The insurance industry increasingly important in the Quebec City and Lévis
region: Growth continues, employment is up and momentum outside of Quebec
intensifies

QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - "Insurance companies in the Quebec City and Lévis region are continuing their growth, continuing to create new jobs and continuing to gain market share, including sales outside of the province," said Yvon Charest, president of the Insurance and Financial Services Development Centre (Centre de développement en assurances et services financiers). "Together, the companies make up one of the most dynamic industries in the Quebec City Chaudière-Appalaches region." Mr. Charest was commenting on updated economic indicators for the region's insurance companies, comparing data from the end of 2008 to that of the end of 2005.

With approximately 9,100 employees in their head offices in December 2008, the companies increased their workforce by 9.5% over three years (and by 63% since 2000). They created about 625 new jobs in 2008. In 2009, they anticipate creating a bit less, but nonetheless several hundred jobs; the actual increase will be known at year's end.

These employees make up about 60% of the workforce for the 11 companies in the Quebec City and Lévis region, which on the whole include about 15,000 employees in Quebec, and in the rest of Canada, where they've experienced steady growth in their market share.

In 2008, the region's companies collected $14.7 billion in premiums and contributions, a 36% increase in three years. As a result of the growth outside of Quebec, 36% of their business came from the rest of Canada, compared to 30% in 2005. Four out of five life and health insurance companies in the region are among the ten largest companies in Canada. The region's life and health insurance companies account for 44.5% of the market in Quebec, and general insurance companies account for 29.9%.

At $38.9 billion, the assets managed by the 11 companies increased by 22.5% in three years, despite a decline in growth due to the effect of the financial crisis in 2008. High solvency standards and prudent management by the insurers, who have many very long-term commitments, limited the effects of the drop in value of their investment portfolios.

The 11 insurance companies inject some $550 million in salaries and employee benefits into the local economy. In the Quebec City Chaudière-Appalaches region, they own real estate holdings estimated at $585 million, holdings that projects undertaken in 2009 will increase by $55 million. In 2008, they bought goods and services in the region for a total value of $213 million. They paid $553 million in taxes and income taxes, including $38.7 million at the municipal level.

The insurance companies manage to meet their personnel needs, but they are preparing for the future. They're working together, with their Insurance and Financial Services Development Centre, to inform the population in general and young people in particular about the large number of careers possible in the industry, and to make these careers known. Under the "Power of Eleven" theme, they're currently conducting an information campaign, which primarily targets students. On the puissanceonze.ca (power of eleven) website, one can find a description of about a hundred different careers available at insurance companies, as well as the positions currently open.

The 11 insurance companies from the Québec Chaudière-Appalaches region

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Desjardins General Insurance Group (Lévis)

Property and casualty insurance

Sylvie Paquette, 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

Omer Bouchard, Chairman of the Board

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, President and Chief Operating Officer

La Capitale Financial Group, Damage Insurance Sector (Québec)

Property and casualty insurance

John Strome, President and Chief Operating Officer

L'Entraide Assurance (Québec)

Life and health insurance and financial services

Gaëtan Gagné, President 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

René Hamel, Chief Executive Officer

SSQ, General Insurance Company Inc. (Québec)

Property and casualty insurance

Gilles Mourette, Chief Executive Officer

SOURCE CENTRE DE DEVELOPPEMENT EN ASSURANCES ET SERVICES FINANCIERS

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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