The Personal

The Personal is an insurance company that sells auto, business and home insurance to members of affinity groups. It does not sell to members of the general public. It is a subsidiary of the Desjardins group of credit unions.

The Personal - Products Offered

The Personal specialises in group home and auto insurance, which it offers in all the provinces and territories in Canada. As a specialist in group insurance, they offer preferred rates to 550 groups. They do not offer any products to the general public who are not a member of one of their covered groups.

It offers a number of inducements to insure both car and home with them, most notably free legal advice. It prides itself on high customer satisfaction, with 96% of respondents saying they are satisfied after making a claim and 95% of insurance holders renewing their policies each year. The renewal rate is one of the highest in the insurance industry.

The Personal does not offer life insurance products, which are offered by Desjardins Financial Security, or non-insurance products that are offered by the credit unions that make up the Desjardins group.

The Parent - The Desjardins group

The Desjardins group is a federation of credit unions that were founded on a European model of Catholic social action in 1903 in Lévis, Québec. They are the largest financial institution in Québec and the largest association of credit unions in the United States and Canada. The Desjardins group is traditionally French speaking and not very strong outside Québec. The Personal is unusual in that it has the majority of its business in the English speaking provinces and through its group offerings is available in every Canadian province and territory.

The Personal has, through its 550 groups, 650,000 policies in force. It has 1200 employees. It is the largest home and auto group insurer in Québec, and one of the larger group insurers in Canada. It trades under two different names, outside Québec it is known as The Personal Insurance Company; within Québec it is called The Personal General Insurance.

The Personal - History

The Personal was founded as a subsidiary of the Desjardins group in 1974. They were the first company to offer group auto and home insurance, a concept that had been common in life and health insurance but had not been used for auto and home insurance. They later expanded outside the Desjardin group’s home ground of Québec, although by this time other insurers were offering similarly structured deals to affinity groups.

One of their main competitors is the SSQ group within Québec and across the market. Outside Québec it goes against direct insurers such as TD Insurance, Aviva and RBC Insurance.

How Group Insurance works

Group insurance is a partnership between the insurer and the group sponsor that offers insurance to their members. Account managers are assigned to each group and together with the group they set sales objectives, plan marketing activities and arrange follow ups and customer satisfaction surveys. The use of groups to do the marketing and to offer a very low level of customer interaction means that costs can be kept very low, and this discount can be passed on to the target customers.

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