Canadian Underwriter

New M&A deals involve Westland, Armour Group

September 9, 2021   by Jason Contant

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After a brief lull in mergers and acquisitions activity, the Canadian P&C insurance space has seen a surge in recent announcements.

Large Canadian-owned brokerage Westland Insurance Group Ltd. said on Tuesday it had acquired two Alberta brokerages: Riverstone Insurance in Canmore and Hill ‘n’ Dale Insurance Ltd. in Breton.

Both Riverstone Insurance and Hill ‘n’ Dale Insurance provide residential, auto, farm and commercial insurance, Westland said in a press release. The seven-person Hill ‘n’ Dale Insurance team also provides vehicle registry services and represents a new community (Breton, about 95 kilometres southwest of Edmonton) for Westland.

With these acquisitions, Westland now has more than 175 locations and 2,100 employees in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Also on Tuesday, Securian Canada, Inc., a subsidiary of St. Paul, Minn.-based Securian Financial Group, announced the acquisition of Armour Group Inc., a distributor of credit and specialty property and casualty products through automobile dealers, recreational vehicle dealers and finance companies in Canada.

Headquartered in London, Ont., Armour Group will continue to operate independently under its current leadership, Securian Financial said in a statement. The terms of the deal — which closed Sept. 1 — will not be disclosed. Hapanovich

Chris Hilger, Securian Financial’s chairman, president and CEO, said that the acquisition diversifies Securian Financial’s revenue and “gives us a natural ability to expand into attractive adjacent markets.”

This is the company’s third Canadian acquisition. Securian Financial expanded internationally for the first time in 2017, when it acquired Toronto-based Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company and distributor Valeyo. In 2020, the company purchased the Canadian book of business from Gerber Life Insurance Company.

In the benefits space, Navacord Corp. — one of Canada’s largest commercial brokerages — said Tuesday it added two new group benefit and retirement brokerages to its ranks: C&C Insurance Group out of southwestern Ontario (Komoka) and Vanta Benefits, based in Edmonton.

“C&C boasts the only fully integrated and seamless Group Health and Wellness program that meets the complex needs for post-secondary institutions’ domestic and international student populations,” Navacord said. “And, with proprietary real-time benefits data and analytics segmented by business, Vanta enables their clients to be proactive versus reactive with strategic plan designs that create long-term sustainability.”

T. Marshall Sadd, executive chairman of Navacord, added that both businesses are using technology to deliver, differentiate and enhance the client experience.

Vanta Benefits was previously part of Vanta Group. The life insurance and wealth advisory business within Vanta Group remains independently owned and operated, and is not included in the deal.

Navacord has completed 11 formal new partnerships this year, “with more expected as they progress towards $3 billion in premium.” The brokerage has also more than quadrupled their benefits business over the last 18 months. In addition, Navacord brokerage Waypoint Insurance recently closed its acquisition of FX Insurance — their third transaction in 2021.

Lastly, on Thursday, EFI Global, a full-service international consulting firm specializing in forensic engineering, environmental, fire investigation and specialty consulting services, announced the acquisition of Wentzell Engineering Limited. Wentzell provides professional investigative and engineering services to insurers, adjusters, law firms, corporations and law enforcement agencies throughout Atlantic Canada.

With this strategic acquisition, EFI Global, a Sedgwick company, expands its fire investigation and forensic engineering service lines in Canada. Joining forces also opens access to more diverse, localized training and expertise across both teams, EFI Global said.


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