Reinsurer owned by Irish Life parent seeks acquisitions here

Dublin-based Canda Life International Re reports 47 per cent rise in after-tax profit

A Dublin-based international reinsurer owned by Irish Life’s parent company, Great-West Lifeco, recorded a 47 per cent increase in its after-tax profits last year to €165 million.

Accounts just filed by Canada Life International Re Ltd (Clir), whose main focus is on life reinsurance in the European Union and the United States, note that it is pursuing an acquisition in Ireland.

The accounts state that Clir signed a non-binding letter of intent in December 2015 to buy an “Irish domiciled reinsurer”.

However, at the time of signing off the accounts in April, a “transfer of the reinsurance portfolio” to Clir was “more likely”.


When asked by The Irish Times for an update on this transaction, Clir said work on the deal was "ongoing and for confidentiality reasons we cannot comment further".

Clir paid a dividend of €33 million last year compared with €74 million in 2014. The company said the payment for 2015 related to a subsidiary company in Barbados.

In 2014, the €74 million dividend included €56 million from the Irish operation and €18 million from the subsidiary company.

Sister company

Clir is 100 per cent owned by Canada Life Group UK, which is ultimately owned by Great-West Lifeco. In effect, it is a sister company of

Irish Life

within the Great-West Lifeco group.

The company paid €19 million in corporation tax in Ireland for the 2015 financial year on earnings here of €157 million.

Clir said it made actual corporation tax payments of €26 million to the Revenue Commissioners during the 2015 calendar year, which included €5 million due from the previous 12-month period.

Gross written premiums last year amounted to €521 million, up from €459 million in 2014. This reflected premium growth on the US traditional life retro and the UK group life transactions, the accounts state.

It closed last year with total equity of just under €1.2 billion.

The accounts note that Clir changed its reporting currency to sterling from the beginning of 2016 to reflect the fact that the majority of its reinsurance contracts are denominated in the currency.

The move was designed to reduce fluctuations arising from sterling/euro exchange rates.

The Dublin-based company was incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of global financial services provider Canada Life Financial Corporation (CLFC) in February 2001.

In July 2003, CLFC was then acquired by Canadian rival Great-West Lifeco, which a decade later bought Irish Life from the State for €1.3 billion.


The main activity of Clir is the underwriting and administering of international life and annuity reinsurance business. Its primary focus is on life reinsurance business from the EU and the US, as well as on UK payout annuity business.

Clir has subsidiaries in Barbados and Bermuda, although it no longer appears to trade in either jurisdiction.

The accounts note that it is “not envisaged” that new business would be written in Barbados in the “foreseeable future” while the Bermuda authorities cancelled its licence last December following a request from the company’s board.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times