2009 Financial Results - SSQ Financial Group announces 35.7% growth in net
income

QUEBEC CITY, April 26 /CNW Telbec/ - SSQ Financial Group achieved excellent financial results in 2009. Its assets under management rose from $4.0 billion to $4.7 billion, an increase of 19.4% over the previous year. The total volume of premiums and premium equivalents of SSQ enterprises rose from $1.8 billion to $2.0 billion, representing an increase of 14%. And SSQ recorded net income of $35 million, up 35.7% from the previous year.

"After achieving results in 2008 propelling SSQ Financial Group into the ranks of Canada's top insurers, we posted even better (albeit quite reasonable) results in 2009, while staying right on track with our strategies for growth and maintaining outstanding customer service," underlines Mr. René Hamel, Chief Executive Officer of SSQ Financial Group.

SSQ Financial Group generated a return on shareholders' equity of 13.8% in 2009. For the past 15 years, it has consistently earned a return on shareholders' equity in the 10% to 15% range. In keeping with its track record, the results for 2009 demonstrate once again that SSQ Financial Group is a partner that can be counted on to perform well both in good times and in bad.

SSQ Group Insurance - Highlights

    
    - Record new Canada-wide sales of $126.9 million, despite a highly
      competitive environment;
    - Premiums and premium equivalents for this sector rose 7% in comparison
      to 2008, reaching $1,168.0 million;
    - Improvements to Health InSight, a health and wellness program offering
      clients creative solutions to reduce costs related to absenteeism and
      illness;
    - Sales of health, dental and long-term care coverage in individual
      insurance exceeded all expectations;
    - Launch of ACCESS / Advisors, a Web site providing on-line services to
      advisors and consulting actuaries.
    

SSQ Investment and Retirement - Highlights

    
    - Record new sales of $482 million, up more than 44% from the previous
      year;
    - Assets under management topped $2.6 billion, a first in the history of
      the company;
    - Premiums and premium equivalents for this sector grew 27.2%, reaching
      $692.8 million;
    - ASTRA Equity GIA was enhanced with a more aggressive asset allocation
      option and four new eligible funds;
    - Several new funds were launched:
      - ASTRA Fiera Capital Bond Fund
      - ASTRA Gryphon Balanced Fund
      - ASTRA Fidelity Canadian Asset Allocation Fund
    - An exclusive agreement was signed with a new partner, Pro-Financial
      Asset Management, to manage PRO SSQ Funds.
    

SSQ General Insurance - Highlights

    
    - SSQ General Insurance topped the $150 million mark in written premiums
      ($151.3 million) for the first time ever in 2009, an increase of 17.8%
      over the previous year;
    - Assets for this sector amounted to $195.5 million, an increase of 16.6%
      over 2008;
    - A solid performance generating a net combined ratio of 91.3%, down
      11.4% from 2008;
    - A record breaking $8.5 million was posted in net income;
    - Key factors contributing to growth in 2009: the renewal of an agreement
      with APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé
      et des services sociaux), more than 37 new group contract agreements
      and a new on-line insurance quote service.
    

SSQ Real Estate - Highlights

    
    - SSQ's sustainable real estate development project La Cité Verte
      received a boost with a financial contribution of $27.7 million from
      the Government of Québec and Hydro-Québec;
    - Estimated overall cost of the project: $300 million;
    - La Cité Verte aims to become a sustainable development model for future
      building projects by incorporating:
      - key components of sustainable development and green technologies;
      - innovative solutions to environmental issues related to building
        projects;
    - Several acquisitions were made including the purchase of a 49,000 m2
      office building in Toronto;
    - SSQ's real estate portfolio generated $15 million in rental income and
      $7 million in net income from SSQ properties.
    

About SSQ Financial Group

With $2 billion in annual revenue and more than $4.7 billion in assets under management, SSQ Financial Group is a leading mutual diversified financial institution. The Group serves over one million clients and provides jobs to over 1,600 employees. SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc., the Group's principal company, is recognized as a leader in the group insurance industry and as an expert in the investment and retirement sector. SSQ Financial Group is also a rising star in home and auto insurance (SSQ General Insurance Company Inc.).

SOURCE SSQ Financial Group

For further information: For further information: Marie Lamontagne, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Communications and Marketing, SSQ Financial Group, (418) 651-7000

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SSQ Financial Group

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