A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc.

QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 14, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - For the first time in its history, SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc. has received a credit rating from A.M. Best Co. The credit rating agency today published the results of its analysis and has assigned a financial strength rating of "A- (Excellent)" to SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc. The agency has also assigned an issuer credit rating of "a-". The outlook for both ratings is stable.

"We are particularly pleased with this first experience with A.M Best. The ratings we were assigned reflect our strength and performance. Despite sluggish financial markets and relatively low, declining interest rates, we pursued business growth and delivered stable and reasonable financial results with returns varying between 10% and 15% over the last 20 years all while continuing to offer our clients world-class service. The fact that we are able to repeat this performance year after year proves how solid and well-managed our company is. In that regard, we honour our commitment to being a modern and high-performing mutual financial institution with its values in the right place," said SSQ Financial Group's Chief Executive Officer, Mr. René Hamel.

The credit rating reflects SSQ Financial Group's dominant position in Quebec's group insurance market, consistent and solid earnings as well as adequate levels of capitalization. SSQ is among the leaders in Quebec's group insurance market, which is a sector providing solid growth and earnings for the company.

According to the credit rating agency, SSQ maintains an adequate risk-adjusted capital position, presents high credit quality in its fixed income investment portfolio and continued increases in its aggregate capital and surplus levels. SSQ's adequate capitalization has enabled it to retain a significant portion of new business with relatively low utilization of reinsurance to support growth initiatives.

SSQ also benefits from the financial commitment of its principal shareholder, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, which facilitated the January 2012 acquisition of AXA Life of Canada, now known as SSQ Insurance Company Inc.

A.M. Best believes that the value proposition SSQ offers its clients, in the form of advanced electronic tools for administrators and clients, a state-of-the-art claims adjudication system and excellent customer service, position the company well to incrementally increase its group insurance market share outside of Quebec.

For more information on A.M. Best, go to ambest.com.

About SSQ Financial Group

With nearly $3 billion in annual revenue and more than $10 billion in assets under management, SSQ Financial Group is a leading mutual diversified financial institution.

The Group serves over one million clients and provides jobs to over 1,900 employees. SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc., the Group's principal company, is recognized as a leader in the group insurance industry and as an expert in the investment and retirement sector. SSQ Financial Group is also a rising star in home and auto insurance (SSQ General Insurance Company Inc.) and individual insurance with its new subsidiary, SSQ Insurance Company Inc. To find out more, consult our site at www.ssq.ca.


For further information:

Marie Lamontagne
Senior Vice-President
Corporate Communications and Marketing
418-652-2764 / marie.lamontagne@ssq.ca


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