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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

IndustryFinancial services
Founded1810 (1810)
United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Dean Lamble (CEO) [1] Justin Cole (Chief Operating Officer)[2]
ProductsLife Insurance, Funeral Plans, Stocks and Shares ISA, Wills, Home Insurance, Motor Insurance
OwnerPhoenix Group

SunLife is a UK-based insurance business with its headquarters in Bristol. It has been part of the Phoenix Group since 2016. The business offers life insurance, equity release, funeral plans, saving products and wills.

It is a member of the Association of British Insurers and Direct Marketing Association.[3]

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  • ✪ How to invest easily with Sun Life
  • ✪ Khalil Rafati, SunLife Organics - The Man Who Forgot To Die
  • ✪ A brighter future with Sun Life's Health and Accident insurance




SunLife can trace its history back to the establishment of the Sun Life Assurance Society on 28 March 1810, when the Sun Fire Office Board launched a separate company to offer life assurance. The Society’s first office opened opposite the Bank of England in London, and actuary Joshua Milne was appointed the first member of staff.

Sun Life Assurance Society

The Sun Life Assurance Society[4][5] was founded in 1810 as part of the Sun Fire Office to provide life insurance.[6] Sun Life Assurance Society bought over 20 life insurance societies during the late 19th and early 20th century and incorporated them, their branch offices and employees into the business. From the 1970s SunLife split their headquarters between London and Bristol.[7] The Head Office moved to Bristol in 1976. In 1978, the company began distributing mail shots.[8] In 1992, French insurer UAP became Sun Life Assurance Society’s major shareholder.[9] Shortly after, Sun Life Assurance Society & Provincial Insurance Company merged and established the holding company, Sun Life & Provincial Holdings. In 1997 AXA, who had acquired UAP in 1996, transferred its Equity & Law business to Sun Life & Provincial Holdings increasing its holding in the company from 60% to 72%.[10] In May 2000, AXA acquired all shares it did not already own in the company.[11]

In 2009, AXA Sun Life Direct, became Sun Life Direct.[12] In autumn 2010, AXA sold its main life assurance business, AXA Sun Life Holdings Ltd to Resolution Group [13] whilst AXA continued to sell life insurance products through Sun Life Direct. In 2014, Sun Life Direct rebranded to SunLife with a range of direct-only products aimed at a younger audience.[14]

In 2016, AXA sold its UK investment, pensions and insurance businesses, including SunLife, to UK insurer Phoenix in a £375m deal.[15]

Business activities

Life insurance

SunLife offers both term life insurance as 'Sun Life Insurance' and whole-of-life insurance as the 'Guaranteed Over 50 Plan'. These are provided by AXA Wealth Limited.[16]

Savings and investment

In 2014 announced a range of savings products including stocks and shares ISAs.[17]

Cost of Dying report

The Cost of Dying report is SunLife's annual research on the costs of funerals in the UK. The 12th annual survey was released in September, 2018 and showed that costs had increased by 3.4% in the preceding year.[18] Since 2017 the research has been undertaken by Critical Research.[19]

Brand and image

The SunLife logo originates from the fire insurance marks that were utilised within the UK from the late seventeenth century to the beginning of the twentieth. These plaques were displayed on the insured buildings and indicated the organisation with whom they were insured. The first to use the mark was the Sun Fire Office.[20] These developed over 200 years to the current SunLife logo.


SunLife is known for their use of celebrity personalities in advertisements. Frank Windsor appeared in TV commercials in the late 1990s [21] June Whitfield, Annette Crosbie, Michael Parkinson,[22] Carol Vorderman and Alan Titchmarsh have also appeared in advertisments.

In 2017 SunLife launched the Welcome to Life After 50 campaign to challenge stereotypes of people over fifty.


  1. ^ Sun Life Direct hires ex-Aviva distribution director as MD Money Marketing, 12 October 2012
  2. ^ [1] Justin Cole profile on LinkedIn
  3. ^ "Sun Life Direct entry on DMA Register". Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Sun Fire Office National Archives Accessed 4 June 2014
  6. ^ Sun Fire Office National Archives, Accessed 4 June 2014
  7. ^ Sun Life Colin Marriner Accessed 4 June 2014
  8. ^ Minnitt, Jack (1985). The Sun Life Story 1810-1985. Page 87, Sun Life Assurance Society.
  9. ^ Sun Life to buy AXA for £690m Independent, 3 July 1997
  10. ^ AXA in Sun Life buyout talks This is Money, 24 March 2000
  11. ^ AXA revives the Sun Life brand 21 January 2009
  12. ^ AXA revives the Sun Life brand Private Health, 26 January 2009
  13. ^ AXA sells UK business to buyout fund Resolution BBC, 24 June 2010
  14. ^ Sun Life looks to fill advice gap with direct only offering Financial Times Advisor, 3 July 2014
  15. ^ [3] Guardian, 27 May 2016
  16. ^ AXA Life Insurance Accessed 30 May 2014
  17. ^ Sun Life targets young with £10 per month ISA City Wire, 19 June 2014
  18. ^ Brennan, Harry (12 September 2018). "How to cut the cost of dying: back garden burials and Land Rover hearses". Daily Telegraph. London.
  19. ^ "Cost of dying report 2017" (PDF). SunLife. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  20. ^ Fire Insurance Wall Plaques Rowland G. M. Baker, 1970
  21. ^ Other works for Frank Windsor Accessed 30 June 2014
  22. ^ Sir Michael Parkinson is the new face of AXA Sun Life Direct Private Health, January 2008
This page was last edited on 19 August 2019, at 13:06
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