Founded in 1847, the Canada Life Assurance Company was Canada’s first domestic life insurance company. Based in Toronto, we have grown and prospered and today we provide a diversified range of insurance and wealth management products and services in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Brazil and several other jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man.
Canada Life began operating in the United Kingdom in 1903 and has developed a wide offering of products and services to suit our clients. Our product portfolio encompasses solutions for successful retirement income planning, inheritance tax planning, saving and investments as well as group and individual protection.
Within the UK, we have four main locations;
In 2003, Canada Life became part of The Great-West Life Assurance Company, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco. The transaction brought together three leading Canadian life insurers – Great-West, London Life and Canada Life – to create an even stronger financial services organisation with global reach. Canada Life and Great-West are members of the Power Financial Corporation group of companies.
Our vision is to be a world class financial services provider, delivering exceptional customer value and helping people achieve more through the excellence and integrity of our people. We work with our key stakeholders to achieve this vision and measure success through:
We understand that you would want to be certain that the company you invest with is strong, safe and secure. As a part of the Great-West Lifeco group, we are a constituent of the Financial Times Global 500 world’s largest companies and with combined assets under administration of more than £324 billion (as at 31 March 2012) we have an even stronger platform for continued growth as a world-class financial services provider.
Ratings are another reflection of our financial strength. Great-West and its subsidiaries have received strong ratings from the major ratings agencies. Ratings are updated annually and the following rating information is correct as at 14 May 2012.
A.M. Best Company
Financial condition and operating performance
Dominion Bond Rating Service
Claims Paying Ability
Fitch Ratings Inc.
Insurer Financial Strength
Moody's Investors Service
Insurer Financial Strength
Standard & Poor's Corporation
Insurer Financial Strength
* highest rating available
We have been helping our clients maximise their pension plans for over 100 years and consistently rank amongst the largest providers with our traditional annuity products and we have justly earned a reputation as innovators with our innovative Annuity Growth Account.
Our unit-linked bonds incorporate various flexible options designed to meet the needs of today’s discerning investor. Coupled with our own fund range, our investment solutions deliver quality investment choices through partnerships with a carefully selected mixture of large and boutique fund management groups.
Since 1975, we have worked with industry experts and tax specialists to develop a comprehensive range of onshore and offshore inheritance tax trusts and packaged estate planning solutions. We pride ourselves on our technical expertise, advice and support in this area and these skills have allowed us to develop unique solutions which have stood the test of time with a 100% track record with HM Revenue & Customs. We now employ a dedicated Tax & Estate Planning team to support financial advisers across the UK.
Our group insurance operation is committed to building strong relationships with our customers by providing market-leading products and exemplary service and support. We have been providing group products to intermediaries and their corporate clients for 40 years and are now one of the UK’s largest group insurance providers, covering over 2.5m million people through group schemes.
Our weight and experience is recognised across the industry. We hold over 25% of the total UK group insurance market, and the value of group insurance benefits held with us currently exceeds £248 billion (as at December 2011). We are the market leader for Group Life Assurance and a leading provider of Group Income Protection with just over 20% market share.
Canada Life Limited, registered in England no. 973271. Registered office: Canada Life Place, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire EN6 5BA
Telephone 0044 845 606 0708 Facsimile 0044 1707 646088 www.canadalife.co.uk
Canada Life Group consists of Canada Life Limited, Canada Life Asset Management Limited (both authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority), Canada Life International Limited and CLI Institutional Limited (Isle of Man registered companies authorised and regulated by the Isle of Man Insurance and Pensions Authority).
All promotional material produced is approved by Canada Life Limited.
UK group risk market – key figures and market commentary.
This year’s results are very encouraging, with increased premiums and benefits across all product lines.
This could lead to greater interest in workplace facilitation as we struggle to grow the market through traditional retail channels. Perhaps a combination of flexible and voluntary benefits and interest generated through wider pension provision could be the catalyst for long term income protection growth.
Source: Swiss Re Group Watch survey 2012.
Typical Benefit Plan for Group Insurance
All employees are usually included, although membership may be restricted to certain categories of employee.
Eligible employees can be included as soon as they join an employer and membership for risk benefits may depend on whether the employee joins the employer’s pension scheme.
The level of benefits provided can vary by the category of member; so for example, managers may receive higher benefits than other employees.
The main risk benefits insured are death in service, income protection and critical illness.
These are the commonest type of benefits covered, often provided in conjunction with a pension scheme operated by the employer. Schemes are generally set up under a discretionary trust. They are also registered with HM Revenue and Customs so that they can enjoy certain tax privileges.
Benefits are either:
for the employee’s spouse, civil partner or other financial dependants, ensuring continued income following the death of an employee. The pension can also escalate each year to offset the impact of inflation.
This is the next type of benefit insured after death in service benefits.
The commonest benefit is 75% gross salary less the Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) – see ‘news’. The deferred period is often 28 or 41 weeks to integrate with State benefits, and based on an Own Occupation definition of disability.
Other types of benefit available include Net Pay and benefits fully or partially integrated with State benefits. The maximum benefit insured is usually 75% salary less the ESA.
Benefits may be payable through to retirement age, or limited to a period of 2–5 years. The latest market development is to offer a limited pay period followed by a lump sum.
It is also possible to have escalating benefits and insure pension scheme contributions and employers’ national insurance contributions. Other deferred periods and disability definitions are also possible.
This is a relatively new benefit to the market and is less frequently insured.
Benefits are relatively low, in the region of once or twice salary, or perhaps a fixed amount of around £20,000 per member.
There is often a set of around seven core critical illnesses to which additional illnesses can be insured at additional cost.
A member’s children and spouse can also be insured.
The UK government is introducing automatic enrolment into a workplace pension to encourage and enable people to save more. This is the first time that employers have been required by law to contribute to their workers’ pensions.
