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Western and Falkins to Join Forces in Kootenays

For Immediate Release

Cranbrook (BC), High River (AB), August 8, 2012 – Western Financial Group (Western), an insurance and financial services company based in High River, Alberta, and Falkins Insurance Group (Falkins), a 115 year old insurance brokerage based in Cranbrook, British Columbia, will take on a more visible partnership presence in the Kootenay Region as they continue on their path to fully come together over the next 18 months.

The two companies went public with their long-term plans in 2010, which will see Falkins become part of the Western Financial Group family of brokerages by January 1, 2014. Last week, Western announced that the Cranbrook RecPlex would become Western Financial Place, as the result of a $750,000 naming rights, sponsorship, and usage agreement. To support the growing presence of the Western brand in the Kootenay region, Falkins will begin a cobranding transition incorporating the Western logo.

This transition is the next step in a deliberate plan set in motion seven years ago by Falkins’ shareholders. The goal of that plan was to perpetuate the ownership of the company with the intent to find a future owner that would have the best interest of the Falkins’ customers and employees in mind.

“Through our perpetuation planning process, it became clear that Western was the best fit in every respect,” said Bob McGill, CEO of Falkins. “Not only does Western carry a wide array of insurance and financial services products, but they also approach business the same way we do. They share our values, one of which is a commitment to being a leading corporate citizen in the communities where we operate. That’s important to us and to the people we serve throughout the Kootenays. The sponsoring of the Cranbrook RecPlex is a fine example, and we are thrilled to be supporting the many activities taking place around the Western Financial Place agreement.”

Western and Falkins will be working alongside each other on a variety of activities to support Western Financial Place as a premier destination for the people of Cranbrook and the Kootenays.

“Both companies have roots in Western Canada and know what’s important to people here,” said Western Financial Group CEO Scott Tannas. “We’re looking forward to our evolving relationship with Falkins and to helping people throughout the Kootenays with their insurance and financial needs.”

Western Financial Group is a western Canada based, diversified, financial services company serving more than 600,000 customers. Founded in 1996 and headquartered in High River, Alberta, Western provides insurance, banking and investment products and services through more than 120 office locations, the Internet (www.westernfinancialgroup.ca) and other distribution channels. With a skilled team of approximately 1,500 employees, and backed by the strong resources of its owners, Western is committed to building the strongest financial services company in western Canada.

Western Financial Group is a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada.

Falkins Insurance Group has been providing peace of mind to its customers for 115 years. The brokerage began selling insurance in the Gold Rush town of Fort Steele, British Columbia in 1897 and relocated to Cranbrook in the early 1900s, where it continued to expand and meet the needs of the region for the following 100 years. Falkins Insurance is the largest general insurance brokerage in the Kootenays, with 11 offices and more than 100 professionals. The company sells personal, travel, auto, and commercial insurance and operates its own claims service.



For further information, please contact:

Tom Dutton Bob McGill
Executive Vice President Chief Executive Officer
Western Financial Group Falkins Insurance Group
1 403 652 2663 Ext 232 1 250 426 2205
Tom.Dutton@westernfg.ca BMcGill@falkins.com