Desjardins Financial Security records net income of $193.8M and consolidates
its position in savings across the Canadian market

    
    Savings: overall sales up 116.6%
    Group retirement savings: sales up 55.1%
    Individual savings: record $1.1B in sales
    Insurance sales growth: 7.0%
    Net income: $193.8M
    Return on shareholder equity: 25.9%
    

LÉVIS, QC, March 16 /CNW Telbec/ - For the year ended December 31, 2009, Desjardins Financial Security, the Desjardins Group subsidiary specializing in life insurance, health insurance and retirement savings, posted net income of $193.8M, compared to $34.5M over the same period a year ago. Gross insurance premiums continued to grow, totalling $2,725.4M in 2009, for an increase of $54.0M. Quebec was responsible for $25.2M of this increase and the other Canadian provinces for $28.9M.

Insurance sales stood at $193.5M, $12.7M higher than total sales reported over the same period in 2008. In Quebec, sales grew by 6.6% and outside Quebec by 7.3%. In savings, sales rose to a new record of $1,499.8M, up $807.4M from a year earlier. This growth is the result of the excellent sales performance in segregated funds and group retirement savings.

The share of the Company's net income attributable to the shareholder, the Desjardins caisses, stood at $192.8M, an increase of $152.6M from a year ago. Return on shareholder equity was 25.9% and remains one of the best in the financial services industry. Assets under management and administration totalled $22.8B, up $3.1B compared to 2008.

Desjardins Financial Security remains financially very strong and continues to enjoy excellent capitalization.

    
    Fourth quarter results
    ----------------------
    

For the period of October 1 to December 31, 2009, net income totalled $42.8M, for a $120.4M increase over 2008. At this time last year, financial markets were in upheaval. This quarter was particularly hard hit by the financial crisis, with a net loss of $77.5M.

Ms. Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, and also Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Financial Security, commenting on these results, said, "Desjardins Financial Security continues to carve itself an enviable place in the Canadian market, where it has consolidated its position despite the highly competitive environment. This kind of market penetration is very beneficial for Desjardins Group in terms of its reputation and its overall profitability."

Mr. Richard Fortier, Desjardins Financial Security's Chief Operating Officer, was pleased with the Company's annual results, saying that "we can be proud of our success in the Canadian market because it shows that we've been able to develop a product and service offer that meets client expectations. Our results are a tribute to the efforts we have continued to invest in our accelerated growth plan. Thanks to our position in the Canadian life and health insurance and financial services industry, our prospects today and for the future look very good."

    
    Results by segment
    ------------------
    

In group insurance, gross premiums generated by groups and businesses, and by plans sold in financial institutions like the Desjardins caisses, totalled $2,213.2M as at December 31, 2009, up $32.5M over the same period in 2008. Sales to groups and businesses stood at $144.3M, for an increase of $7.5M.

In individual insurance, gross premiums totalled $512.2M, for an increase of $21.5M. Total sales recorded by financial security advisors assigned to the Desjardins caisses and by the network of SFL and Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network financial centres stood at $49.2M, compared to $44.0M in 2008, for an increase of 11.8%.

In group retirement savings, sales rose to $403.6M, up $143.4M over 2008. In individual savings, sales totalled $1.1B, more than doubling the Company's 2008 results. Guaranteed investment funds also experienced unprecedented growth in 2009, posting $986.4M in sales, compared to $315.8M in 2008. Clients looking for a secure return on their money and capital guarantees invested heavily in Helios Guaranteed Investment Funds in 2009.

About Desjardins Financial Security

Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the largest cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in providing life insurance, health insurance and retirement savings products to individuals and groups. Every day, over five million Canadians rely on Desjardins Financial Security to ensure their financial well-being. Desjardins Financial Security employs some 3,800 people and administers over $22.8 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 more information, visit our website at www.desjardinsfinancialsecurity.com.

SOURCE Desjardins Financial Security

For further information: For further information: (for journalists only): André Chapleau, Director, Media Relations, Desjardins Group, (514) 281-7229, 1-866 866-7000, ext. 7229, andre.chapleau@desjardins.com

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