SSQ Insurance CEO Jean-Francois Chalifoux named 2018 Financial Personality of the Year

SSQ Insurance proudly welcomed the news of their CEO Jean-François Chalifoux’s designation as the 2018 Financial Personality of the Year. Chalifoux was honoured by an independent jury of industry peers as part of the annual Top 25 financial industry ranking by Finance et Investissement.

“I’m very pleased to be receiving this award, which I wish to share with my SSQ Insurance colleagues. I’m happy to be able to count on the 2,000 employees dedicated to our organization. Their commitment and involvement in the company’s projects has allowed SSQ Insurance to continue to grow and position itself well in the industry,” said Chalifoux. “I thank them for their hard work and dedication.”

Jean-François Chalifoux is a leader with a vision who has focused the company’s efforts on performance and innovation to maximise the company’s results. The members of the jury acknowledged his strategic audacity and sense of innovation in addition to the company’s growth.

Chalifoux joined SSQ Insurance as CEO in September 2015. Since then he has orchestrated the company’s transformation. Following the implementation of a new organizational model, the merger of the company’s legal entities and the introduction of an ambitious strategic plan, the company launched its new brand identity in 2018 as the crowning achievement of the changes for the company’s members, customers and partners.

About Top 25 ranking of Quebec’s financial sector
Each February, the French-language publication Finance et Investissement hands out its Top 25 ranking of Quebec’sfinancial industry personalities, including the Financial Personality of the Year. This honour is an acknowledgment of the influence, exceptional achievements and remarkable growth of the company under their management.

The Top 25 of the financial industry as determined by Finance et Investissement pays tribute to 25 standout leaders who live and work in the province of Quebec and whose accomplishments stood out in the last year. The award winners are chosen by a jury made up of outstanding members of the financial industry.

About SSQ Insurance
Founded in 1944, SSQ Insurance is a mutualist company that puts community at the heart of insurance. With $12 billion in assets under management, SSQ Insurance is one of the largest companies in the industry. Working for a community of over three million customers, SSQ Insurance employs 2,000 people. Leader in group insurance, the company also sets itself apart through its expertise in individual life and health insurance, general insurance and the investment sector. For more information, please visit ssq.ca.

SOURCE SSQ Insurance

ssq.ca

Alberta declares beer trade fight with Ontario over access to liquor stores

The Alberta government is opening a new front in its beer war with other provinces by targeting Ontario for what it says are its unfair trade barriers to Alberta-made suds and other alcoholic products.

The initiative emerged on Monday, November 26, 2018 as Alberta announced a full retreat on its own craft beer subsidies that were found by a judge last spring to be unconstitutional.

“Alberta has the most open liquor policy in the country, offering Albertans a choice of over 3,700 Canadian products … Alberta merchants stock and sell 745 alcoholic beverages from Ontario,” said Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous at an Edmonton brewery on Monday.

“Ontario is the largest market in the country, three times larger than our own, yet we can only find about 20 Alberta liquor products listed for sale in Ontario.”

The complaint under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement is being made against Ontario because it has the biggest liquor market in Canada but it could be expanded to include other provinces with similar barriers, Bilous said, adding he’s hoping for an amicable solution.

Under the CFTA, Ontario will have 120 days to respond to the complaint made in a letter sent Monday morning. The complaint may then proceed to a CFTA panel for a ruling on corrective actions or allowed retaliatory measures, with a provision for either side to appeal that ruling, explained Jean-Marc Prevost, Bilous’ press secretary.

Neither the Ontario trade ministry nor the Liquor Control Board of Ontario immediately responded to a request for comment.

In his letter to Ontario Trade Minister Todd Smith, Bilous complains that Ontario gives local brewers access to stores over Alberta brewers, gives Ontario beverages preferential shelf or refrigerated locations, requires Alberta brewers to provide commercially confidential information to their larger competitors to be listed and gives Ontario small brewers a significant discount on listing costs.

Neil Herbst, owner of Alley Kat Brewery of Edmonton, said he has faced numerous non-tariff barriers when trying to ship his products to Ontario, giving as an example a $400 laboratory fee assessed on a shipment of $1,600 worth of beer.

Also Monday, Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said he will cancel by Dec. 15 a program of grants for small Alberta craft brewers in order to bring provincial beer regulations in compliance with Canadian trade law.

