The Co-operators Announces Year-End Financial Results and Major Contribution to Foundation



    MONCTON, NB, April 16 /CNW/ - The Co-operators today announced net income
for the co-operatively-owned group of companies of $82.4 million for 2008, a
decrease of 48 per cent from $158.7 million the previous year. During its
Annual General Meeting, which wrapped up today in Moncton, the organization
also announced a contribution of $617,000 to The Co-operators Foundation,
through which it supports worthy causes throughout Canada.
    The Co-operators and its member-owners reflected upon a year marked by
unprecedented economic upheaval and market volatility. Despite the challenging
environment, The Co-operators maintained its financial strength, expanded its
membership base and made significant contributions to Canadian communities. It
also made a significant acquisition in 2008, with the purchase of a 71.4 per
cent stake in Montreal-based Addenda Capital Inc., an institutional asset
manager with $35.6 billion under management.
    Return on shareholders' equity for the group of companies was 6.2 percent
for 2008, down from 13.2 percent the year previous. In addition to the
challenging environment overall, rising average claims costs in the property
and casualty businesses contributed to the decline in ROE.
    "In 2008, our resiliency was put to the test. While our bottom line
reflected a widespread downturn in the economy, our fundamentals remained
strong, enabling us to make real progress toward our strategic objectives,"
commented Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "Our
financial strength allows us to be there for our clients when they need us,
give back to our members and the broader co-op sector, and support Canadian
communities."
    Despite unfavourable market conditions and the deployment of excess
capital for the acquisition of Addenda Capital, the organization's capital
ratios remain well above the regulatory minimums of 150 percent. The Minimum
Capital Test for The Co-operators property and casualty insurance companies
was 204 percent, while Co-operators Life Insurance Company's Minimum
Continuing Capital and Surplus Requirement was 256 percent.
    After the $617,000 contribution announced today, The Co-operators
Foundation has a balance of more than $6 million. The foundation is used to
provide financial assistance to social economy enterprises and other worthy
causes across Canada.
    In 2008, more than $5 million was reinvested into Canadian communities
through staff and agent contributions, community partnerships, corporate
giving and volunteerism.
    During the past year, seven organizations became member-owners of The
Co-operators Group Ltd., one of the country's leading financial co-operatives.
The newest members are: Co-operative Auto Network, Farmers Co-operative Dairy,
Granny's Poultry Cooperative, Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative, Organic Meadow,
Regina Community Clinic and United Community Services Co-op. The co-operative
ownership base now comprises 46 Canadian co-operatives, credit union centrals
and like-minded organizations from all regions of the country, which represent
a wide range of economic sectors.
    The Co-operators Annual Reports and Sustainability Report were also
released during the AGM. They are available at www.cooperators.ca.

    About The Co-operators:

    The Co-operators Group Limited is a 100 per cent Canadian-owned
co-operative with assets of $7.6 billion. It is well known for its community
involvement, and is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada.
    The group of companies includes property and casualty insurers
Co-operators General Insurance Company, the Sovereign General Insurance
Company, l'Union Canadienne, and COSECO Insurance Company; life insurer
Co-operators Life Insurance Company and its subsidiary TIC Travel Insurance
Co-ordinators Ltd.; and institutional asset manager Addenda Capital Inc.
Collectively, the companies provide insurance protection to 842,000 homes, 1.2
million vehicles, 650,000 lives, 43,000 farms, and 113,000 businesses. They
also provide travel insurance to more than one million Canadians and visitors
to Canada, and insure 350,000 employees through group benefit plans. Addenda
manages $35.6 billion in assets, including invested assets of The Co-operators
Group.





For further information:

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators,
1-877-795-7272, ext. 2707, cell: (519) 820-4133


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