Sun Life to Raise Stake in Insurance Joint Venture with India’s Aditya Birla Group

Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX:SLF) will pay $340 million buy more of its partner’s share of Birla Sun Life Insurance, which operates across India through an extensive branch and adviser network.

sunlifeToronto-based Sun Life says its share in the joint venture will rise to 49 per cent from 26 per cent upon closing of the deal with a subsidiary of the Aditya Birla Group.

Birla Sun Life Insurance has 1.6 million individual policyholders and a distribution network in 418 cities.

It is one of two joint ventures set up between Sun Life and ABG. The other is Birla Sun Life Asset Management, India’s fourth largest mutual fund company.


2015 Aviva Community Fund Winners

Seventh year of competition concludes, brings total donations to over $6.5 million

Aviva Canada, one of the country’s leading providers of home, auto, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance, is pleased to announce the 15 grand prize winners of the $1,000,000 Aviva Community Fund.

In November, we announced the 30 great ideas, projects and initiatives that qualified for the finals of the Aviva Community Fund competition, after over 548,000 votes were cast by Canadians during the 18 day voting period. The winners have been selected by a panel of independent judges. Each of the finalists will receive at least $5,000 toward their cause or a registered charity of their choosing that is engaged in similar work.

“We continue to be impressed with all of the great ideas submitted to the Aviva Community Fund, and it’s clear that investing in our communities is near and dear to the hearts of Canadians,” said Debora Hendrickson, Senior Vice President, Customer and Marketing at Aviva Canada. “Congratulations to this year’s ACF winners, bringing our donation total over the past seven years to over $6.5 million shared by 222 great projects across the country.”


And the winners are:

Category: Community Resilience (environment, climate, disaster relief and prevention)

  • Asphalt to Oasis – the Greening of the St. Anthony yard (Ottawa, ON) – $100,000
    Old asphalt will be replaced with a water permeable, child-friendly surface that allows rainwater to drain into the soil rather than pollute the rivers through the sewer system
  • Emma’s Acres: Reintegration, Restoration and Food Security (Mission, BC) – $45,000
    Together victims/survivors of crime, offenders and ex-offenders grow organic vegetables, herbs and fruits for sale at local markets and for donation to food banks and community kitchens
  • Grand nettoyage de la rivière Mascouche (Mascouche, QC) – $48,000
    Debris in the community’s main waterway will be removed and turned into a work of art, raising awareness for recycling and the impact of pollution

Category: Community Health (health, sport, active living and play)

  • Bloc sanitaire pour la FCP / Sanitary block for the FCP (Lévis, QC) – $50,000
    Updating the facilities in this therapeutic riding centre for disabled individuals to comfortably serve visitors’ basic needs
  • Friends of the Arena (FOTA) Westport ON Community Centre (Westport, ON) – $50,000
    Upgrading the arena’s aging infrastructure
  • Hagersville Park Splash Pad Project (Hagersville, ON) – $50,000 *Broker Supported Grand Prize *
    Construction of a new accessible splash pad to be enjoyed by the children of Hagersville and five surrounding communities
  • Hard-up in the Hazeltons (Hazelton, BC) – $100,000
    A new outdoor arena will offer hockey, figure skating, school and public programming to an economically-challenged community
  • Help the St. John’s Farmers’ Market move to its new home! (St. John’s, NL) – $50,000
    The new site featuring more space for vendors to sell healthy produce locally, a community kitchen, a public square, a playground and much more
  • Sacha’s Park – where EVERYONE can play! (L’Orignal, ON) – $100,000
    A new fully-accessible playground so no child will feel left out because of a disability
  • Wayne John Searle Memorial Rec Complex Needs a Makeover!! (Placentia, NL) – $50,000
    A safe and accessible playground to bring life, laughter and play back into an important community hub

Category: Community Development (education, skills training, culture, research and basic needs)

  • Hope Begins With A Meal #SoulsHarbour (Halifax, NS) – $100,000
    An ACF winner two years in a row, phase two funding will enable expanded hours of operation, fully accessible washrooms, and much more
  • River Mill Park Bandshell (Huntsville, ON) – $30,000
    Completion of a permanent bandshell in downtown Huntsville, where residents and tourists enjoy local community concerts and celebrations
  • SideDoor Youth Centre Facility Project (Edmonton, AB) – $50,000
    Increasing the current 2 days per week after school drop-in program for grade 6-12 students to expand their services to 5 days a week
  • Support children affected by parental incarceration (Toronto, ON) –$50,000
    An after-school peer mentorship program for vulnerable children and youth affected by parental criminality and imprisonment
  • Taking The Mount Community Centre to new levels (Peterborough, ON) – $100,000
    Installing a new elevator so residents can move freely throughout a complex that offers affordable housing and a harvest centre for low-income families

Funding awarded to grand prize winners was based on the amount requested in their idea submission.

Economical Insurance selected as one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers for 2016

Economical Insurance, one of Canada’s leading providers of home, auto and business insurance, is proud to have been selected as one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers for 2016 by Canada’s Top 100 Employers. Winners were chosen for providing exceptional places to work in Guelph and Canada’s Technology Triangle (Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo).

“This award acknowledges that we have created an engaging and inspiring work environment for our employees,” said Karen Gavan, president and CEO. “We strive to provide an exceptional experience, so we can bring our best every day. We know that by investing in our talent, we will build a team that will allow us to achieve our vision of making Economical one of Canada’s top P&C insurers, recognized for our business innovation and how well we take care of our customers.”

“Since our humble beginnings 144 years ago, we’ve become a national company that imagines bigger and better things, which inspires us to take chances and think innovatively,” said Louise Taylor Green, chief human resources officer. “Our employees are the reason we’ve come as far as we have, and the reason we’ll go much further still. We put our customers first and, as a cohesive national team, we’re stronger together. This award shows our commitment to excellence and will help attract and retain the talent we need to achieve our true potential.”

To select the winners, judges evaluated companies to determine which ones offer the most progressive and forward-thinking programs based on the following criteria:

  1. Physical Workplace
  2. Work Atmosphere and Social
  3. Health, Financial, and Family Benefits
  4. Vacation and Time Off
  5. Employee Communications
  6. Performance Management
  7. Training and Skills Development
  8. Community Involvement

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, 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

London Ontario: The Co-operators acquires Bando & Brown General Insurance


News Release:

GUELPH, ON, Nov. 5, 2015 /CNW/ – Co-operators General Insurance Company announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary has purchased Bando & Brown General Insurance in London, Ontario. The brokerage’s portfolio includes personal and commercial insurance policies.

Current clients of the brokerage will be notified of the change in ownership and their existing insurance coverage will remain in effect with no changes to their premiums or coverage for the current term of their policies. As current policies expire, clients will be offered comparable policies from The Co-operators.

“We’re pleased to be strengthening our presence and growing our agency distribution system in Ontarioand across the country, which is part of our growth strategy,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Our new clients will benefit from the wide range of insurance and financial products, as well as the expertise, offered by Co-operators advisors.”

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, commercial and farm insurance.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 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 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine. For more information please visit

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937

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