2008 Second Quarter Results - Desjardins Financial Security insurance premiums up substantially in first half of 2008

    Insurance premium volume growth of 10.7%
    Group and business insurance premiums up $97.5 million
    Individual savings sales increase by $24.5 million
    Net income of $95.6 million
    Return on shareholder equity of 24.2%

    LEVIS, QC, Aug. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - At the end of the first six months of
2008, Desjardins Financial Security's net income stood at $95.6 million. The
Desjardins Group subsidiary specializing in life and health insurance and
retirement savings continues to post significant insurance premium income
growth. It increased 10.7 per cent for a total of $1,243.6 million compared to
$1,123.3 million in the first half of 2007. Driven by the company's sustained
development efforts over the past few years, this growth has been especially
strong outside Quebec where it totalled $424.4 million for a 19.9 per cent
increase. Insurance sales stood at $108.9 million.
    The share of Desjardins Financial Security's net income payable to its
Desjardins caisse shareholders totalled $90.0 million. Return on shareholder
equity was 24.2 per cent and remains one of the best in the financial services
industry. Assets under management and administration stood at $22.1 billion.
    The restructuring of investments held in asset-backed commercial paper
(ABCP) that started last April has permitted Desjardins Financial Security to
maintain provisions at levels relatively comparable to those of March 31,
2008, and to contain losses in the last quarter, unlike the previous three
consecutive quarters. Nonetheless, the deterioration in net income due to the
ABCP situation during the first half of 2008 stood at $12.2 million.

    2008 second quarter results

    For the period of April 1 to June 30, 2008, net income was $59.3 million
compared to $68.4 million in 2007. Insurance sales totalled $57.8 million
versus $51.1 million for the first quarter of the year. In Quebec, gross
insurance premiums rose by $25.6 million or 6.1 per cent over 2007. In the
other provinces, gross insurance premiums increased to $30.5 million or
16.8 per cent, a substantial increase compared to the second quarter of 2007.
    Investment product sales were especially good in the second quarter of
2008, totalling $49.9 million for an increase of $14.8 million over the same
period last year. Strong demand for Helios, the new Guaranteed Investment Fund
Contract and its Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit, was largely
responsible for this increase.
    "Our life and health insurance subsidiary continues to perform well in
all its different markets, particularly outside Quebec where insurance premium
income is up by almost 20 per cent, resulting in one of the best returns on
shareholder equity in the industry. Overall, it continues to contribute to the
growth and profitability of Desjardins Group." said Ms. Monique Leroux, chair
of the Board, president and CEO of Desjardins Group and also CEO of Desjardins
Financial Security.
    Mr. Richard Fortier, president and COO of Desjardins Financial Security,
said he is satisfied with the company's results since the beginning of the
year. "Despite recent difficult economic conditions, Desjardins Financial
Security continues to meet the growing needs of its clients and to gain more
ground in an extremely competitive insurance market."

    Sector results

    As of June 30, 2008, the volume of gross premiums in group insurance from
groups, businesses and plans sold in financial institutions, including the
Desjardins caisses, stood at $1,062.7 million, for an increase of
$114.5 million or 12.1 per cent over the same period last year. Sales totalled
$88.2 million.
    In individual insurance, sales recorded by the financial security
advisors at the Desjardins caisses, the financial centre network of SFL
Partner of Desjardins Financial Security and Desjardins Financial Security
Independent Network totalled $20.7 million, which is comparable to June 2007.
Gross premiums were $239.7 million, for a $9.3 million improvement over last
    Savings sales totalled $526.4 million and group retirement savings sales
reached $67.3 million. As of June 30, 2008, individual savings sales amounted
to $167.0 million for a $24.5 million increase over the first six months of
2007. Mutual fund sales stood at $292.1 million.

    About Desjardins Financial Security

    Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the
largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in
individual and group life and health insurance, as well as retirement savings
products and services. Every day, over 5 million Canadians rely on Desjardins
Financial Security to ensure their financial security. Desjardins Financial
Security employs over 3,900 people and administers over $22.0 billion in
assets from offices in several cities across the country, including Vancouver,
Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec, Lévis, Halifax and
St. John's. For more information please visit

For further information:

For further information: Sarah Twomey, Communications Advisor, (416)
926-2700, extension 2015, Toll free: 1-877-906-5551, extension 2015,

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