Canadian Underwriter

Canadian brokerage M&A explodes out of the gate in 2020

January 7, 2020   by Jason Contant

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“The market for P&C brokerages and books of business is strong and will likely continue to be robust in the foreseeable future,” Mike Berris, partner and practice group leader with Smythe Advisory, predicted last August in the firm’s Property & Casualty Insurance Brokerage Report 2019. Just one week into 2020, it looks like that sentiment holds true.

Most of the M&A fireworks this year took place when many insurance professionals returned to work on Jan. 6.

Headlining the transactions, global brokerage Hub International announced Monday the acquisition of RHC Insurance Brokers Ltd. and RHC Insurance Brokers (Cranbrook) Ltd. (RHC).

Headquartered in Nelson, B.C., with nine additional offices across the province, RHC is an independent brokerage that provides personal and commercial insurance (including home, auto, business, home-sharing insurance, recreation and watercraft and pet insurance).

Tammy Darough, CEO and chief financial officer of RHC, will assist Hub International Insurance Brokers, a division of Hub International Canada West ULC (Hub Canada West), in an advisory role to ensure a seamless transition.

“With RHC, we will continue to support long-term growth throughout British Columbia and western Canada,” David Moon, president of Hub Canada West, said in a release Tuesday.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, in Ontario, the Rhodes & Williams Group of Companies announced a merger with Ottawa-based Jarrett Thompson Insurance and Financial Services Inc., effective Jan. 1.

Personal and commercial lines brokerage Jarrett Thompson has been serving the community since 2010, and previously as a State Farm agent. They will continue to operate under the name of Jarrett Thompson Insurance, a Division of Rhodes & Williams Limited.

Clients will continue to be served by Maggie Check, whom “they have gotten to know and love over the years,” Rhodes & Williams said in a press release Monday. “However, she will now simply have the back up of the larger Rhodes & Williams Group of Companies to better serve the brokerage insurance clients.”

“Deciding to merge our business wasn’t easy,” said Jarrett Thompson. “After investing the past 10 years in making sure our clients in Barrhaven and throughout Ottawa are well-protected, I have every confidence that the clients are in good hands with the Rhodes & Williams Group of Companies. I am so happy that Maggie has decided to continue looking after these clients for years to come.”

Also on Monday, NFP announced the acquisition of Elective Benefit Services, a transaction that actually closed last June.

Based in Waterloo, Ont., Elective Benefit specializes in group benefits and retirement planning. NFP is an insurance brokerage and consultant that provides P&C, employee benefits, retirement and individual solutions.

Elective Benefit president Harold McAdam has joined NFP in Canada as director. He will report to Dean Howard, managing director of benefits and retirement for NFP in Canada.

The new year in M&A activity started while may were still on holiday. On Jan. 2, one of Atlantic Canada’s largest brokerages, Archway Insurance, announced that it would be adding new locations in southwestern New Brunswick following the acquisition of Groom Insurance Limited.

The deal, effective Jan. 1, brings the number of Archway locations to 32, with approximately 75,000 clients and $150 million in premium volume.

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