President's Message - Reinforcing Our Foundation

Karen_Presidents_Message.jpgIn 2013, FaithLife Financial culminated a multi-faceted process of refreshing its vision, revitalizing its business model and totally reinventing administrative systems to reinforce our foundation for future growth – ensuring that our Members are covered for life against the loss of income due to death, disability and retirement.

The life insurance industry across Canada and around the world has been in the process of reinvention to meet the challenges of prolonged low interest rates, market volatility, and increasing regulatory requirements. With the work we have completed over the last three years, FaithLife Financial is well positioned for future growth – focusing on our core business of affordable life insurance and sharing a portion of our profits with and through our Members.

FaithLife Financial has taken a long view into the future – making prudent business changes that will allow us to strengthen our bottom line, our balance sheet and to rejuvenate outreach.

Reinforcing Our Foundation for Future Growth

  • A necessary and significant investment in 21st century technology was made through the launch of a new back-office administration system that will be the backbone of service to Members and the development of new life insurance products for the future.
  • Our Board of Directors completed a full review of its policies and procedures in its commitment to continually enhance governance and Member engagement.
  • Like many other Canadian insurance companies, we transitioned away from higher risk, market sensitive segregated fund products. While we continue to offer them through external suppliers, we discontinued the sale of new segregated fund policies manufactured by FaithLife Financial. In an environment of continued economic volatility and increasing regulatory complexity, we concluded that the level of regulatory capital and reserves required to be set aside for this category of product no longer made economic, business or missional sense.
  • We researched financial literacy programs that will resonate with our Members and their Christian perspective, for launch in 2014. To that end, we are excited to be launching a new financial wellness resource called You Need a Budget (YNAB) to help people save, spend and share their money wisely. You can read all about this and more in your spring Connections.
  • Through Chapter fundraising efforts for two Special Matching Grants in 2013, armies of volunteers worked to alleviate the suffering caused by the flood in Alberta and the typhoon in the Philippines.
  • We carefully examined expenses and channeled dollars into investments that are going to serve us well into the future.

Results for 2013
The extent of FaithLife Financial’s restructuring process required extraordinary attention. As a result, our Financial Representatives dedicated much of their energy to learn about new products and systems, thus reducing sales and revenue growth. However, after expenditures of $13.4 million for Member benefits, benevolent programs, life insurance death benefits and dividends, our net income added to surplus was $283,000. Overall, surplus increased by $4.4 million.

FaithLife Financial’s Minimum Continuing Capital and Surplus Requirement Ratio (the ratio of available capital to required regulatory capital), which is a key measure of capital strength, was significantly stronger at 252% on December 31, 2013, (213% at the end of 2012) due to closure of new segregated fund sales and equity market improvements. We continued to reach out with support for the causes our Members care about. A total of $394,613 was paid in Matching Grants. When combined with Chapter fundraising and volunteer hours, the FaithLife Financial 2013 Charitable Impact exceeded $3.3 million.

A look to the future
Looking ahead, we see significant opportunity to meet the insurance needs of Canadian Christians. Recent industry research tells us that life insurance ownership in Canada is at its lowest level in 30 years. And 32% of Canadian households have no life insurance whatsoever, compared to 22% in 1982. Canadian families and their households are at risk and FaithLife Financial is positioned in its mission, its services and its product offerings to meet their needs.

Our core life insurance business continues to be the economic engine that allows FaithLife Financial to increase its surplus. As our surplus increases, we will continue to enhance Member engagement as well as church and community outreach. Not only are we unveiling new Christian financial literacy resources for our Members, but we are also launching a Members’ Council for input into the areas of Member growth, Member needs and Member engagement – ultimately increasing the engagement of Members who are poised to live abundant lives where they, and those they love, are covered for life.

NOTE: The 2013 Annual Report Highlights begin on page six in the spring issue of Connections magazine.
The full financial report is available here.

Karen Bjerland
President and CEO