Optimum Général Inc.
TSX : OGI.A

Optimum Général Inc.

February 27, 2007 15:00 ET

Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2006: Net Income Increase at Optimum General Inc.

All Amounts are in CDN$

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 27, 2007) - Optimum General Inc. (TSX:OGI.A) reported today that its net income for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006, was $6.2 million or $0.53 per share, compared to a net income of $5.5 million or $0.47 per share for the previous year. For the fourth quarter, net income was $1.8 million or $0.16 per share, compared to a net income of $1.7 million or $0.15 per share for the same period in 2005.

"Over the last years, our company has faced, not only the many challenges related to the industry cycles, but also the market concentration that affects more strongly small to midsize insurers. We have continued to employ the same strategy. Following a well-integrated restructuring, we implemented the foundations that will support our future development and have posted a profit for each of the last fifteen quarters. Our numerous efforts were rewarded when the rating agency A.M. Best raised the financial strength rating of our subsidiary Optimum West Insurance Company to the same level as the one of our other subsidiaries, which is B-," declared Mr Jean-Claude Page, President and Chief Executive Officer of Optimum General Inc.

Direct written premiums were $108.2 million for the year 2006, compared to $123.7 million for the previous year. For the fourth quarter, direct written premiums were $25.1 million, compared to $28.9 million for the same period in 2005. Net earned premiums were to $90.4 million for the year 2006 versus $99.1 million for the previous year. Finally, for the fourth quarter, net earned premiums were $21.9 million, compared to $24.6 million a year earlier. The decrease in premium volumes is mainly due to the strengthening of the market competitiveness.

The Company's claims ratio - one of the best in the industry - was 50.2% for the year 2006, compared to 53.6% in 2005. For the fourth quarter, the claims ratio was 52.4%, compared to 55.4% for the corresponding period of 2005.

The combined ratio (claims and expenses) improved to 95.7% for the year 2006, compared to 97.3% in 2005. For the fourth quarter, the combined ratio was 95.7%, compared to 94.6% for the corresponding period of 2005.

Optimum General reported an underwriting profit of $3.9 million for the year 2006, compared to an underwriting profit of $2.7 million in 2005. For the fourth quarter, the Company realized an underwriting profit of $945,000, compared to an underwriting profit of $1.3 million for the same period the previous year.

Investment income for the year 2006 was $4.8 million, compared to $4.9 million in 2005. For the fourth quarter of 2006, this income reached $1.4 million, compared to $1.1 million for the same period in 2005.

For health reasons, Mr Louis P. Pontbriand, Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, has to interrupt temporarily his professional activities. In his absence, Mr Paul Tremblay will act as Interim Chief Financial Officer, while maintaining his function as Vice-President, Actuarial Services.



Financial Highlights
In thousands of Canadian dollars (except per share data)

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PERIOD ENDED DECEMBER 31
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Three months Twelve months
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2006 2005 2006 2005
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Direct written premiums $25,125 $28,894 $108,156 $123,701
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Net earned premiums $21,906 $24,595 $90,386 $99,122
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Net income $1,834 $1,745 $6,151 $5,469
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Net income per share $0.16 $0.15 $0.53 $0.47
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Claims ratio 52.4% 55.4% 50.2% 53.6%
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Combined ratio 95.7% 94.6% 95.7% 97.3%
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Optimum General Inc.'s Class "A" subordinate voting shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the ticker symbol OGI.A.

About Optimum General Inc.

Optimum General Inc. (TSX:OGI.A) is a Canadian company that underwrites mainly in Canada property and casualty insurance through three subsidiaries: Optimum West Insurance Company (British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon), Optimum Insurance Company Inc. (Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Territory of Nunavut) and Optimum Farm Insurance Inc. (Quebec). These subsidiaries sell their products through a wide network of independent insurance brokers.

Optimum General Inc. is a member company of Optimum Group, a Canadian-owned international financial group also active in life insurance, life reinsurance, consulting as well as in financial products and services sectors.

Contact Information

  • Optimum General Inc.
    Jean-Claude Page, FSA, FCIA
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    514-288-8725
    or
    Optimum General Inc.
    Paul Tremblay, B. Act. Sc.
    Interim Chief Financial Officer
    and Vice-President, Actuarial Services
    514-288-8725
    www.optimum-general.com