TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - VC & Co. Advisory Limited, which is advising the
more than 100 mutual policyholders of Economical Mutual Insurance
Company seeking to replace its current board of directors, is very
pleased to announce that Economical has today entered into a binding
agreement with VC&Co. that ensures all voting at the May 26, 2011
policyholders' meeting will occur by way of secret ballot.
The agreement was entered into in the face of the appeal on this issue
filed with the Ontario Court of Appeal and which was scheduled to be
heard this Friday, May 6. The appeal was filed several weeks ago by the
more than 100 mutual policyholders who signed the Policyholder
Proposals after the current board of Economical continued to refuse to
provide a mechanism for mutual policyholders to attend and vote in
person at the May 26 meeting without their individual voting decisions
becoming known to either Economical or VC&Co. The current board
previously fought strenuously against providing this basic protection
for mutual policyholders during the Court proceedings that took place
in March in Kitchener.
Today's agreement between VC&Co. and Economical resolves the appeal and
requires that all ballots cast at the May 26 meeting will be seen only
by Computershare Investor Services Inc., an independent third party
scrutineer, which will independently tabulate and report on all voting
at the meeting. The agreement between VC&Co. and Economical requires
that all ballots cast at the meeting will be maintained in confidence
by Computershare, and will not be disclosed to Economical or to any of
its directors, officers, employees or agents. The ballots will
ultimately be destroyed by Computershare.
"This is another significant step forward for the rights of mutual
policyholders and we are pleased that Economical has finally agreed to
this protection," said Michael Woollcombe, Executive Vice President of
VC&Co. "But unfortunately, like the current board's demutualization
announcement last December, this is yet another example where the
current board has shown that it simply cannot be trusted to make the
right decisions on its own, and only reacts at the 11th hour under pressure. I believe this very much underscores the need to
elect a new board on May 26 that mutual policyholders can trust to
consistently protect their interests and make the right decisions for
them and Economical going forward. That new board will act with
commitment, transparency and out of principle to deliver maximum value
to mutual policyholders and to make a better Economical, rather than
simply reacting out of expediency when forced."
The effect of today's agreement between VC&Co. and Economical is that
any mutual policyholder who wishes to keep their individual voting
decision secret can attend and vote in person at the May 26 meeting,
rather than voting by proxy in advance of the meeting with a designated
voting decision that will be known.
"We encourage any employee, broker or other mutual policyholder who
feels pressured or coerced by the current board's proxy solicitation
tactics to simply attend and vote in person at the May 26 meeting,
rather than providing a proxy in advance. This allows you to vote
confidentially, and without any concerns that your individual voting
decision may impact you," said Mr. Woollcombe. "The current board
should have known better than to waste your money fighting this for the
past several months, but with today's agreement we now finally have in
place a guaranteed mechanism for those who are concerned about
retribution to vote confidentially."
Vote only the YELLOW proxy
Mutual policyholders who wish to vote by proxy are encouraged to
complete and return only their YELLOW proxy. YELLOW proxies must be returned by May 13, 2011 in order to be deposited in
time to be used at the upcoming meeting. Mutual policyholders with
questions or who require assistance in completing and returning the YELLOW proxy should telephone either Michael D. Woollcombe or Shane A. Priemer
of VC & Co. Advisory Limited at 416-864-2274.
For further information:
Michael D. Woollcombe
Executive Vice-President, VC & Co. Advisory Limited
Alan Bayless, Client Partner
Longview Communications Inc.