ICMIF members Beneva and Wawanesa Insurance each raise over CAD 1 million to support local communities in Canada

16 December 2022


In early December 2022, two Canadian ICMIF members, Beneva and Wawanesa Insurance announced that they were each giving more than a million Canadian dollars to support the community through United Way workplace giving campaigns.

For Beneva, this amount was collected during the mutual’s internal philanthropic campaign which ran from 24 October to 4 November 2022. The theme was “Let’s look after the well-being of our community together!” and Beneva reported that both company employees and retirees showed their generosity.

Despite the current economic volatility, Beneva says its people did their part and came together to boast an outstanding participation rate. Centraide received a grand total of CAD 1.1 million, which included donations from employees and retirees, plus a corporate donation.

“I am extremely proud to witness this surge of generosity, solidarity and support from our employees. Beneva is first and foremost people looking out for people and this is reflected in our daily actions. We do what we do to promote the long-term well-being of our community,” said Jean-François Chalifoux, President and Chief Executive Officer of Beneva.

Being involved with people and offering them real support at Beneva

As 2022 draws to a close, Beneva says it has taken a look back at its philanthropic activities which align very well with its purpose: people are at the heart of its actions. In order to reach as many as possible, Beneva picked anxiety as its philanthropic approach, a social issue that affects more than a third of the Canadian population.

In order to contribute to preventing anxiety, one concrete step at a time, Beneva invested CAD 1 million for the implementation of targeted projects, in partnership with various organizations such as Fondation Jeunes en Tête, FitSpirit, Anxiety Canada, Oasis immersion, SAT and Université Laval. The company also participated financially in the creation of the Relief Research Chair in Mental Health, Self-Management and Work, in addition to partnering with York University’s Faculty of Health, recognised as a highly credible institution in the field of mental health research.

Beneva also believes that people looking out for people means breathing new life into the meaning of community and wanting to offer real help when hard times come knocking. To do this, Beneva joined forces with the Canadian Red Cross to help communities in the Atlantic provinces and Magdalen Islands affected by Hurricane Fiona last September, as well as those affected by the events in Ukraine.

Beneva says its philanthropic approach and involvement shows how much the mutual cares about people’s well-being. It is achieved by preventing anxiety, one concrete step at a time, and by supporting research and organizations like Centraide.

For Wawanesa Insurance, their donation was also part of a company-wide fundraising campaign during 2022, themed: Caring for Our Communities, which raised over CAD 1.8 million for 31 United Way centres across Canada and in the U.S. Wawanesa employees, retirees and Board of Directors came together to donate these critical funds for communities as part of an annual employee giving initiative. Wawanesa contributed a dollar-for-dollar match, as an expression of gratitude for United Way’s commitment to helping the communities where employees live and work.

Wayne Sharrah, Senior Vice President, Chief Claims and Operations Officer at Wawanesa General Insurance Company and company-wide Employee Campaign Chair said “This is such a tremendous expression of what it means to be part of Wawanesa! I am incredibly proud we’re able to live our values through our annual campaign.”

Eva Kovacs, Senior Communications Specialist at Wawanesa Insurance, said: “This total is beyond incredible, it represents so much about the caring people and community-minded culture at Wawanesa Insurance. I am so proud to be part of this campaign and this company.”

In September 2022, Wawanesa announced a CAD 150,000 donation to support emergency relief in Canadian communities affected by Hurricane Fiona. The funding included:

  • CAD 100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross for their Hurricane Fiona in Canada Appeal, providing emergency services such as interim housing, clothing, food, and other essential supplies to people in need.
  • CAD 50,000 to support a dollar-for-dollar donation matching program that was open to insurance brokers, Wawanesa employees, and the public.

At the time, Carol Jardine, Wawanesa’s President of Canadian Property & Casualty Operations said: “Our entire Canadian operations are focused on helping the people and businesses we insure in Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec get the support available to them through their insurance policies with us. We know all too well the increasing toll of climate change and extreme weather on Canadians, and we are committed to helping our customers recover and rebuild in a way that makes us all more resilient.”

Paul Faubert, Wawanesa’s Regional Vice President for Eastern Canada said: “The devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona has hit our friends and neighbours hard. That’s why, in addition to providing emergency funds directly, we’ll match donations, dollar for dollar, from insurance brokers, our employees and the public.”

These emergency funds came as part of the nearly CAD 3.5 million Wawanesa committed to supporting community organizations across Canada and the United States in 2022.
Wawanesa is also an active member of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and supports insurance industry initiatives that raise awareness of the impacts of extreme weather and climate change, and the need to make communities more resilient.

About Beneva

Created by the coming together of La Capitale and SSQ Insurance, Beneva is the largest insurance mutual in Canada with more than 3.5 million members and clients. Beneva employs over 5,000 dedicated employees: people looking out for people. Its human approach is rooted in the mutualist values supported by its employees. With CAD 25 billion in assets, Beneva positions itself as a major player in the insurance and financial services industry. Its head office is in Quebec City. Learn more at www.beneva.ca/en

About The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company

The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, founded in 1896, is one of Canada’s largest mutual insurers, with over CAD 4 billion in annual revenue and assets of CAD 12 billion. Wawanesa Mutual, with executive offices in Winnipeg, is the parent company of Wawanesa General, which offers property and casualty insurance in California and Oregon; Wawanesa Life, which provides life insurance products and services throughout Canada; and Western Financial Group, which distributes personal and business insurance across Canada. Wawanesa proudly serves more than two million policyholders in Canada and the United States. Wawanesa actively gives back to organizations that strengthen communities where it operates, donating well above internationally recognised benchmarks for excellence in corporate philanthropy. Learn more at wawanesa.com

About United Way Centraide

With over 80 local United Way Centraide offices serving more than 5,000 communities across Canada, the United Way Centraide Movement is helping to improve lives from coast to coast to coast. Locally and nationally, our goal is the same – to create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our communities. Our unique approach focuses on meeting immediate needs while also addressing the underlying conditions that make people vulnerable in the first place.

When you give to United Way Centraide, you are investing locally in three areas that are crucial for our country to thrive:

  1. Moving people from poverty to possibility
  2. Helping kids be all they can be
  3. Building strong and healthy communities

United Way Centraide Canada, the national office, was founded in 1939. It plays a critical role in providing national leadership and membership support for the network of local United Ways and Centraides across Canada. As a Canadian Movement with a strong heritage, we value trust and integrity, volunteerism, innovation, partnership, non-partisan leadership, and diversity. It is on the basis of these values that we improve lives and build communities.

For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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