Sun Life and BCE Reach $5B Longevity Insurance Agreement

On March 3, 2015, Sun Life Financial Inc. and BCE Inc. (BCE) announced a new agreement that further advances BCE’s pension de-risking strategy by transferring longevity risk for C$5 billion of pension plan liabilities to Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Sun Life). 

Under the new longevity insurance agreement, the first of its kind in North America, the Bell Canada Pension Plan will pay monthly premiums to Sun Life and in exchange Sun Life will make monthly pension payments into the plan for the lifetime of existing pensioners. BCE, which currently provides both defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, maintains full responsibility for the Bell pension plan and related payments to pensioners. 

Sun Life will reinsure a portion of the longevity risk to RGA Canada and SCOR Global Life.

BCE Inc. was represented by an in-house counsel team led by Miguel Baz, Assistant Corporate Secretary and Director - Legal Operations. Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Allen & Overy LLP provided external support. The Osler team included included Douglas RienzoHemant Tilak, Julien Ranger-Musiol, Steven Smith, Michael Hart, Michael De Lellis, Shelley Obal, and Adam Kardash. The Allen & Overy team included Philip Jarvis and Kate McInerney.

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada was represented by an in-house counsel team led by Hugh Kerr, Vice-President and Associate General Counsel, and James Hoffner, Assistant Vice-President & Senior Counsel. Torys LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP provided external support. The Torys team included John Cameron, Tom ZverinaSusan NickersonDavid BishBlair Keefe and Tom Stevenson, while the Willkie team represented Sun Life and was led by Vladimir Nicenko and Donald Henderson with assistance from Andrew Prodromos and Patrick Tedesco.

RGA Canada was represented by in-house counsel Mai-Khoi Lam. Peter Hamilton from Stikeman Elliott LLP provided external support.

SCOR Global Life was represented by in-house counsel James Grover. Paul Belanger from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP provided external support in Canada. A CMS Cameron McKenna LLP team led by James Parker and Michael Munro with assistance from Lisa Brown and Jenny Nanalal provided external support in the UK.