February 1, 2004 by Canadian Underwriter
London, Ontario-based wholesaler Totten Insurance Group has bought August Group Risk Management, an underwriting office serving brokers of Aviva Canada.
Totten Group CEO Ross Totten says AGRM will remain at its current location and become a division of Totten, continuing to serve its existing stable of 10 brokers with Aviva’s personal and commercial lines products. Current AGRM staff, including vice president and manager Vern VanDusen, and underwriting manager Linda Flowers, will remain, with VanDusen and Flowers joining Totten’s management committee.
AGRM was formed to by a network of Ontario brokers in 1995, to have a team of trained company underwriters available to the group of brokerages. It is expected to generate writings of $30 million in 2004.
“They do regular lines business, not the traditional type of businesses wholesalers have done in the past,” Totten remarks. “We see in the future that Canada is going to follow a trend occurring in the U.S. a few years ago – where a substantial amount of commercial lines business will be placed with wholesalers.”
Totten says his group is using the AGRM purchase as an educational experience in delivering more standard products in addition to its specialty lines products.
Overall, he says the company is actively seeking acquisitions, as well as looking at opportunities to expand its existing business into new specialty lines areas and into standard lines offerings. “We think [insurance] companies are looking for more cost-effective distribution channels and brokers are looking for more market.”