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Desjardins’ income falls 24 per cent in the first quarter

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For the quarter ended March 31, Desjardins Group recorded surplus earnings before member dividends of $342 million.

This represents a decrease of $109 million compared to the same period in 2022, when surplus earnings were $451 million. The 2022 amount was adjusted, leading to a 24 per cent downturn over a 12-month period.

Data for the first quarter of 2022 have been adjusted, as for all insurers, to reflect changes to IFRS accounting standards. Comparison with the previous year must be done with caution, the cooperative points out.

Property and casualty insurance

In P&C insurance, Desjardins posted a net deficit of $25 million in first quarter 2023, compared with surpluses of $53 million in Q1 2022.

Desjardins attributes this decline in surplus earnings to an increase in loss experience in this segment, particularly in automobile insurance.

In February, Desjardins Group President Guy Cormier also linked the lower results for fourth quarter 2022 to P&C insurance claims.

Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance

In the Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance segment, surplus earnings were $109 million in the first quarter of 2023, down $53 million or 33 per cent in the same period in 2022.

Personal and Business Services posted a surplus of $223 million in earnings in the first quarter of 2023, up 2.3 per cent or $5 million over Q1 2022.

Combined ratio

In P&C insurance, Desjardins’ loss ratio was 75.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2023, compared with 66.0 per cent a year earlier.

In its first quarter report, Desjardins confirmed that the deterioration is almost entirely attributable to automobile insurance, and is “largely related to the impact of inflation and an increase in auto thefts.”

Adding an expense ratio of 27 per cent and a ratio on losses of onerous contracts of 6.2 per cent, Desjardins Group’s combined ratio was 108.3 per cent in Q1 2023.

The difference with the adjusted result on March 31, 2022, which was 94.6 per cent, is 13.7 percentage points.

Acquisition

The Interim Financial Report points out that Desjardins acquired all the shares of IDC Worldsource on March 1, 2023. This transaction enabled the Group to “consolidate its independent distribution position across Canada and to strengthen its growth strategy throughout the Canadian market.”

Desjardins Group reported total assets of $398.6 billion at March 31, 2023. The adjusted amount at March 31, 2022 was $393.8 billion. This represents an increase of 1.2 per cent over a 12-month period. In addition, total assets slipped by 1.3 per cent between the first quarter of 2023 and Q4 2022, Desjardins notes.

Desjardins had 59,384 employees on March 31, 2023, compared with 55,740 a year earlier.

Operating income is no longer reported in the new version of the financial statements. The first quarter results of 2023 were published on May 12.