Canadian Underwriter

Why this large brokerage follows a “one-stop shop” M&A strategy

July 31, 2019   by Jason Contant

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Quebec’s largest brokerage wants to become a “one-stop shop” for all of its clients’ needs, Lussier Dale Parizeau’s (LDP) president and chairman of the board, André Lussier, told Canadian Underwriter recently when discussing acquisition strategies.

“We believe that it is important for our clients to have the concentration of business in one spot,” Lussier said. “One part of our strategy is to equalize our sources of revenue between personal lines, enterprises and life insurance. We are open to acquisitions in damage and life insurance and possibly in new fields of products and services that would be beneficial to our 160,000 clients.”

For example, Pascal Beaulieu, vice president of LDP’s life insurance division, said in an interview that he could see the brokerage increasing its workers compensation offerings to meet the needs of the organization.

In August 2018, LDP bought Trinome Conseils, a small actuarial firm co-founded by Beaulieu that operates in Montreal and Quebec City. The firm offers workers comp and other occupational health and safety solutions, group insurance, pension plans, human resources and pay equity services to assist companies, associations and groups at provincial and national levels.

This year, LDP bought Samson Consulting Group and Génius Financial Group, two firms specializing in group insurance. Following these acquisitions, LDP’s group insurance premiums increased to $275 million and expanded the variety of specialized professional services it offers.

While LDP is currently focused on acquisitions in Quebec, that’s not to say that it won’t eventually expand into other parts of Canada. “[Sellers] must help us increase and/or immediately improve the variety of products and services that we offer to our clients, consolidate our presence in certain niches or areas, such as bonds or E&O, or have good human resources that will have a positive impact on our profitability and service to clients,” Lussier explained.

The merger with financial services firm Génius Financial Group, specializing in group insurance and annuities, financial planning, savings and life insurance, allowed LDP to consolidate its presence in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region. As a result, LDP has become a major player in life and health insurance in this region, as they already have been in personal and business insurance for several years, Lussier said. The transaction came on the heels of LDP’s acquisition of the assets of Petrela, Murray, LeBlanc Inc., a brokerage firm that has been providing bonding and construction insurance services to prime contractors for over 25 years.

“Other than Petrela, which was a niche acquisition to complement our already existing concentration in the construction field, the transactions were voluntarily in group life insurance, personal life insurance and financial services,” Lussier noted.

On July 12, the brokerage announced a merger with a second consulting firm, Samson Consulting Group, which offers employee benefits support services to medium and large enterprises, federations, trade unions and professional associations.

“Becoming an actuarial firm is not a part of our mission and goals,” Beaulieu said. “However, we do believe that our brokers are better equipped when supported by an actuary to better serve our clients. Of course, if firms similar to Samson Consulting Group, Génius Financial Group and Trinome Conseils are on the market for sale, we are interested.”

With all of these transactions came several challenges that LDP overcame with the help of their new partners. “Buying is generally the easiest part of the transaction; to integrate is more demanding,” Lussier said. “But we have very good experience with integration. For each acquisition, we create an integration committee that analyzes and then harmonizes the employment conditions, best working practices and IT.”

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