Automatic enrolment starts on 1st October 2012 with the largest employers by PAYE size; those with 120,000 employees or more. Medium and then smaller employers will follow, with the whole process being completed by 2018.
All employers must enrol eligible workers into a qualifying workplace pension scheme. These are workers who:
Workers can opt out if they want to and can ask to opt back in. However, every three years, employers must automatically re-enrol workers who meet the criteria.
The qualifying standards for a UK registered scheme to be suitable for auto-enrolment vary by the type of scheme.
Money purchase schemes – There must be a minimum level of contributions; 3% salary from employers, 4% from employees with tax relief of 1%. Contributions will start at the lower level of 2% in total, with the employer contributing 1%, rising to the minimum level. Higher contributions can be made if desired.
Defined benefit schemes – There is a minimum benefit level, depending on whether the scheme is contracted in or contracted out. For contracted out schemes this broadly means the scheme must provide a pension of at least 1/80th of average band earnings for each year of service, payable from age 65.
Hybrid schemes – Where there is a mix of money purchase benefits and defined benefits, both tests will need to be applied as appropriate.
Employers can choose to use their own existing scheme(s) if they wish. There is probably a good chance that their existing scheme, especially if contracted out, meets the minimum standard. But if not, they could amend the scheme so that it does meet the minimum standards, or set up a new qualifying scheme.
NEST, which is a money purchase scheme, is also available, so an employer could use NEST or any combination of these options.
Further information: http://www.nestpensions.org.uk/Index.aspx
For men, the current SPA is 65.
For women, the SPA is increasing from 60 to 65 from April 2010. This affects women born after 5 April 1950 and currently would be completed by November 2018.
SPA for both sexes will increase to 66 between 2018 and 2020 and to 67 between 2026 and 2028. Further increases to age 68 are planned, but this may be brought forward with the possibility of linking SPA to increases in peoples’ life expectancy.
The government’s SPA calculator enables anyone to calculate their SPA based on their date of birth.
EU Directive 2004/113/EC1 prohibits all discrimination based on sex in the access to and supply of goods and services, including insurance.
EU member states were able to opt out of this in relation to insurance provided the use of sex as a factor in the assessment of risk is based on relevant and accurate actuarial and statistical data and that the data is compiled, published (whether in full or summary form) and regularly updated.
The ECJ judgment as a result of the case brought by Test-Achats determined that this opt out should be removed from 21 December 2012. From this point ‘unisex’ rates must be used for all types of individual insurance products.
The directive does not apply to matters of employment and occupation, so the terms on which employees are covered by group insurance policies concluded between an employer and an insurer are not covered by the directive.
With the reduction in LTA from £1.8 million to £1.5 million from 6 April 2012, ‘Fixed protection’ was introduced to protect pension savings up to £1.8 million from the lifetime allowance charge.
If a person expected that their pension savings might be more than £1.5 million, they could apply for fixed protection so that their LTA would be fixed at £1.8 million rather than the standard LTA of £1.5 million. If in the future the standard LTA rises to more than £1.8 million, the person’s fixed protection would stop as their LTA would be the higher standard LTA.
Individuals had to apply for fixed protection before 6 April 2012.
Fixed protection does not affect enhanced or primary protection and it was not be available for people who had enhanced or primary protection.
Fixed protection status will apply across all arrangements in all tax advantaged schemes in which the individual has benefits, including registered group life. There are various ways in which fixed protection status can be lost:
A person must cease to be an active member of any registered pension scheme and must not:
• Make a relevant benefit accrual:
– for money purchase arrangements this includes payment of any contributions.
– for defined benefit or cash balance arrangements the amount of benefits that can be built up each year are limited.
The continuing provision of defined benefit death benefits (whether under the same arrangement / registered pension scheme or under a separate arrangement / registered pension scheme as that which the member’s pension benefits are being provided) cannot give rise to benefit accrual and therefore the loss of fixed protection. Fixed protection is not lost as a result of an increase in a member’s defined benefits death benefits.
• Enter a new arrangement:
Fixed protection is lost by the act of setting up or joining a new arrangement. This will be the case even though there would be no benefit there would be no benefit accrual for fixed protection purposes under the arrangement, for example, if the arrangement only provided defined benefit death benefits.
With automatic enrolment into a workplace pension scheme, there are no exceptions for those with fixed protection, so individuals must make sure they opt out of the employer’s scheme within in one month of joining, so that no contributions are made on their behalf and they are treated as never having joined the pension scheme.
Once enhanced protection is lost it can’t be regained, and benefits will then be tested against the lifetime allowance relevant for that individual.
Further information: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/newsletter50.pdf
Incapacity Benefit, along with Income Support paid because of an illness or disability, and Severe Disablement Allowance is being phased out from 27 October 2008. Between October 2010 and Spring 2014 people who receive Incapacity Benefit, will be assessed for Employment and Support Allowance. This will not affect people who reach state pension age before 6 April 2014.
The Welfare Reform Bill 2011 may be seen as creating some of the biggest changes to the welfare system for over 60 years. The Bill introduces a wide range of reforms that are aimed at making the benefits and tax credits system fairer and simpler with a key focus on creating the right incentives to get more people into work by ensuring that work always pays. This will control the welfare budget and make sure that benefits are targeted correctly so that people who genuinely need benefits will be protected.
The Bill provides for the introduction of a 'Universal Credit', a single streamlined benefit to replace a range of existing means-tested benefits and tax credits for people of working age, starting from 2013. Universal credit will merge out-of-work benefits and in-work support and will be backed up by a strong system of conditionality, including financial sanctions, so that people will not be better off out of work.
Besides introducing Universal Credit and related measures, the Bill makes other significant changes to the benefits system, including:
Further information: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/