Equitable Life marks record-breaking year in 2017

by David Keelaghan16 Feb 2018

Earnings season has brought some mixed results for Canada’s life and health insurers, but for Equitable Life, it’s been almost exclusively positive.

The firm recorded earnings of $106 million in 2017, a 33% increase on last year's $80 million, which represents a new record.

Growth was strong across all its three main product lines – ­individual insurance, savings & retirement, and group business, with a new high of $1.2 billion for premiums and deposits, and $4.1 billion in AUM.

But for Equitable Life of Canada CFO Sheila Hart, the results come as little surprise, and are part of a longer term trend for the company.

“We have gained a lot of momentum on the sales side on our individual business with record sales of over $101 million, and over $300 million in our savings and retirement business,” she says. “They are big milestones for us and it’s why we went over $106 million in earnings.”

With an 8.2% year-over-year increase in individual life and critical illness insurance sales, group benefits also performed strongly, with sales of $45 million, while savings and retirement set a new record of $311 million – an increase of 11.9% on 2016.

For Hart, the fact Equitable was able to build on its success in 2016 was particularly impressive.

“The change to policy holder taxation of permanent products in 2017 mean a lot of people were rushing to get plans in 2016. That was a big year for a lot of companies, and for us that momentum just kept going.”

As any of the major providers can attest, the challenge in obtaining success is maintaining it. As sales and revenue grow, so too does expectations. In Equitable’s case, Hart is confident that the records set last year can be matched and bettered in 2018.

“We need to keep doing what we are doing – we are expanding our distribution on the individual side. In our national accounts we are setting up a tax and estate function, which is new for us. We will also continue to focus on technology and customer service to make it easier to do business.”