Canadian Underwriter

Behind this brokerage’s plan to build a “best-in-class” employee benefits platform

May 15, 2018   by Jason Contant

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Hub International’s recent acquisition of a brokerage in Quebec is part of its plan to built a “best-in-class” employee benefits platform for Canada, a spokesperson for the Chicago-based global brokerage told Canadian Underwriter Monday.

On May 7, Hub International acquired the shares of Les Avantages Sociaux Delta Inc., operating as the dElta Group. With offices in the greater Montreal area, the dElta Group is a multidisciplinary benefits brokerage that provides support and actuarial services for group insurance and retirement plans — as well as human resources and disability management — for mid-size and large businesses in Canada.

Asked about the strategy, the spokesperson said that as the largest P&C broker in Canada, Hub is constantly seeking ways to add value for customers. “We are not simply getting bigger, we are getting better. The quality of firms we are buying, such as the dElta Group, speaks volumes.”

The dElta Group team will join Hub Quebec. Roger d’Eschambault, founder and chairman of the dElta Group, will report to Stephen Blais, president of Hub Quebec. The dElta Group is the result of an amalgamation of Les Advantages Sociaux Delta Inc., Ressources Humaines Delta Inc., and Le Groupe Financier Tanner-Deland Inc.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, including the size of the acquired brokerage and whether all employees will stay with the company. The deal comes as analysts discuss the anticipated impact of the consolidation of employee benefits firms in the future.

John Chippindale, vice chairman and Canadian chief marketing officer of HKMB Hub International, told Canadian Underwriter last week that there are a lot of employee benefits firms in the M&A pipeline. “I believe that [employee benefits] is going to be, particularly for SME [small and medium-sized enterprise] customers, a more integrated solution that’s going to line up beside commercial insurance, when in the past the two have been very separate.”

When asked if Hub has any future acquisition plans for Quebec, the spokesperson said that the brokerage is always talking with firms who can bring a new expertise to complement its offerings. “We are not in the business of acquiring revenue, but rather are seeking people and talent and firms that want to be a part of our strategy and share our customer-centric, entrepreneurial culture.”

Hub has a total of 173 offices in Canada, including five in Quebec.

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