Canadian Underwriter

Post-merger, new name awaits Canada’s third-largest P&C mutual

June 4, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

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La Capitale and SSQ Insurance are expected to merge July 1 to form Canada’s largest mutual insurer, Quebec City-based La Capitale Insurance and Financial Services said Thursday.

“The name of the new company will be announced in the next few months,” La Capitale said in a release.

Manitoba-based Wawanesa will remain Canada’s largest property and casualty mutual. But the combination of La Capitale and SSQ will form Canada’s largest mutual if you count both P&C and life and health premiums.

If you combine the P&C premiums of SSQ and La Capitale in 2018, the total would be somewhat smaller than Northbridge Insurance, whose premium volume is about $1.5 billion a year. Northbridge ranked 12th among Canadian P&C insurers in Canadian Underwriter’s 2019 statistical guide.

The combination of La Capitale and SSQ will form the third-largest P&C mutual after Wawanesa and Economical.

La Capitale, Quebec’s third-largest P&C insurer by premium volume, merged with mutual insurer LEDOR of Sainte-Claire, Que., in June 2019.

Once the merger with Sainte Foy, Que.-based SSQ is complete, the merged company’s CEO will be Jean-François Chalifoux, currently CEO of SSQ.

The merger is still subject to approval from the Autorité des marchés financiers and Quebec’s finance minister, La Capitale said June 3.

The milestone announced June 3 was the passage of two bills by Quebec’s national assembly that help pave the way for the merger. The deal was approved by both company’s boards of directors and mutual policyholders earlier in 2020.

“For now, nothing is changing for clients and employees,” La Capitale said June 3. “A transition committee with representatives from each company is already working to ensure the merger of equals goes smoothly. Integration will take place gradually, and the next steps will be announced in the coming weeks.”

The merged company will have “nationwide reach,” with a head office in Quebec City for the long term.

La Capitale’s insurers include Mississauga, Ont.-based Unica Insurance and L’Unique General Insurance. In 2008, La Capitale General acquired York Fire & Casualty Insurance Company from Kingsway Financial Services Inc. Kingsway used to own Jevco but now provides warranties for vehicles, fridges and air conditioners and no longer writes property and casualty insurance in Canada.

“We have everything we need to create an influential and trusted player in Canada’s insurance landscape,” Chalifoux said June 3 in a release of the SSQ-La Capitale merger. “By pooling our talents, expertise, and mutualist values, we are stronger together. For our new company, the future looks bright.”

In addition to auto, home and travel, La Capitale offers commercial P&C insurance to retailers, apartment buildings, condominiums, construction contractors and farms, among others.

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