The Co-operators acquires Robinson & Associates Insurance Brokers

The Co-operators announced today it has purchased Robinson & Associates Insurance Brokers in Niagara Falls and Ridgeway, Ontario.

The brokerage’s portfolio includes personal and commercial insurance policies. Any existing insurance coverage a client has will remain in effect for the current term of their policies.

“This is our second Ontario broker acquisition of 2019, demonstrating our commitment to strengthen our agency distribution system in the region” says Rob Wesseling, President and CEO of The Co-operators. “This continued growth allows us to better serve our clients, helping them achieve financial security, and ultimately, peace of mind.”

Clients will enjoy the exemplary service of a leading national insurance co-operative and have access to a full suite of insurance products including home, auto, life, travel and commercial.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $41.7 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies, it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca

SOURCE The Co-operators

Consolidating its insurance brands: 3 Reasons to Ride This Stock’s Exciting Rebound

The excerpreted article was written by Will Ashworth | The Motley Fool

If you look at the performance of Power Corporation (TSX:POW) stock in 2019, you’d swear it was a momentum stock. Up 30.9% year to date including dividends through April 8, that’s the farthest thing from the truth.

The reality is that POW stock hasn’t broken 30% annual returns since 2013 and 2009 before that. For most of the past five years, it’s been range bound between $25-$35. Only once as a public company has it broken through the $40 barrier.

As we head into the fourth month of 2019, here are three reasons why it might test $40 later this year, only the second time in its history.

Consolidating its insurance brands

On April 3, Great-West Lifeco (TSX:GWO), Power Corp.’s insurance subsidiary, which it controls through its 65.5% stake in Power Financial (TSX:PWF), which in turn owns 67.8% of Great-West Lifeco, announced that it was folding Great-West Life and London Life into its 100%-owned Canada Life subsidiary.

The three insurance brands will all operate under the Canada Life banner, something that should have happened years ago.

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting evolution for our organization, as we start our transition to a new brand across Canada,” said Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Officer, GreatWest Lifeco. “The new Canada Life brand is more than just a logo. It’s a representation of who we are as a company, what we stand for and the promises we make to our customers.”

The truth is, by amalgamating all the brands, Great-West Lifeco will save a lot of money by simplifying both the marketing and underwriting of insurance. Both customers and insurance advisors will appreciate the efficiencies under a single Canada Life banner.

Power Corp. shareholders will be glad to see as many overlaps between the three brands disappear. It’s a big step forward for both Power Corp. and Power Financial.

Let the buybacks begin

In late March, I highlighted the positives of Power Corp.’s $1.35 billion share repurchase plan that will see it buy back as many as 47.4 million of its shares from existing shareholders who want to exit their investments.

If Power Corp. maximizes the share buyback, it will have cut its outstanding share count by 11.4%, which would translate into higher future earnings per share, driving its stock price even higher.

Like Warren Buffett buying back Berkshire Hathaway stock, Power Corp. sees the benefit of share repurchases, especially below $30. I think it’s a smart move. Investors have ignored the Power Corp. story for too long.

Investors weren’t buying what Power Corporation was selling, keeping the share price artificially lower than it should have been,” I wrote March 27. “A quick and efficient purchase of its shares allows the company to put its money where its mouth is.”

Not to mention the share repurchases will help keep Power Corp. stock trading above $30 until more good news can act as a catalyst to push its shares higher still.

Wealthsimple’s ongoing innovation

Canada rarely gets innovative technology at the same time as the U.S.

Take Robinhood, the stock trading app that provides commission-free trades. It launched in 2014. Five years later, Wealthsimple (majority owned by Power Corp. and its subsidiaries) has launched a stock and ETF trading app that provides commission-free trades.

You won’t get every stock on North American exchanges, but you do get the ones you ought to consider buying, which not only makes it cheaper to trade but it also pushes investors into higher quality companies.

Companies like the ones we cover at Fool Canada.

Now in business for more than five years, Wealthsimple’s managed to gather more than $3 billion in assets under management from Canadians and Americans who are looking for good advice and reasonable fees.

If you’re a DIY investor, you might not like Wealthsimple, but if you’re someone who has a core portfolio of ETFs and invests a small amount in stocks as well, it’s right up your alley.

