and health insurers paid $100 billion to support Canadians through the pandemic, 2020 data shows

Toronto, ON (Sept. 14, 2021) – 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. Insurers helped Canadians respond to the disruption and tragedy of the pandemic by:

  • paying out over $12 billion in prescription drug claims;
  • paying out $950 million in travel insurance claims – largely for trip cancellations;
  • paying out $420 million in psychology-related claims to support mental health – up nearly a quarter from 2019; and
  • paying out $154 million in life insurance claims from deaths related to COVID-19.

Insurance benefits remained remarkably resilient. 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,” Stephen Frank, President and CEO of the Canadian Life Health and Insurance Association said. “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.”

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,” Frank said.

Canadian Life & Health Insurance Facts is published annually by the CLHIA based on industry and publicly available data. It is available at

About the CLHIA

The CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent 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. For more information, please visit

SOURCE: Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.

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