Westland Insurance Acquires Four New Brokerage Firms

Source: Westland Insurance Group Ltd.

SURREY, British Columbia, Sept. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Westland Insurance Group Ltd. (“Westland”) is pleased to announce the closing of four acquisitions, effective August 31, 2020. The new retail offices, which are located in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, support Westland’s expansion strategy to serve more communities across the country.

“This is an exciting time for Westland as we continue our strategic expansion across Canada. These acquisitions strengthen our presence in western Canada, and, for the first time, provide us the opportunity to support clients in Manitoba,” said Jason Wubs, CEO of Westland Insurance. “These are all client-focussed agencies with deep roots in their communities, and they are perfectly aligned to Westland’s core values. Their professional advisors will continue to provide the same great service, and we are excited to welcome our new team members to the Westland family.”


King Insurance:
Founded in 1962, King Insurance is a family-owned brokerage located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Its professional insurance advisors are experts in residential, auto, business, life and disability insurance.


Johnson Agencies:
Johnson Agencies has served the insurance needs of Leduc, Alberta, and the surrounding areas since 1967. They provide residential, auto, recreation, commercial, farm, travel and life insurance.

Hedderick Insurance Agencies:
Located in Pincher Creek, Alberta, Hedderick Insurance Agencies has been serving clients since 1949. They provide residential, commercial, recreation, farm and auto insurance.

British Columbia

Nauroth & Associates:
Family-owned Nauroth & Associates has been serving the Prince George, BC, area for over 25 years. Their expert advisors provide the community with auto, residential, commercial, travel and life insurance.

With these acquisitions, Westland Insurance will be adding four branches and over 30 employees across Canada. Post-acquisition, Westland will have nearly 1500 employees and more than 120 offices in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

About Westland Insurance Group

Westland Insurance Group is a client-focused and community-based Property & Casualty insurance brokerage established in 1980 in Ladner, B.C. The company is one of Canada’s largest independent P&C insurance distributors with over 120 offices throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Westland is considered a leader in home, business, farm and auto insurance.


SGI CANADA appoints Larry Nickel as VP, Corporate Business Development


Sept. 1, 2020

SGI CANADA appoints Larry Nickel as VP, Corporate Business Development

Larry Nickel has joined SGI CANADA in the role of Vice President, Corporate Business Development.

In his new role, Larry will be responsible for corporate strategy regarding broker distribution – including contracts, compensation, incentives and training programs. He will also take the lead on managing relationships with some of SGI CANADA’s larger brokerages.

Larry has over 25 years of P&C insurance experience with a strong track record in sales & distribution, broker relations, product management and underwriting.

His most recent role was at Pembridge Insurance, where he was Regional Director for Alberta & Atlantic Canada. Before that, Larry was Vice President of Underwriting, Sales & Distribution for Heartland Farm Mutual in Ontario. During his career, he has built an extensive network of industry contacts at both the company and broker level.

In addition to his industry experience, Larry holds an MBA from Wilfried Laurier University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

“Larry is a great fit for our team,” said Paul Mlodzik, EVP and Chief Customer Officer for SGI. “His broker experience and depth of insurance knowledge will be a major asset as SGI CANADA continues to grow – particularly outside of Saskatchewan.”

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to take on this new challenge at an organization with such a strong culture,” said Nickel.

Larry joins SGI CANADA effective Sept. 1 and will work out of SGI’s Edmonton corporate office.  He will also spend time with his team in Regina and visiting broker partners when business travel resumes.




Wawanesa among the first insurance providers in Canada to have its entire product suite online

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Economical Insurance to provide insurance solution for Uber

Economical Insurance to provide insurance solution for Uber

Economical Insurance will provide peace of mind for drivers who use the Uber network and their customers in four Canadian provinces beginning September 1, 2020

WATERLOO, ON, August 18, 2020 — Economical Insurance announced today a new and significant relationship with Uber in Canada, designed to provide insurance coverage for every Uber Rides and Uber Eats trip in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. The relationship is expected to launch on September 1, 2020.

