Desjardins Financial Security continues to make major inroads into the Canadian market



    Insurance sales growth of 20.8%
    Gross group insurance premium growth of 32.7%
    Net earnings up 53.2%
    Return on shareholder equity of 27.3%
    Profitability across the business lines

    LEVIS, QC, Nov. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Desjardins Financial Security's
penetration of the Canadian market continues to bear fruit. At the end of the
first three quarters of 2007, net earnings for the provider of life and health
insurance and retirement savings products had risen by 53.2%, to stand at
$166.4 million, compared to $108.6 million as at September 30, 2006.
    After nine months, gross insurance premium income was up 6.8% in Quebec
and 26.0% in the other Canadian provinces, for a total $1,801.4 million and an
increase of $193.8 million (12.1%) over 2006. New insurance sales stood at
$240.4 million, an increase of $41.4 million over the first three quarters of
2006. These excellent results are in part attributable to the major group
insurance contracts sold in Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec,
including the $75,000 contract signed in the second quarter of the year with
the Ontario Hospital Association for the benefit of the 70,000 employees of
the Ontario health network's 185 employers that took effect on August 1.
    Profitability during the period was affected by the sub-prime mortgage
problems worldwide, which triggered a liquidity crisis on the asset-backed
commercial paper (ABCP) market. Desjardins Financial Security, whose security
holdings had a total value of $195.3 million on September 30, 2007, recorded a
decline in value of $14.9 million. This depreciation, which resulted in a
$7.9 million drop in net income for the Company for the first nine months of
2007, had already been included in the third quarter results of Desjardins
Group, which were made public on November 15, 2007.
    The share of Desjardins Financial Security's net earnings attributable to
the Desjardins caisses, the Company's ultimate shareholders, was up
$50.9 million and stood at $157.8 million. Return on shareholder equity was
27.3% versus 20.2% after the first three quarters of 2006, and remains one of
the best in the financial services industry. The Company's consistent
performances continue to make a substantial contribution to the profitability
of Desjardins Group, whose net earnings before member dividends between
January and June 2007 stood at $828.0 million.
    Assets under management and administration totalled $22.3 billion, up
more than 12.0% since the beginning of the year.

    Third quarter results
    ---------------------

    For the period of July 1 to September 30, 2007, net earnings stood at
$48.2 million, an increase of 22.0% over third quarter results of 2006, which
stood $39.5 million. Income from insurance premiums during the period reached
$595.1 million, up 12.7%.
    Commenting on these results, Mr. Alban D'Amours, President and Chief
Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, and also Chief Executive Officer of
Desjardins Financial Security, said he was very pleased with the Company's
contribution to the overall performance of the largest integrated cooperative
financial group in Canada. "These excellent results reflect Desjardins
Financial Security's robust expansion, especially outside Quebec, where it
ranks as one of the top life and health insurers. Through these consistent
performances, Desjardins Financial Security contributes to the profitability
of Desjardins Group and supports its expansion across Canada."
    Desjardins Financial Security's President and Chief Operating Officer,
Mr. Richard Fortier, reiterated that these results were the outcome of
rigorously applying the Company's 3-year strategic plan. "As we get ready to
tackle the final year of our 2006-2008 strategic plan, the results we are
recording clearly show that our choice of directions is sound and that the
efforts we have invested in achieving our objectives are paying off. It's on
this solid basis that in the coming months we will be establishing our
priorities and setting our objectives for the next three-year cycle."

    Sector Results
    --------------

    Strong growth in group insurance sales

    For the first time, Group and Business Insurance sales crossed the
$200 - million mark to stand at $211.1 million after the first nine months of
the year, for an increase of 22.4%. As at September 30, 2006, sales totalled
$172.5 million. Group insurance premiums, including those from group and
business insurance and from plans offered through financial institutions, such
as the Desjardins caisses, totalled $1,453.4 million, compared to
$1,273.5 million in 2006. The major group and business insurance contracts
sold last year are behind this substantial premium increase of 14.1% in 2007.

    Growth in individual insurance sales and premiums

    In Individual Insurance, new sales recorded during the first nine months
of 2007 through the SFL financial centre network, the Desjardins Financial
Security, Independent Network, and the financial security advisors assigned to
Desjardins caisses grew by 10.6% to total $29.3 million. The gross premium
volume stood at $348.0 million, for a $13.9 million improvement over last
year.

    Increase in mutual fund and segregated fund sales

    In Savings, overall sales totalled $858.9 million, topping 2006 figures
by $41.4 million. Mutual fund sales grew by 33.9% to stand at $519.8 million,
compared to $388.2 million last year. Millennia segregated fund sales grew by
a remarkable 27.1%, to total $113.5 million. This brings total individual
savings sales at the end of the third quarter to $196.2 million, down slightly
(4.8%) from 2006 results. In group retirement savings, sales totalled
$142.9 million as at September 30, which represents a 35.9% decline from the
corresponding period in 2006, when major payout annuity contracts were signed.

    About Desjardins Financial Security

    Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the
largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in
individual and group life and health insurance, as well as retirement savings
products and services. Every day, over 5 million Canadians rely on Desjardins
Financial Security to ensure their financial security. Desjardins Financial
Security employs over 3,700 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 further information:

For further information: Claude Beauchamp, Senior Director
Communications, (514) 350-8700, ext. 2064, Toll free: 1-877-750-8700, ext.
2064, claude.beauchamp@dfs.ca; Virtual pressroom:
http://www.desjardinsfinancialsecurity.com/press


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