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Arthur J. Gallagher acquires B.C. retail broker Christie-Phoenix (Victoria) Ltd.


November 3, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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Arthur J. Gallagher — the international broking division of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG) outside of the United States — announced on Tuesday that it has acquired British Columbia retail insurance broker Christie-Phoenix (Victoria) Ltd. and its affiliate Discovery Insurance Services Ltd.

“The acquisition of Christie Phoenix and Discovery broadens the geographic reach of Gallagher by establishing a firm foothold in British Columbia,” Arthur J. Gallagher said

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded more than 40 years ago and led by managing partner Chris Flint, Christie Phoenix is a retail insurance broker providing commercial property & casualty and personal lines insurance services to middle-market and individual clients throughout British Columbia, AJG said in a press release. It specializes in developing tailored programs for the commercial realty sector, as well as small business insurance packages and auto, home, marine and travel coverage.

Over the past 30 years, the release added, Vancouver- and Victoria-based Christie Phoenix has built a particular strength in realty, providing competitive insurance solutions to property management firms and individual business owners of strata, commercial retail and industrial buildings. In strata housing, the owners own their individual ‘lots’ — which can be condos, townhouses, duplexes or even single family homes — and together own the common property and assets as a strata corporation. In B.C., over a million people live in strata housing.

Victoria-based Discovery was established more than 20 years ago and offers products across similar classes of business, specializing in personal lines insurance, the release noted. Flint and his associates will continue to operate in their current locations under the direction of Ken Keenan, head of Gallagher’s Canadian brokerage operation.

Arthur J. Gallagher, the brand name for the international broking division of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. outside of the United States, employs 6,850 staff across the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Caribbean, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Norway and New Zealand. Parent company Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm, is headquartered in Itasca, Ill., has operations in 31 countries and offers client service capabilities in more than 140 countries around the world through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.

“Christie Phoenix and Discovery are just the type of client-focused new merger partners we hoped to attract when we created our platform for growth in Canada,” said J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., AJG chairman, president and CEO, in the release. “Their strong carrier relationships, highly regarded niche expertise and geographic presence in British Columbia will be an excellent complement to our Canadian operations. We are pleased to welcome Chris and his colleagues to our growing Gallagher family of professionals.”

The deal builds on the 2014 Noraxis acquisition which, together with Gallagher’s existing Canadian operations, created one of Canada’s largest retail brokers with more than 800 people, new and enhanced niches and extensive regional spread. “The acquisition of Christie Phoenix and Discovery broadens the geographic reach of Gallagher by establishing a firm foothold in British Columbia,” the release said.

Ken Keenan, CEO of Arthur J. Gallagher in Canada, said that “as we continue to build on our existing strength in niche segments for mid-market commercial customers across Canada, strategic expansion into British Columbia was a natural next step — but we needed the right partner. Christie Phoenix, with its strong local leadership team, great growth prospects and first-class reputation offered a fantastic fit. We very much look forward to working with Chris and the team in harnessing our collective strengths to deliver even better insurance solutions for our BC and wider Canadian customers.”

Flint suggested that joining Gallagher “with its international reach and depth of expertise will not only benefit our existing customers but undoubtedly help us attract top talent to further diversify our offering.”