Desjardins: Everything you need to know
Members and clients: Seven million
Established in: 240 towns and villages in Canada
Total assets: $295.5 billion in total assets
*As of September 10, 2019
Desjardins Group is a Canadian financial cooperative. It has the largest regional presence of any financial institution in Quebec, and also has a strong presence in Ontario, with 989 points of service across the two provinces.
Among its many offerings, the company provides personal and business insurance, the latter of which includes P&C, life and health, and credit insurance, while the former includes car, travel, home, life and health, recreational vehicle, credit, and group insurance.
In January 2014, Desjardins announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire the Canadian operations of State Farm. One year later, State Farm’s P&C and life insurance operations, as well as its mutual fund, loan and health insurance companies were transferred to Desjardins. State Farm and Crédit Mutuel, a French cooperative, also made investments in Desjardins’s P&C insurer as part of the deal. This resulted in the company’s P&C insurer becoming the second largest in Canada.
Desjardins in the news
August 2018: Desjardins: A quarter of Canadians admit they are not in good physical health
August 2018: Desjardins posts surplus earnings of $677 million during the second quarter, as it realizes gains from the creation of wealth management firm Aviso Wealth
December 2018: Desjardins: Drunk driving still a problem in Canada
February 2019: Desjardins Group posts “very good performance” for 2018 fiscal report
July 2019: Federal and provincial privacy regulators launch probe over Desjardins data breach
July 2019: Desjardins extends protection plan to all members following data breach
August 2019: Desjardins spends tens of millions to address data breach incident
Key people as of 2019
Guy Cormier – President and CEO of Desjardins Group
Cormier has been the president and CEO of the group since 2016, though he started his career with the company in 1992 as a general manager of several caisses within the network, and then as VP of cooperative network finance from 2009 to 2012. Cormier joined the group’s senior ranks in 2012 as EVP of the Caisse Network, and his roles expanded from there. He also served as chair of Desjardins General Insurance Group from 2016 to 2018, and is now chair of Desjardins Financial Security.
Desjardins Group has seen significant growth under Cormier’s direction, first through its acquisition of State Farm’s Canadian operations, as well as its forging of a partnership with provincial credit union centrals and CUMIS to create a new company, Aviso Wealth, a Canadian wealth manager.
Desjardins is committed to combatting climate change, announcing at the end of 2018 two new environmental initiatives as part of its ongoing environmental efforts.
The insurer made plans to install 200 electric charging stations across Quebec and eastern Ontario by 2021, and to expand its line of responsible investment products. Desjardins originally announced the installation of the electric charging stations in March 2017, in partnership with Hydro-Québec and AddÉnergie, with the target of installing 40 stations by year’s end across four regions in Quebec – Quebec City, Côte-Nord, Charlevoix and Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean.
The new projects came about a year after Desjardins undertook a number of other sustainable initiatives, which included reducing its carbon footprint, investing in renewable energy projects, and applying Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Criteria to its operations.
“Desjardins Group is determined to tackle the issue of climate change head on. For 25 years, we have been taking action to promote a greener economy and contribute to the socioeconomic development of communities,” said Cormier. “We’ve gone one step further with the initiatives we announced over the past year. I am proud of these commitments and the efforts we are making to achieve them.”