First Annual Meeting of the Shareholders of Industrial-Alliance Life Insurance Company
The New President and Chief Executive Officer Presents his Vision of the Company's Future
The new president and chief executive officer of Industrial-Alliance Life Insurance Company, Yvon Charest, presented today, at the first annual meeting of the shareholders, his vision of the Company's future, which he intends to implement to meet the challenges the Company faces as a capital stock company. The goal of this strategy, which falls under the theme Strength through performance, is to create a lasting value for the shareholders and maintain the Industrial-Alliance Group's position as a leader in the insurance and financial services industry throughout Canada.
"Our strategy is guided by two major objectives: profitability and growth," declared Mr. Charest, who was appointed president and chief executive officer of Industrial-Alliance today. "In terms of profitability, we want to obtain a rate of return on shareholders' equity in the upper end of the 12% to 14% range. In terms of business growth, we have set a very ambitious objective, which is to obtain a growth rate of sales five percentage points above that of the industry in all lines of business."
To reach these growth and profitability objectives over the next few years, Industrial-Alliance and its main subsidiaries – National Life in Toronto and North West Life in Vancouver, to which was added Seaboard Life in 1999 – have developed a strategy that focuses on six areas of development.
Increase the multiple distribution capacity
Right now, the Company has one of the largest and most diversified sales forces in Canada, with just over 14,000 financial security advisors divided among three distribution networks. Thanks to them, the Company has obtained one of the highest growth rates in the industry in the past five years, ranking 2nd in Canada, in 1999, in the individual insurance sector. Industrial-Alliance intends to continue to attract career representatives through its selective recruiting and training program. The Company also intends to continue to expand its brokers network, mainly in western Canada and the Atlantic Provinces. It will also expand its national accounts network and enhance its distribution capability through affinity programs and by marketing private label products with financial institutions.
Accelerate growth in wealth management
Savings and retirement products are growing rapidly today. In 1999, Industrial-Alliance derived more than 60% of its premium income from savings and retirement products. To accelerate its growth in wealth management, the Company is committed to having an increasing number of its representatives become financial planners. The Company also intends to introduce new asset accumulation products. It will also place more emphasis on cross-selling of these products with its over 1.5 million life insurance customers.
Target the growing segments in group insurance
In group insurance, Industrial-Alliance plans to target the small business market where there continues to be strong growth potential. The Company is also focused on expanding its market share in the western provinces, mainly through North West Life's distribution network, and in the Atlantic Provinces, where it opened an office in 1999. The Company also plans to use North West Life's expertise in specialized products to increase its market share in creditor insurance – where it is already recognized as a leader in Canada following the acquisition of Seaboard in 1999.
Leverage National Life brand and expertise
National Life, a subsidiary of Industrial-Alliance, has strong brand name recognition among higher income clientele in Canada, particularly professionals, for whom financial and estate planning are important. As such, the Company will capitalize on National Life's brand name and expertise to further penetrate this segment. A key strategy for this subsidiary will be to accelerate the implementation of private label products which will be distributed through external channels.
Improve cost structure and operating efficiencies
Industrial-Alliance's operating costs are among the lowest in the industry, reflecting the Company's continuous focus on cost control. To take full advantage of the synergy between the companies in the Group, Industrial-Alliance intends to combine or pool the resources of various departments, such as Investments or Data Processing, as well as consolidate the group insurance operations of all three life insurance companies in the Group.
Aggressively pursue acquisitions
One of the main reasons behind Industrial-Alliance´s demutualization was to give the Company the means to become more actively involved in the industry consolidation. Industrial-Alliance will continue to evaluate acquisition opportunities that can increase geographic diversification and enhance its product and service offering.
"I believe that this strategy of growth and profitability will allow the Company to offer added value to its insurance and annuities clients and increase the value of the shareholders' investments. Our organization is determined to meet its growth objectives. Once it has, the Industrial-Alliance Group will become even more prominent in the industry," concluded Mr. Charest.
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Tel.: (418) 684-5000, extension 4563