The province will return to a system similar that was in place before 2015, with markups (a tax collected for the province) of $1.25 per litre applied to all beer sold in Alberta by producers of more than 50,000 hectolitres per year.

Smaller brewers, regardless of province of origin, will be able to apply for markups of between 10 and 60 cents per litre.

Alberta dropped its graduated markup system to go to a flat markup on all beer in 2015. It at first exempted brewers in Saskatchewan, B.C. and Alberta, then changed its rules so it applied to all Canadian brewers but introduced a subsidy program solely for Alberta’ small brewers.

It lost a CFTA panel ruling initiated by Artisan Ales, a Calgary-based beer importer, which argued the grant program unfairly tilted the market against its product.

Last June, a Court of Queen’s Bench judge ordered the province to pay a total of $2.1 million in restitution to Great Western Brewing of Saskatoon and Steam Whistle Brewing of Toronto, finding that the subsidies created a trade barrier against their products.

At the time, Ceci said the province would consider appealing that ruling.

His department says Alberta now has 137 liquor manufacturers, including 99 brewers. It says the number of brewers has nearly tripled since the subsidy program was introduced in 2016.

The province says it will introduce more supports for Alberta liquor manufacturers in the next few weeks.

FirstOnSite Restoration Reinforces Leadership Team in British Columbia

Source: FirstOnSite Restoration

FirstOnSite Restoration, Canada’s leading independent disaster restoration services provider, has fortified its leadership team in British Columbia with the promotion of Erik Hecht to Director of Operations, and the addition of Frank Wood as Business Operations Manager.

“The strength of our team in B.C. reflects our determination to provide the very best in restoration service to homeowners and businesses in times of crisis,” says Dave Demos, CEO, FirstOnSite Restoration. “We are confident that with the leadership and experience in place, we will continue to deliver the highest standards of performance and customer experience and continue to raise the bar in our industry.”

As Director of Operations, Erik will be responsible for overall operational execution across all FirstOnSite’s British Columbia locations. He has close to 20 years’ experience in senior level leadership and operational management, and has established a solid reputation with his teams, clients and end users throughout his career. He is also leveraging his extensive experience in the Fire Protection and Life Safety industry by leading FirstOnSite B.C. safety programs.

Frank Wood brings more than 20 years of property management experience to his new role as Business Operations Manager where he will lead our team of Project Managers in the region, and drive process and consistency to all areas of business. His extensive experience in leadership, business performance and customer service will help drive FirstOnSite’s commitment to providing exceptional experience. Frank will be an important member of the team, accountable for regional growth, team development, and client relations.

SNC Lavalin settles shareholder class actions in Ontario and Quebec for $110M

By Ross Marowits

THE CANADIAN PRESS

MONTREAL _ SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has moved further from its troubled past by settling two class action lawsuits worth a total of $110 million over allegations of misleading investors about its activities in Libya.

The company said it will contribute $88 million to the settlement of the cases in Ontario and Quebec. The rest will come from its insurance, said Michael Robb of Siskinds LLP, the lead lawyer of the claim. The agreement is subject to court approval.

The settlement amount is far from the $1.25 billion initially claimed by investors who bought SNC-Lavalin shares before they plunged in 2012 after the company announced an investigation into millions in undocumented payments and said its 2011 earnings would be less than expected.

“The reason $110 (million) is the number in the settlement is that having gone through litigating the case vigorously for six years and gone through a lot of evidence and procedure, that’s the amount the parties negotiated as a fair and reasonable compromise of this case,” Robb said in an interview from London, Ont.

The net amount to be distributed will be calculated after legal fees are deducted, which Robb said would be “significantly less than half” the total settlement.

The court will determine the appropriate amount and set up a distribution procedure at hearings expected to take place this fall in Ontario and Quebec.

The proceeds will be distributed to investors from anywhere in the world who provide proof that they purchased SNC-Lavalin shares between November 2009 and February 2012.

The lawsuits were among the consequences of alleged payments made by SNC-Lavalin to members, associates and agents of the regime of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to secure contracts for infrastructure projects in Libya.

The company said it has since initiated a series of significant changes and enhancements to reinforce its ethics and compliance procedures.

“The class action lawsuit settlement is another step in resolving our legacy issues and de-risking the future of SNC-Lavalin,” the Montreal-based firm said in a news release.

