Westland Insurance Group acquires First West Insurance Services

Press Release

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA  – August 22, 2019 — Westland Insurance Group Ltd. is pleased to announce the acquisition of First West Insurance Services, a subsidiary of First West Credit Union, effective Sept. 30, 2019. BMO Capital Markets acted as financial advisor to Westland and KPMG Corporate Finance acted as financial advisor to First West.

“First West Insurance Services is a landmark acquisition for Westland,” says Jason Wubs, CEO of Westland Insurance Group Ltd. “They are a pillar in the communities they serve and have built a client-centric culture that is perfectly aligned with Westland’s core values.”

First West Insurance Services provides personal, auto and business insurance in British Columbia under three regional divisions: Envision Insurance in the Lower Mainland, Valley First Insurance in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys and Island Savings Insurance on Vancouver Island and the Gulf islands.

“We were thrilled to find a partner like Westland Insurance,” says Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union. “We believe Westland is perfectly poised to realize the incredible potential of our insurance teams and provide the best possible service for our insurance customers in B.C.”

Westland Insurance will add 300 employees and 36 offices from First West Insurance Services in British Columbia, expanding its reach to 110 locations in 56 communities across the province. Post-acquisition, Westland will have nearly 1,500 employees and more than 130 offices in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“We are excited to introduce the First West Insurance Services team to the Westland family and further strengthen our community presence in British Columbia, as well as add to our broader capabilities as an organization,” says Wubs.

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 90 offices throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Westland is considered a leader in home, business, farm and auto insurance.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia’s third largest credit union with nearly $10 billion in assets, nearly 250,000 members and approximately 1,750 employees. It operates 50 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First and Island Savings divisions.

www.westlandinsurance.ca 

 

Intact buying insurers Guarantee Co. and Frank Cowan for $1-billion

Intact Financial Corp. has signed a deal to buy The Guarantee Co. of North America and Frank Cowan Co. Ltd. from Princeton Holdings Ltd. for $1 billion in cash.

The Guarantee is a specialty lines insurer in Canada and the U.S., while Frank Cowan is a managing general agent focused on specialty insurance.

Intact is a provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada and a provider of specialty insurance in North America.

The company says the acquisition will bolster its position and add new products for the high net worth customer segment.

Princeton Holdings will continue to own Cowan Insurance Group, Cowan Asset Management and Fountain Street Finance.

To finance the transaction, Intact says it has access to its own capital resources and bank facilities and may evaluate capital markets alternatives.

“The acquisition of The Guarantee Co. of North America and Frank Cowan Co. is strongly aligned with our strategic and financial objectives,” Intact chief executive Charles Brindamour said in a statement.

“We are delivering on our objectives to grow in Canada and build a leading North American specialty platform. I’m enthusiastic about what we will accomplish by leveraging the combined expertise of our teams and our expanded offering.”

The deal, which is subject to regulator approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Specialty lines insurers typically underwrite more difficult and unusual risks or higher-risk accounts, such as professional liability, marine and aviation.

Intact inks deal for The Guarantee Co. of North America and Frank Cowan Co. Ltd

TORONTO — Intact Financial Corp. has signed a deal to buy The Guarantee Co. of North America and Frank Cowan Co. Ltd. from Princeton Holdings Ltd. for $1 billion in cash.

The Guarantee is a specialty lines insurer in Canada and the U.S., while Frank Cowan is a general managing agent focused on specialty insurance.

Intact is a provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada and a provider of specialty insurance in North America.
The company says the acquisition will bolster its position and add new products for the high net worth customer segment.
Princeton Holdings will continue to own Cowan Insurance Group, Cowan Asset Management and Fountain Street Finance.
To finance the transaction, Intact says it has access to its own capital resources and bank facilities and may evaluate capital markets alternatives.

“The acquisition of The Guarantee Co. of North America and Frank Cowan Co. is strongly aligned with our strategic and financial objectives,” Intact chief executive Charles Brindamour said in a statement.
“We are delivering on our objectives to grow in Canada and build a leading North American specialty platform. I’m enthusiastic about what we will accomplish by leveraging the combined expertise of our teams and our expanded offering.”

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
Specialty lines insurers typically underwrite more difficult and unusual risks or higher-risk accounts, such as professional liability, marine and aviation.

Companies in this story: (TSX:IFC)

The Canadian Press

Gore Mutual Named Leading Financial Services and Insurance Workplace

CAMBRIDGE, ON, Aug. 13, 2019 /CNW/ – Gore Mutual Insurance continues to receive national recognition for its workplace culture. Earlier this year the company was named an Employee Recommended Workplace and also certified as a Great Place to Work. Now Gore Mutual is excited to announce that it has been included on Canada’s 2019 list of Best Workplaces in Financial Services and Insurance.

This is Gore Mutual’s third consecutive year being chosen as a Best Workplace in Financial Services and Insurance. The designation came after a thorough and independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work – the global authority on building, sustaining and recognizing high-performing workplace cultures. Only 36 organizations received this honour and winners were selected based on direct employee feedback from hundreds of organizations across the country surveyed by Great Place to Work.

“Our industry is filled with companies that are doing amazing things and being recognized as one of the Best Workplaces in Financial Services and Insurance is an accomplishment that we’re very proud of,” said Catherine Leclair, Vice President of Human Resources at Gore Mutual. “This award is a tribute to each and every one of our employees. Innovation and collaboration have been vital to our success over the past 180 years. We’re lucky to have so many talented and passionate people who work hard to create an inclusive, forward-thinking environment where everyone’s ideas are heard and valued.”

