Canadian Underwriter

Brian Reeve elected to board of auto insurer

June 15, 2018   by Greg Meckbach

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Insurance regulation expert Brian Reeve was elected this week to the board of directors of Echelon Financial Holdings Inc., a property and casualty insurer spun off in 2005 from subsidiaries of The Co-operators Group Ltd.

Reeve is partner and chair of the corporate and regulatory insurance group of law firm Cassels Brock and Blackwell LLP. He previously served as chief agent in Canada for some foreign-owned insurers.

A contributor to Canadian Underwriter, Reeve wrote Regulatory Reform, an article published in October, 2017 on how new technologies – such as social media – are creating major challenges for insurance regulators.

Brian Reeve, member, board of directors, Echelon Financial; partner and chair of the corporate and regulatory insurance group of law firm Cassels Brock and Blackwell

Reeve was called to the bar in 1982. He is a former member of Kingsway Financial’s board of directors. Toronto-based Kingsway – whose offerings include warranties for equipment in the United States – used to own Jevco Insurance Company and York Fire & Casualty Insurance Company. Kingsway announced May 10 it intends to exit the American non-standard auto business.

Reeve was elected June 12 to the board of Mississauga, Ont.-based Echelon Financial during Echelon’s annual general meeting. In Canada, Echelon writes several lines of insurance including non-standard auto, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, surety and liability. It was ranked as the 17th largest auto insurance writer in Canada by Canadian Underwriter’s 2017 Statistical Guide. Echelon – known until 2015 as EGI Financial – reported $71.5 million in net earned premiums during the three months ending March 31. The Co-operators Group Ltd. – which effectively controlled Echelon until 2005, when Echelon became publicly-traded. As of May, 2018, The Co-operators owned about 17% of Echelon.

Echelon – which is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange – announced June 13 that the vast majority of shareholders voted for the board nominees announced in May. Echelon chairman Murray Wallace is a past CEO of Granite Global Solutions and Wellington Insurance, and former President of Axia NetMedia and Avco Financial Services Canada Ltd.

Serge Lavoie – president of Echelon since 2015 – was also elected to the board. Lavoie is a former president and CEO of Jevco, which Intact bought in 2012 from The Westaim Corp., two years after Westaim bought Jevco from Kingsway.  Gary Quon, former chief corporate development officer for Northbridge Financial Corporation, is also on the Echelon board.

Echelon’s other board members are: James Falle, Lee Matheson, Andrew Pastor, Sharon Ranson and David Thomson.

In 2014, Echelon bought a 75% interest in the Insurance Corporation of Prince Edward Island from Saskatchewan Government Insurance.

In 2017, Echelon sold its European operations, which provide non-standard auto through Danish insurer Qudos Insurance A/S. Four years earlier, Echelon announced it agreed to sell its U.S. business, which was writing non-standard auto in Florida.

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