The Co-operators CEO to Chair International Co-operative and Mutual Insurance Federation

GUELPH, ON, Nov. 29, 2005 – The Co-operators President and CEO Kathy Bardswick has been elected Chair of the International Co-operative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF). She was elected for a four-year term by the Board of Directors at ICMIF’s recent biennial conference in Singapore.

ICMIF members include more than 400 insurance companies from 67 countries, who operate on the basis of the principles common to the co-operative movement and democratic mutuality. Stock companies are also eligible for membership provided their stock is predominately owned by popularly-based organizations such as co-operatives or trade unions. The federation provides a forum for these organizations to work together on issues of mutual concern and to present a common voice to governments, regulators and consumers worldwide.

“ICMIF members from every corner of the world share common values. We are driven by long term objectives to add value for our policyholders and their communities. Our shareholders expect solid financial performance as it relates to providing the financial wherewithal to be there long term for our policyholders. We have an economic and a social purpose,” said Bardswick. “Increasing awareness of our members’ unique approach and their contributions to the financial services industry internationally will be an ongoing priority.”

ICMIF Chief Executive Shaun Tarbuck welcomed the new Chair. “Kathy’s passion, acumen and commitment to co-operative principles have earned her great respect among ICMIF members. I have no doubt that the Federation will benefit greatly from her leadership in the years ahead.”

Co-operative organizations are owned by the members who use its services. Co-ops around the world are guided by seven principles, including democratic member control, concern for community and member economic participation. The Co-operators Group is a co-operative owned by 31 co-ops and like-minded organizations.

Mutual insurance companies are similar. They are owned by their policyholders who participate in the operation of the company through voting rights and sharing the company’s financial successes and failures.

ICMIF’s predecessor was formed in 1922 by five co-operative insurers and has grown steadily since. Today ICMIF has members from every continent, ranging from the world’s third largest insurer to small firms with just a handful of staff. Collectively, they represent seven per cent of the world’s insurance premium income.

About The Co-operators:

Based in Guelph, The Co-operators is a group of Canadian companies focussing on home, auto, life, group, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products and property management and development. Owned by 31 Canadian co-operative organizations, The Co-operators provides insurance protection to more than two million Canadians and has assets exceeding $6 billion. The Co-operators is well known for its philanthropy and community involvement. For the past two years, The Co-operators has been named among Canada’s 50 Best Employers by Report on Business magazine and Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Maclean’s magazine.