As the year 2019 starts, The Insurance Journal suggests you read or re-read our 10 most popular articles. 

The Rising Stars of the insurance and investment industries

This year, the Insurance Journal highlighted the achievements of 20 young innovators and leaders in the financial services industry. The editorial team selected industry professionals who showed a positive impact in the lives of their clients and on the development of the financial services industry.

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The Rising Stars of the insurance and investment industries

Manulife rejects conclusions of report predicting financial fiasco

A report by short selling firm Muddy Waters claimed that Manulife Financial concluded a trial that “could significantly damage its earnings, capital, creditworthiness, business and solvency – per its own expert’s sworn affidavit.” The case in question was filed by hedge fund Mosten Investment, that alleges it is possible to use a life insurance policy as an unlimited deposit instrument. Manulife has rejected the conclusions of the Muddy Waters report.

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Manulife refutes conclusions of a report that predicts a financial fiasco

Concerns for independent distribution raised following acquisitions by carriers

Many from the MGA channel expressed concern for independent distribution amid a string of acquisitions by carriers. Terri Botosan, president of Hub Financial, told the Insurance Journal that “carrier ownership of MGAs is certainly becoming a trend and a concerning one...I am just not sure how you can say you value independence and want to provide unbiased advice…and be owned by a carrier.”

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Acquisitions of MGAs by carriers raise concern in wake of PPI sale

AMF sanctions three insurers

Manulife, Canada Life and ACE INA (Chubb) were sanctioned a total of $2.1 million by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) for dubious practices related to the distribution of products to credit card holders. In two of the three cases, the sanctions involve products sold to holders of credit cards issued by the now defunct Sears stores.

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Three insurers slapped with stiff penalties by the AMF

iA acquires an MGA

iA Financial Group acquired PPI Management, one of the largest managing general agencies supporting independent advisors in Canada. The insurer stated that it is committed to preserving the independence of PPI as a marketing organization representing and promoting the products of all major Canadian insurers.

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iA Financial Group acquires PPI

Manulife puts an end to external sales of a product

Manulife ended external sales of individual annuities as of June 29. This decision came after a review of the insurer’s product portfolio aimed at "meeting the changing needs of Canadians," a spokesperson for Manulife, told the Insurance Journal.

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Manulife ends external sales of individual annuities

Manulife Investments changes road show message

Where the presentations were once focused on products and performance, Manulife Investments says it has now shifted its road show message. Talking about product performance no longer cuts it. Business advice for advisors now takes precedence, Bernard Letendre, head of wealth and asset management for Canada, told the Insurance Journal.

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Manulife Investments shifts the road show message

Insurer cuts 700 jobs

Manulife announced in June a plan to transform its Canadian business, which includes a program to digitize and consolidate a number of its back-office functions and reduce its workforce by 700 positions. The workforce reductions are possible, in part, because of the digitization and automation of existing customer transactions.

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Manulife announces Canadian business transformation plan: 700 jobs to be cut

Hub develops a complete employee benefits solution

Hub International announced its corporate strategy “to aggressively assemble best-in-class capabilities and entrepreneurial talent across Canada to develop a complete employee benefits solution.” Hub says it wants to fill a mid-market employee benefits void in Canada.

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Hub International purchases two more brokerages and announces employee benefits platform strategy

Manulife re-enters par whole life market

Manulife announced June 19 the launch of Manulife Par, a participating whole life insurance product. The company also announced the launch of an artificial intelligence algorithm that it says will transform the underwriting process.

The insurer says these developments are a key component of its plan to “further strengthen its leadership position in the Canadian insurance market” and that it is confident that the launch of Manulife Par, will enable it to gain market share.

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Manulife re-enters par whole life market and introduces AI underwriting algorithm