BCAA reaches record revenue and membership in 2007; profits dip due to weather-related insurance claims



    BURNABY, BC, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - The British Columbia Automobile Association
(BCAA) achieved new highs in membership, operating revenues and home insurance
policies, making 2007 one of the most successful years in the Association's
101-year history. Consolidated operating revenues climbed to $120 million for
the fiscal year ended September 30, 2007, an increase of 4.4 per cent over the
fiscal 2006 figure of $115 million. Membership in the Association reached
778,526, a two per cent boost over the previous record set last year.
    While revenues and membership reached new highs, BCAA's net income dipped
below last year's record, due primarily to greater than expected winter
storms-related claims, weaker than expected travel revenues and a write-down
taken on Pacific Sunspots Tours. Net income for 2007 was $5.7 million compared
to $7.2 million a year earlier.
    President and CEO, Bill Bullis attributed BCAA's continued financial
success to committed employees and business partners, dedicated members and
customers, and external factors such as a robust B.C. economy.
    "All signs indicate that we're heading in the right direction," says
Bullis. "Our continued focus on understanding and satisfying our members' and
customers' needs propelled us to new highs in membership and home insurance
sales. We also benefited from the lessons of the 2003 B.C. wildfires and were
better positioned to handle last winter's raft of weather-related claims."

    
    Highlights for fiscal 2007 include:

    -  778,526 members, up two per cent over 2006 membership of 763,823.

    -  Provided home insurance to 114,135 B.C. and Saskatchewan residences,
       compared to 108,561 in 2006 - a five per cent increase.

    -  Earned $17.5 million in insurance corporation revenue (net premiums),
       up from $15.2 million in fiscal 2006 - an increase of 15.2 per cent.

    -  Increased insurance agency revenue to $27.7 million, up from
       $25.7 million in fiscal 2006 - an increase of eight per cent.
    

    BCAA's primary goal in pursuing profits is to re-invest in its operations
to provide better services to members and customers. Longer term, the
Association aims to increase its community investments through organizations
such as the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. In 2007, BCAA donated $250,000
from its profits to the Foundation to improve road safety for all British
Columbians.
    The expansion of BCAA's province-wide network of sales centres was the
centerpiece of the Association's growth plans in 2007 - a capital outlay of
over $3 million dollars. New sales centres opened in the communities of
Westbank, Maple Ridge and Millstream (near Victoria). Other capital
investments directly benefiting members included an upgrade of BCAA's Road
Assist fleet and a redesigned www.bcaa.com providing richer information and
enhanced web booking capabilities.
    BCAA continued to expand its membership categories in 2007, launching a
new junior/student membership. In addition, five new partners were added to
BCAA's Show Your Card & Save(R) program, significantly enhancing the everyday
savings available to members. It is estimated that members saved over $11
million by either redeeming CAA Dollars or shopping with BCAA's Show Your Card
& Save(R) partners.
    BCAA's Road Assist service responded to 525,000 calls in 2007 and
achieved an industry leading 94 per cent customer satisfaction rating - ironic
given that many drivers would associate car failure with having a "bad day".
BCAA also replaced 10,000 failed batteries and re-started two-thirds of
vehicles at the roadside, strengthening BCAA's commitment to providing
"problem-solving" roadside services for members.
    BCAA's insurance business continues to see strong results including a
sales record of 15,000 new home insurance policies - a product underwritten by
BCAA Insurance Corporation. BCAA continues to maintain its position as the top
retailer of travel medical insurance in B.C. insuring 262,000 customers in
2007. BCAA also redesigned its Advantage Auto product (optional insurance) in
2007 to better meet customers' needs and grew its policy count by 2.5 per cent
over the past year.
    BCAA Travel continues to meet the needs of its customers by offering a
range of travel products, including cruises and adventure vacations. While
agency bookings were up over 2006, overall travel revenues were down 11 per
cent. This reflects a combination of reduced commissions and lower sales
activity at Pacific Sunspots Tours, BCAA's wholly owned tour wholesaler. In
November 2007, BCAA restructured Pacific Sunspots and significantly scaled
back its operations.
    Looking ahead to 2008, Bullis says BCAA will continue to build on its
solid foundations, this year focusing on new business development and
re-invigorating its travel business. "The travel industry is changing rapidly
and throwing new challenges our way almost daily," says Bullis. "We're
confident that we have the right people, plans and systems in place to satisfy
the travel needs of a broader range of customers."

    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 780,000 members and
$120 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C.
and the fourth largest CAA-affiliated association in Canada. In 2007 and 2008,
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.

    BCAA's Report to Members can be downloaded at:
    http://www.bcaa.com/downloads/BCAAReportToMembers2007.pdf




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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