CAA Club Group’s acquisition of Echelon Insurance has been completed

MISSISSAUGA, ON and RICHMOND HILL, ON, May 31, 2019 /CNW/ – Echelon Financial Holdings Inc. (“EFH” or the “Company“) (TSX: EFH) and CAA Club Group (“CAA“) are pleased to announce today that they have completed the previously announced sale of Echelon Insurance, the Company’s main operating subsidiary that is incorporated under the Insurance Companies Act, and the unregulated warranty business held directly by EFH to CAA (the “SaleTransaction“).

The net proceeds to EFH (after adjustments and expenses) was approximately C$166 million, which includes C$12 million that will be held in escrow for the next 30 days while EFH and CAA review and confirm the calculation of regulatory MCT at closing (which EFH has committed will be at least 220%). In the event that the MCT Ratio is less than 220%, monies held in the escrow account will be used to bring the MCT ratio to 220%.

Additional details are available in the Information Circular published by EFH on December 21, 2018.

Advisors

National Bank Financial Inc. acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Echelon Financial Holdings in connection with the strategic review process conducted by EFH’s Special Committee and the Sale Transaction. National Bank Financial Inc. and Blair Franklin Capital Partners provided opinions to EFH’s board of directors and EFH’s Special Committee, respectively, that the consideration pursuant to the Sale Transaction is fair, from a financial point of view, to EFH. Graham Gow and McCarthy Tétrault LLP acted as legal advisor to EFH. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP acted as insurance regulatory counsel to EFH. Stikeman Elliott LLP acted as legal advisor to CAA Club Group.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information involves numerous assumptions, risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. All information, other than statements of historical fact, is forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Known and unknown factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information.

About Echelon Financial Holdings Inc.

Founded in 1998, Echelon Financial Holdings Inc. operates in the property and casualty insurance industry in Canada, providing personal and commercial lines insurance exclusively through the broker channel. The Company distributes insurance products through Echelon Insurance and The Insurance Company of Prince Edward Island. It trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol EFH. For more information, please visit echeloninsurance.ca.

About CAA Club Group

For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. The CAA Club Group of Companies is comprised of two automobile clubs, CAA South Central Ontario and CAA Manitoba, providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance service and Member savings for over 2.2 million members. It also includes the CAA Insurance Company, a national property and casualty insurance company, and the Orion Travel Insurance company.

SOURCE Echelon Financial Holdings Inc.

BFL CANADA Acquires Summit Insurance Brokers Inc.

BFL CANADA is pleased to announce the acquisition of Summit Insurance Brokers Inc. (Summit), located in Prince George, British Columbia. Founded in the late 1990s, this firm has a strong reputation and a long history of providing exemplary service to clients in Central and Northern British Columbia and brings expertise in industrial, commercial and farm risks to BFL CANADA.

Summit specializes in services for the forestry, logging contractors, agriculture, transportation and suppliers to the oil and gas and mining industries. In addition, clients include small type or hobby farms and auto businesses.

“We are delighted to welcome the skilled and experienced Summit employees to the BFL CANADA family as this acquisition will provide us with a stronger presence in key Canadian growth sectors,” said Barry F. Lorenzetti, President, CEO and Founder. “We expect the economy in Central and Northern British Columbia to experience significant growth over the next five years and the completion of this transaction will allow BFL CANADA to bring its industry specialization, market leverage, business model, centres of excellence, and digital expertise to the region.”

Hugh Delwo, former President and CEO at Summit Insurance Brokers Inc., will assume the position of Managing Vice President for the Prince George office, BFL CANADA’s 16th location, and Al Delwo, former Vice President at Summit Insurance Brokers Inc., will lead business development efforts for the region.

About BFL CANADA

Founded in 1987 by Barry F. Lorenzetti, BFL CANADA is one of the largest employee-owned and operated Risk Management, Insurance Brokerage, and Employee Benefits consulting services firms in Canada. The firm has a team of over 700 professionals located in fourteen cities across the country. BFL CANADA is a founding Partner of Lockton Global LLP, a Partnership of independent insurance brokers and agents who provide Risk Management, Insurance and Benefits Consulting services in over 125 countries around the world.

For further details about the company, visit bflcanada.ca.

