Home Compare and Review Life Insurance Canada’s Life Insurance Comparison: Manulife vs. Desjardins

Canada’s Life Insurance Comparison: Manulife vs. Desjardins

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Manulife is strong in customer segmentation, guaranteed insurability and financial foothold, while Desjardins fares better in flexibility and customization. Get to know more about insurance in Canada.



Manulife is, without doubt, one of the oldest insurance providers in Canada and the largest in the world – with huge financial assets of more than a trillion dollars. They are also known as Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. 

HeadquarterDowntown, Toronto, ON, CA
Financial Assets$200 billion 
Annual Insurance Premiums~$40 billion
AM Best Financial Strength RatingA+


Similarly, The Desjardins Group is also one of the largest financial institutions in the country with more than 20 subsidiaries providing several products, including life and general insurance coverage. Desjardins Financial Security Investments is the life insurance branch of the Desjardins Group. It sells Desjardins Insurance’s life insurance suite using a network of more than 6,000 financial advisors.

HeadquarterLévis, Québec, ON, CA
Financial Assets$40 billion
Annual Insurance Premiums~$9 billion
AM Best Financial Strength RatingN/A

Products and Features

This section will only discuss the similarities and differences in Manulife’s and Desjardins’ life insurance options. It is evident that Desjardins focuses a lot more on the common, traditional life insurance options, whereas Manulife aims at different customer segments (e.g., individuals, businesses, families, etc.). 

Desjardins may be a better fit thanks to their wide array of options if you are interested in getting term and permanent life insurance. They also have several riders to help you increase protection and customize policies to better suit your needs. 

Turning to Manulife, It is noteworthy that they offer benefits for customers with good health via the Vitality program. Hence, if you can maintain a healthy lifestyle, you will make significant savings with Manulife. 


CoverMe Term Life Insurance

  • 10-year term 
  • Renewable up to age 85 
  • Available to customers aged 18 to 70
  • Convertible to permanent life insurance up to 70 years old with no medical examinations

Family Term

  • Level premiums for 10 or 20 years to age 65 or for life
  • Family’s bereavement counselling coverage up to $1,000

Business Term

Very similar to Family Term but aimed at business owners. 

Family Term with Vitality

  • 10- and 20-year terms renewable to age 80 and age 65 or 100 respectively
  • Coverage amount available between $500,000 and $20 million, while others are from $100,000 to $20 million

Manulife Quick Issue Term

  • Lower coverage amount: $100,000 to $500,000
  • No medical exam, no paperwork, fast approval process
  • Available term lengths of 10 or 20 years, or to age 65
  • Same family’s bereavement counselling coverage.
Canada Life Insurance Comparison Manulife vs. Desjardins - Best Insurance Online
Canada’s Life Insurance Comparison: Manulife vs. Desjardins 2


Term Life Insurance 

  • Term 10
  • Term 20 
  • Term 30 
  • Term-to-age-65

Generally, the first three plans are renewable up to age 85 and convertible to permanent life insurance up to age 70 without medical underwriting. Besides, the lower amount coverage policies can be increased to higher term plans. For instance, term 10 can be converted into term 20 and term 30. 

For term-to-age 65, it is a bit different because it is not renewable and only convertible to a permanent life insurance plan up to age 60 without a medical, not age 70 like the other term life policies. 

Permanent Life Insurance 

  • Life Insurance Basic Coverage
  • Life Insurance Personalized Coverage
  • Life Insurance Participating Coverage
  • Universal Life Insurance


  • Children’s protection
  • Disability waiver of Premiums
  • Accidental death & dismemberment
  • Guaranteed insurability benefit


To compare Manulife’s and Desjardins’ quotes, we have gathered information from both insurers about their policy worth $400,000 with a 20-year term for healthy, non-smoking men and women of different ages.

Here is a side-by-side breakdown of the rates: 


It is evident from the figures that you might make more savings with Desjardins if you are between the age of 20 and 45, regardless of gender. However, Manulife might be your better bet once you are above this window. Customers 65 and over will have to contact their agents or independent brokers like Insurance Direct Canada to find out the available options for both providers.

Pros and Cons

Plus points 

A wide range of insurance products: term, permanent, disability, critical illness, and no-medical insurance. 
Impressive financial foothold: Manulife received the second-highest from AM Best (A+). They have a reputation for honoring long-term contracts with customers. 
Accelerated underwriting for customers over 50 with good health. Manulife offers $2 million in coverage without the need to undergo medical exams. 
Digital policy options: Manulife was one of the first providers to have e-delivery of insurance products. 
Early payout options available: A cash benefit will be issued (terms and limitations considered) if customers contract a terminal illness.  
Savings on future premiums thanks to Manulife Vitality: customers earn credit by joining a health and fitness program and showing healthy lifestyle habits. 
Long, impressive history: your investments are in the capable hands of a 70-year-old insurance business in the market. 
Top class critical illness coverage: 20-pay, pay for life, and pay to age 65 with a return of premium rider at the end of the policy term if no claims are made during coverage. 
Multiple holders in one policy coverage: you can buy a joint term life policy with your spouse and vice versa. 

Minus points

Term life insurance quotes are not among the cheapest in the market: both of their rates are quite competitive but not as affordable as some others in the industry. 
Jack of all trades: Manulife might be what you are looking for if you want a highly specified life insurer. Limited information on website: customers must contact tied agents to find out more about the products (e.g., coverage amounts available). 
No online quotes: Desjardins still does things the traditional way and provides quotes via their agents. 

The Bottom Line

This article has provided a general comparison between Manulife and Desjardins regarding their products and rates. On the one hand, Desjardins is highly flexible when it comes to term lengths and personalization to fit most risk profiles and financial goals. If you are younger and keen on individual term life insurance coverage, Desjardins is certainly a strong contender. 

On the other hand, it is fair to say that Manulife, with its competitively priced insurance plans and strong financial strengths, can cover you regardless of insurability thanks to the Quick Issue Term Life plan. Additionally, you will be rewarded if you maintain good health via the Vitality program. 

We are available to help you obtain more detailed quotes from either of these insurers and proceed to acquire a life insurance policy if you wish. For insurance brokerage service in Canada, we’d like to point you to our trusted broker – Insurance Direct Canada.

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