BCAA celebrates successes in 2008, predicts softer results in 2009



    BURNABY, BC, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - The British Columbia Automobile Association
(BCAA) achieved new highs in membership, home insurance policies and operating
revenues, making 2008 the most successful year in the association's 102-year
history.
    Consolidated net revenues climbed to a record $130 million for the fiscal
year ended September 30, 2008, an increase of 3.3 per cent over the fiscal
2007 figure of $126 million. Membership in the association reached 793,104, a
two per cent rise over the previous record set in 2007.
    Despite softening travel revenues, BCAA's net income exceeded last year's
figure, due primarily to higher insurance revenues, lower than expected claims
costs, mild weather conditions, and careful cost management. Net income for
2008 was $10.1 million compared to $5.7 million a year earlier.
    President and CEO Bill Bullis says while BCAA had plenty to celebrate in
2008, the celebration has been short lived as the Association experiences the
impact of a global economic downturn. "There's no question that 2009 is going
to be very different from 2008," says Bullis. "Like many other businesses,
BCAA will be challenged in 2009 to match our recent growth and financial
performance. Nonetheless, we're confident that what we've built over the past
few years puts us in a very good position to continue meeting the needs of
members and customers, and to respond quickly to opportunities as they arise."

    
    Highlights for fiscal 2008 include:

    -   793,104 members, up two per cent over 2007 membership of 778,526.
    -   Provided home insurance to 122,231 B.C. and Saskatchewan residences,
        compared to 116,164 in 2007 - a five per cent increase.
    -   Earned $18.8 million in insurance corporation revenue (net premiums),
        up from $17.5 million in fiscal 2007 - an increase of 7.4 per cent.
    -   Increased insurance agency revenue to $30.1 million, up from
        $27.7 million in fiscal 2007 - an increase of eight per cent.
    

    Investing to serve members better and make communities safer

    BCAA's primary goal in pursuing profits is to re-invest in its operations
to provide better products and services for members and customers. In 2008,
BCAA relocated both the Prince George and Abbotsford sales centres to newer,
more convenient locations and modernized the Kerrisdale sales centre. Other
capital investments directly benefiting members included an upgrade of BCAA's
transactional and communication systems to improve customer care and
efficiencies.
    In addition to re-investing into its own operations, BCAA donated
$350,000 from its profits to the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation to assist the
Foundation in pursuing its mission to save lives and prevent injuries by
changing attitudes and behaviour on B.C. roads. In addition, BCAA became the
first automobile association in North America to conduct a comprehensive
greenhouse gas audit to better understand its environmental impact and help
set a direction for a greener future.

    Product and service enhancements in all areas

    A new membership pricing and benefit structure was introduced providing
discounts for length of membership and low road assist usage. In addition,
BCAA enhanced its member savings program which saw members save an estimated
$11 million by either redeeming CAA dollars or shopping with BCAA's Show Your
Card and Save(R) partners.
    In 2008, BCAA's Road Assist service responded to nearly 500,000 calls,
achieved an industry leading 95.9 per cent customer satisfaction rating and
supplied close to 10,000 batteries. BCAA Road Assist also began converting its
fleet of trucks to run on alternative fuels such as propane, biodiesel and
ethanol blends to reduce emissions and costs.
    BCAA's insurance operation expanded and diversified its products and
services, and was honoured to be ranked first for "Highest in Customer
Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers", according to a J.D. Power and
Associates study(1).
    In travel, BCAA became the first travel agency in B.C. to offer fully
transparent "what you see is what you pay" pricing in response to customer
feedback. BCAA's travel operation also introduced a new 24-hour traveller's
helpline service, putting customers in toll-free touch with professional
travel assistance, anytime, anywhere in the world.
    And, for the third year in a row, BCAA was recognized as one of the 50
best employers in Canada in a study conducted by International HR consultants,
Hewitt Associates.

    Looking ahead and staying focused

    Although economic conditions are currently clouding the outlook for 2009,
CEO Bullis says the organization is not going to lose sight of its reason for
being - meeting the needs of its members and customers.
    "Economic uncertainties will demand a sharp focus on revenue generation
and cost management," adds Bullis. "At the same time, we remain committed to
our priorities, and intend to continue investing in our businesses, our people
and our communities to ensure we provide the best possible products, service
and experience for our members and customers. We are confident that BCAA has
the capability to produce sound results in 2009."

    About BCAA

    BCAA is dedicated to meeting the needs of its members and customers
throughout B.C. and the Yukon, connecting them with a team of membership,
automotive, travel and insurance professionals. With over 793,000 members and
$130 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C.
and the fourth largest CAA-affiliated association in Canada. For the past
three years, BCAA was named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by
international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail's Report
on Business magazine. To learn more about BCAA's products, services and member
advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety
Foundation visit www.tsf-bcaa.com.

    Note 1: BCAA received the highest numerical score among home insurance
providers in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Canadian Home and
Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study(SM). Study was based on responses
from 5,687 consumers measuring 25 providers and measured consumer satisfaction
with home insurance providers. Proprietary study results are based on
experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in August 2008. Your
experiences may vary. Visit www.jdpower.com for more details.





For further information:

For further information: or to request an interview with BCAA CEO Bill
Bullis, please contact: Jennifer Timm, BCAA Media Relations Advisor, Tel:
(604) 268-5342, Cell: (778) 228-8859, Email: jennifer.timm@bcaa.com


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