SNC-Lavalin also signed an administrative agreement under the federal government’s new Integrity Regime in 2015, reached an agreement with the Commissioner of Canada Elections and with the Ordre des ingenieurs du Quebec in 2016, and reached a settlement with Quebec’s Voluntary Reimbursement Program in 2017.

Industry analysts called the settlement a positive outcome for the company.

Yuri Lynk of Canaccord Genuity said the settlement amount is “manageable” given that the company had $647 million of cash on hand at the end of March.

“We believe, based on our conversations with investors, that the expectation for a settlement was between $150 million and $250 million,” he wrote in a report.

“This is the penultimate step towards putting the legacy issues behind the company and removes yet another overhang.”

Lynk said the final step will be the settling of outstanding federal charges against the company through a deferred prosecution agreement. He pegged that settlement will likely cost around $300 million.

Derek Spronck of RBC Capital Markets added that momentum is building for everything to come together for SNC this year.

“The class action lawsuits are being settled, the federal government is moving ahead with a DPA regime, the Champlain Bridge is tracking to targets, and the company has won several multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects.”

Premier Group appoints Mo Kaur to President and COO

Canadian based Managing Underwriting Agency, Premier Group (Premier Marine Insurance and Premier Canada Assurance Managers) announced today that Mo Kaur will assume the role of President and Chief Operating Officer.

Kaur succeeds Troy Moreira, who held the position since late 2001.  Moreira has decided to step away from the day to day leadership of Premier.  He will remain with the company as an executive advisor to Kaur assisting with the transition, and will also serve as a Director on the Premier Board.  “Premier has been a great success story” Moreira said “what started as a single-product Marine MGA has developed into a multi-class specialty underwriting agency with offices throughout Canada and the US.”  “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the helm of Premier and thankful for all the wonderful people I have had the opportunity to work with and meet in that time”.

Kaur has been a part of the Premier team for 6 years, serving as Senior Vice President for the past 5 years, contributing to all aspects of the organization.   Kaur brings 25 plus years of insurance experience to the role, beginning her career in London (UK) for Royal Insurance, and serving in various underwriting and management positions with insurers in the Western Canada marketplace.   On the academic front, Kaur has an honors degree in Mathematical Studies, University of London, UK and her ACII (Associateship Chartered Insurance Institute) London UK.

“Working with Troy has been one of the most dynamic and rewarding roles that I have undertaken in my career” said Kaur.  “I am honored and excited to be given the opportunity to continue to expand the Premier business with brokers across Canada and the US, and continuing to grow our long-standing relationships with our insurer partners in Canada and the London market.”

About Premier –

Founded in 1990, Premier is one of Canada’s largest MUA / Managing Underwriting Agencies, with a broad product offering spanning:  Professional Liability, Environmental, Construction, Specialty Commercial packages, Specialty Personal Lines, and the founding business of Marine Insurance.

Head-quartered in Vancouver, Premier has branch locations in Toronto Ont,  London Ont,  Laval Quebec,  San Diego CA, Seattle WA,  Annapolis, MD and a subsidiary company (Pacific Coast E&S) in Santa Rosa, CA.   Premier employs over 150 employees, and administers a portfolio of well over 130,000 policies each year.

Learn more at www.premiergroup.ca

The Co-operators Chief Client Officer announces retirement

The Co-operators announced the retirement of Executive Vice President and Chief Client Officer, Rick McCombie, effective the end of 2018.

McCombie joined Co‑operators General in 1976 and spent most of his career leading exceptional Client Engagement, Claims, Distribution and Service strategies across The Co‑operators group of companies. Rick’s achievements are illustrated in the record-breaking client growth, high Net Promoter scores, and the number of industry-leading JD Power client satisfaction awards.

“Under Rick’s guidance and pursuit to deliver a superior client experience, along with his tenacity and commitment to always place our clients in the centre of our decision making and planning, The Co-operators has thrived,” says Rob Wesseling, President and CEO. “He’s a true champion of our company values, community involvement and people, and is an active member in the community. Rick’s contributions and true co-operative spirit will be felt across the industry and within our organization for many years to come.”

Rick’s career highlights also include 10 years of profitable growth in the Southwestern Ontario Region while under his leadership. And, he led the Co‑op Auto Coalition in the early 1990s. He’s also an active member in the community, chaired both the London/Middlesex and Guelph/Wellington United Way chapters and currently sits on the United Way Board and Cabinet.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $41 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.  The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

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