Canadian Underwriter

The upside for Intact of getting into the property restoration business

May 20, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

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If Intact Financial Corporation CEO Charles Brindamour had his way, Intact would be as big in property restoration as it is in the brokerage business.

Brokerlink currently has more than 140 brokerage offices and 2,000 employees, and Intact is closing acquisitions of new brokerages on a regular basis.

Intact announced in 2019 it agreed to acquire Vancouver-based On Side Restoration, which has 35 branches across Canada.“I am quite pleased with this and frankly, if we could make this as big as our distribution operation, we will,” Brindamour said recently of the firm’s On Side acquisition.

“We like the economic profile because it is inversely correlated to the performance of the property portfolio, and it could juice up what I call our Monday morning [return on equity], which is the ROE we have before we actually start doing the business of insurance through distribution and home restoration. That would be a nice side benefit to it.”

Brindamour made his remarks May 13 during a “fireside chat” Barclays’ financial services analyst John Aiken.

“On Side is a strategy of long-term insourcing of the supply chain,” said Brindamour. “It is about dealing with weak links in the customer experience, and it is about putting capital where we know the risk is getting bigger because of natural disasters.”

In addition to On Side, Intact also acquired in 2019 The Guarantee Company of North America and Frank Cowan Company Limited. Both The Guarantee and Frank Cowan had been owned by Cambridge, Ont.-based Princeton Holdings. Retail brokerage Cowan Insurance Group is not part of the deal and will continue to be owned by Princeton Holdings.

With both the Guarantee deal and the 2017 acquisition of OneBeacon, Intact’s specialty lines division in Canada is “now a really meaningful business,” Brindamour said during the fireside chat.

Feature image via Yuchynskyi

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