The excerpted article was written by JACKIE CHARNIGA

Canadian insurance company iA Financial Group will acquire IAS Parent Holdings, a leading provider of finance and insurance products, for $720 million, both companies said last week. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2020.

The acquisition will further ingrain iA Financial Group in the U.S., as the Quebec City company seeks to capture a larger share of the nation’s $39 billion service contract market. This is iA’s second acquisition of a U.S. F&I product company. It closed on Ohio-based Dealers Assurance Co. in January 2018.

The market for service contracts — sometimes referred to as extended warranty products — is “highly-fragmented,” according to a statement from iA Financial Group CEO Denis Ricard. Opportunities for growth and consolidation are significant, he added.

IAS, of Austin, Texas, is the parent company of F&I vendor Innovative Aftermarket Systems, which sells vehicle warranties and other F&I products and related software to a network of more than 4,300 dealers nationwide. The company employs more than 600 people.

IAS CEO Patrick Brown told Automotive News that the company will continue expanding its dealer network and product offerings under new ownership.

“Over the years, we’ve gone from being just an ancillary provider to a really full-blown, very broad set of products and services that we provide to dealers,” Brown said, noting that the company recently acquired an equity-mining platform. Equity-mining software, also referred to as data-mining software, allows dealerships to sort through proprietary and consumer data to make business decisions.

“We’re really a technology company that just happens to be in the F&I space. A lot of the work that we’re doing is using technology to try to improve either the experience or the throughput at dealership locations and be able to help consumers have a better experience,” he said.

U.S. FOOTPRINT

Publicly traded iA Financial Group reported net income of $183.7 million Canadian in the third quarter, an increase of 11 percent year over year.

Dealers Assurance Co.is roughly half the size of IAS but boasts more dealership partners. It sold half a million F&I products last year, compared with 1.6 million sold by IAS, through more than 5,300 dealership partners, according to a report on the acquisition for iA investors. DAC collected $375 million in F&I product insurance premiums last year, while IAS took in $540 million.

DAC, of Dallas and Albuquerque, N.M., has 152 employees.

iA Financial Group purchased IAS from Genstar Capital, a San Francisco private equity group that has owned a majority share in IAS since 2011.

The acquisition of IAS is subject to obtaining the usual regulatory approvals in Canada and the United States and other conditions. Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group is one of the largest life and health insurance companies in Canada as well as one of the largest F&I providers for auto dealerships in Canada.

Source: https://canada.autonews.com

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