La Capitale and SSQ Insurance, two Quebec-based mutuals that merged this past July, announced Thursday they plan to go to market as Beneva.
“Beneva is an invented word. You won’t find it any dictionary,” said Jean-François Chalifoux, CEO of La Capitale/SSQ, in an interview Thursday with Canadian Underwriter.
The merger agreement between Quebec City-based La Capitale and Sainte Foy-based SSQ, was first announced in January 2020. The deal closed July 1.
There will be a progressive rollout of the new Beneva brand. For the time being, the SSQ and La Capitale brands and companies remain active until the firms fully merge, Chalifoux told Canadian Underwriter.
Beneva has two parts to it. “Bene” is associated with benevolence, kindness, and benefits, while “va” is a French word associated with movement, said Chalifoux.
“The goal was to find a name that resonated well across the country in all the markets that we are targeting. It suits the digital space extremely well.”
Beneva will gradually replace the La Capitale and SSQ insurance brands. But La Capitale’s Unica and L’Unique brands will remain as separate independent brands.
By merging to form Beneva, SSQ and La Capitale is Canada’s largest mutual, if you count both life and health and property and casualty premiums. Wawanesa remains Canada’s largest P&C mutual.
La Capitale was Canada’s 13th largest P&C insurer in 2019 with net premiums written of $1.15 billion, according to the 2020 Canadian Underwriter Statistical Guide. SSQ Insurance had net premiums written of $293 million in 2019.
“Proud of its new identity and its values, Beneva is confident that a more caring approach will resonate with Canadians across the country,” Beneva said in a release.
“In 2020, we started working on our new brand because we did not want to have La Capitale or SSQ or a mix of it,” Mélissa Gilbert, La Capital/SSQ’s executive vice president and finance lead, said during KPMG Canada’s 29th Annual Insurance Conference on Nov. 24.
That panel was held before the merged firm identified its new brand as Beneva.
La Capitale and SSQ had been talking about a possible deal since the late 1980s, Chalifoux said during the KPMG panel. Before the merger, Chalifoux had been CEO of SSQ.
“Rumours had been swirling and several attempts had been made over the past 30 years. So [the merger] needed to happen at one point,” said Gilbert.
Jean St-Gelais, formerly chairman and CEO of La Capitale, is chairman of the merged firm.
“The two companies coming together positions Beneva as a major player in the industry and in the job market. With more than 5,000 employees, Beneva continues to recruit the best talent, thereby confirming its growth and development objectives,” Beneva said Dec. 3