The end of 2019 was a momentous occasion for our mutual company, which celebrated its 130th anniversary by launching a new visual brand identity. I am very proud of this redesign, as it heralds the arrival of the UV Insurance brand. It also evokes the stability and expertise that we have built over the years. At the same time, we are turning the page of a new year characterized by boldness, during which several major initiatives have been implemented, while others are being deployed.
I present a positive report on this landmark year, despite the fall in interest rates that affected the returns on our investments. We are evolving in an increasingly complex and competitive environment and a changing market, while the global economic cycle persists. We need to remain agile and offer innovative solutions to meet the needs of our distribution network, which remains our main gateway to new mutualists.
In accordance with our strategic plan, a lot of efforts were put into the modernization of technology platforms in both individual and group insurance. The first phase of the development of our new individual insurance technology platforms will be completed in the spring of 2020. The replacement of the old group insurance platform is proceeding on schedule. The major redesign of these two environments will simplify internal management and facilitate the work of advisors and plan administrators, while offering insureds a highly secure access to their data.
The issue of security remains one of our priorities, and we have dedicated both time and money in 2019 to ensure data security for all our stakeholders. We have implemented the best practices in cybersecurity and have also improved security at our physical facilities. We will continue to work tirelessly to improve our processes to prevent security threats and protect the confidential information with which we have been entrusted.
The Board of Directors and the employees are fully committed to the major shift taken by the company. We all work together to ensure the success of our projects. There is also a lot of excitement about the new five-floor head office that is currently under construction along Highway 20 in Drummondville. Work is progressing very well, and is on schedule and on budget. The project has generated a great deal of interest in Drummondville and across our network. We are very enthusiastic about this new building and we are eagerly looking forward to the inauguration.
Board of Directors
I’m pleased to inform you that Mrs. Brigitte Bourdages, Director General of the Cégep de Drummondville, joined the Board in 2019. I truly feel that the expertise brought to the table by Mrs. Bourdages, who has been involved in many initiatives in the Centre-du-Québec region, will be very valuable.
Over the past year, the Board has sought to update our various programs, including the orientation program for directors, and the integrated risk management program for which we held two working sessions. Our committees have worked closely with senior management, with the result that the Board has been able to better understand the major issues of our mutual company. We also had a very efficient strategic meeting with senior management. The on-going exchange of information and expertise between senior management and the Board has significantly enhanced our projects in past and recent months, while still allowing the Board to play its oversight role more effectively.
With the help of experts, we also continued our training and planning for the implementation of the new IFRS 17 accounting standard, scheduled for 2022. Last September, we had positive exchanges during a visit with l’Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) with regard to regulations, which enhanced our desire to have closer links with regulatory entities. We will closely monitor the implementation of the action plans proposed to the AMF during their last visit so as to better serve and protect our customers.
In closing, I want to extend sincere thanks to my colleagues on the Board who work with passion and determination to ensure our progress. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Mr. Léonard Caya, whose mandate as director ended in 2019, and who has made a significant contribution to the success of our projects.
Finally, I would like to highlight the excellent contribution of our President and CEO, Mr. Christian Mercier, whose people-oriented leadership has had a positive influence throughout the entire organization. I would also like to congratulate senior management and all the employees who contribute daily to making our projects truly successful.
A special thanks to our partners, customers and mutualists for their trust over the last 130 years.
Richard Fortier, IAS.A, FSA, FCIA, CFA
Chairman of the Board