The Most Important Lines of Insurance in Canada


Leading Canadian general insurers generate revenues through an array of products. This includes property, motor, liability, financial lines, and specialty lines of coverage.

Figures 1 and 2 provide evidence of this trend: Insured group plans of for-profit private health insurers have seen an impressive decrease in the percentage of premium revenue spent on medical claims, while nonmedical spending has almost quadrupled (Figures 1-2).


Auto insurance is one of the cornerstones of Canadian insurance markets, required in every province and territory as mandatory coverage against liability claims such as property damage or injuries to others, roadside assistance, and other benefits. Unfortunately, fraudsters use sophisticated tactics to defraud this industry at great expense to consumers – leading them down a costly path of financial destruction.

Canada’s 192 private P&C insurers recorded net written premiums totaling CAD 71.0 billion in 2019, including premiums charged to policyholders and earnings generated from investing those premiums. Of this sum, almost half was from auto insurance – expected to remain the case through 2022.

Property insurance is another crucial form of coverage in Canada, and its premiums depend on numerous factors, including economic conditions, interest rates, and household purchasing power. Rising mortgage rates can significantly restrict homeowner financial flexibility resulting in higher property insurance premiums.

P&C lines of insurance that stand out include personal accident, commercial property, and liability coverage. Over the first three quarters of 2020, these lines contributed CAD 62.8 billion in net written premiums, with personal automobile and home ownership accounting for the bulk. Other notable contributors were boiler and machinery, marine aviation, and surety and fidelity policies – many major Canadian P&C insurers being part of larger financial firms that provide an array of investment products.


As a newcomer to Canada, gaining insurance knowledge is vitally important to financial literacy and settling successfully into life here. The more informed decisions you can make for yourself and your family based on an in-depth knowledge of their options, the more financially secure decisions will be.

Auto insurance was the most significant contributor to net written premiums in 2019, followed by property, general liability, and specialty lines. While collision coverage is required in many provinces, comprehensive auto coverage protects both your vehicle and those of others involved in an accident, regardless of who was at fault.

Canadian health insurance is decentralized, with provinces and territories managing their plans. Provincial governments cover medically necessary hospital and physician services through prepayment; additional healthcare costs (such as prescription drugs, eye care, or dental work) must be privately funded through out-of-pocket or private insurance payments.

Healthcare expenses can be substantial. Therefore, many Canadians opt for private health insurance to cover a portion of their medical costs. Furthermore, certain professions, such as doctors and lawyers, are legally required to carry professional liability coverage; it’s, therefore, wise to research your province’s requirements before purchasing insurance policies.


Life insurance provides people in Canada with financial security in the event of death or disability and provides tax-deferred investment opportunities for policyholders. Life insurance should be considered essential coverage by families with dependents, mortgages, and debt to pay off, and it serves as an investment vehicle to build wealth over time.

Canadian property and casualty markets are highly competitive, with numerous large insurers competing to capture consumers across various product categories such as automobile, home, personal lines, commercial property, and liability coverage. As of 2021, Intact Insurance Company led general insurers in Canada while others such as Lloyd’s Underwriters, Aviva Canada Insurance Company of Canada, The Co-operators Group Insurance Company of Canada Security National Insurance Company Certas Home Auto and Wawanesa Mutual were all notable contenders.

Insurance providers face various challenges in Canada, from COVID-19 implementation and rising interest rates to the digital transformation of their businesses and providing better customer experiences.

Private health insurers are essential in financing various healthcare services in Canada, such as prescription drugs. But over the past 20 years, their contribution to benefits has decreased as a percentage of premium revenue, likely due to higher administrative costs, changes in management practices, or profit gains through higher profits or mark-ups.


Insurance companies in Canada generate significant revenues through premiums charged to policyholders, earnings on investments derived from those premiums, embedded insurance products sold as part of other investment products, claims paid on policies, and loss-adjustment expenses and profit. These revenues are used primarily for claims payment, loss-adjustment expenses, and profit.

Canadian property and casualty insurers collect approximately CAD 62.8 billion annually in net written premiums for auto, commercial property, financial lines, MAT, and general non-categorized coverage. Due to the pandemic, however, these firms have faced several difficulties, including declining earnings from motor insurance policies and reduced capital availability.

Over the past 20 years, the percentage of private health insurance premiums allocated as benefits has significantly declined. Various factors may cause this trend, one being increased costs associated with administering plans – due to various management practices or simply more considerable administrative expenses associated with large groups of insureds – or diminished profitability among for-profit insurers, leading to decreased benefit spending.

Whatever its cause, changes in the ratio of benefits paid versus premiums collected pose serious questions for government regulators and insurers. Not only should these organizations evaluate if this reduction is leading to better health outcomes among Canadians, but their incentive structures must also ensure profits align with their core mission of providing access to healthcare services to all Canadians.