Canadian Underwriter

Reliant Insurance poised for growth in Alberta

May 18, 2018   by Greg Dalgetty, Editor

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csioLast November, Steven Bhardwaj and his father partnered with Calgary-based Alpine Insurance to acquire Farnese Insurance Brokers in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.

“We’ve been growing like gangbusters since then,” Bhardwaj told Canadian Insurance Top Broker.

Earlier this month, the Bhardwajes and Alpine incorporated Reliant Insurance and acquired Izmirli Insurance in Edmonton, which now operates under the Reliant banner.

“We’re looking to be one of the fastest growing brokers in Alberta,” said Bhardwaj, the newly minted president and CEO of Reliant. “We’re looking to acquire maybe one or two brokerages a year, and then go from there.”

Though he’s already making waves in the Alberta brokerage community, Bhardwaj is actually new to insurance. He previously worked in the car and truck rental industry, but managed to get into the brokerage business after partnering with Alpine.

“Alpine’s support has been immense,” he said. “They have the infrastructure, they have the processes and procedures in place. That gives us a really good backing to go out and acquire more brokerages.”

Acquiring Izmirli Insurance made sense from a strategic standpoint: the brokerage is well suited to serve the needs of its ethnically diverse community.

“We can talk about seven different languages out of that brokerage just to service that community,” he explained. “Talking to [clients] in their own language and explaining to them what we’re doing is huge.”

For now, Farnese Insurance Brokers will continue to operate under the same name, but Bhardwaj says it will be rebranded as Reliant in six to eight months.

“That business has been in the community for 30 years,” he said. “So I didn’t want to come into the community and make too many changes too quickly and have it impact the business negatively.”

In the meantime, Bhardwaj is getting his feet wet in the insurance world—and keeping his eyes open for future opportunities.

“I think we’re at a really good point in the industry, because a lot of broker owners are at that age now where they’re ready to sell,” he said. “A lot of people are looking for exit strategies, and that’s why I think it’s exciting because there’s a lot of opportunities out there.”

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This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.