February 17, 2010 -

Equitable Life of Canada® reported another year of growth and strong financial results in 2009. The Company announced solid earnings with a record $31.3 million in net income, a 34% increase over core earnings in 2008. Capital strength was demonstrated by an increase in Equitable Life's Minimum Continuing Capital and Surplus Requirement (MCCSR) ratio to 221% from 197% the previous year. As well, premiums and deposits reached $525 million in 2009, exceeding the half billion dollar mark for the first time.

A number of factors contributed to this strong performance in 2009. The Company was pleased with overall sales results given the marketplace and the recessionary economic environment. Equitable Life's Savings and Retirement business had a breakout year, achieving an increase in sales of 35% over 2008. As well, Equitable Life was successful in keeping costs well under control through a continued focus on expense management, resulting in lower general expenses than the previous year. Further contributors to earnings were the positive turnaround in equity markets following a turbulent 2008, and good claims experience in both Individual and Group lines of business reflecting prudent underwriting and claims management practices.

"Despite the uncertain economic environment over the past year, Equitable Life of Canada emerged from the downturn in a strong position," said Ronald Beettam, Equitable Life of Canada's President and Chief Executive Officer. "The ability of Equitable Life to succeed in difficult market conditions is evidence of our prudent management practices and our commitment to mutuality. In fact, the unstable economic environment has highlighted the benefits of being one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in Canada," added Beettam.

2009 Financial Highlights

  • Net income rose to $31.3 million, an increase of 34% over core earnings of $23.3 million in 2008.
  • Capital strength as measured by the MCCSR ratio ended the year at 221%, up from 197% the previous year.
  • Participating policyholders' equity increased to $269 million, up 13% from 2008.
  • Return on policyholders' equity was 12.4%.
  • Premiums and deposits increased by 15% from last year to $525 million.
  • Assets under administration increased $0.3 billion to $1.96 billion.