Policyholders vote for amalgamation

Eligible policyholders from The Great-West Life Assurance Company, London Life Insurance Company and The Canada Life Assurance Company voted in favour of amalgamation. The final step for combining the three companies is to receive regulatory approvals.

What amalgamation means for participating life insurance

Our one-pager explains through a helpful graphic how combining the Canadian open participating accounts of Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life will affect you and your policy.


What is amalgamation?

Currently, our Canadian companies, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, are separate legal entities operating under common ownership and management. These three companies were each formed more than 125 years ago and have benefited from common ownership and management since Great-West Life acquired London Life in 1997 and then Canada Life in 2003.

In April, we announced that we’d be coming together under one brand – the new Canada Life. The next step in our journey is to amalgamate our companies. Amalgamating means we’d combine our operating companies into a single larger company, under The Canada Life Assurance Company name. After amalgamation, the policies of our three companies would continue as policies of The Canada Life Assurance Company. Our goal is to amalgamate effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Policies you have with Great-West Life, London Life or Canada Life all remain in effect under the same terms as when they were first issued. You can remain confident that our day-to-day business with you won’t change.


Why combine the companies?

It will help position us for future growth so we can continue to meet the needs of our advisors and customers. The amalgamation is expected to:

  • Create operating efficiencies and simplify our capital structure – allowing for more efficient use of capital.
  • Simplify our governance structure and improve how responsive we can be to future business, capital, financial, regulatory, accounting and other changes, in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Enable the combination of the companies’ open participating accounts into a larger Canadian open participating account, with the opportunity for greater risk diversification and reduced regulatory and participating account management expenses.


6 key milestones

Step 1
Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life boards of directors approve amalgamation - Completed July 2019.

Step 2
We request the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) to approve the amalgamation agreement - Completed July 2019.

Step 3
Eligible policyholders receive an information package in the mail which they can review and consider - Completed September 2019.

Step 4
Eligible policyholders vote before or at meeting on Oct. 3. - Completed - Policyholders voted in favour of amalgamation.

Step 5
We apply to the Minister of Finance for letters patent of amalgamation.

Step 6
If the above approvals are received, we’re officially amalgamated as The Canada Life Assurance Company effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Three great Canadian brands are now one.  

The new Canada Life combines the strengths of our three companies — Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life.

Answers to your questions

Amalgamation will position us to continue improving our customer service levels. It won’t affect your existing policies or accounts with us. They’ll stay the same.

No. Great-West Lifeco Inc. is a public company, traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol GWO, and the parent company of The Great-West Life Assurance Company (or Great-West Life).  Great-West Lifeco Inc. is not part of the proposed amalgamation. If you hold shares of Great-West Lifeco Inc., the amalgamation will not affect those shares.

No. None of the amalgamating companies have public shareholders. The shares of the amalgamating companies are directly and indirectly owned by Great-West Lifeco Inc., a public company traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol GWO.

The proposed amalgamation won’t change your policy or negatively affect your dividends.

No action is required on your part as a result of this amalgamation - you don’t have to sign anything, fill out forms or provide any additional information or paperwork to preserve your rights under your policy on the amalgamation. That will happen automatically. All existing policies and contracts will remain unchanged and continue to be in force and serviced by the same teams. Also, your advisor will not change as a result of the amalgamation.

Amalgamating into a single company will help to position us for future growth and to continue to meet the needs of our customers. The amalgamation is expected to:

  • Create operating efficiencies and simplify our capital structure – allowing for more efficient use of capital. 
  • Simplify our governance structure and improve how responsive we can be to future business, capital, financial, regulatory, accounting and other changes, in a rapidly changing environment. 
  • Enable the combination of the companies’ open participating accounts, resulting in a larger Canadian open participating account, with Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life market themselves under the Canada Life brand with the opportunity for greater risk diversification and reduced regulatory and participating account management expenses. 

If the amalgamation is completed, we’ll combine the Canadian open participating accounts of each of the three companies into a single Canadian open participating account (including the London Life Bermuda policies). This combined account would be larger than each of the existing open participating accounts, providing an opportunity for greater risk diversification while reducing regulatory and participating account management expenses. This is expected to result in the distribution of the same or possibly slightly greater policyholder dividends for pre-amalgamation policies than would be the case if the Canadian open accounts were kept separate.

The Canada Life Canadian closed participating account which currently shares the same investment pool as the Canada Life Canadian open participating account, will share the same investment pool as the combined Canadian open participating account. None of the other Canada Life participating accounts will be changed as a result of the amalgamation.  These other accounts are:  Canada – former New York Life and Crown Life; US – Canada Life and former Crown Life; International – former Crown Life in Hong Kong, Macau, Pacific Rim and South America.

The three companies have already been operating under common ownership and management since Great-West Life acquired London Life in 1997 and then Canada Life in 2003. Since these acquisitions, we have integrated many teams in our business and corporate support areas in Canada. A large portion of our organization already supports the combined operation.

As a result, we do not anticipate any immediate workforce impacts upon amalgamation. Over time, we do expect to benefit from efficiencies related to amalgamation and our move to one brand. Our goal would be to manage the impact of any related workforce reductions through regular attrition. Office closures are not expected as a result of amalgamation.

As our business continues to evolve, changes are always possible in the future for other reasons.