Based in Cambridge, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia, Gore Mutual is Canada’s oldest property and casualty insurer and in June celebrated its 180th anniversary. The organization continues to introduce additional resources to support employees and is in the midst of a multi-year program of renovation and modernization of all of its work environments. Already a Best Workplace in Financial Services and Insurance, Gore Mutual is working hard to be even better.

Watch Gore Mutual’s new workplace culture video here: https://youtu.be/o7N1x3wFKXo

About Great Place to Work:
Great Place to Work is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Conducting the world’s largest workplace study, Great Place to Work provides tremendous understanding of effective business cultures and the increasingly complex marketplace. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, it provides the benchmarks, framework and expertise needed to create, sustain and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. Learn more at greatplacetowork.ca.

About Gore Mutual:
Founded in 1839, Gore Mutual is Canada’s oldest property and casualty insurer, with over $442M in premiums and over $1BN in assets as of December 31, 2018. Based in Cambridge, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia, this Canadian-owned and operated mutual company employs over 350 people and is known for its investment in people, technology and innovation. With a long-standing commitment to genuine personal service, and with InsurTech partnerships such as BrokerLift, Gore Mutual is an unwavering supporter of its network of insurance brokers, who offer the highest standards of service, choice and advocacy to Canadian customers. Gore Mutual was voted the #1 insurance company by the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) in 2014, certified as a 2018 Best Workplace Canada and named a 2019 Best Workplace in Financial Services and Insurance. The Gore Mutual Foundation strengthens Canadian communities by supporting local initiatives and has donated more than $10M to over 650 charities over the past 20 years. Learn more at goremutual.ca.

SOURCE Gore Mutual Insurance Company

OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance appoints a new Chief Executive Officer & Ombudsman

TORONTO, Aug. 13, 2019 /CNW/ – The OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Mr. Glenn O’Farrell as Chief Executive Officer and Ombudsman. He will assume his functions in the Toronto office on August 19, 2019.

“The Board believes that his extensive experience in management, collaborating with stakeholders and leading organizational change in this age of technology will be essential attributes in executing OLHI’s mission” said Dr. Janice MacKinnon, Chair. “We are fortunate to have someone of Glenn O’Farrell’s caliber and experience to lead OLHI.  Glenn is a skilled communicator with deep leadership capabilities and has a proven track record of execution. His vast experience with the media will help further the development of the organization and promote its services by raising consumer awareness while continuing to strengthen OLHI’s relationships with their members and various stakeholders.”

A native of St-Malachie, Québec, Glenn studied economics, law, business and corporate governance at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Université Laval in Québec City, Johnson School of Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.and at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. He is a member of the Québec Bar, Canadian Bar Association and Institute of Corporate Directors. He also has served on numerous company boards of directors as well as not-for-profit corporations.

Glenn said, “I am honored and excited to lead OLHI. Its is a privilege to be part of an organization governed by a fair and valuable purpose – providing Canadian consumers an independent, cost-free forum for the resolution of their complaints about life and health insurance products. I am looking forward to share my ideas and expertise in order to help promote our services and enhance the consumer’s experience when dealing with OLHI.”

Until recently, he held the position of CEO of Groupe Média TFO. Prior to this role, Glenn served as Vice-President, Réseau Pathonic TVA, Québec City; General Counsel, Chief Regulatory Officer, Senior Vice-President at CanWest Global, Toronto; President of Global Québec, Montreal, and President & CEO of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Ottawa.

About the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance
The OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) is Canada’s only independent complaint resolution service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance. Canadians trust us to review their insurance complaints about life, disability, employee health benefits, travel, and insurance investment products such as annuities and segregated funds. OLHI’s free bilingual services are available to any consumer whose insurance company is an OLHI member – and, currently, 99% of Canadian life and health insurers are. OLHI also offers general information online about life and health insurance. To ensure impartiality, OLHI’s operations are overseen by the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR). For more information, visit www.olhi.ca.

SOURCE OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance

AXA XL Names New Senior Underwriter for Large Property Insurance in Canada

AXA XL has added Jennifer Arezes to its Property Insurance team in Canada. Ms. Arezes is based in Toronto and will work alongside Ian Rutherford, Head of Property, Canada and Urs Uhlmann, CEO and Country Manager AXA XL, Canada to grow AXA XL’s Property & Casualty Large Property business nationally.

“We’re very excited to have Jennifer join our growing team of experts in Canada,” said Mr. Uhlmann. “She is one of the best in the industry and her extensive experience will bolster not only our underwriting capabilities but will be a great asset to our strategic growth objectives in the large, international property risks space.”

In this new role, Ms. Arezes will be responsible for developing and structuring tailor-made risk solutions to win new business and retain existing customers with particular focus on Canadian clients with global exposures.

“As the largest commercial insurer in the world, we have a unique opportunity for continued growth across Canada. Jennifer’s expertise and in-depth knowledge of the market is a great asset to our team and most importantly, will enhance our ability to provide outstanding service to our clients and brokers,” added Mr. Rutherford.

Ms. Arezes joins AXA XL from Zurich where she most recently led the Commercial Property Insurance business.  She brings more than 15 years of industry experience focusing on property underwriting across a wide range of business lines. Ms. Arezes holds a degree in Biological Technology/Industrial Microbiology from Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology.

AXA XL’s North America Property business meets the global and domestic property insurance needs for a wide variety of commercial businesses and industries. Coverages include Equipment Breakdown E&S Property and General Property, delivered by a dedicated team of underwriters, risk engineers and property claims managers who specialize in addressing large, complex property risks.

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