Merrickville welcomes Justin Rice Insurance

By Kemptville Advance | Inside ottawavalley

For Justin Rice, opening a new office in Merrickville-Wolford was like coming home. On Saturday, May 23, Rice, together with his underwriting partner Grenville Mutual Insurance Company of Kemptville, celebrated the official opening of the new office in downtown Merrickville, and the heart of the Rideau Lakes region.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and messages from Leeds & Grenville MPP, Steve Clark, Merrickville-Wolford Mayor, David Nash, Grenville Mutual Insurance Chairman Gordon Smith and President and CEO, Ross Lincoln, took place at the new location at 212 St. Lawrence Street, Merrickville.

As a member of the distribution force for Grenville Mutual Insurance, Justin Rice Insurance will offer homeowners, farm owners and businesses in the region a full range of market-leading insurance products and second-to-none claims service at a location that will be convenient for many people in the area.  “Having a comfortable place to meet people, either at the new Merrickville office or at kitchen table, will give clients more options to have important questions answered.”

Having worked in the North Grenville district for much of his career, Rice also said moving to the village of Merrickville is a lot like returning to his roots. “It feels good to be here, serving the people and in an area I know so well,” Rice added.

Addressing the event, Grenville Mutual’s Board Chairman Gordon Smith noted that having locations close to Grenville Mutual’s clients embodies the company’s commitment not only to provide innovative products, but to deliver them through a local presence throughout Eastern Ontario.

“The company is steadfast in providing the best insurance products, combined with the kind of local, personalized claims service that people really want today – and deserve,” said Smith. “This new, central office will take that promise one step further.”

Also addressing the gathering was company President and CEO, Ross Lincoln.  He pointed out that Grenville Mutual’s brokerage force expands throughout Eastern Ontario and enables innovative coverage for some of North Grenville’s most successful businesses and farming operations.

“Support to our distribution partners, like Justin, who work on our behalf is just one more way that we continue to prove what we say – that we always deliver a better experience right in the communities where people live,” Lincoln added.

The new office location for Justin Rice Insurance is 212 St. Lawrence Street, 613.258.2293.

About Justin Rice Insurance

Since partnering with Grenville Mutual Insurance in 2012, Rice has brought a high level of personal customer service to his business, which reaches throughout the North Grenville region. Moving to Merrickville will give people more choice to quickly deal with claims issues, or discuss coverage for the things that matter most.

About the Grenville Mutual Insurance Company

For more than 120 years Grenville Mutual Insurance has sheltered generations of families and businesses throughout the greater region of Eastern Ontario through some of the best brokers in the business. A leader within the Eastern Ontario Mutuals community, Grenville is a genuine partner in the community focused on meeting the unique insurance needs of its farming, commercial and residential clients.

A strong collaborative approach with its brokerage force stems from the company’s roots, and it is something the Grenville staff and Directors are proud to say is deeply embedded in the way it does business.  Grenville Mutual is owned solely by its policyholders and is backed by one of the world’s most financially secure insurance networks, Ontario’s Mutual Insurance companies.

Source: www.jriceinsurance.com

Intact Insurance awards $42,000 to 42 Canadian speed skating clubs as part of the Podium Tracker program

Speed Skating Canada – Ottawa, May 21, 2015 – Intact Insurance Company, Speed Skating Canada’s major sponsor, announced today that 42 Canadian speed skating clubs were each awarded a $1,000 bursary as part of the 2014-2015 Podium Tracker program, for a total donation of $42,000.

 

Since the start of the Podium Tracker program five years ago, Intact Insurance has donated a total of $215,000 to Canadian speed skating clubs. The program tracks individual medals won by Canadian short and long track skaters in World Cups and World Championships. Each time an athlete steps onto the podium, Intact Insurance gave $1,000 to a local speed skating club in the country.

 

This season, Canadian short and long track speed skaters won a total of 42 medals in World Cups and World Championships. Charles Hamelin and Marianne St-Gelais led the way with eight medals each, followed by Ivanie Blondin (seven), Laurent Dubreuil (six), Denny Morrison (four), Kasandra Bradette and Kim Boutin (two each). François Hamelin, Patrick Duffy, Valérie Maltais, Vincent de Haître and William Preudhomme won one medal each.