“At Economical, we believe in finding innovative solutions to changing customer expectations, which is exactly what Uber has done for transportation globally,” said Rowan Saunders, President and CEO, Economical Insurance. “Our initiative with Uber continues our focus on digital transformation. It is another example of how we’re blending our insurance industry expertise with technology to support a better customer experience. We are proud that Uber has chosen Economical as their rideshare insurer in Canada going forward.”

“Uber has been a leader in the ridesharing industry, making sure every trip is insured. As our business has grown, we recognize the importance of strong partners like Economical Insurance. We are excited to partner with Economical Insurance in Canada to bring their high class service and trusted protection to riders, drivers, and eaters who use the Uber app,” said Gus Fuldner, Vice President of Safety and Insurance, Uber.

This announcement follows the innovative solutions for customers and brokers Economical Insurance has developed as it continues to make progress on its plans to convert from a mutual company to a publicly traded share company. The launch of Sonnet in 2016 introduced Canada’s first coast-to-coast fully online home and auto insurance experience. More recently, Economical launched Vyne, which uses advanced technology to provide faster service, improved workflows, and sophisticated products and pricing for brokers and their customers.

“Our sophisticated products, broad underwriting capabilities, and dedicated team give us the opportunity to provide coverage for a business as large and successful as Uber,” said Fabian Richenberger, EVP, Commercial Insurance, Economical Insurance. “As we look to the future, we know Canadians are changing how they order food, use cars, and get from one point to another, and we are dedicated to being there to protect them.”

Insurance coverage for drivers operating on the Uber platform will continue seamlessly. Economical will share more information and further details on the initiative in the coming weeks.

Aon acted as the insurance broker who facilitated the initiative.

About Economical Insurance

Economical Mutual Insurance Company (“Economical” or “Economical Insurance”, which includes its subsidiaries where the context so requires) is a leading property and casualty insurer in Canada, with approximately $2.6 billion in annualized gross written premiums and approximately $6.2 billion in assets as at June 30, 2020. Economical is a Canadian-owned and operated company that services the insurance needs of more than one million customers.

About Uber

Uber’s mission is to create opportunity through movement. We started in 2010 to solve a simple problem: how do you get access to a ride at the touch of a button? More than 15 billion trips later, we’re building products to get people closer to where they want to be. By changing how people, food, and things move through cities, Uber is a platform that opens up the world to new possibilities.



RWAM Insurance Administrators partners with EQ Care

Canadian pioneers in employee benefits plans and telemedicine join forces to support workforces

WATERLOO, ONAug. 10, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – A new partnership combining the resources of Telemedicine and Third Party Administration sector giants in CanadaElmira-based RWAM Insurance Administrators Inc. (RWAM) and Montreal-based EQ Care, will facilitate accessibility of virtual healthcare services to thousands of Canadian families.

As Canadian workforces adapt to new challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, RWAM’s members can have peace of mind knowing that access to EQ Care’s secure, made-in-Canada online platform is available at their fingertips, 24/7, in both official languages.

A Healthy Partnership

The collaboration between the two organizations is a natural fit, with both leadership teams having over three decades of experience managing employee benefits plans.

RWAM is one of Canada’s most prominent Third Party Administrators of group insurance benefits, offering creative solutions and design built on flexibility and comprehensiveness. The TPA pioneer prides itself on helping member businesses create workplace cultures that foster support and protection. Like EQ Care’s Human Touch mission to ensure human empathy and guidance in the delivery of virtual healthcare services, RWAM delivers an extensive range of products with a focus on people.

“Gaining the confidence of Canadian ground-breakers in the Third Party Administration space is incredibly validating for our team as we work tirelessly to exceed expectations in the Benefits industry,” said Daniel Martz, CEO, EQ Care. “RWAM Insurance’s history of innovation and commitment to personalized, superior service makes this partnership a logical fit, and one that will further help to relieve pressure on the public healthcare system at a critical time.”

“There is no doubt that virtual healthcare services are gaining significant attention at a time like this and could become a staple of any complete benefits suite. The focus on employee wellness and access to care continues to be at the forefront of benefit discussions, and may root as part of the new normal,” said Carole YariCEO, RWAM Insurance Administrators Inc. “This makes an experienced telemedicine partner all the more crucial, and we are delighted to be collaborating with EQ Care.”

Medical consult sessions, triage, medication prescribing, are among the virtual healthcare services that RWAM clients can access.

