2008 marks another successful year for Equitable Life(R) despite difficult environment



    WATERLOO, ON, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - Equitable Life of Canada(R) reported
another year of growth and solid financial results. The Company announced a
record $30.5 million in overall earnings supported by solid core results and
the sales of its group administration software. Premiums and deposits
increased by 3% backed by a 12% increase in group benefit sales and an 11%
increase in individual life sales.
    "2008 was a year that saw an unstable economic environment and
unprecedented stock market volatility that tested the strength of all
companies in the industry. Prudent management practices, consistent with our
mutual philosophy, have held us in good stead in these turbulent times.
Mutuality and our focus on long-term policyholder commitments go hand-in-hand
with our strong risk management and the Company's high quality investment
portfolios. 2009 will continue to be challenging but we fully expect the
Company to continue to grow and prosper," said Ronald Beettam, President and
Chief Executive Officer.

    
    2008 financial highlights

    -   Net income rose to $30.5 million, including the one time benefit of
        $8.6 million relating to the group administration software sales
    -   Earnings from core operations were $21.9 million, up 4% from 2007, an
        excellent result given the market conditions
    -   Participating policyholders' equity increased to $237 million, up 15%
        from 2007
    -   Capital strength remained very strong and well above the OSFI
        minimums as measured by the Minimum Continuing Capital and Surplus
        Ratio (MCCSR) ending the year at 197%
    -   Return on policyholders' equity was 13.7% (10.1% excluding the
        software sales)
    -   Premiums and deposits increased by 3% from last year to $455 million,
        led by a 22% increase in individual life, offset partially by lower
        savings and retirement deposits due to the market conditions

    About Equitable Life of Canada
    

    Since 1920, customers have been depending on Equitable Life for security
through financial protection and support. One of the largest Canadian mutual
life insurance companies, Equitable Life focuses on providing long-term growth
and stability to customers.
    Through partnerships with MGAs and advisors, Equitable Life offers
customers a wide selection of competitive products to meet a range of
financial planning and health needs for individual life and health, individual
savings and retirement and group life and health insurance.

    www.equitable.ca





For further information:

For further information: Media relations contact: Samantha Wharton,
Director, Corporate Communications, (519) 886-5210 ext. 8817,
swharton@equitable.ca

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Equitable Life of Canada

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