 

“I’m very proud of my eight individual medals won during World Cups and World Championships last season”, said Charles Hamelin, the 1000m silver and 1500m bronze medalist at the last World Championships in Moscow. “But I’m also proud of the fact that I played a role in helping out local clubs across the country. These clubs are at the source of the athletes’ development and passion.”

 

“We’re very pleased to see such strong results from the Canadian team this season”, said Intact Insurance’s Vice President of Brand Development and Customer Experience, Anna Rajpat. “It means we have been able to donate more money to skating clubs across Canada to help meet their training and racing needs and help build future Olympians.”

“On behalf of the community and speed skating recipient clubs this season, I would like to thank Intact Insurance for this financial support, which will help clubs in their daily operations”, added Speed Skating Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Moss. “The Podium Tracker program is unique in the country and is a great illustration of the passion and involvement that Intact Insurance shows for our overall Canadian speed skating program.”

 

Here is the list of the recipient clubs which were each awarded a $1,000 grant from Intact Insurance for the 2014-2015 season:

About Intact Insurance

Intact Insurance is Canada’s largest home, auto and business insurance company, the choice of more than four million consumers. Its coast-to-coast presence and its strong relationship with insurance brokers mean the company can provide the outstanding service, comfort and continuity customers deserve. Intact Insurance (www.intact.ca) is a member company of Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC), the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada (www.intactfc.com).

For more information:

Patrick Godbout: Communications & Media Relations Manager

Speed Skating Canada Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca

Phone: (514) 213-9897 Website: www.speedskating.ca 

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The Co-operators launches flood insurance in Alberta

GUELPH, ON, May 25, 2015 /CNW/ – Co-operators General Insurance Company launched ground-breaking new insurance coverage that protects homeowners in Alberta against damage caused by overland flooding. The new coverage, which is available throughout the province, is an inclusive and flexible solution designed to protect homes against the most common causes of water damage – flooding caused by an overflow from a body of water, sewer/water backup and accumulation of surface water caused by heavy rain.

The coverage is available as an endorsement to Co-operators General Insurance Company homeowners’ insurance policies in Alberta. It is available for purchase as of today, and will be added to existing policies that currently have coverage for sewer/water backup, upon renewal. Planning is currently underway to make the product available across the country.

“As a co-operative, we seek to address unmet needs, and there is clearly a need to provide Canadian homeowners with better protection against flooding. Our coverage is available to homeowners throughout the province – not just those who have a low risk of flooding or sewer backup,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “We’ll work with clients to help them understand their home’s risk of water damage, encourage them to take preventive measures, and provide flexibility so they can purchase coverage that makes sense for them and their families.”

Flooding is the most common type of natural disaster in Canada, and the flood in southern Alberta in 2013 was the most costly storm in Canadian history. However, before today, insurance against overland flooding has not been available to homeowners in Canada.

The new endorsement, called Comprehensive Water, provides coverage against the various types of water damage in one easy-to-understand product. Clients can choose the amount of coverage they wish, based on their individual needs, and flexible deductibles are available as a percentage of the claim amount. In addition, if a client’s home is completely destroyed in a flood, they can choose whether or not they want to rebuild at the current location, a new location, or not rebuild at all. Either way, the claim will be paid.

Canadians can now access a new online tool available at water.cooperators.ca, which provides a personalized risk assessment and information about preventing water damage to your home.

Homeowners in Alberta can purchase the coverage by contacting a local Co-operators advisor. To find the advisor nearest you, use the Find an Advisor function on the homepage of cooperators.ca.

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: please contact: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937

FirstOnSite Restoration promotes two executives, strengthens commercial, technology services

Press Release:

MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 20, 2015 – FirstOnSite Restoration, Canada’s leading independent disaster restoration company, is pleased to announce two appointments within its senior team: John Stephenson is promoted to Senior Vice President, Commercial Accounts, and Nathan Belcher becomes Vice President of Information Technology. As the industry leader in restoration services, FirstOnSite continues to grow and strengthen its operations to meet the needs of its residential, commercial and industrial customers, as well as U.S. commercial customers.

“I am excited to announce these appointments, recognizing the many accomplishments of John and Nathan, who have been at the heart of some of FirstOnSite’s most innovative and successful undertakings,” says Dave Demos, Chief Executive Officer, FirstOnSite Restoration. “We have built our company with the mission of providing superior restoration services in times of disaster, and our success as Canada’s leader in emergency management and restoration is a result of the talent of our people, including a high-performing leadership team.”

