Mr. René Hamel to be appointed new CEO of SSQ Financial Group

    Mr. Richard Bell plans to retire after 21 years with SSQ Financial Group
    - seven at the helm as CEO

    QUEBEC CITY, Aug. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Mr. Pierre Genest, Chairman of the
Board of SSQ Financial Group is pleased to announce the appointment of
Mr. René Hamel as the new CEO of the financial group. Current CEO Mr. Richard
Bell will officially hand over the reins on September 12, 2008.
    Mr. René Hamel is an actuary by training and an Associate of the Canadian
Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries. Mr. Hamel joined SSQ in
1986, and with several years of experience in insurance already under his belt
he quickly became involved in the creation of SSQ General Insurance Company,
where he successively held the positions of Assistant General Director,
Executive Vice-President, and CEO. In 1994, Mr. Hamel was appointed
Vice-President of Individual Insurance and Annuities at SSQ Financial Group.
Then, in 2001, he was appointed Senior Vice-President of Group Insurance, a
position that he has held since. Mr. Hamel is very active in the insurance
industry, being a member of the Intelligence Committee of the International
Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), and representing Quebec
on the Life and Health Insurance Association's (CLHIA) national committee on
    "Over the years, Mr. Hamel's vast experience has been a significant
factor contributing to our Company's growth. His leadership and management
skills make him the ideal person to take over as the new CEO for our group. We
are convinced that Mr. Hamel will continue to be instrumental in ensuring
SSQ's success in the years to come," said Mr. Pierre Genest.
    "Mr. Richard Bell has decided to take a well-deserved retirement which we
hope will be just as exciting as for him as his professional career has been.
He leaves behind him a solid, financially robust company that is more and more
widely recognized. Under his tenure, SSQ has achieved strong growth and earned
a place among Canada's top insurance and financial services companies.
Mr. Bell's leadership, hard work, dynamic input and earnest conviction have
been an inspiration for all in attaining our goals while continuing to uphold
our traditional mutualist values. As a matter of fact, it was under Mr. Bell's
leadership that SSQ adopted its company motto: "We thrive on mutual trust!"
added Mr. Genest.
    As a result of this change to the leadership of SSQ, the following job
appointments will also take effect on September 12, 2008.
    Ms. Johanne Goulet will take over Mr. Hamel's former responsibilities as
Senior Vice-President of the SSQ Group Insurance business line. An actuary and
Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries,
Ms. Goulet joined SSQ in 1991. She has since held a number of executive-level
positions in Group Insurance including positions in Actuarial, Marketing and
Sales departments before becoming Senior Vice-President of SSQ's Investment
and Retirement business line in 2001. Ms. Goulet, therefore, has a good deal
of experience in both the group insurance and investment and retirement
sectors. Before joining SSQ, Ms. Goulet worked for the Quebec government's
Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and the Régie des rentes du
Québec. She also worked as a consultant for a number of actuarial consulting
    Mr. Bernard Tanguay will take over Ms. Goulet's former position at
Investment and Retirement. Mr. Tanguay is an actuary and a Fellow of the
Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries. Before joining
SSQ in 1996, he held a number of management positions in the insurance and
financial services industry. At SSQ, Mr. Tanguay has held various
executive-level positions, the most recent being Vice-President of Actuarial
and Sales Support. His extensive knowledge of insurance and financial services
will be a major asset in future projects.
    "As our company has continued to show strong growth for the past several
years, we are very pleased to be able to rely on a talented executive team,
ensuring an excellent succession for the future. I know that all of the
members of the Board join me in thanking Mr. Bell for his valuable
contribution to SSQ over the years. We wish him all the best for a
well-deserved retirement. We would also like to extend our very best wishes
for success to Mr. Hamel, Ms. Goulet, and Mr. Tanguay in their respective new
roles," concluded Mr. Genest.

    About SSQ Financial Group

    With $2 billion in annual revenue and more than $4 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 1,400 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 realty management (SSQ Realty Inc.).

For further information:

For further information: Elaine Dumais, (418) 650-3457, ext. 6292,

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