SOURCE BFL CANADA

Hub acquires Clarity Benefits Group

Hub International Limited (Hub), a leading global insurance brokerage, announced today that it has acquired the assets of Clarity Benefits Group Inc. (Clarity). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Clarity is an independent, boutique style firm providing employee benefit plans, life insurance, and group retirement plans to large and small companies throughout Canada.

“Clarity has vast experience in tailoring benefits programs for clients of all sizes and will add depth to our already strong Canadian benefits solution,” said David Moon, President of Hub International Barton Insurance Brokers, a division of Hub International Canada West ULC (Hub Barton). “We continue to strategically build a premier practice and complete employee benefits and pension offering for our clients.”

The move further reinforces Hub’s ongoing Canadian employee benefits growth and services strategy to assemble best-in-class capabilities and entrepreneurial talent across Canada to develop a comprehensive employee benefits and pension solution.

Kevin Rome, President of Clarity, will join Hub Barton and report to Mr. Moon.

“Clarity is entering a new and exciting chapter with Hub,” said Mr. Rome. “We look forward to providing a more robust service to clients, in order for them to best implement and manage their employee benefits programs, and attract and retain high performing talent.”

About Hub’s M&A Activities
Hub International Limited is committed to growing organically and through acquisitions to expand its geographic footprint and strengthen industry and product expertise.  For more information on the Hub M&A experience, visit WeAreHub.com.

About Hub International
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Hub International Limited is a leading full-service global insurance broker providing property and casualty, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services. With more than 11,000 employees in offices located throughout North America, Hub’s vast network of specialists provides peace of mind on what matters most by protecting clients through unrelenting advocacy and tailored insurance solutions. For more information, please visit www.hubinternational.com.

Sonnet Insurance partners with like-minded brands to simplify life for CDN’s

Sonnet Insurance has launched Sonnet Connect, a new way to protect, improve, and simplify life for Canadians. Known for simplifying the insurance experience, Sonnet has partnered with 14 different brands that share a commitment to customer experience that will impact Canadians at home, on the road, and in their wallet.

“This is one of the many ways Sonnet is enhancing our services to provide the best experience possible for Canadians,” said Mark Fujita, VP Business Development. “As Sonnet continues to evolve, we are partnering with brands who are equally committed to making things simple and understandable for Canadians.”

Sonnet Connect gives access to special offers, promotions, and trusted advice from partners in three key areas relevant to Canadians:

At home
Sonnet is there to protect your home with house, condo, tenant and landlord insurance, but these partners can do even more, from financing the perfect place to keeping it safe:

  • Hive – Smart home devices that help homeowners detect problems and protect their place
  • Homewise – The easiest way for home buyers to get the best mortgage by applying online in minutes to save time and money
  • MovingWaldo – The app that helps Canadians simplify address changes when moving
  • Parent Life Network – The online community for parents with exclusive deals and offers
  • Petsecure – Canada’s first and only licensed insurance company in Canada to focus solely on pet health insurance

On the road
Sonnet has your car insurance covered, and now offers more confidence for buying, leasing and selling vehicles through these partnerships:

  • CarCostCanada: Provides new car buyers with reports that include dealer costs, hidden rebates, and price guidance for peace of mind
  • CARFAX Canada: A leading source of vehicle history and valuation information helping Canadians buy and sell used cars with confidence
  • LeaseBusters: Canada’s #1 lease-take-over destination and marketplace that helps customers get out of their lease
  • The Car Magazine: Providing Canadian car buyers with the latest car news and objective reviews

In your wallet
As Canada’s first and only national provider of home and auto insurance online, Sonnet cares about making financial transactions easier for Canadians, just like these partners:

  • Borrowell: The first AI-powered credit coaching tool providing Canadians with free credit scores to help understand and improve their financial well-being
  • Drop: The app that rewards customers for spending with their favourite brands
  • KOHO: Offering customers an alternative to the traditional banking experience with no fees, cash back, savings goals, and roundups
  • Mylo: The app helping Canadians with automated savings and investing
  • Wealthsimple: The simple way for customers to grow their money like the world’s most sophisticated investors on autopilot

Sonnet will continue to provide updates as these and other new partnerships develop further.

About Sonnet Insurance
Launched in 2016, Sonnet Insurance Company (Sonnet) is a federally regulated insurance company. Our mission is to provide Canadians with an easy, transparent, and customized way to buy home and auto insurance online. Experience the future of insurance at Sonnet.ca, and say hello on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

SOURCE Sonnet Insurance Company

The Co-operators acquires Robinson & Associates Insurance Brokers

The Co-operators announced today it has purchased Robinson & Associates Insurance Brokers in Niagara Falls and Ridgeway, Ontario.

