Sun Life Financial first major CDN life insurer to sign on the UN supported PRI

TORONTO, Dec. 18, 2014 /CNW/ – Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) announced today that its primary life insurance subsidiary, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, has signed on to the United Nations supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UN supported PRI). It is the first major Canadian life insurer to become a signatory. Its affiliate, Sun Life Investment Management Inc., will also adopt these principles.

“Adopting the UN supported PRI is part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability,” said Stephen Peacher, President, Sun Life Investment Management and Chief Investment Officer, Sun Life Financial. “The principles are consistent with our existing investment approach, and with the long-term nature of our business. Being a responsible investor contributes to healthy, sustainable communities – to the benefit of our customers and other stakeholders.”

The UN supported PRI, which was established by an international network of investors, requires signatories to implement a series of responsible investment principles. The goal of the program is to help organizations understand sustainability issues associated with their investments, such as their impact on the environment, and to encourage signatories to incorporate sustainability principles into their investment decision-making and ownership practices.

“This was a natural evolution for our company. We have a long-standing history of making sustainable investments. The official adoption of these principles helps strengthen our commitment to sustainability,” Peacher said.

Sun Life Financial is a signatory to the UN supported PRI for its general account assets of over $110 billion and for assets managed by Sun Life Investment Management Inc., which provides investment solutions to pension funds and other large institutional investors. Implementation of the principles will begin in 2015, and Sun Life Financial anticipates reporting on its progress in 2016.

About Sun Life Investment Management
Sun Life Investment Management is the corporate brand name for an institutional investment management arm of Sun Life Financial that includes the investment operations of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada that manages assets for its affiliated insurance companies, as well as Sun Life Investment Management Inc.

Sun Life Investment Management Inc. provides investment solutions for defined benefit pension plans and other institutional investors in Canada, specializing in private asset class funds and liability driven investment strategies. It is registered with the Canadian securities commissions and regulatory authorities as a Portfolio Manager, Investment Fund Manager, and Exempt Market Dealer.

Further information about Sun Life Investment Management Inc. and its offerings is available at www.sunlifeinvestmentmanagement.com.

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2014 the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $698 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc. – Financial News

 

State Farm® Canada United Way (York Region) receives a $284,000 Christmas gift

State Farm® Canada United Way campaign results in a record contribution and over 4000 helping hands

Aurora, Ontario. December 18, 2014 – State Farm Canada agents and employees completed their most successful United Way campaign ever, resulting in a $284,164.34 donation to the United Way of York Region.

Each year, State Farm associates from Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario come together to contribute to the United Way by helping our local communities and demonstrating our Good Neighbour™ culture. The donation will touch the lives of over 4,370 kids, immigrants, adults and seniors who will benefit most from the impact of the United Way’s work.

“Our ongoing support and annual contribution to the United Way speaks to the dedication of our agents and employees who are passionate about giving back to the communities in which we live and serve.” explains Barbara Bellissimo, Senior Vice President, State Farm Canada. “While the number of dollars raised is an important benchmark, this year, we weren’t focused on a monetary target; we were aiming to provide over 4000 ‘helping hands’. The concept of helping hands gives us perspective on the number of lives changed as a result of our support.”

Among the activities Sate Farm associates participate in to show their support are:

·Day of Caring Participation: State Farm employees go out to local charities to provide services such as cooking, painting and cleaning for the charities in need.

·Internal Events: a large variety of internal events take place within State Farm Canada to promote awareness and to raise funds for the United Way. From selling samosas to a silent auction, State Farm employees regularly participate and give from their hearts in support of the United Way.

·Annual Dragon Boat Race: Every year, the United Way of York Region holds an annual race in King City, Ontario to raise money. State Farm employees and their family members come out every year to participate in the event.

About State Farm

State Farm has been serving Canadians since 1938. State Farm is a Fortune 100 company and is the leading Property and Casualty insurer in North America with more than 80 Million policyholders. State Farm has more than 500 Canadian agents and 1700 employees providing insurance and financial services including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to our customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.ca, join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/statefarmcanada, follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/statefarmcanada, or see us on YouTube www.youtube.com/statefarm.

About United Way of York Region

United Way of York Region serves nine municipalities: Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario. For more information see www.york.unitedway.ca

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SGI helping kids bundle up with the Coats 4 Kids program

SGI is working to keep Saskatchewan children warm this holiday season with a $10,000 donation to the Huddle Up Foundation’s Coats 4 Kids program.

