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Wawanesa subsidiary acquires Western Financial Group


November 5, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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Trimont Financial Ltd., a subsidiary of the Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, announced on Wednesday the formal closing of its previously announced agreement to purchase Western Financial Group and Western Life Assurance (collectively “Western”) from Desjardins Financial Corporation, a Desjardins Group subsidiary.

The transaction, valued at approximately $775 million, includes Western’s primary business units: its brokerage network, Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions and Western Life Assurance, Wawanesa said in a press release.

“I’m very pleased to welcome Western to the Wawanesa group of companies and to reaffirm our commitment to Western’s long-term success,” said Jeff Goy, Wawanesa’s president and chief executive officer, in the release. “Our investment reflects our commitment to making sure local brokers remain a strong presence in communities across Canada.”

Western’s brokerage network will continue to operate under the Western name and will continue to offer products from a wide range of insurance providers, the release noted, adding that there are no plans to close or relocate any of Western’s existing 157 brokerage locations or affiliates. Kenny Nicholls, currently serving as interim president of Western Financial Group – Western’s property & casualty operations – has been named president and chief executive officer of this entity in a permanent capacity.

“We’re very pleased to join a company that shares our values and deep connection to the communities we serve,” Nicholls said in the release. “Our employees and customers will each benefit from Wawanesa’s commitment to the ongoing success of local insurance brokers.”

Related: Wawanesa subsidiary Trimont Financial to acquire Western Financial Group and Western Life Assurance from Desjardins Group

Denis Berthiaume, Desjardins Group’s chief operating officer, added that “our shared cooperative and mutual values with Wawanesa make it a perfect fit for Western employees whom I thank for their commitment and continued hard work.”

Wawanesa Mutual Insurance is one of the largest P&C insurers in Canada with $3 billion in annual revenues and assets of more than $9 billion. With over 3,000 employees, Wawanesa serves over two million policyholders through nine regional offices and 41 service offices in Canada and the United States. Wawanesa Mutual, founded in 1896 with executive offices in Winnipeg, is the parent company of Wawanesa General, which offers P&C insurance in California and Oregon, and Wawanesa Life, which distributes life insurance products and services throughout Canada.

Trimont Financial Ltd., established in 1982, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wawanesa Mutual Insurance and provides direct support to local brokers to assist with succession planning, growth, capital investment and other needs.

Desjardins Group is a cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets close to $268 billion. The company offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada.