June 10, 2019 by Jason Contant
Alberta-based brokerage Western Financial Group is continuing its strategic expansion into Ontario with its third brokerage acquisition in the province.
High River, Alta-headquartered Western acquired EGM Insurance Group effective May 31, Western said in a press release last week. Based in the Ottawa Valley, EGM Insurance and its subsidiaries, MC Carroll Insurance Brokers and Johnston & Mackie Ltd., will join Western.
EGM, which serves residents and businesses in the Petawawa and Pembroke area through its four branches, started as a family business. Established for more than 75 years, the brokerage offers auto, property, commercial, travel, farm, recreational vehicles, seasonal properties, bonding and life insurance.
Western has provided personal and commercial insurance services for more than 100 years. It has 183 locations and is a subsidiary of Trimont Financial Ltd. Trimont itself is a subsidiary of Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company.
“We’re thrilled to welcome EGM CEO Lisa Edmonds and her team,” Kenny Nicholls, Western’s CEO and president, said. “This acquisition offers us further abilities to grow our customer broker model in Ontario.”
In June 2018, Western acquired its first Ontario brokerage: Axion Insurance Services, which has locations in the Greater Toronto Area, and offices in Parry Sound, Port Perry and Ottawa. It offers home, auto and commercial insurance.
On Aug. 1, 2018, Western announced its second Ontario acquisition: Toronto-based personal and commercial lines brokerage DMW Insurance Ltd.
After the acquisition of Axion, Nicholls told Canadian Underwriter that Western wants to learn about the Ontario market. “We’re not going there thinking we are going to bring our western knowledge and apply it and force it on Axion,” he said at the time. “That’s not how it works. We want to be open and make sure we do what we need to do in Ontario to cater to the customers that are there. That’s our overall mission.”
There is also a thoughtful approach to the acquisitions. “We’re not just out there buying anything that’s available,” Nicholls said. “We want to be strategic and deliberate about our expansion. These are not things you go out and rush into – we want to do it right.”