The brokerage’s portfolio includes personal and commercial insurance policies. Any existing insurance coverage a client has will remain in effect for the current term of their policies.

“This is our second Ontario broker acquisition of 2019, demonstrating our commitment to strengthen our agency distribution system in the region” says Rob Wesseling, President and CEO of The Co-operators. “This continued growth allows us to better serve our clients, helping them achieve financial security, and ultimately, peace of mind.”

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 and commercial.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $41.7 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 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca

SOURCE The Co-operators

Consolidating its insurance brands: 3 Reasons to Ride This Stock’s Exciting Rebound

The excerpreted article was written by Will Ashworth | The Motley Fool

If you look at the performance of Power Corporation (TSX:POW) stock in 2019, you’d swear it was a momentum stock. Up 30.9% year to date including dividends through April 8, that’s the farthest thing from the truth.

The reality is that POW stock hasn’t broken 30% annual returns since 2013 and 2009 before that. For most of the past five years, it’s been range bound between $25-$35. Only once as a public company has it broken through the $40 barrier.

As we head into the fourth month of 2019, here are three reasons why it might test $40 later this year, only the second time in its history.

Consolidating its insurance brands

On April 3, Great-West Lifeco (TSX:GWO), Power Corp.’s insurance subsidiary, which it controls through its 65.5% stake in Power Financial (TSX:PWF), which in turn owns 67.8% of Great-West Lifeco, announced that it was folding Great-West Life and London Life into its 100%-owned Canada Life subsidiary.

The three insurance brands will all operate under the Canada Life banner, something that should have happened years ago.

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting evolution for our organization, as we start our transition to a new brand across Canada,” said Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Officer, GreatWest Lifeco. “The new Canada Life brand is more than just a logo. It’s a representation of who we are as a company, what we stand for and the promises we make to our customers.”

The truth is, by amalgamating all the brands, Great-West Lifeco will save a lot of money by simplifying both the marketing and underwriting of insurance. Both customers and insurance advisors will appreciate the efficiencies under a single Canada Life banner.

Power Corp. shareholders will be glad to see as many overlaps between the three brands disappear. It’s a big step forward for both Power Corp. and Power Financial.

Let the buybacks begin

In late March, I highlighted the positives of Power Corp.’s $1.35 billion share repurchase plan that will see it buy back as many as 47.4 million of its shares from existing shareholders who want to exit their investments.

If Power Corp. maximizes the share buyback, it will have cut its outstanding share count by 11.4%, which would translate into higher future earnings per share, driving its stock price even higher.

Like Warren Buffett buying back Berkshire Hathaway stock, Power Corp. sees the benefit of share repurchases, especially below $30. I think it’s a smart move. Investors have ignored the Power Corp. story for too long.

Investors weren’t buying what Power Corporation was selling, keeping the share price artificially lower than it should have been,” I wrote March 27. “A quick and efficient purchase of its shares allows the company to put its money where its mouth is.”

Not to mention the share repurchases will help keep Power Corp. stock trading above $30 until more good news can act as a catalyst to push its shares higher still.

Wealthsimple’s ongoing innovation

Canada rarely gets innovative technology at the same time as the U.S.

Take Robinhood, the stock trading app that provides commission-free trades. It launched in 2014. Five years later, Wealthsimple (majority owned by Power Corp. and its subsidiaries) has launched a stock and ETF trading app that provides commission-free trades.

You won’t get every stock on North American exchanges, but you do get the ones you ought to consider buying, which not only makes it cheaper to trade but it also pushes investors into higher quality companies.

Companies like the ones we cover at Fool Canada.

Now in business for more than five years, Wealthsimple’s managed to gather more than $3 billion in assets under management from Canadians and Americans who are looking for good advice and reasonable fees.

If you’re a DIY investor, you might not like Wealthsimple, but if you’re someone who has a core portfolio of ETFs and invests a small amount in stocks as well, it’s right up your alley.

Wealthsimple continues to be the least known and most underrated part of the Power Corporation stable.

I expect it to be a significant contributor as POW stock moves to $40 and higher.

When you buy heavily cyclical stocks at low prices… and then hold the shares until the cycle reaches its peak… you can make a very healthy profit.

Every investor knows that. But many struggle to identify the best opportunities.

 

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