Insurers see investment gains offset losses for COVID-19, weather events


TORONTO — Canada’s big insurers say investment gains and business growth in the third quarter helped offset the costs of weather events and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sun Life Financial Inc. reported underlying net income was up 6.7 per cent to $902 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30, Manulife reported core net income was up 4.4 per cent to $1.52 billion, and Great-West Lifeco Inc. reported net earnings were up five per cent to $872 million.

The insurers all reported higher assets under management as they saw inflows of investments and gains in markets, including Sun Life up 11 per cent to $1.39 trillion compared with the end of 2020, Manulife up 7 per cent to $1.4 trillion over the same period, and Great West up 11 per cent to $2.2 trillion.

Manulife said its earnings were impacted by a $152 million charge to its property and casualty reinsurance business for losses related to Hurricane Ida and the European floods, and the effects of COVID-19 on policyholders in Asia and the U.S.

Great-West said its capital and risk solutions segment saw third quarter earnings down 31 per cent compared with last year because of major weather events and unfavourable U.S. life claims totalling $71 million because of direct and indirect COVID-19 impacts.

And Sun Life said its U.S. business saw a 19 per cent drop in underlying net income because of higher claims from COVID-19, as well as lower base earnings in its Asian division because of the effects of the pandemic especially in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SLF, TSX:GWO, TSX:MFC)