June 30, 2003

Canadian Financial Investors Acquire Gerling Insurance Group’s Canadian Insurance Operations

Toronto, Ontario – TorQuest Partners Inc., Newport Partners Inc., CIBC Capital Partners, a division of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and company senior management ("the Investors") announced today that they have acquired Gerling Canada Insurance Company.

The Investors own all of the shares of the company, which was a subsidiary of Gerling-Konzern Allgemeine Versicherungs-AG based in Cologne, Germany. The acquisition was made by GCAN Holdings, Inc., a company created by the Investors and whose board is controlled by TorQuest Partners.

The acquired company, which will be renamed GCAN Insurance Company ("GCAN"), was founded in 1955. GCAN focuses on commercial and industrial insurance written through a network of independent brokers. In 2002, GCAN wrote $206 million(1) in gross premiums. GCAN employs 113 people in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.

"Under our new ownership, management will continue in their current roles and there will be no change in the relationship with our existing network of brokers and their clients," said Andy Henke, President of GCAN. "We will continue to work closely with the Canadian and international reinsurance markets. We appreciate the ongoing support of all partners and look forward to maintaining these important relationships."

GCAN, which was the Canadian primary property and casualty operation of the Gerling Group, has operated autonomously for many years and maintains a distinct market presence within its selected commercial lines in Canada. The Investors plan to keep GCAN's focus, strategy and product offerings consistent.

"GCAN represents an exciting new opportunity for the investor group to support an excellent management team with an impressive track record and reputation. We are pleased to be establishing Canadian ownership of one of the finest property and casualty insurance companies in the country," said Brent Belzberg, Managing Partner, TorQuest Partners.

TorQuest Partners Inc. is a Canadian-based manager of private equity funds. Its TorQuest Partners Value Fund, L.P., with a capitalization of over $180 million, is pursuing investments in middle and later stage companies.

Newport Capital Insurance Limited Partnership is a private equity fund managed by Newport Capital Partners, an affiliate of Newport Partners Inc. Newport Partners is a Toronto based privately owned and operated independent provider of personal and corporate wealth management services to Canadian entrepreneurs and business owners. Newport acted as principal and agent in the transaction. Newport Partners has approximately $400 million under management.

CIBC Capital Partners is a division of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. CIBC Capital Partners manages numerous investment portfolios with total committed funds in excess of $4.6 billion and investments in over 250 companies and approximately 150 third party funds.