Quebec: Industrial Alliance acquires BBA Financial Group

By Alain Theriault , Serge Therrien , Hubert Roy

iA Financial Group (Industrial Alliance) has signed an agreement to purchase the operations of Quebec managing general agent BBA Financial Group on Dec. 1, 2015. This confirms the news that we reported last week.

The agreement provides that, after this date, BBA will become a division the National Financial Insurance Agency Inc. (NFIAI), which is part of iA’s subsidiary Investia. The parties have not disclosed the value of the transaction. Sources close to the deal have estimated that it is worth somewhere between $12 million and $13 million.

In an official announcement made on Nov. 13, iA Financial Group indicated that the conclusion of this transaction is subject to both board and regulatory approval, as well as “other closing conditions.” iA also said that this transaction is part of its growth strategy, which reflects its “strategic focus on adding new distribution in its retail insurance and wealth management operations”.

In comments sent to FlashFinance.ca, a sister publication of The Insurance and Investment Journal, BBA’s CEO Lise Bouchard said that this partnership was a natural one.  “In the context of a rapidly changing industry, notably marked by major technological changes where there is more and more emphasis on compliance requirements, as well as the need to offer our representatives high quality continuing education and a solid range of products to distribute, this alliance is the best one BBA could conclude, and it is in the interest of our advisors,” she wrote.

Bouchard also indicated that she will remain in charge of the BBA division following this transaction. iA says that BBA has about 200 advisors, while on its website the MGA lists the names and functions of forty employees.

“We are pleased to welcome the employees and advisors of BBA to our team,” comments Louis DeConinck, president of Investia. “Through this strategic acquisition, National Financial Insurance Agency continues to grow and definitely ranks among the major players in the Canadian industry. We also want BBA’s clients to know that we will do everything we can to serve them to their satisfaction and that they can count on the professionalism and expertise of our entire organization.”

BBA offers products from the major suppliers in the industry. Founded in 1984, NFIAI describes itself as an MGA with a sales force of more than 700 advisors and which has contracts with most of Canada’s large insurers.

Economical Executive Changes

"Our new look is very distinct and will help to further differentiate our brand in the marketplace," said Economical's President and CEO Karen Gavan

Press Release:

WATERLOO, ON, November 17, 2015 – Economical Insurance today announced that Michael Gagnier has left the company to pursue other endeavours.

“We thank Michael for his leadership over the past three years as senior vice-president and chief information officer and wish him success in the future,” said Karen Gavan, president and CEO of Economical Insurance. “We appreciate Michael’s contributions to the company, most notably leading our IT transformation project.”

Economical also announced that Alice Keung has joined the company as interim chief information officer, effective immediately. Ms. Keung, a seasoned IT executive with extensive public and private sector experience, was named to the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2004 and 2007. She brings to Economical significant expertise leading major technology transformations, establishing effective governance frameworks, and building high performance teams.

About Economical Insurance
Founded in 1871, Economical Insurance is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with approximately $2.0 billion in annualized premium volume and $5.3 billion in assets as at September 30, 2015. Based in Waterloo, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical Insurance conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Family Insurance Solutions, Federation Insurance and Economical Financial.
For further information, contact:
Media Inquiries:
Doug Maybee, manager, public and media relations Economical Insurance
(T)519.570.8249
(C)519.404.0989
doug.maybee@economical.com

“As our survey found, most people simply don’t know about this common home insurance condition,” says Vander Zalm. “

Read more

It’s time for a consumer insurance bureau in Ontario: Speaker’s Corner

Written By Peter Cozzi and Darryl Singer | Law Times

Personal injury professionals have expressed much consternation of late about the drastic changes to the Insurance Act and the statutory accident benefits schedule. Paralegals, who for years have derived a nice living from accident-benefits work, are expressing worry about their livelihoods, as are the clinic owners, chiropractors, assessment companies, and, of course, the tort lawyers who all line up to take a piece of the personal injury pie.

Those discussions are focusing misguidedly on how the new personal injury playing field affects us. But lost in all of the concern is the important fact that victims of motor vehicle accidents have less opportunity for fair recovery today than ever before.

The provincial government’s focus for years has been to buy into the insurance industry’s rhetoric about how it could contain both high insurance premiums and skyrocketing legal costs if only it would help the companies stop all of the fraud. Yet the government’s response, which is to severely reduce available no-fault accident benefits and increase the tort deductible, is akin to bringing a bazooka to a pocket-knife fight.

