Canadian Underwriter

Atlantic Canada brokerage acquires family-owned operation

February 15, 2019   by Jason Contant

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Archway Insurance, one of Atlantic Canada’s largest brokerages, has announced the acquisition of family brokerage George Mitchell Insurance in Liverpool, N.S.

Amherst, N.S.-headquartered Archway announced the acquisition Thursday. Effective Feb. 28, 2019, Archway’s latest acquisition brings its number of locations to 24, with approximately 57,000 clients and $115 million in premium volume. Some of Archway’s recent acquisitions include J.H. Deveau Insurance in Meteghan, N.S. last August and Bay Insurance & Financial in Tantallon, N.S. last May.

The latest deal increases George Mitchell Insurance’s commercial capabilities, adding life, travel, and employee benefits products to its client offerings. Access to all of Archway’s insurance companies also provides more options for George Mitchell’s personal insurance clients, Archway noted in a press release.

The smaller brokerage will be rebranded to Archway Insurance – Liverpool, said Gina McFetridge, president of Archway Insurance. Current employees will remain in the existing Liverpool location, providing a smooth transition for clients.

“When it came to selling our brokerage, our choice was Archway Insurance because of their principles and values,” said Don Abbey, a broker at George Mitchell Insurance. “We wanted to make sure our employees would enjoy their work environment, and we appreciate the terrific support we know they will receive from Archway.”

Similar to Archway, George Mitchell Insurance has its roots as a family business, with strong local community values, McFetridge said. Canadian Underwriter asked McFetridge if there is anything in particular Archway looks for during a merger or acquisition, besides things like complementary cultures and values. “Yes, we look at the history of the book of business in terms of retention of clients and staff, loss ratio, growth potential and overall profitability,” she said.

George Mitchell Insurance was founded by its namesake in 1983, operating out of the Mitchell home. “His wife, Margaret, gave up the family living and dining room to the benefit of the business,” Archway said in the release. “In the following decades, the business grew, picking up personal and business clients throughout Queens County and along the south shore [of Nova Scotia].” In September 2016, the business was purchased by South West Nova Insurance Group.