Wealthsimple continues to be the least known and most underrated part of the Power Corporation stable.

I expect it to be a significant contributor as POW stock moves to $40 and higher.

When you buy heavily cyclical stocks at low prices… and then hold the shares until the cycle reaches its peak… you can make a very healthy profit.

Every investor knows that. But many struggle to identify the best opportunities.

 

Owner of deliberately burned Manitoba store ordered to repay

WINNIPEG _ A judge has ruled a fire that destroyed a hardware store in the western Manitoba town of Neepawa more than four years ago was deliberately set.

The decision follows a lawsuit filed by the owner of the Home Hardware outlet against his insurance company for not providing coverage.

The owner, Patrick Guilbert of Guilbert Enterprises, has been ordered to repay Economical Insurance tens of thousands of dollars.

The judge’s ruling states that the insurer based in Waterloo, Ont., denied a claim for $3 million.

Manitoba’s Office of the Fire Commissioner said the February 2015 blaze started in the attic, but it could not determine the exact cause.

The ruling has no effect on a separate police investigation, now closed, in which the RCMP did not lay charges.

The fire destroyed four apartments above the store but no one was injured.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice David Kroft wrote in his March 21 ruling that “Taking all the evidence into account … Economical has proved, on a balance of probabilities, Guilbert started the fire _ a clear breach of the plaintiff’s contractual and statutory obligations to Economical.”

Kroft accepted evidence given by engineer Norbert Karl Becker, who was called by Economical to testify about the cause and origin of the fire. The judge noted that Becker found that the timing, area of origin and rapid spread of the fire were consistent with an incendiary blaze.

Kroft said Guilbert conceded financial motive at trial because the business was failing.

He also ruled there was opportunity for Guilbert to start the fire, based on witness testimony from former employees.

“On the day of the fire, Guilbert removed personal items from the building. Guilbert was alone in the building from 6:05 p.m. to 6:09 p.m.,” he wrote.

Kroft allowed a counterclaim filed by Economical and ordered Guilbert to pay the insurance company nearly $650,000. The money covers the amount Economical paid under the policy to two credit unions for mortgages taken out by Guilbert Enterprises and the cleanup costs associated with the fire.

His decision notes a trial judge is not precluded from reaching a different conclusion than investigators about the cause of a fire.

Guilbert has not responded to a CTV News request for comment, while his lawyer said it would be inappropriate to comment on the ruling. (CTV Winnipeg)

Zurich Canada names new Head of Liability

Marco Royer has been named Head of Liability for Zurich Canada.

Royer will be a member of the Zurich Canada Executive Team and will report to Zurich Canada CEO Saad Mered. His first day at Zurich will be July 1.

Royer will be responsible for leading the market-facing underwriting teams in Zurich Canada’s liability portfolio, including casualty, energy casualty, construction liability, environmental liability and commercial automobile.

Royer will also oversee Zurich Canada’s Alternate Risk Transfer team and will be responsible for the development and growth of the healthcare and public sector industry verticals.

He will also work closely with other Zurich Canada executives to coordinate effective execution of portfolio management, distribution management, risk services and claims management.

Royer comes to Zurich with more than 30 years of experience in the European and Canadian insurance marketplaces. He has a strong technical casualty underwriting background and has held ascending levels of leadership responsibilities, including 18 years at Gen Re, where he led teams in ParisLondon and Montreal. Following Gen Re, he joined Aon Benfield as vice president and casualty specialist, then Quebec regional manager and head of Facultative Operations, reporting directly to the CEO.

In this most recent position, Royer was the head of the Canadian-London team, responsible for all Canadian reinsurance placement in the London market.

“We are very excited to have a leader of Marco’s caliber and deep experience and relationships in the Canadian market joining us,” Mered said. “With his addition to Zurich Canada, we continue to build a diverse, experienced and proven senior leadership team that will enable the transformation and repositioning of Zurich’s presence in Canada.”

Marco has certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst and is a member of London UK CFA Society. He also holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from McGill University in Montreal. He is also a board member of La Fondation OLO in Montreal whose mission is to help low-income families bring healthy babies into the world and teach them healthy eating habits early on.

SOURCE Zurich North America

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