Western Financial Group Inc. has acquired its first non-western Canadian brokerage, Axion Insurance Services Inc.

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Manulife Growing Canadian Insurance Business

Manulife today asserted its plans to further strengthen its leadership position in the Canadian insurance market. A key component of this plan is the launch of its Manulife Par participating whole life insurance product and an artificial intelligence algorithm that will transform the underwriting process.

The whole life insurance market represents over half of all insurance sales in Canada*. By launching Manulife Par, satisfying advisor and client demand, and relying on Manulife’s well-established network of advisors, the Company is confident it will gain market share.

“Manulife has a proud 130-year history of innovation and leadership in insurance,” said Alex Lucas, Head of Individual Insurance, Manulife.  “Not only do we expect strong growth from our new par product and our recently expanded Manulife Vitality program, we also expect increased efficiencies as a result of the launch of our new artificial intelligence tool for underwriting which will dramatically reduce turnaround times for many of our customers’ applications.”

With the launch of its new Artificial Intelligence Decision Algorithm, Manulife is the first Canadian life insurer to underwrite using artificial intelligence. This tool leverages Manulife’s many years of internal underwriting data and growing analytics capabilities to make it faster for many Canadians to buy basic life insurance, a key to addressing the “protection gap” in Canada.

“We see lots of opportunity in Canada by making insurance easier to buy and more engaging to own,” added Lucas. “With the launch of Manulife Par and our continued investment in modernizing our business, we are confident we have the innovative solutions Canadians are looking for,” said Lucas.

Manulife also recently expanded its Manulife Vitality program to all of its term products and plans to expand the rewards in the program over the coming months. The Manulife Vitality program motivates Canadians to live a healthier life by offering them the opportunity to receive discounts on their insurance and obtain access to a growing set of reward partners.

For more information, please go to: https://repsourcepublic.manulife.com/wps/vanityurl/manulifepar

*LIMRA 2018

About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. We operate primarily as John Hancock in the United States and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance, as well as wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2017, we had about 35,000 employees, 73,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving more than 26 million customers. As of March 31, 2018, we had over $1.1 trillion (US$850 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made $26.9 billion in payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in AsiaCanada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the TorontoNew York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong.


SOURCE Manulife Financial Corporation

Fifth anniversary of the June 2013 Alberta floods

Beginning on June 19, 2013 southern Alberta experienced extensive loss and damage from riverine flooding. More than 250 mm of rain fell over a 36 hour period in the foothills west and southwest of Calgary and began rapidly flowing east through the province’s river valleys bringing destruction across southern Alberta. This was the largest riverine flood damage event ever experienced in Canada, with insured damage exceeding $1.7 billion and total economic damage of approximately $6 billion.

Disaster mitigation and policy experts from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) are available to answer media inquiries concerning the floods. Noted ICLR experts below are available to answer questions relating to the impacts of the event (physical and financial), progress to date on various provincial flood mitigation efforts and whether Alberta is prepared for the next major deluge.

Paul Kovacs is founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction at Western University. He is Canada’s leading authority on insurance, natural hazards and climate change and has been a contributing author to numerous international and Canadian reports on reducing the risk of loss from flood, earthquakes, severe wind and wildfire. He has written more than 200 publications and articles and is a passionate champion for insurance, disaster resilience and adaptation to climate extremes.

Dan Sandink is Director of Research for ICLR. He has led a significant portion of the Institute’s urban flood risk reduction work, and has authored or co-authored dozens of reports and articles on topics related to urban flooding and natural hazards. His work has focused on public risk perceptions, adoption of lot-level practices, insurance, climate change adaptation, lot-level flood protection technologies, inflow/infiltration, construction codes, and mitigation of wildland-urban interface fire and high wind risk for low-rise residential buildings, among other topics.

Both Kovacs and Sandink are authors of the ICLR report Best practices for reducing the risk of future damage to homes from riverine and urban flooding: A report on recovery and rebuilding in southern Alberta, available at www.iclr.org

Glenn McGillivray is Managing Director of ICLR. As an insurance writer and commentator, his work has been widely disseminated across Canada. He has written more than 225 magazine and journal articles, publications and blogposts on a range of issues. He has appeared on CBC’s The National and The Exchange, CTV’s Your Morning and Power Play, CBC Radio’s The Current and CP24, as well as a number of other television and radio news and interview programs. Additionally, he speaks and lectures regularly on subjects related to the area of property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and natural hazards.

Sophie Guilbault is Manager, Partnership Development. She completed her Masters at Tulane University in Disaster Resilience Leadership Studies and holds a Master of Architecture degree from Laval University. At ICLR, Sophie is leading the Cities Adapt research program, ICLR’s Quick Response Grant Program and MEOPAR research on hurricane warnings in Atlantic Canada. Sophie can provide interviews in both English and French.

Established in 1998 by Canada’s property and casualty insurers, ICLR is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Toronto and at Western University in London, Canada. ICLR is a centre of excellence for disaster loss prevention research and education. ICLR’s research staff is internationally recognized for pioneering work in a number of fields including wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric sciences, water resources engineering and economics. Multi-disciplined research is a foundation for ICLR’s work to build communities more resilient to disasters.

SOURCE Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Five of six Montreal area men get bail in alleged lottery scam

By Pierre Saint-Arnaud


MONTREAL _ Five of six Montreal-area men charged in an alleged lottery scam involving Americans have been granted bail.

The six are facing extradition to the United States to face charges related to the alleged fraud of US$1.35 million between 2011 and 2013.

They are aged between 53 and 72.

The five who were freed in Montreal on Friday had to post bail ranging from $8,000 to $20,000, while the sixth will seek bail on June 14. Their extradition proceedings are scheduled to resume July 6.

They also face a curfew between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and must report to the RCMP once a week.

One woman from Pennsylvania who is among the alleged victims of the lottery scheme has previously testified she lost nearly US$300,000.

Court documents provide similar testimony from two other alleged victims in Pennsylvania as well as two from California, and one each from Massachusetts and Oregon. They were all led to believe they had won a Canadian lottery.

The documents allege the Pennsylvania woman was first targeted in November 2011, when a man identifying himself as a Canadian-based attorney told her she had won $80,000 in a lottery in Canada.

But before she could receive the prize, she was allegedly told she had to pay taxes and customs fees totalling $8,000. The fees could be paid through Western Union and/or MoneyGram.

After she wired that amount, an individual who claimed to be a U.S. customs officer allegedly contacted her and said the prize was actually $800,000, meaning additional taxes of more than $88,000.

The court documents allege she was then contacted by another person claiming to be an agent with the Internal Revenue Service. She was told there was an additional $900,000 lottery prize but again had to pay taxes and fees before she could collect. The woman was also provided with lenders to help her pay for the additional fees.

In the end, the American lost about $295,000 _ her life savings _ because of the allegedly fraudulent sweepstakes.

The fraud artists allegedly used prepaid cellphones to call the Americans and then tell them to send money to cover taxes, transfer fees and insurance.

The phones were obtained and listed under fictitious names.

The six accused, who allegedly conspired with one another, were arrested at the request of prosecutors in Pennsylvania.

American authorities allege the group was part of a network that operated out of Montreal from May 2011 through at least October 2013.

The alleged victims never received the winning lottery money they were promised.

The recent arrests came after a three-year inquiry that involved the RCMP and Quebec provincial police.

It was part of a U.S.-Canada initiative known as “Project COLT,” which targeted telemarketers.

iA Financial Group’s plan of arrangement endorsed by the Legislative Assembly of Quebec

Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. (“iA Financial Group” or the “Company”) is pleased that the Legislative Assembly of Quebec adopted private member’s bill 235, An Act to amend the Act respecting Industrial-Alliance, Life Insurance Company.

This private member’s bill was intended to allow the Company to change its corporate structure through the creation of a holding company that would include all iA Financial Group operations.

Since iA Financial Group announced its intention to create a holding company on February 5, 2018, the Company has taken several steps.

On March 21st, the Company filed its plan of arrangement with the Superior Court of Quebec. Two days later, the Court issued a temporary order allowing the Company to call a special meeting to present the proposed plan of arrangement to its shareholders.

This special meeting took place May 10th and 97.11% of the holders of common shares of iA Financial Group voted in favour of the plan of arrangement.

On May 17th, the Superior Court of Quebec issued a final order and ruled that the transaction proposed to shareholders was fair and reasonable.

iA Financial Group anticipates completing the transaction by the end of 2018.