This one-two punch of a government passing legislation that’s beneficial to the insurance industry at the same time as the companies make blanket corporate decisions to pay out less money to accident victims on the tort side leaves a gaping hole in consumer protection.

In fact, if the government really wanted to help accident victims, it could implement a consumer insurance bureau as is already the case in the Nordic countries. The consumer insurance bureau would have a mandate to assist consumers with regard to their rights and benefits after they have been in a motor vehicle accident and also, not incidentally, to act as a sort of special consumer ombudsperson to petition the Ontario government about insurance issues from the consumers’ perspective. A yearly surcharge of $1 per vehicle registered in Ontario could fund such a body.

So why hasn’t the Ontario government made such a decision on behalf of the Ontario electorate it represents? That same electorate pays insurance premiums from which the insurance companies fund the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The insurance bureau spends millions of those dollars a year to train insurance representatives on how to restrict payouts and, most significantly, lobby the Ontario government about insurance issues from the insurance industry’s perspective.

One of the authors of this article, Peter Cozzi, first presented the concept to the province about 10 years ago at a Financial Services Commission of Ontario bar dispute group meeting at which a government representative was present to hear the proposal. Nothing happened.

As plaintiff lawyers, we can only work to achieve results for our clients within the legal and regulatory framework that the government has provided. When the government circumscribes that framework to the point that thousands of worthy cases languish due to legislative changes, it’s time for it to invoke some corrective balancing.

Understandably, the insurance industry’s powerful lobby does not want to see legislative changes that would possibly put the plaintiff lawyers in the driver’s seat.

Admittedly, that might be too much of a correction. The idea proposed here for a consumer insurance
bureau that would educate the public, provide input to the government on consumers’ behalf, and possibly implement an internal regulatory regime to keep minor but deserving disputes out of court places the power in the hands of neither the insurers nor the lawyers but rather the consumers. In a province with one of the best consumer protection regimes in North America, that is a natural addition.

So will the Ontario government support consumers’ rights to proper representation in the motor vehicle insurance debate? In our view, the answer is unlikely given the Ontario government’s disinterest in the proposal 10 years ago and the current legislative climate that has leaned in favour of the insurance industry.

Do the province’s actions signal its disinterest in accident victims or is it that the significant revenue contribution from the HST charged on the millions of dollars paid by consumers in insurance premiums in conjunction with the taxes paid by those insurers and their tens of thousands of employees is the critical factor for a government concerned about fiscal responsibility?

Those factors are relevant to a provincial government concerned about revenue to offset a deficit, but the province’s actions surely do little to enhance fairness to the consumers it represents in the legislative process governing insurance.

To correct that by creating a consumer insurance bureau will cost the Ontario government very little and go a long way in protecting the public.

IBC Top 10: Tips to help increase insurance literacy

EDMONTON, Nov. 12, 2015 /CNW/ – What does my home insurance policy cover/not cover? If I get into a collision tomorrow, what kind of coverage can I expect under my auto insurance policy? Does the distance I travel affect my auto insurance premium? If my business is home-based, do I need special coverage? These are only a few of the many questions to consider when buying or renewing insurance.

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada, and Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is encouraging Canadians to invest a little time to increase their insurance literacy so they better  understand their home, car and business insurance policies.

“Financial Literacy Month helps to empower Canadians with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make responsible financial decisions,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC. “Educated consumers make smarter decisions. When it comes to protecting your family and belongings, insurance literacy is one of the best forms of consumer protection.”

To help increase Canadians’ insurance literacy, IBC offers the following top 10 tips:

  1. Speak to an insurance representative about your specific insurance needs.
  2. Shop around to find the right policy to fit your unique situation.
  3. Review your policy at least once a year.
  4. Understand your policy.
  5. Ask questions about your policy.
  6. Look for ways to lower your premiums.
    • Some insurers offer discounts if you take steps to reduce risk. Ask your insurance representative about what you can do to lower your premiums.
  7. Take measures to protect your home and car and reduce avoidable accidents.
  8. Check online resources like ibc.ca to learn more about insurance.
  9. Pass along these tips to your friends, family and neighbours.
  10. For further information on home, auto and business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC. We’re here to help.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

FPSC Accredited Continuing Education Courses for Certified Financial Planner Professionals and FPSC Level 1Certificants – ILScorp

Financial-Planner

Make sure your knowledge is up to date with online continuing education, insurance training and insurance licensing courses from ilscorp.com

Source: www.ilscorp.com

There are conflicting definitions about what constitutes an eligible winter tire.

Read more

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest