Canadian Underwriter

Large commercial brokerage expands presence in benefits space

June 6, 2019   by Jason Contant

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Yet another commercial brokerage has expanded its presence in the benefits space in Canada.

Toronto-headquartered Navacord Corp. announced Tuesday the acquisition of Toronto-based Future Benefits Management Inc. (FBMI), effective June 3. Founded in 1995 and exclusively focused on group benefits, FBMI will be joining JDIMI Consulting, Navacord’s broker partner dedicated to group benefits and retirement consulting.

“The move will further deepen Navacord’s specialization across broker partners, enabling a more robust service offering to clients,” the commercial brokerage said in a press release. Navacord was founded in 2014 and offers solutions for business, personal and employee needs.

In November 2015, Navacord moved into the group benefits and retirement consulting space with the creation of JDIMI Consulting. As part of the latest acquisition, FBMI managing partners John McLaren and Sean Gayton, as well as other members of the team, will join JDIMI Consulting.

JDIMI Consulting was formed by the joining of specialist companies, Integrated Planning & Solutions Corp. and Cochrane, Morel & Associates Ltd. “We are pleased with our growth over the past four years,” Shawn DeSantis, president and CEO of Navacord, told Canadian Underwriter. “The addition of FBMI is only the beginning as we are poised for additional growth in this strategic area.

“The addition of FBMI’s skilled specialists to the expert advisers at JDIMI Consulting will further strengthen the opportunity for our broker partners to offer a holistic approach and unmatched suite of insurance services to our commercial clients,” DeSantis said in the release, adding that “Navacord is actively seeking to continue the expansion of their group benefits and retirement consulting solutions across Canada.”

Last month, personal and commercial lines brokerage Vienneau Insurance showed an interest in acquiring employee benefits firms or divisions. The family-owned brokerage in New Brunswick expanded its commercial insurance offering by acquiring the employee benefits division of Dieppe, N.B.-based financial planning firm RoyByrns and Associates. The brokerage – which says it is the largest locally-owned independent brokerage in southeastern New Brunswick, with 55 employees and offices in Shediac, Dieppe, Bouctouche and Saint-Antoine – will operate the employee benefits division under the newly-created Vienneau Financial Services subsidiary.

Over the past year, large commercial insurance brokerage Hub International also acquired a number of Canadian employee benefits firms, such as Toronto-based Firstbrook Pointon Benefits in February and Vancouver-based TRG Group Benefits and Pensions in January. Hub International Canada president Tina Osen told Canadian Underwriter at the beginning of the year that it is training its more than 4,000 Canadian employees to “speak the language of employee benefits.

“There’s still training and development and learning curve with… helping our property and casualty people speak the language of employee benefits,” Osen said at the time. “Not be experts, but be confident enough to introduce it in the dialogue with their customers.”

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