TORONTO — The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ordered the winding up of Union of Canada Life, an insurer that began before Confederation, after the company sought bankruptcy protection from creditors.
The court made the order Thursday and appointed Grant Thornton Ltd. to liquidate the Ottawa insurer’s financial and other assets.
Union of Canada Life was founded in 1863 and now has about 22,000 policies in the central and eastern parts of the country, mainly in Quebec.
The company sells life and accident insurance, mortgage and investment products and operates in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince-Edward Island.
In a release, Grant Thornton said the company faced financial challenges, business risks and insufficient capital to remain viable and so had to seek court protection.
“We will be focused on arranging the transfer of the policies to another life insurance company expeditiously in order to ensure the policyholders continue to be served seamlessly,” said Michael Creber, the Grant Thornton partner in charge of the liquidation.
The liquidator said it expects policyholders will not suffer losses from the liquidation process, but if they do that will be covered by Assuris, an industry fund set up to protect policyholders if their life insurer fails.
“If full recovery of policyholders’ benefits is not achieved in the transfer process, Assuris is committed to providing its protection to all policyholders” said Gordon Dunning, president and CEO of the company.