Dan Fortin, Chairman of Foresters Financial, announced today Foresters Financial President and Chief Executive Officer James Boyle's intention to retire February 2022, coinciding with the fourth quarter board meetings.
Louis Gagnon, currently Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Mr. Boyle as President and Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2022 and will join the board upon Mr. Boyle’s retirement.
“On behalf of the Foresters Financial Board of Directors, I would like to thank Jim for his leadership and dedication to our Purpose,” said Mr. Fortin. He accomplished a great deal in his tenure as our CEO and positioned Foresters well for continued success going forward. Jim’s leadership helped re-invigorate our identity as a purpose-driven company, focused on serving the life insurance needs of working families across North America and the UK. Authoring the Strength of Purpose 150 strategic plan, he led the team in executing key transactions to best align with our mission. The outcome is evidenced in our excellent business results and our membership engagement has never be healthier.
Mr. Boyle led the organization through the pandemic by making it easier for independent agents to conduct business in a non-face-to-face manner and receive quick underwriting decisions through non-medical and accelerated underwriting, the insurer said in a news release.
He was committed to the safety of employees and members while re-engineering the company for the difficult environment of COVID-19. Year-over-year North American sales are up 31% through the first six months of this year, following a 19% increase in sales in 2020. UK sales were adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 but are up 188% through the first six months of 2021.
We are delighted to announce Louis Gagnon as Jim’s successor,” said Mr. Fortin. “Our Board was thorough in our search for the right successor to Jim. Louis had a very successful career at Mercer where he started as a young actuary over 30 years ago. Louis is purpose-driven and a servant leader making him a perfect fit for Foresters.”
“I am certain Louis is the right person at the right time for Foresters,” said Mr. Boyle. “He has quickly embraced our culture and he is a strong advocate of our purpose to enrich the wellbeing of our members and their communities. He has worked closely with the leadership team and developed relationships and teamwork critical for his success. And especially important to me, Louis values our employees as much as I do. I look forward to working with Louis and our Executive Team to ensure a smooth transition between now and year end.”
Mr. Gagnon joined Foresters earlier this year after a 30+ year career with Mercer. After starting with Mercer in Montreal, Mr. Gagnon’s many roles took him and his family to Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Toronto and New York City. He was Mercer’s Canada CEO from 2015 to 2018. Most recently he was President, US & Canada Region, for Mercer where he was responsible for leading 5,000+ employees across the US and Canada.
“I am honoured to be selected by the Board to lead Foresters Financial. I look forward to working with our Executive Committee and our great team of employees to serve our members, support our independent agents and sales partners, and build on the strong culture we have at Foresters. I will continue Jim’s dedication to our Purpose, and will champion an inclusive and diverse culture and build a sustainable business.”
About Foresters Financial
Foresters Financial is redefining the life insurance and individual savings industry across the U.S., Canada and UK by enriching the lives, communities, and overall well-being of its members. Agents and members alike appreciate the turnkey-decisioned product offerings and end-to-end digitized processes that make it easy to get life insurance without traditional medical exams. State-of-the-art mobile tools help agents deliver tailored plans to prospective and current members. Dedicated to its members’ well-being, Foresters offers a suite of member benefits(1) and is redefining the conventional life insurance model, bringing improved financial security and overall wellness to everyday North American families. Foresters recently merged with Canada Protection Plan to become a leading life insurance distributor in Canada. Foresters Financial is the trade name for The Independent Order of Foresters, the oldest non-denominational fraternal benefit society. For 20 straight years, The Independent Order of Foresters has received an “A” (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best(2).
1. Member benefits described assumes Foresters membership. Foresters Financial member benefits are non-contractual, subject to benefit specific eligibility requirements, definitions and limitations and may be changed or cancelled without notice or are no longer available.
2. The A.M. Best ratings assigned on July 29, 2021 reflect overall strength and claims-paying ability of The Independent Order of Foresters (IOF). An “A” (Excellent) rating is assigned to companies that have a strong ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders and have, on balance, excellent balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile when compared to the standards established by A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best assigns ratings from A++ to F, A++ and A+ being superior ratings and A and A- being excellent ratings. In assigning the ratings for IOF, A.M. Best stated that the rating outlook is "stable", which means it is unlikely to change in the near future. See ambest.com for our latest ratings.