Forward-looking Statements
This press release may contain statements relating to strategies used by iA Financial Group or statements that are predictive in nature, that depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, or that include words such as “may”, “will”, “could”, “should”, “would”, “suspect”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “plan”, “believe”, “estimate”, and “continue” (or the negative thereof), as well as words such as “objective” or “goal” or other similar words or expressions. Such statements constitute forward‑looking statements within the meaning of securities laws. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, information concerning the Company’s possible or assumed future operating results. These statements are not historical facts; they represent only the Company’s expectations, estimates and projections regarding future events.

Although iA Financial Group believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties, and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements. Certain material factors or assumptions are applied in making forward-looking statements, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include, but are not limited to: general business and economic conditions; level of competition and consolidation; changes in laws and regulations including tax laws; liquidity of iA Financial Group including the availability of financing to meet existing financial commitments on their expected maturity dates when required; accuracy of information received from counterparties and the ability of counterparties to meet their obligations; accuracy of accounting policies and actuarial methods used by iA Financial Group; insurance risks including mortality, morbidity, longevity and policyholder behaviour including the occurrence of natural or man‑made disasters, pandemic diseases and acts of terrorism.

Additional information about the material factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations and about material factors or assumptions applied in making forward-looking statements may be found in the “Risk Management” section of the Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the year 2017 and in the “Management of Risks Associated with Financial Instruments” note to iA Financial Group’s audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017, and elsewhere in iA Financial Group’s filings with Canadian securities regulators, which are available for review at sedar.com.

The forward-looking statements in this news release reflect the Company’s expectations as of the date of this press release. iA Financial Group does not undertake to update or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this document or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.

About iA Financial Group
Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group is one of the largest insurance and wealth management companies in Canada. It also operates in the United States. Its stock is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol IAG.

iA Financial Group is a business name and trademark of Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

SOURCE Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

SSQ Insurance selects Acquia and launches its new website

QUEBEC CITYJune 18, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – SSQ Insurance launched its new website last week in collaboration with digital experience company Acquia. The ssq.ca website overhaul had two key components – replacing the content management software and revamping its look-and-feel.

The in-depth analysis of several market-leading solutions led SSQ Insurance to choose Acquia to handle the digital experience of the new website. Acquia provides an all-in-one Digital Experience Platform (DXP) that enables SSQ Insurance teams to focus on content, innovation and value-added services for its clients and members. Acquia works with Drupal, the most widely used content management system (CMS) in its category, because it offers innovative functionality, is committed to security and is compatible with third-party digital optimization tools.

The multiple components of the Acquia intelligent Platform and marketing tools will enable SSQ Insurance to manage, customize and improve its online customer experience at every touchpoint. The Drupal CMS, which is both modern and efficient, offers the functionality and agility required to support the complete execution of the company’s Customer Centre and various initiatives related to honing customer services.

Changing ssq.ca’s CMS to Acquia’s digital experience platform led SSQ Insurance to fully integrate its new brand identity into and update the look-and-feel of its website. The site’s architecture and navigation setup were entirely redesigned in order to enhance user experience on every type of device. The most popular user tasks are front and centre. The site is now even more relevant, from coast to coast, because it uses geolocation to provide specific information depending on province of residence.

“We want to make navigating the site as user-friendly as possible on all devices, especially smartphones. This is a priority because 30% of visitors use their smartphones or tablets to visit our website. Just like the attributes of SSQ Insurance’s brand identity, the new ssq.ca is positive, modern and supportive,” said SSQ Insurance’s Marketing and E-Business Vice-President Annie Lafond.

“With this launch, SSQ Insurance is making a strong digital shift and refocusing its efforts on customer experience optimization. With Acquia, SSQ Insurance now has the agility, flexibility and openness on which to build its positioning and continue to offer value-added services to its policyholders and customers,” said Acquia Vice-President Mathieu Weber.

About SSQ Insurance
Founded in 1944, SSQ Insurance is a mutualist company that puts community at the heart of insurance. With assets under management of $12 billion, SSQ Insurance is one of the largest companies in the industry. Working for a community of over three million customers, SSQ Insurance employs over 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, visit ssq.ca.

About Acquia
Acquia provides a cloud platform and data-driven journey technology to build, manage and activate digital experiences at scale. Thousands of organizations rely on Acquia’s digital factory to power customer experiences at every channel and touchpoint. Acquia liberates its customers by giving them the freedom to build tomorrow on their terms. To learn more, visit acquia.com.


SOURCE SSQ Insurance

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