Cowan Insurance Group Strikes Gold with Fourth Consecutive Best Managed Companies Win

Cowan Insurance Group, announced that it had reached Gold Standard status as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2015.

Established in 1993, Canada’s Best Managed Companies is one of the country’s leading business awards programs recognizing Canadian-owned and managed companies that have implemented world-class business practices and created value in innovative ways. Applicants are evaluated by an independent judging panel on overall business performance, including leadership, strategy, core competencies, cross-functional collaboration throughout organization, and talent.

“Best Managed companies embrace innovation, seize opportunities and inspire talent. They really set the bar high,” said Peter Brown, Partner, Deloitte and Co-Leader, Canada’s Best Managed Companies program.

Cowan has been selected over hundreds of applicants as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for four consecutive years, having first achieved the designation in 2012. Cowan has demonstrated its commitment to the program through steady continuous growth, profitability, and investment in technology, process, and people. In fact, Cowan’s team has created a culture worthy of admiration—so much so that they were recently recognized as one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures by Waterstone Human Capital.

“We are extremely honoured to have earned Gold Standard status, a prestigious distinction for business excellence based on our commitment and outstanding execution of our strategic priorities,” said Heather McLachlin, President, Cowan Insurance Group. “This award is not an individual honour. It recognizes the efforts of our entire organization, from our front line employees to our executive team. Every day I see our values at work through the innovation, collaboration, commitment, and integrity our employees bring to both Cowan and our clients. Together, these values and our behaviour drive results.”

“CIBC congratulates Cowan Insurance Group on being named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies—a reflection of its strong leadership, sound business planning and focus on growth,” said Jon Hountalas, Executive Vice-President, Business and Corporate Banking, CIBC. “We’re proud to celebrate this outstanding achievement and applaud the entire team for their contributions to the Canadian marketplace.”

2015 winners of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies award, along with Requalified, Gold Standard, Gold Requalified winners and Platinum Club members will be honoured at the annual Canada’s Best Managed Companies gala in Toronto on April 12, 2016. On the same date, the Best Managed symposium will address leading-edge business issues that are key to the success of today’s business leaders.

The Best Managed program is sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, Smith School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums.

Karen Gavan, president & CEO of Economical Insurance, to retire at end of Dec 2016

"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

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, February 19, 2016 – The board of directors of Economical Insurance today announced that Karen Gavan will retire as president and CEO and director at the end of her contract on December 31, 2016.

Gavan joined the board of Economical Insurance in 2008 and assumed the role of president and CEO in 2011. As initial Chair of the Special Committee on Demutualization she spearheaded the decision to proceed with demutualization and then as CEO she successfully led the company through a period of transformational change. Under Gavan’s leadership, the company has established a bold vision and strategy, grown significantly, transformed its operating platform, and positioned itself as a strong competitor.

“Economical Insurance is entering the next stage in our journey to becoming a public company. We do so from a position of strength thanks to Karen’s exceptional leadership,” said John Bowey, board chair. “Now is the right time for transition. Karen has been the perfect leader to guide Economical through the first phase of demutualization. Economical has all the characteristics of a company poised for greatness and growth. Our leadership team brings great energy and stability while our long-term strategy is world-class.”

“It has been a privilege to lead Economical at such an exciting time in its history,” said Gavan. “When I stepped in almost five years ago, I had a mandate to develop a compelling strategy for the future, form a great leadership team and drive the results necessary for longterm success. I’m extremely proud to have delivered on this mandate. Economical is now well positioned for the future. I’d like to thank our amazing leadership team for their support, members of the board and our brokers and policyholders for their trust, and every Economical employee for their dedication. I remain committed to providing ongoing leadership for the company until the end of my contract.”

During Gavan’s tenure to date as CEO – from the second quarter of 2011 through the end of 2015 — total equity has grown by more than $500 million to record levels, with the company surpassing $2 billion in gross written premiums (GWP) for the first time in its 145-year history. In addition to financial performance, Economical achieved notable success in areas of strategic importance under Gavan’s leadership. During this period, the company:

  • Formally began its demutualization process
  • Implemented a business transformation program that reduced operating expenses to competitive levels
  • Developed a multi-channel strategy and announced the launch of a direct-to-consumer business, scheduled for later in 2016
  • Made significant investments in technology and predictive analytics, including a multi-year implementation of our Guidewire PolicyCenter® policy administration system

“Economical would not be where it is today without Karen’s vision and drive,” continued Bowey. “We have incredible momentum. The Economical of tomorrow will excite and impress the Canadian business community, while we continue to deliver superior service and innovative products to our customers, brokers, and partners. Our board remains fully committed to our strategy, and our next CEO will share in our excitement and vision as we continue to expand this great company. On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank Karen for the enormous contribution she has made to the company. We look forward to her continued passion and energy over the balance of the year.”

