Canadian Underwriter

Brokerage acquires credit union’s insurance subsidiary

August 26, 2019   by Jason Contant

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Westland Insurance Group has announced a major acquisition, fresh off changes to its executive leadership that saw a new president and chief operating officer take the helm of the brokerage.

Westland is set to acquire First West Insurance Services, a subsidiary of First West Credit Union, effective Sept. 30. The announcement by Westland came a little over a week after the brokerage appointed Jamie Lyons as president and COO. Don Thompson will also join Westland as executive vice president of insurance.

With this acquisition, Westland will add 300 employees and 36 offices from First West Insurance Services in British Columbia, expanding its reach to 110 locations in 56 communities across the province. Post-acquisition, the property and casualty insurance brokerage, which offers home, business, farm and auto insurance, among other products, will have nearly 1,500 employees and more than 130 offices in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

First West provides personal, auto and business insurance in B.C. under three regional divisions:

  • Envision Insurance in the Lower Mainland
  • Valley First Insurance in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys
  • Island Savings Insurance on Vancouver Island and the Gulf islands.

First West Credit Union is B.C.’s third-largest credit union, with nearly $10 billion in assets. It operates 50 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First and Island Savings divisions.

Jason Wubs, CEO of Westland, called the deal a “landmark acquisition for Westland. They are a pillar in the communities they serve and have built a client-centric culture that is perfectly aligned with Westland’s core values.” The acquisition will further strengthen Westland’s community presence in B.C., as well as add to the brokerage’s broader capabilities as an organization, Wubs added.

For the deal, BMO Capital Markets acted as financial advisor to Westland and KPMG Corporate Finance acted as financial advisor to First West.

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1 Comment » for Brokerage acquires credit union’s insurance subsidiary
  1. Sharpy says:

    This is not good for the industry. All BC brokerages are going to be owned by 3 or 4 Corporations here pretty quick. I wonder how difficult it will be for Westland to keep all of these clients. Island Savings customers have always had a myriad of insurance products to choose from. Now they will have 1 option, Westland. I’m curious to see how this plays out for everyone.

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