SGI_logo_colour-header

The donation will be used to buy new coats for kids between the ages of 4 and 18, and to support a number of youth organizations in need. SGI has also asked employees across the province to collect new and gently used coats and other winter wear which will also be donated.

“We know all too well, Saskatchewan winters can be harsh. Thousands of children last year were better prepared for the winter because of the Coats 4 Kids program,” said Andrew Cartmell, President and CEO of SGI. “SGI is proud to help keep kids warm this winter.”

The Huddle Up Foundation is a team of professional athletes from across North America who have committed to improving the lives of kids by creating their own charitable causes. The Coats 4 kids program was created by Roughrider alumni Geroy Simon.

“This is a program close to my heart, so it’s special for me when Saskatchewan companies like SGI reach out with their generosity,” said Geroy Simon of the Huddle Up Foundation’s Coats 4 Kids program. “Nobody should go without a coat in winter, and it’s help like this that ensures more don’t have to.”

SGI cares about the communities and people it does business with. That’s why each holiday season, SGI contributes to a charitable organization on behalf of its employees.

In 2013, SGI donated $10,000 to Ronald McDonald House Saskatchewan.
For more information, contact:

Kelley Brinkworth
Manager, Media Relations
Phone: 306-751-1837
Cell: 306-535-6207
Email:kbrinkworth@sgi.sk.ca

Economical & its employees raise the bar with nearly $620,000 for United Way agencies

Economical Press Release:

Across the country, employees at Economical Insurance dug deep and pledged more money than ever in support of United Way, the company’s signature charity. Every dollar an employee pledged up to $2,500 was matched dollar-for-dollar by the company. At the end of a fun-filled national campaign from November 17 to 21, a record-setting grand total of $618,672 was raised through the unprecedented participation of 67% of employees.

“I am so proud of our employees,” said Karen Gavan, Economical’s president and chief executive officer. “Over the last two years, there has been an 11% increase in personal pledges. As a company, we came through in a big way to not only beat our participation target, but exceed the dollars we’d hoped to raise as well. Together, we made company history. This wonderful generosity is going to make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of Canadians in need. As a company, we believe one of the best ways to give back to communities where our employees, broker partners and customers live is by giving to United Way.”

“Changing lives” was the focus and theme of Economical’s 2014 campaign which helped to create a personal connection between employee donors and the recipients of United Way services.

Employee volunteers are always an integral part of the company’s annual United Way campaign. This year was no exception, with 132 Economical staff volunteering to support the campaign with IT support, event planning, games, prizes, departmental ambassadors, opening and closing ceremonies, and communications.

About Economical Insurance
Founded in 1871, Economical Insurance is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with $2.0 billion in annual premium volume and $5.2 billion in assets as at September 30, 2014. Based in Waterloo, this Canadian-owned and operated group services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. In 2010, Economical announced its decision to become the first federally-regulated mutual property and casualty insurance company to pursue demutualization. Economical Insurance conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Family Insurance Solutions, Federation Insurance and Economical Financial.

Economical Insurance Group

For further information, contact:
Doug Maybee
Economical Insurance
(T)519.570.8249
(C)519.404.0989
doug.maybee@economical.com

Allianz, Manulife Set Up $1 Billion Real Estate Venture

By Jing Cao | Bloomberg

Allianz SE (ALV), Europe’s largest insurer, joined with Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC) in a venture to invest as much as $1 billion in U.S. commercial real estate.

Allianz bought majority stakes in two office buildings in Chicago and Washington from Manulife as part of the deal, according to a statement issued today by Toronto-based Manulife.

“We are excited to start our partnership with Manulife,” Christoph Donner, chief executive officer of Allianz Real Estate of America, said in the statement. “Allianz has ambitious goals to continue to expand its real estate presence in the U.S.”

Allianz is among investors with insurers in commercial properties of the world’s largest economy as values surpass records. AustralianSuper Pty, the country’s largest pension fund, said this month it plans to join Principal Financial Group Inc. to acquire U.S. office buildings. Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund has a commercial real estate joint venture with MetLife Inc.

Manulife, Canada’s largest life insurer, has increased investments in commercial properties as it expands in asset management. It hired Michael McNamara in October as global head of real estate investments.

Allianz, based in Munich, bought a majority stake in 191 N. Wacker Drive in Chicago and 1100 New York Ave. in Washington. Manulife said it will keep minority holdings and manage the properties.

Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg
Manulife, Canada’s largest life insurer, hired Michael McNamara in October as global… Read More
Allianz declined 2.4 percent to 134.50 euros today in Frankfurt, and has gained 3.2 percent this year. Manulife fell 2.7 percent to C$21.07 in Toronto.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jing Cao in New York at hcao38@bloomberg.net

How Can An Employer Avoid A Nasty “Hangover” From The Company Holiday Party?

By Éric Lallier

As the holiday season approaches, so do the holiday parties. Some extra planning and precaution is prudent to ensure this year’s holiday party is a safe and enjoyable event for all staff. As such, if alcohol is served at this year’s holiday party, employers should be particularly alert to the risks associated with serving alcohol to employees.

An employee who drives impaired after drinking at a company holiday party poses a risk of foreseeable harm, not only to him/herself, but also to the general public. Except in Quebec, employers may be liable for losses suffered by third parties such as passengers and other road users in the event of a car accident caused by an impaired employee.1 Therefore, if adequate steps are not taken by an employer to ensure employees get home safely, an employer may be liable not only for injuries suffered by an employee who drives home impaired, but also for the injuries suffered by third parties, such as passengers and other road users.

Employers held liable

In the seminal case Jacobsen v Nike Canada Ltd.,2 Jacobsen, an employee of Nike Canada in British Columbia, successfully sued the company for severe injuries he sustained as a result of driving impaired after drinking beer with his supervisor and co-workers while at work. Nike was held liable for a significant portion of the $2.7 million in damages assessed.

In that particular case, Jacobsen’s supervisor supplied a cooler of beer to employees during working hours. The court held that Nike Canada breached its duty of care to Jacobsen by providing alcohol in the workplace, not monitoring its consumption and taking no steps to prevent Jacobsen from driving impaired. The court further held that an employer cannot escape liability merely because the worker shows no visible signs of impairment. While the case involved the provision of alcohol during working hours, the same reasoning applies to a workplace function where alcohol is served to employees.

In a more recent decision, Hunt v Sutton Group Incentive Realty Inc.,3 the employer was held partly liable for over $1 million in damages for injuries sustained in a car accident by an employee who drove home impaired after consuming several drinks at the company’s Christmas party. The court held that the employer did not discharge its duty to ensure the employee got home safely. The decision was later overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal as a result of the trial judge’s direction to the jury in this case; however, the Court of Appeal did not overturn the court’s reasoning that the employer could be held liable for the injuries sustained by the employee in a motor vehicle accident.

These cases confirm that an employer may face significant costs if protective measures are not put in place to reduce the risks associated with serving alcohol at company events.

In addition, drinking may increase the likelihood of inappropriate or unwelcome behaviour. While a holiday party is a social event, an employee’s right to have a “work environment” free of harassment extends to off-site company sponsored events and may include events not officially sponsored by the company (for example, a manager taking a group of employees out for drinks). An employer may face a human rights or health and safety complaint from an employee who was harassed at a company social event.

Tips for employers

The following precautionary steps may be taken to reduce an employer’s risk of liability:

  • Provide transportation or taxi vouchers to party guests and ensure they are advised of their transportation arrangements well in advance of the party, to ensure employees leave their cars at home;
  • Host events at a hotel or restaurant where a licensed commercial host will be primarily responsible for providing qualified staff to serve and monitor alcohol consumption. Ensure the commercial host has its own liability insurance. Holding a social function at a commercial establishment will not necessarily discharge an employer from its duty of care, but it will enhance control over alcohol consumption and enable an employer to potentially reduce legal liability;
  • Restrict and monitor the amount of alcohol consumed by each guest. For example, use a drink voucher system or hire a licensed bartender rather than offering a self-serve bar, close the bar at least one hour before the planned end-time of the activity and make non-alcoholic refreshments freely available;
  • Assign supervisors and managers to monitor the festivities during the event and enable them to “cut off” alcohol service or require an employee to take a taxi home;
  • Ensure food is also served when alcohol is being served;
  • Encourage employees to drink responsibly and remind them that drinking and driving is illegal;
  • If there is reason to believe an employee intends to drive home impaired, take away the employee’s keys and call him or her a taxi;
  • Arrange for host liability insurance coverage.

With these thoughts in mind, we wish you happy holidays and safe celebrations this year.

Footnotes

1. Quebec’s legislative regime provides that any person who suffers bodily injury in an automobile accident will only be compensated by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec regardless of who is at fault.

2. (1996) 133 D.L.R. (4th) 377 (B.C.S.C.).

3. (2001) 52 O.R. (3d) 425 (Ont. S.C.).

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