The board of directors will conduct a process to select Gavan’s successor. Gavan will continue to lead the company during this phase, with the full support of the board and the leadership team.

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 December 31, 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, and Economical Financial.

For further information, contact:

Doug Maybee Manager,
Public Relations and Media Relations
Economical Insurance
(T) 519.570.8249
(C) 519.404.0989
doug.maybee@economical.com

David Bradfield
Vice-president, Communication
Economical Insurance
(C) 647.223.5192
david.bradfield@economical.com

FirstOnSite Restoration announces the launch of its new Western Canada branch in Victoria, B.C

FirstOnSite Victoria Branch Opening Post Slider

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Western Canada branch in Victoria, British Columbia. The Victoria branch will serve residential, insurance and commercial customers in the Greater Victoria Region, and further strengthen our operational presence in the province.

The branch is prepared to handle any type of disaster, from residential incidents to commercial events and large-scale catastrophes, and we look forward to working with insurers and members of the community to help prepare for disasters, and to provide clean up and restoration services when necessary.

Press Release:

FirstOnSite Restoration, Canada’s largest independent disaster restoration company, is pleased to announce the launch of its new Western Canada branch in Victoria, British Columbia. The Victoria branch will serve residential, insurance and commercial customers in the Greater Victoria Region, further strengthening the firm’s operational presence in the province.“The expansion of FirstOnSite’s operations to Greater Victoria is in line with our company mission of providing unparalleled disaster restoration service across Canada,” said Joseph DeAngelis, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Western Region, FirstOnSite. “Through this launch, we intend to strengthen our client service capabilities in the BC region and further increase our ability to mobilize

“The expansion of FirstOnSite’s operations to Greater Victoria is in line with our company mission of providing unparalleled disaster restoration service across Canada,” said Joseph DeAngelis, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Western Region, FirstOnSite. “Through this launch, we intend to strengthen our client service capabilities in the BC region and further increase our ability to mobilize
quickly when it counts most – during time-sensitive disaster situations.”

The Victoria branch will be headed up by Daryl Horvath, who will serve as Project Manager and Branch Leader. Mr. Horvath has extensive leadership experience in the property restoration industry, beginning in 1969 working in his family property restoration business. He has a full complement of experience, beginning from production through to upper management, and is well respected in the Victoria community where he has earned a reputation for integrity. Mr. Horvath has also added to his industry knowledge through courses at the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration, Worksafe B.C., the Homeowner Protection Office and Camosun College. As Branch Leader, Mr. Horvath will be responsible for establishing the new branch, and managing overall branch operations.

“I look forward to leading branch operations in Victoria while working with a dedicated team of restoration professionals.” said Daryl Horvath, Project Manager and Branch Leader, FirstOnSite. “Our team will work hard to provide clients with the best possible service, each and every time.” The launch of FirstOnSite’s Victoria branch is part of a long-term company strategy of maximizing service and operational efficiency to better meet the evolving needs of clients.

To contact the branch directly, call 250-360-0277. Or, if you have an emergency, call our 24/7 emergency hotline at 1-877-778-6731.

About FirstOnSite

FirstOnSite Restoration is the leading Canadian disaster restoration company, providing remediation, restoration and reconstruction services nationwide, and for the US large loss and commercial market. FirstOnSite’s corporate structure is distinguished within the industry as it provides unequalled degrees of speed, scope and scale, including unmatched abilities to embrace innovations and technologies that help meet the unique needs of its customers. With over 1,100 employees, 39 locations, 24/7 emergency service and a commitment to customer service, FirstOnSite proudly serves the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

FirstOnSite has been a recipient of the Deloitte Best Managed Company award since 2012 and is an approved vendor for many leading insurance companies and commercial clients. For more information visit: www.firstonsite.ca or call 1-877-778- 6731,

 

Manulife appoints Chief Marketing Officer for Canada

Manulife announced that it has appointed Glenn Hollis as Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, Canadian Division for Manulife.  Reporting to the President and CEO of Manulife Canada, Marianne Harrison, Hollis will also be a member of the Canadian Division Executive Leadership Team.

“Manulife is innovating to create new and extraordinary customer experiences to set us apart from the competition and become a leading disruptor in our industry,” said Harrison.  “Glenn brings transformational leadership to execute a truly innovative and integrated marketing strategy that builds on our brand in Canada.”

