The Co-operators

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The Co-operators Group Limited
Type Co-operative
Industry Insurance
Founded 1945 (1945)
Headquarters Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Key people Kathy Bardswick (Mutter), CEO
Revenue $ 3.5 billion (2011)
Employees 5,017 (2011)

The Co-operators Group Limited, founded in 1945, is a Canadian insurance co-operative owned by 45 members including co-ops and credit union centrals. It is one of the largest wholly Canadian-owned multiline insurers, offering auto, home, life, farm, travel, and business insurance as well as investments. The company was started by farmers in Saskatchewan, in 1945.

The Co-operators Group Ltd. is a co-operative based in Guelph, Ontario. That entity owns several operating companies, the largest of which is Co-operators General Insurance Company, which sells property and casualty insurance (i.e., auto, home and commercial), primarily through its network of more than 485 exclusive agents. The second biggest company in the group is Co-operators Life Insurance Company, based in Regina, which sells life insurance (i.e., life, health, group benefits). Other member companies are HB Group Insurance of Mississauga, The Sovereign General Insurance Company of Calgary, TIC Travel Insurance Coordinators from Toronto, CUMIS Group Limited which is based in Burlington, Ontario, and investment firm Addenda Capital of Montreal. As of March 2011, the group of companies had more than $40 billion in assets under administration.


The roots of The Co-operators can be traced back to the wheat fields of Saskatchewan. The Great Depression, followed by the Second World War, was a time of great adversity for rural communities as many agricultural families lost their belongings, their savings and their life insurance. In this environment, co-operatives were increasingly appealing as a way for a community to pool its resources to help rebuild lives.[1]

A group of farmers in Saskatchewan dreamed of building a co-operative insurance company to protect their assets for future generations. In 1945, with the support of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and farm-based prairie co-operatives, Co-operative Life Insurance Company was incorporated in Regina.[1]

Similar developments were underway in Ontario, where the Co-operative Union of Ontario and the Ontario Credit Union League established Co-operators Fidelity & Guarantee Association 1946 to support farmers in that province.[1]

The Saskatchewan- and Ontario-based companies expanded significantly over the years, both in terms of geography and product offerings. The two successor companies, Regina-based Co-operative Insurance Services and Co-operators Insurance Associations of Guelph, established closer ties and, in 1975, merged as CI Management Group, which adopted the brand name "The Co-Operators." In 1978, the company took its present name.[2]

The group of companies has grown steadily since then. Presently, The Co-operators banner includes Addenda Capital, Co-operators General Insurance Company, Co-operators Life Insurance Company, The CUMIS Group, HB Group Insurance, The Sovereign General Insurance Company and TIC Travel Insurance Coordinators.[3]

The company is currently title sponsor for the radio network of the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Awards & Recognition[edit]

Ranked #2 among the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada by Corporate Knights.

Listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada for eight consecutive years.

Listed among Canada's "Green 30" - a list of Canada’s top employers that are highly regarded for their commitment to environmental, social and economic sustainability.


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