Québec Chaudière-Appalaches insurers make up one of the largest industry centres in Canada



    QUEBEC, Oct. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The 11 insurance companies that have their
head offices in the Québec Chaudière-Appalaches region form one of the largest
industry centres in Canada, hence the region's nickname "Hartford of the
North" (after Hartford, Connecticut, where, due to the high concentration of
insurers, it is referred to as the insurance capital of the world). Three of
the life and health insurance companies are among the 10 largest in the
country, and several of the property and casualty insurers from the area have
experienced very strong growth in the last few years.
    Speaking about the industry spin-offs for the region, Jude Martineau,
President of Desjardins General Insurance Group and Vice-President of the
Centre de développement en assurances et services financiers (Insurance and
Financial Services Development Centre), reported that "According to a study
conducted last year, in 2005, the 11 companies employed around 8,250 people in
the region and 6,150 elsewhere in Canada. Their distribution networks included
2,765 people in the region and 23,000 in the rest of the country. The insurers
are paying $408 million in salaries to their local employees (2005 data). The
3,000 jobs that will be created in the next few years represent an additional
payroll of close to $200 million. Expenses of over $110 million have been
incurred with suppliers in the region, and the companies have paid over
$600 million in taxes to various levels of government."
    They control a large part of the Quebec market (34% of the life and
health insurance market, 42% of the property and casualty insurance market)
and in 2005 collected over $10.8 billion in premiums and contributions in
Canada.
    The companies' growth is reflected in their real estate. Several of them
have expanded their head offices in the last few years. Currently, Desjardins
General Insurance Group is building new offices in Lévis, and La Capitale is
planning to expand its head office in Québec.
    One of the interesting spin-offs for the region is business tourism. In
addition to the numerous meetings of managers and employees from across
Canada, conferences are also held here, due in part to the presence of the
insurers in the area. The Life Office Management Association held its
conference there last month (1,500 participants), the International
Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation conference took place there a few
years ago and, next year, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association
plans to hold its conference there too.

    Various jobs
    ------------

    "In terms of jobs, everyone knows that insurers hire actuaries,
accountants and representatives," said Mr. Martineau, "but it takes all kinds
of skills to run our operations. We employ specialists in IT, human and
material resource management, communications, advertising and promotion,
research and marketing, investment management, project management, health
technicians (medical underwriting and claims), lawyers, customer service
agents, specialists in all areas of financial services, underwriters,
adjusters, and the list goes on."
    Due to the scope of some of the companies' operations, many of their
employees work across the country, from Vancouver, where Industrial Alliance
has a subsidiary, to St. John's, Newfoundland, where Desjardins Financial
Security has landed some large group insurance contracts.

    
    The 11 insurance companies from the Québec Chaudière-Appalaches region
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Desjardins General Insurance Group (Lévis)
        Property and casualty insurance
        Jude Martineau, President and Chief Operating Officer
    Desjardins Financial Security (Lévis)
        Life and health insurance and financial services
        Richard Fortier, President and Chief Operating Officer
    Groupe Promutuel (Québec)
        Property and casualty insurance
        Claude Robitaille, Chief Executive Officer
    Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services (Québec)
        Life and health insurance and financial services
        Yvon Charest, President and Chief Executive Officer
    Industrial Alliance Auto and Home Insurance (Québec)
        Property and casualty insurance
        Michel Laurin, President and Chief Operating Officer
    La Capitale Financial Group, Personal Insurance Sector (Québec)
        Life and health insurance and financial services
        Robert St-Denis, Chief Executive Officer
    La Capitale Financial Group, Damage Insurance Sector (Québec)
        Property and casualty insurance
        John Strome, Chief Executive Officer
    L'Entraide Assurance (Québec)
        Life and health insurance and financial services
        Gaetan Gagné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    L'Union Canadienne, Compagnie d'Assurances (Québec)
        Property and casualty insurance
        Jean Vincent, Chief Operating Officer
    SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc. (Québec)
        Life and health insurance and financial services
        Richard Bell, Chief Executive Officer
    SSQ, General Insurance Company Inc. (Québec)
        Property and casualty insurance
        Marie-Josée Blanchette, Chief Executive Officer
    




For further information:

For further information: Gilles Juneau, General Manager, Centre de
développement en assurances et services financiers, cdasf@sympatico.ca, (418)
564-1976, Fax: (418) 835-9171

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CENTRE DE DEVELOPPEMENT EN ASSURANCES ET SERVICES FINANCIERS

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