A Bureaucratic Government

From Jim Woods notes for his RML book

It was under the leadership of Ernest Manning and Alex McPhea that six Life Insurance Companies were formed in Alberta. Jim Wood was the Founder, Chairman and President of Rocky Mountain Life. In four short years we became the most successful new Life Insurance Company.

Unfortunately, both Ernest Manning and Alex McPhea retired about the same time (1960 -70) that Rocky Mountain Life was experiencing minor financial difficulties. Without Ernest Manning the Socreds (the Alberta Social Credit Part at the time) were in disarray and Peter Lougheed came into power. Shortly there after James Darwish became Superintendent of Insurance. Jim Wood quickly learned what the word Bureaucratic meant.

About six months prior to Peter Lougheed's election, Jim Wood had breakfast with Peter to ask if he could help with the regulatory problems. Jim was chairmaof Calgary's United Appeal Campaign at this time. Peters response was "Jim you help us get elected, and then I will help you!" We put our support behind Peter's campaign, and in particular Bill Dickie's campaign. He became Minister of Mines and Minerals.

During this Election Campaign period, Jim was speaking to some group some where almost every day. Jim pushed Peter Lougheed every where Jim went.

Early in 1972 Rocky Mountain Life was still surviving but having relatively minor difficulties. Jim asked the Securities Commission for a two-week extension on RML's Million Dollar Fund Raising Prospectus (we had $750,000.00 in the bank, and another $750,000.00 subscribed) to collect another $250,000.00 we were refused.

Jim asked for permission to use RML's Million Dollar Equity in Rocky Mountain Plaza as an asset, this would save the company. The Plaza wasn't finished but it was leased to the City of Calgary, he was refused.

Jim also asked for time to merge Rocky Mountain Life, and Professional Life (Jim was the Founder and Chairman). There was a Million Dollars there but again he was refused. The net result is that Rocky Mountain Life's licence was withdrawn. No policy holder lost a penny and Rocky Mountain Life has made a profit for the Alberta Government every year since without selling another policy.

When Jim Woods made one last attempt in a visit with Peter Lougheed to save Rocky Mountain Life, his statement to me was "Jim what I told you before the Election was one thing - what I have to tell you now is another."

It is ironic that when James Darwash became involved in any way with the Life Insurance business and later Superintendent of Insurance. Alberta had six Life Insurance Companies operational. When he retired none of them had survived.

In addition, Alberta experienced approximately another 14 Financial Institution failures during the Darwash era as either Superintendent of Insurance, or as an auditor.

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