Additionally, EQ Care’s comprehensive online virtual healthcare service includes access to mental health specialists. Clinically-tested innovations like Virtual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (vCBT) allow clinicians to form a therapeutic bond through face-to-face video conferencing sessions from the comfort of the patient’s home or other personal space. Paired with Digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (dCBT), patients will also advance treatment by completing interactive exercises between counselling sessions.

About EQ Care

EQ Care offers patients 24/7 national and bilingual online access to a specialized medical and mental health team providing personalized, comprehensive treatment options from any mobile or internet connected device. On the cutting edge of patient care, our mission is to ensure that our patients receive the highest quality service through our leading proprietary virtual health technology platform. As the market leader in Canadian virtual care with over 30 years of health care experience, an ISO 9001:2015 certification, we are continually innovating to bring cutting edge mobile tools and approaches to our Plan Sponsors and Members.

About RWAM Insurance Administrators

Incorporated in 1988, RWAM Insurance Administrators is one of Canada’s largest Third Party Administrators of Group Insurance Benefits and has grown to service and provide protection to over 250,000 Canadians from coast to coast. As a founding member of TPAAC (Third Party Administrators Association of Canada), RWAM promotes best practices and professional conduct for the TPA industry to protect the trust that Plan Sponsors and Advisors place in us. With a focus on striving for excellence, RWAM prides itself on flexibility and responsiveness amid shifting market conditions.



Great West Lifeco net earnings rise to $863 million amid sale of subsidiary

By Tara Deschamps


Great-West Lifeco Inc. nearly doubled its second-quarter earnings from last year as it benefited from investments in digital technology and a market rebound from COVID-19.

The insurance and wealth management company reported its net earnings attributable to common shareholders reached $863 million or 93 cents per share in the three months ended June 30.

That compared with $459 million or 49 cents per share for the same quarter last year.

Its base earnings, which exclude certain items, amounted to $706 million or 76 cents per share, up from $627 million or 67 cents per share a year ago.

Great-West beat analyst estimates of 72 cents per share of net earnings and 60 cents per share of base earnings.

Chief executive and president Paul Mahon said the Winnipeg-based company was quite fortunate in the quarter, despite grappling with COVID-19 like every other business.

“To a large extent, we saw a good recovery in equity markets,” he said.

“What we found is that our business model is very resilient…There is obviously going to be downsides related to economic impacts but we always believe they will be moderated because of our risk sense.”

Great-West which operates the Canada Life brand, among other things saw lower health and dental claims and reductions to premiums while medical offices were closed during the early stages of the pandemic in Canada.

The closures were coupled with an increase in disability claims, lower levels of disability claim terminations and strong sales of life insurance sales.

The public’s gravitation towards virtual offerings, which insurance companies have been ramping up in recent years, also helped, Mahon said.

His remarks came a day after Great-West announced it is selling its Canadian subsidiary GLC Asset Management Group Ltd. for $175 million in cash to Mackenzie Financial Corp., an affiliated company.

Mackenzie parent IGM Financial Inc. and Great-West are both majority-owned by Montreal-based Power Corp. of Canada.

As part of the deal with Mackenzie, The Canada Life Assurance Company will acquire fund management contracts relating to the private label Quadrus Group of Funds and other Canada Life branded investment funds from Mackenzie for $30 million in cash.

That will result in Lifeco receiving net cash of $145 million if the deal receives regulatory approval and closes as expected in the fourth quarter.

“We believe successful wealth managers need to control their product shelf and customer solutions, but they also need access to asset managers with consistent, high-performance skill mandates and product innovation and breadth,” said Mahon.

“By combining GLC with Mackenzie, Canada Life will have access to a product manager with these strengths.”

News of the deal and Great-West’s earnings pushed the company’s stock to close at $24.96, up $1.06 or 4.4 per cent. Earlier, Lifeco shares hit an intraday high of $25.44

Looking ahead, Great-West is seeing encouraging signs.

Claims levels in Canada were already approaching pre-COVID levels in June.

“We are starting to see reasonable recoveries in sales activities in markets where some of the limitations of physical distancing have been lifted…but we can’t really estimate what will happen in the external market,” Mahon said.

“You don’t know what will happen to the economy going forward.”



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