As Senior Vice President, Commercial Accounts, John Stephenson leads FirstOnSite’s commercial business development activities across the organization. With a focus on disaster mitigation planning and business continuity, he will continue to help develop and drive FirstOnSite’s commercial restoration programs tailored to this unique market.

Mr. Stephenson joined FirstOnSite in 2011. Since then, he has worked closely with business development and field teams to build a dedicated and consistent approach that address the needs of commercial customers. He has also brought on board numerous major commercial customers. With more than 30 years of leadership experience in the property management and disaster recovery field, Mr. Stephenson has been critical in driving key customer programs.

In his new role as Vice President of Information Technology, Nathan Belcher leads the enhancement of FirstOnSite’s strategic growth objectives surrounding the delivery of superior and consistent customer service. He oversees FirstOnSite’s software development, data center and networks across North America, leads an innovative and dedicated in-house team as well as a strategic group of technology partners.

Mr. Belcher has worked with FirstOnSite for more than seven years and has been instrumental in building the technology foundation the company relies on today. With over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field, he has played a major role in the development and design of FirstOnSite’s customer management programs and proprietary software systems, including ClaimTrak, mobileCT, SAM (Sales Account Management system), mobile app FOS SOS and mobileFP.

About FirstOnSite Restoration

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, 35 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 for the past three years, 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, and follow @firstonsite on Twitter at www.twitter.com/firstonsite.

For further information:

Colin Nekolaichuk
MAVERICK Inc.
416-640-5525 ext. 253
colinn@wearemaverick.com

Economical Insurance wins IABC Gold Quill Merit Award for Select Sweepstakes campaign

company_logo

WATERLOO, ON, May 13, 2015 – Economical Insurance is the proud recipient of the prestigious 2015 Gold Quill Merit Award from the International Association of Business Communicators for the 2014 Select Sweepstakes. This promotional consumer campaign is run in partnership between Economical Select, one of Canada’s leading providers of group home and auto insurance, and 55 insurance brokers across Canada, offering eligible group members an opportunity to win great prizes.

“It’s obvious this was a very effective campaign,” stated feedback from the IABC Gold Quill evaluators. The Select Sweepstakes campaign showed, “…great consistency, strong messaging, great customizable materials for brokers. This is an excellent campaign. It is clearly evident why it would have achieved the success it did.”

“It was a collective effort, the result of great collaboration between our sales, marketing, communications, translation, enterprise procurement and legal teams, that earned Economical Insurance this award,” said Mary Beth Alexander, Economical’s vice-president of corporate communications and public relations.

Now in its second year, Select Sweepstakes entrants are eligible simply for calling for a quote or providing a renewal date. Existing customers can also ask to be included.

The exciting prize lineup in 2014 included three grand-prize vehicles: a 2015 Ford Escape, a 2015 Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited, and a 2015 BMW 328i.Other winners took home 12 tablets, four $2,500 travel certificates, and more than 100 $250 gas cards.

Launched in April 2014, the first year of the consumer promotional campaign was very successful. “It’s a great example of our brokers to work collaboratively, which is generating higher than normal levels of broker and group engagement. Collectively, we are distributing much more marketing materials to potential customers,” said David Fitzpatrick, Economical’s divisional vice-president of Economical Select.

Tripemco CEO Paul Vaccarello said “We have nearly doubled our group insurance sales since we began participating in the Select Sweepstakes. It has also given us an opportunity to be in front of our group members and speak with them about how we can help meet their insurance needs.”

The IABC 2015 Gold Quill Awards will be presented at IABC’s World Conference, to be held in San Francisco, June 14-17. More information on World Conference is available at: http://wc.iabc.com/.

About the Gold Quill Awards Program:
For more than 40 years, IABC’s Gold Quill Awards have recognized and awarded excellence in strategic communication worldwide. IABC Gold Quill honors the dedication, innovation and passion of communicators on a global scale. Since 2008, more than 5,000 projects have been entered in the Gold Quill Awards. The IABC Gold Quill Awards program recognizes business communication excellence globally, and is acknowledged as one of the most prestigious awards programs in the industry.

About IABC:
IABC is comprised of more than 12,000 members in 100 chapters worldwide, with awards programs at the chapter, region, and international level. Founded in 1970, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) enables a global network of communicators working in diverse industries and disciplines to identify, share, and apply the world’s best communication practices. IABC is recognized as the professional association of choice for communicators who aspire to excel in their chosen fields. For more information, visit iabc.com.

