A.M. BEST CO.

A.M. BEST CO.

March 29, 2005 09:37 ET

A.M. Best Affirms Rating of Western Life Assurance Company; Removes From Under Review and Assigns Stable Outlook


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: A.M. BEST CO.

MARCH 29, 2005 - 09:37 ET

A.M. Best Affirms Rating of Western Life Assurance
Company; Removes From Under Review and Assigns Stable
Outlook

OLDWICK, N.J.--(CCNMatthews - Mar 29, 2005) -

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ (Very
Good) of Western Life Assurance Company (Western Life) (Winnipeg,
Manitoba). The rating has been removed from under review with developing
implications and assigned a stable outlook.

This rating action follows the recent acquisition of Federated Life
Insurance Company of Canada by Western Financial Group (WFG) and its
subsequent name change to Western Life Assurance Company. Western Life
was acquired from Federated Holdings of Canada Ltd., a wholly owned
subsidiary of Northbridge Financial Corporation. The stable outlook was
assigned to the rating after a review of the financial statements of
Western Life subsequent to the closing and a review of the year-end
financial statements of WFG. In addition, WFG has shared with A.M. Best
its plans regarding capital management to support ongoing operations.

WFG acquired Western Life for a $20 million purchase price of the common
shares and $36.9 million in assumed assets and liabilities. WFG used the
proceeds raised from its previously completed public offering of
subscription receipts to fund the acquisition, and in connection with
the completion of the acquisition, WFG issued 10,350,000 of common
shares upon conversion of the issued and outstanding subscription
receipts.

A.M. Best will continue to monitor the operating results of Western Life
as it implements its business plan to provide life and health insurance
products to groups and individuals in Canada.

For Best's Ratings, an overview of the rating process and rating
methodologies, please visit http://www.ambest.com/ratings.

A.M. Best Co., established in 1899, is the world's oldest and most
authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more
information, visit A.M. Best's Web site at http://www.ambest.com.

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