Crawford & Company® (Canada) Announces Two Executive Appointments

Crawford & Company® (Canada) Announces Two Executive Appointments

TORONTO (Dec. 8, 2015) – Pat Van Bakel, president and chief executive officer of Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc., is pleased to announce the appointments of two of its long-standing executive leaders, Greg Smith and Gary Gardner.

Smith, former senior vice president of Key Account Management, has been appointed to the position of senior vice president, Administration. Smith is a valued member of the Crawford Executive Leadership Team and possesses an in-depth knowledge of many facets of the organization, gained from his hands-on approach and 19 years of service. In his new role, Smith will oversee many of the Company’s head office departments that support business operations across Canada including: Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Human Resources and Administration services.

“The simplification of the new internal administration structure, to be overseen by Greg, will bolster our competitive advantage by enhancing both our internal and external servicing capabilities,” said Van Bakel. “Throughout his tenure at Crawford, Greg has obtained valuable insight into the needs of our client base and operational capabilities, making him an ideal candidate to ensure the administration departments are focused on effectively meeting the needs of our operations across Canada and ultimately the many customers that we serve.”

Gardner, senior vice president, Global Client Development, will oversee Crawford’s Key Account Management team in addition to its Sales and Marketing department.

“Gary is a strong and effective leader who has led our sales division for more than 20 years. His extensive knowledge and insight of the independent adjusting and insurance industry, combined with the strong relationships that he has established and maintained with our key clients, make him a most valuable asset to our organization and clients,” stated Van Bakel.

The appointments of these accomplished leaders strengthen the capabilities of our organization. Crawford has a strong and effective Executive Leadership Team, which is further strengthened by these new appointments and a realignment of our internal structure. As an organization, we are dedicated to operational excellence to enhance our client’s experience, allowing us to foster stronger business relationships.

About Crawford

Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Crawford & Company. Based in Atlanta, Ga., Crawford & Company is the world’s largest independent provider of claims management solutions to the risk management and insurance industry as well as self-insured entities, with an expansive global network serving clients in more than 70 countries. The Crawford Solution(TM) offers comprehensive, integrated claims services, business process outsourcing and consulting services for major product lines including property and casualty claims management, workers compensation claims and medical management, and legal settlement administration. The Company’s shares are traded on the NYSE under the symbols CRDA and CRDB.

For more information, please contact:

Gary Gardner



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

Executives Say It’s More Challenging to be a Leader Today

Leading a business is only getting harder, recent research found. In a Robert Half Management Resources survey, 87 per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said it is more challenging to be a company leader today than it was five years ago.

But survey results also found many managers enjoy support from their teams. Seventy-nine per cent of workers surveyed expressed confidence in their leaders, while only 6 per cent do not feel confident at all.

Portrait of a young attractive business woman.

Provinces Where Leadership Challenges Have Risen Most
Below are the provinces where the difficulties of being in management have intensified the most over the past five years, based on the percentages of executives who said it is significantly or somewhat more challenging to be a company leader today.

  1. British Columbia (100 per cent)
  2. Alberta (98 per cent)
  3. Quebec (95 per cent)
  4. Manitoba (92 per cent)

Navigating the Changing Leadership Landscape
“Facing an ever-evolving corporate landscape, executives have to deal with the pressures of emerging trends that require them to continually reassess everything from technology and staffing challenges, to regulatory demands and compliance requirements,” said David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources. “Great leaders understand the fundamentals of their field, but also know that it is the ability to recognize new opportunities through innovation that will ultimately set their business apart.”

King reminds managers to look to their employees for support. “An engaged team is a committed team, and executives who address challenges and opportunities with their employees build a foundation of trust, and shared goals for business growth.”

Robert Half Management Resources details five challenges facing leaders today and the attributes needed to address them:

1. Taking a ‘big picture’ view. As CFOs whose work outside of finance has expanded in recent years know well, executives are no longer tasked with just overseeing their department. They must draw on their strong business acumen, understanding how their unit’s decisions and performance affect the broader organization.

2. Overcoming staffing challenges. Building a skilled team in the face of candidate shortages and retention concerns requires special talents. Business leaders today are tasked with fostering relationships with recruiting sources and developing an effective staffing management strategy, blending full-time personnel with specialized professionals who can be brought in on-demand.

3. Maintaining an edge over diverse competitors. Firms face threats not just from traditional competitors, but also increasingly from organizations disrupting the marketplace with new business models. Organizations need leaders who can anticipate changes in the competitive landscape and inspire innovation to stay on top.

4. Remaining compliant with evolving mandates. Regulatory pressures continue to mount for many industries and companies. Executives today need to be experts on the mandates affecting their business and understand how compliance is more than meeting a set of requirements and can instead help the firm prosper.

5. Keeping up with technology. As history has repeatedly shown, technology can change everything at a moment’s notice. The onus is on business leaders to monitor the technology trends affecting their organizations and positions and adapt accordingly.

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.

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