Canada Life, the mutual life assurance company with more than 500,000 policyholders, of which 100,000 are in the UK, announced this week that it is to demutualise, with payouts to members worth an average pounds 2,200 each. No date has been fixed for the conversion, which is not expected until next year. The shares will be quoted on Toronto's Stock Exchange.

The flotation raises the stakes among UK mutual insurers which have steadfastly refused to contemplate a stock market listing. Among those thought suitable for flotations or ripe for takeover are Friends Provident, Scottish Provident, Scottish Widows, Liverpool Victoria and National Provident Institution.