Glenn Hollis was most recently with Level 5 Strategy Group as a Senior Strategic Consultant working on various businesses and also directly, through his own consultancy practice, with WestJet as a client.  From 2007 to 2015, he was Vice President, Marketing, Brand Strategy and Guest Experience (Canada, USA, & International) with Tim Hortons.  Prior to his tenure at Tim Hortons, Hollis worked at the Canadian operations of some of the world’s leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, Young and Rubicam, BBDO, and Saatchi & Saatchi.

About Manulife
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group providing forward-thinking solutions to help people with their big financial decisions.  We operate as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere.  We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions.  At the end of 2014, we had 28,000 employees, 58,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving 20 million customers.  At the end of September 2015, we had $888 billion (US$663 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made more than $23 billion in benefits, interest and other payments to our customers.  Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years.  With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong.  Follow Manulife on Twitter @ManulifeNews or visit www.manulife.com or www.johnhancock.com.

SOURCE Manulife Financial Corporation

For further information: Media Contact: Sean B. Pasternak, Manulife, 416-852-2745, sean_pasternak@manulife.com; Investor Relations: Robert Veloso, Manulife, robert_veloso@manulife.com, 416-852-8982

 

Economical partners with MSA Research to provide sophisticated industry research to brokers in ON & AB

"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

WATERLOO, February 3, 2016 – Economical Insurance is pleased to be the new title sponsor of the MSA Quarterly Outlook Reports that will be distributed to the members of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario and the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta beginning in April 2016.

MSA’s quarterly reports provide informative insight into the P&C insurance industry, including financial results for Canada’s insurers and updated Standard and Poor’s (S&P) financial strength ratings.

“Our sponsorship ensures that more than 1,500 P&C brokerage offices in Ontario and Alberta have access to the same material and industry insights that their carrier partners get from MSA Research each quarter,” said Tom Reikman, Economical’s chief operating officer. “This helps underscore our commitment to the broker channel by providing brokers with information they need to grow and succeed in the rapidly changing marketplace.”

“We’re extremely pleased that Economical has partnered with MSA Research, allowing IBAO and IBAA member brokerages to benefit from MSA’s Quarterly Outlook Reports,” said Joel Baker, CEO of MSA Research Inc. “The depth of research and analysis from this independent industry resource is important for them to remain competitive and relevant.”

“We’re very pleased that Economical will be supporting this initiative, which will give IBAO members special and regular access to updated industry data. Under this partnership, MSA Research will distribute its quarterly reports exclusively to our members,” said Jim Murphy, CEO of IBAO. “Being able to track and analyze current changes is a key strategic advantage, particularly since brokerage firms face market changes.”

“The ability for IBAA brokers to track and analyze up-to-date industry data is always crucial, but even more so this competitive and changing market,” said George Hodgson, IBAA CEO. “We applaud Economical’s partnership with MSA Research and the decision to share MSA’s quarterly reports with IBAA brokers. By sharing this independent and in-depth research on current market trends, Economical underscores the value of the broker channel and increases its ability to compete.”

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:

Doug Maybee
Economical Insurance
(T)519.570.8249
(C)519.404.0989
doug.maybee@economical.com

The Co-operators donates $75,000 to Kids Help Phone

The Co-operators joined a passionate group of supporters for male mental health by making a donation of $75,000 to Kids Help Phone in support of its BroTalk service for young males.

BroTalk is a dedicated online support zone and referral service that provides teen guys aged 14 to 18 with information, referrals and professional counselling. It seeks to address the fact that the young men who reach out for counselling are 31 per cent less likely to discuss mental and emotional health issues than girls, and 36 per cent less likely to talk about suicide and suicide related issues.

BroTalk has been designed to address issues that prevent teen guys from reaching out — stigma, gender stereotypes and the term “mental health” —  and provide options for support including direct access to a Kids Help Phone counsellor through Live Chat, information and interactive tools.

“It can be difficult and uncomfortable for young men to reach out for support when they’re going through a tough time,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “BroTalk makes it a little easier, by providing an anonymous service guys can access through a live chat function, an app or by phone. We’re pleased to support this amazing new service.”

With the commitment of Principal Funder the Movember Foundation, BroTalk launched in October 2015 and will help make fundamental changes to the ways in which young men reach out and access the help they need. As a long-time supporter of Kids Help Phone, The Co-operators also donated funds to help launch BroTalk and is pleased to continue its support in 2016.

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 visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

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

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