About Economical
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 $5.2 billion in assets as at March 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, 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

Great-West Lifeco looks to U.S. and Europe for expansion

JACQUELINE NELSON | The Globe and Mail

Great-West Lifeco Inc. is looking south of the border and in Europe for new customers.

The Winnipeg-based insurer and wealth manager says there are plenty of opportunities to build its business in developed markets such as the U.S. and Britain, where competition is fierce but large players are buying smaller ones to gain scale. This will mean competing with major financial firms, but the company has already begun to acquire businesses in these regions and plans to boost its focus on technology to attract more consumers.

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“We could really participate in good growth in the U.S., and we’ll look to acquisitions to bolster that,” Paul Mahon, chief executive of Great-West, said on a recent trip to Toronto. “And in the U.K.? That’s a market that is not fully consolidated either.”

Great-West is Canada’s stealthy insurance giant, sometimes overlooked due to its head office location outside Toronto’s financial core, its holding company structure and because its shares are less widely held than those of competitors.

More than 67 per cent of the company’s outstanding shares are owned by Power Financial Corp., which is backed by Canada’s wealthy Desmarais family.

But 12 million Canadians – one in three – are connected to Great-West through a product or service. The company also operates multiple international insurance and wealth-management brands throughout the U.K. and the United States, such as London Life Insurance Co., Irish Life Financial Services Ltd. and Putnam Investments, and consolidation will be the ticket to building a presence in these markets. That, and keeping an eye on how tech companies such as Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are changing consumers’ expectations for service.

Because Great-West has built its strength in similar Western economies, it often gets the benefit of employee collaboration on new products from Europe, the United States and Canada.

“We can use that commonality of that Western world phenomenon to leverage commonalities across our organization,” Mr. Mahon said. “In the Far East, you’d be be thinking about products we were maybe selling at Great-West Life or London Life 20 or 30 years ago.”

Mr. Mahon said it would be outside Great-West’s wheelhouse to expand into emerging economies and Asia, where large Canadian competitors Manulife Financial Corp. and Sun Life Financial Inc. have had huge growth in insurance and wealth management in recent years.

Instead, Mr. Mahon is looking to the fragmented U.S. market, where the rising cost of regulation stemming from changes after the financial crisis – such as the Dodd-Frank Act – are also making it more efficient to be a larger player.

Last year, U.S. business arm Great-West Financial bought J.P. Morgan Securities Canada Inc.’s retirement plan services unit, which does administration of defined-benefits pension plans, marketing and client services. The business is being integrated with part of Boston-based asset manager Putnam Investments, and will fall under the company’s recently created brand Empower Retirement.

Building in the United States will take time. “Particularly in the massive U.S. market, these investments carry great long-term potential if execution is strong,” Robert Sedran, an analyst at CIBC World Markets, said in a note. “[In the medium term] the costs will likely outweigh the benefits, especially since it is natural for the size of the opportunity to sometimes compromise near-term expense discipline.”

Great-West is more cautious in Europe because of instability in the Euro zone, but has a positive outlook. “As we look to the U.K. and Ireland and Germany, those would be markets we’d see as sound and stable and strong,” Mr. Mahon said. In early 2013, Great-West bought Ireland’s biggest life insurer for $1.75-billion, a move Mr. Mahon said is not only a good strategic fit, but has also benefited from the country’s economic recovery.

Amid the hunt for growth, the pool of opponents is getting broader. “It’s not just traditional life insurers that we view as competition any more. You look to financial services evolving out of Wal-Mart,” he said, adding that even some drug stores are selling pet and travel insurance at the end of the aisle. “And then there’s digital players like Google – what will Google Finance become?” he said.

Customers’ digital experiences should be compared not to what Manulife might offer them, but to what they are getting from Amazon.com Inc. and other digital players, Mr Mahon said. In the future, insurers will not get a pass on a lousy digital experience just because life insurance has long been dominated by paper forms, he added.

At the same time, Mr. Mahon must ensure all changes fit well with the independent cultures of Great-West’s unique businesses. “As you try and create commonality or sharing, you also have to balance that out with making sure you maintain those strong capabilities in markets,” he said. “We’re in growth mode, but it’s thoughtful growth.”

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