Western Financial Group Announces Strategic Partnership with Falkins Insurance Group

HIGH RIVER, AB, May 9, 2005 – Western Financial Group announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Falkins Insurance Group, the largest regional British Columbia insurance brokerage business east of the Okanagan, and headquartered in Cranbrook, BC.

Falkins, which was originally established in 1897, owns and operates 10 locations in southeastern BC – Cranbrook (2), Fruitvale, Salmo, Kaslo, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford, Kimberley and Golden.

In the partnership, Western Financial Group will own a minority interest in Falkins Insurance Group. The companies will collaborate on operational and strategic initiatives, which will benefit both networks. The partnership involves the BC operations of Falkins Insurance Group.

“We are very pleased with our partnership with Falkins Insurance Group. The southeast BC region and Falkins Insurance Group in particular is a great fit for initiatives for our current operations, and working with a company of Falkins Insurance Group’s experience, expertise and success will teach us a lot about the BC marketplace,” said Scott Tannas, President and CEO of Western Financial Group. “We are committed to grow our association with Simon Murphy and his team into the future”.

Western Financial Group will have an opportunity at a future date to further increase their minority interest in Falkins Insurance Group.

“We believe in strong, stable partnerships”, said Simon Murphy, President and CEO of Falkins Insurance Group. “Western Financial Group is an industry leader with a unique understanding of our type of operations in smaller centres, and we are looking forward to continuing to build Falkins Insurance Group’s success together”.

Growth and expansion are expected to continue at the current rapid rate as the BC economy continues to expand.

About Western Financial Group

Western Financial Group is one of the leading western-based financial services networks operating in Western Canada. With offices in towns and small cities across the West, the company provides over 200,000 customers with insurance, investments and banking services through its WFG Agency Network, Bank West, Western Life Assurance Company and The Western Mutual Fund Company.

For more information about Western Financial Group and its products and services visit us at www.westernfinancialgroup.net