Quebec brokerages Fort Assurances and Gaudreau Assurances have merged to form what the two companies call one of the Top 10 damage insurance firms in the province.
The new entity, which will operate under the name Fort Insurance & Group Benefits, combines a premium volume of $200 million, Fort Assurances said in a press release Friday.
The strategic alliance will be led by CEO Vincent Gaudreau, a former president of Quebec’s brokerage association, the Regroupement des cabinets de courtage d’assurance du Quebec.
“I am confident that the combined expertise of our two companies will benefit our clients and our internal team,” Gaudreau said. “With a stronger voice, we are propelling ourselves to new heights.”
The merger not only confirms Fort Insurance & Group Benefits’ position as a pivotal player in the Quebec insurance landscape, but also sets the stage for an “exciting chapter of development and value creation on a national scale,” the release said. “It solidifies its position as an independent leader in the industry with a vision for nationwide growth and service excellence.”
Stephan Bernatchez, a former Fort Insurance & Group Benefits president and Insurance Brokers Association of Canada president, will assume the role of chairman of the board of the new brokerage.
“Vincent will successfully carry forward our nearly century-old enterprise, enhancing the client experience while maintaining our independence,” Bernatchez said.
Fort offers a variety of insurance products, including group benefits, home, auto, luxury goods, boats and yachts, plane, recreational vehicle, life and travel insurance. In the commercial space, it provides manufacturing, risk management for private investments firms, transportation, technology (IT), construction, energy and retail/service insurance.
For its part, Gaudreau Assurances’ products also include home, auto and recreational vehicle insurance. The brokerage’s commercial lines offerings include construction, self-employment, professional services, surety bonds, condo association, cyber risks and IT insurance, retail, auto shop and real estate insurance.
The merged company now counts 220 employees, including 17 employee shareholders, spread across three offices — Westmount, St-Michel and Quebec City — in Quebec.
Benefits of the transaction include more choices and better prices due to a broader range of insurers; greater expertise, including an in-house claims service, a group benefits department and a wider range of specialized products.
The merger is supported by an investment from the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, which provides more than 3,700 companies with venture and development capital investments. Fort said it’s the only damage insurance broker to establish such a partnership with the largest development capital network in Quebec, which had net assets of $18.4 billion as of May 31, 2023.