Canada’s life and health insurers paid out a record $114 billion in health and retirement benefits last year, up $11 billion since before the coronavirus pandemic and up 60 per cent from a decade ago, according to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association’s annual fact book.

“During a year when many households faced higher prices and tough choices, over 29 million [Canadians] enjoyed the added financial protection that these products offer,” said Stephen Frank, president and chief executive officer of the CLHIA, in a press release. “These families had prescriptions that were more accessible, retirement that was more secure and greater certainty that financial support would be available for their loved ones.”

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In 2022, health insurers paid out a record $43.9 billion in total claims, up 7.7 per cent from 2021. The breakdown for health benefits includes $14.3 billion for drugs, $10 billion for dental, $1.3 billion for vision, $1.3 billion for other paramedical, $1.1 billion for massage and $650 million for mental health. Other substantial claims paid out included $7.7 billion for long-term disability and $1.7 billion for short-term disability.

In terms of pension plans, insurers paid out $53.7 billion in annuities to retirees in 2022 and 66 per cent of this total was paid out to group plan members. Accumulation annuities have driven growth in retirement assets held by insurers, up an average of five per cent annually since 2012.

The fact book also noted insurers managed $418 billion of the $5.4 trillion in total pension assets in 2022. This includes assets in roughly 15,000 private workplace plans provided to 3.1 million people.

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