Manulife and mortgage brokers become partners

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Brokers will effectively move closer to one of the country’s largest insurance companies, with its purchase of the industry' s largest creditor insurance player.

“While one never knows exactly how a new acquisition will ultimately play out,” Benesure’s Kelly Price told, “I can't help but think about all the ways in which our having access to Manulife's significant capital, expertise and other resources will be able to translate into new benefits for our broker clients."

Brokers are no doubt wondering the same following  the announcement ownership of the channel’s biggest creditor insurance provider, Benesure, will transfer to one of the country’s largest insurance companies -- one that fiercely competes in the mortgage business.

 “Strategically this is an important purchase for Manulife,” said Gavin Robinson, senior VP and general manager for Manulife Affinity Markets. “Establishing a leadership position in the mortgage creditor insurance market and expanding our reach among mortgage brokers represents an opportunity for growth in a highly stable key Canadian market.”

Financial terms of the deal were not released.

The Kleinburg, Ont.-based Benesure, which employs more than 50 people across the country, currently earns more $65 million in premiums from more than 170,000 clients, according to Manulife.

“The combined expertise and capabilities of the two organizations will also enable us to leverage other areas of our business to provide additional distribution opportunities to other products,” said Robinson.

Manulife and Benesure have been business partners for many years – with Manulife providing product, pricing and underwriting services, while Benesure administers and distributes its Mortgage Protection Plan and Credit Security Plan products across Canada.

In February this year, Benesure extended its already wide reach by inking a deal with VERICO to become the preferred creditor insurance provider for the network’s 2,100 originators.

  • MortgageMan on 2012-10-25 7:21:43 AM

    So Manulife will try to convert the thousands of customers brokers have sent MPP into Manulife mortgages. Is it time for brokers to find a new mortgage insurer, who is our partner, not our competitor?

  • Kyra Wong on 2012-10-26 3:58:53 AM

    Manulife has always been in the picture for the last two decades that they have been MPP's insurance underwriter and there has never been any "converting" of anything. The fact that Manulife has acquired Benesure means there is additional capital available now that can potentially create MORE opportunities for morgage brokers and this could include on the actual mortgage side of the business. No one makes a purchase of this magnitude with the intention to go out there and alienate the market. Manulife is an industry leader and the fact that they are interested in what is happening in the mortgage broker space is highly positive in my view.

  • Kelly Price on 2012-10-26 7:29:25 AM

    A major reason why Manulife has become the large FI that it is today is its ability to make optimal use of a network of independent intermediaries (i.e. life agents and financial planners). Given that long history, doesn't it make more sense that they would immediately see the value in using another network of intermediaries (i.e. mortgage brokers) to distribute MORE of their products and services?

  • Ron Butler on 2012-10-26 9:11:23 AM

    Manulife had the last decade to decide to offer it's mortgage product to mortgage brokers and never did.

    It is definitely fair to ask: will Manulife leverage the Benesure / MPP insurance clients to sell other Manulife products to? Will a Benesure / MPP client be passed on to a Manulife financial planner to attempt to cross sell other products?

  • Mortgage Master on 2012-10-26 11:09:26 AM

    I can appreciate that Manulife is one of Canada's leading providers of Insurance and Investment product in the country, but when have they ever shown an interest in mortgage brokers? My own history with Manulife is they are more concerned with their ROE than what is right for my customers. Even if Manu was involved for "the last two decades" behind the scenes, MPP was always helpful,in extreme cases, of doing what was right for the consumer. My experience with Manulife is that they care more about the wording of the contract and service leaves lots to be desired. My own opinion on the situation is that I need to decide if Manulife is here to help me grow my business, or simply trying to compete with the banks to steal MY customer.( I'm not licensed to sell their products)

    I suspect the latter, but would love to be wrong.

  • MortgageMan on 2012-11-01 7:59:15 AM released a new article today, entitled "Manulife reassures brokers on poaching issue".

    In the article, Elizabeth Elliot, VP of marketing for Benesure, states: “It is in Manulife’s and Benesure’s interest to ensure the channel continues to flourish with MPP.”

    So we brokers can rest assured that everything is okay; as long as "it is in Manulife's and Benesure's interest".

    The second it's no longer in their best interests, Manulife will forget all about their broker partners......Firstline, HSBC, BMO and others come to mind. Then they will aggressively mine their database of thousands of MPP clients; just like CIBC is now doing with Firstline customers.

    Isn't this absolutely obvious to everyone?

    In the article, Ms. Elliot also states that Manulife is "governed by privacy rules and have always abided by these". Well that's great. I'm confident Manulife doesn't break any laws. But my clients often have to sign agreements that allow the lender to share information among it's subsidiaries etc.

    Do Ron Butler and Mortgage Master feel reassured Ms. Elliot's quote?


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