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A history of firsts

From being the first in North America to insure diabetics to launching AI in underwriting in Canada, our history is one of innovation, leadership and finding new ways to make decisions easier and lives better. See the timeline for a glimpse into some of our firsts. 

2018

Brand transformation

Manulife and John Hancock launch global rebrand.

2017

Hitting $1T

Global Assets Under Management and Administration are over $1 trillion for the first time. 

2017

Setting a world record

Manulife insurance agent Joe Sun makes the record books for an astounding 63-year career! 

2017

Alexa skills

Manulife launches two new skills for Amazon Alexa.

2017

Twine app

John Hancock launches an app that helps couples plan their finances. 

2017

Big steps in China

Manulife is the first financial institution to receive an Investment Company Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) license in China.

2016

Mobile claims

China accepts claims via WeChat. 

2016

Coverage for HIV

We are the first insurer in Canada to offer life insurance to people who are HIV positive.

2015

Biometrics

Manulife is the first company in Canada to introduce voice biometrics and natural language understanding in an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

2015

ManulifeMOVE

Manulife Asia launches an innovative insurance concept that rewards customers for being healthier and more active.

2015

Supporting wellness with Vitality

We start a first-ever life insurance partnership between John Hancock Insurance and Vitality, the global leader in integrating wellness benefits with life insurance products. 

2014

Myanmar

After a 70-year absence, we open an office in Myanmar.

2012

Cambodia

Our Cambodian head office opens. 

2004

We merge with John Hancock

It makes us the largest life insurer in Canada, second largest in North America and fifth largest in the world.

2000

$1B net income

We’re the first Canadian life insurance company to reach that milestone. 

1999

We go public

We start trading on the TSX, NYSE, SEHK and PSE – at $2.5Bm it’s the largest IPO in Canada’s history. 

1999

Japan and Vietnam

Manulife is the first Canadian insurer to launch a joint venture in Japan, and the first foreign-owned insurance company to do business in Vietnam.

1996

Joining forces in Shanghai

Manulife-Sinochem is China’s first joint venture life insurance company.

1993

Manulife Bank launches

We’re the first Canadian insurance company to open a bank. 

1992

First in China

We are the first Canadian life insurance company to open an office in China (Beijing).

1985

Indonesia

A joint venture with Dharmala Group and the International Finance Corporation forms P.T. Asuransi Jiwi Dharmala Manulife.

1981

Lower premiums for non-smokers

We are one of the first insurers to offer lower rates to non-smokers.

1978

First female Director and Chair

Dr. Gail C. A. Cook-Bennett is our first female Director, and in 2008, our first female Chair of the Board.

1961

$1 billion

Our total assets reach $1 billion.

1956

Early adopters

We’re the first insurance company in Canada to embrace mainframe computer technology with the installation of the IBM 650.

1940

Insurance for diabetics

We are the first North American company to offer insurance to controlled diabetics. 

1925

New HQ

Our head office at 200 Bloor Street in Toronto officially opens.

1903

Entry into the US market

A small office in Detroit opens its doors.  

1897

We expand into Asia

The first Manulife policy is sold in Shanghai. 

1893

International expansion begins

The sale of our first policy outside Canada, in Bermuda, kicks off our international operations. 

1887

The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company is founded

Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, was also our Company’s first president. His vision set us on the path for success.