2007 Financial Results - Accelerated and Sustained Growth for Desjardins Financial Security



    
        Net premium growth of 5.6%
        Group insurance premiums up 14.9%
        Net income of $216.7M, up 43.2%
        Operating income growth of $288.3M, up 42.2%
        Return on shareholder equity of 27.5%
        Profitability in all business lines
    

    LEVIS, QC, March 18 /CNW Telbec/ - At year-end, December 31, 2007,
Desjardins Financial Security's net income totalled $216.7 million, crossing
the $200-million mark for the first time. This excellent performance
represents a $65.4 million or 43.2% increase over 2006, when net income
totalled $151.3 million. Operating income amounted to $288.3 million for a
42.2% increase.
    Business growth across the country, coupled with investment performance
and improved productivity, was one of the key factors behind the Company's
success.
    With respect to overall business growth, insurance and annuity premium
income increased 5.6% to stand at $2.6 billion. Insurance sales rose 14.0% to
total $415.7 million. Assets under management and administration stood at
$22.6 billion compared to $19.9 billion at the end of 2006, representing a
13.2% increase.
    The Company's profitability in 2007 was affected by the subprime mortgage
credit crisis worldwide, which led to liquidity problems on the
non-bank-sponsored asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) market. At December
31, 2007, Desjardins Financial Security had ABCP holdings of $161.2M after
recognition of a $34.2M decrease in value. This depreciation reduced the
Company's net income for 2007 by $17.8 million.
    The portion of the Company's net income attributable to the shareholder
totalled $211.1 million, for an increase of $65.3 million over 2006. Return on
shareholder equity was 27.5%. With results like these, the Company continues
to contribute to the profitability of Desjardins Group, the largest integrated
cooperative financial group in Canada, with declared combined surplus earnings
before member dividends of $1.1 billion at the end of 2007.

    Fourth Quarter Results
    ----------------------

    For the period of October 1 to December 31, 2007, net income stood at
$50.4 million, for an 18.0% improvement over Q4 2006 ($42.7 million).
Insurance premium income for the period totalled $611.2 million, for a 12.9 %
increase.
    Mr. Alban D'Amours, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins
Group and also Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Financial Security, was
very pleased with the life and health insurance subsidiary's strong growth
across the country. "These exceptional results are a tribute to the quality of
our Company's service offer and the hard work of our teams, which enabled us
to reach our ambitious objectives. Desjardins Financial Security is asserting
itself more and more on the Canadian market, where it is consolidating its
position and making major gains, notably in the group insurance market, and
contributing in a very tangible way to the success of Desjardins Group across
Canada."
    Mr. Richard Fortier, President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins
Financial Security, was also extremely happy with the Company's performance
last year. "On the basis of these results, we plan to forge ahead and
strengthen our position as the fourth largest life and health insurer in
Canada and reinforce our leadership position in the Quebec market. We will
continue to focus our efforts on growing organically in all our activity
sectors and will pay special attention to the development of our integrated
service offer in the Desjardins caisse network."

    Sector Performances

    Strong growth in group and business insurance sales and premiums - Group
and business insurance sales and administered premiums passed the $235-million
and $2-billion mark respectively. Overall sales have grown significantly, from
$195.6 million in 2006 to $237.3 million in 2007. Sales outside Quebec alone
reached $180 million, in contrast to $154.8 million in 2006. These results are
due to major group sales recorded outside Quebec, mainly in the public and
parapublic sector. Since signing a $70-million contract with the Government of
Newfoundland and Labrador in 2006, the Company has continued to expand its
business portfolio by adding an $85-million insurance partnership with the
Ontario Hospital Association and a $21.4-million agreement with the
Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association.

    Individual insurance posts improved results - In 2007, individual
insurance sales grew by $3.5 million to total $41.9 million. Premiums stood at
$392.6 million, up $18.4 million from 2006. Sales and premiums from the
network of caisse-dedicated financial security advisors rose by 6.5% and 21.1%
respectively over last year.

    Segregated funds records 32.4% growth - The savings sector has recorded
good results once again. Sales totalled $1.1 billion, an improvement of    
$48.2 million over 2006. This excellent growth of 4.5% is due mainly to a
combination of Helios and Millennia segregated fund sales, mutual fund sales,
and group retirement savings sales.
    In individual savings, sales totalled $255.8 million in 2007. Group
retirement savings sales stood at $218.5 million, with accumulation products
accounting for $96.7 million, for a 14.9% improvement over 2006, and payout
annuities accounting for $121.8 million. With respect to segregated fund
sales, combined sales of Helios and Millennia products reached $151.7 million,
for a 32.4% increase over 2006.

    About Desjardins Financial Security

    Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the
largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in
providing life insurance, health insurance and retirement savings products and
services to individuals and groups. Every day, over 5 million Canadians rely
on Desjardins Financial Security to ensure their financial security.
Desjardins Financial Security employs over 3,900 people and administers over
$22.0 billion in assets from offices in several cities across the country
including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec,
Lévis, Halifax and St. John's. For more information, visit our website at
www.desjardinsfinancialsecurity.com.




For further information:

For further information: Sarah Twomey, Communications Advisor, (416)
926-2700, extension 2015, Toll free: 1-877-906-5551, extension 2015,
sarah.twomey@dfs.ca; Virtual newsroom
http://www.desjardinsfinancialsecurity.com/press

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