How does whole life insurance perform during crises such as COVID-19?


With COVID-19, clients have experienced drastic volatility with their stock portfolios. Businesses are closing, unemployment is rising,  professionals (dentists, surgeons, specialists) are out of work or dealing with drastically reduced hours. Some clients are asking about their Participating Whole life insurance (PAR) amidst this crisis. Specifically, the viability of companies such as Sun Life, how the Sun Life PAR portfolio is invested and how this portfolio has held up during times of uncertainty. First we will look at the facts and then review some economic history.



  1. Sun Life is the largest asset manager in Canada with over $1Trillion in assets (2019). This is more than Manulife, Great West Life, RBC Bank, Brookfield asset management, TD, BMO and CIBC.
  2. Sun Life is the only Canadian Financial Institution on the Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies in the world for 2020.
  3. No other Canadian insurer has higher ratings from Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and AM Best.
  4. Sun Life holds 50% more capital than required by its regulator (the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI))
  5. Sun Life has paid 99.9% of claims submitted; the majority of those declined were fraudulent.
  6. In the 2008 financial meltdown, Sun Life was the only major insurer in North America that did not take a government bailout, reduce shareholder dividends or issue more shares.



History repeats itself. The challenge is remembering that the world and specifically your Sun Life portfolio team have seen this before. Financial crises cause economic carnage whether it is high unemployment, inflation, deflation and/or market corrections. These type of events cannot be anticipated or pre-empted because they are unpredictable.

Below is an overview of a few catastrophic events from the past 120 years and a comparison to how your PAR portfolio performed.


We recommend Sun Life because of its strength, stability, performance and experience. 

Call 416-222-1311 or email

Thank you
To all physicians, we want to thank you for your extraordinary efforts with COVID-19. We appreciate everything you do to keep us all safe and healthy during this trying time. We understand this is an uncertain time for you, your family and your patients; we are here to support you in whatever way we can. 

Next steps
If you sense that your friends or colleagues may be unsettled with market volatility, we would be happy to have a chat with them. Click here

Elliott Levine, MBA, CFP
T 416-222-1311 | TF 1-877-314-1311 | D 416-512-3300
Saving Physicians Money on their Insurance