Canadian Underwriter

How two of Canada’s largest P&C brokerages closed 2022

January 9, 2023   by Jason Contant

Business merger and acquisition concept

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Westland Insurance Group and BrokerLink ended 2022 with a bang, closing several merger and acquisition deals in December and bringing combined yearly transactions to more than 50 acquisitions.

Westland announced in December the acquisition of Nova Scotia-based Gateway Insurance Group and Ontario-based Hutcheson, Reynolds & Caswell Insurance, for a total of 28 acquisitions in 2022. BrokerLink acquired Universal Risk Solutions Inc. (URS Insurance), bringing its M&A total to 24 in 2022.

All deals were effective Dec. 1.

Gateway Insurance has locations in the Nova Scotia municipalities of Halifax, Dartmouth, Hammonds Plains and Oxford and St. John’s in Newfoundland. It offers home, auto, commercial and marine insurance.

With offices in the Ontario cities of Huntsville, Bracebridge, Port Carling and Collingwood, Hutcheson, Reynolds & Caswell Insurance offers products including home, auto, resort, commercial, cottage, life and investment insurance, as well as group benefits.

“These acquisitions expand Westland’s already robust property and casualty (P&C) practice and grow its presence in the strategically important Ontario and Atlantic Canada region,” Westland said in a press release.

“We’re honoured to be able to serve more communities in Ontario and Halifax as we continue our path of national expansion…” said Jamie Lyons, Westland’s president and CEO. Lyons was appointed president and chief operating officer in 2019 and became president and CEO on Jan. 1. Former CEO Jason Wubs is transitioning to the newly created role of vice chairman, head of mergers & acquisitions and strategic initiatives, and will focus solely on these initiatives.

Westland’s latest acquisitions came on the heels of its entry into Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick for the first time last month. It acquired Hyndman Insurance Group, Sears Insurance, Hyndman & Company and Hickey & Hyndman. This group of affiliated companies is one of the largest and older insurance brokerages in Canada.

Hyndman & Company dates back to 1872. Collectively, Charlottetown-based Hyndman Insurance Group has 100 employees and 13 locations. The Group offers commercial insurance, including surety bonds, farm insurance, marine insurance and commercial general liability, among other products.

For its part, Intact Financial Corporation subsidiary BrokerLink ended the year with the acquisition of URS Insurance. The brokerage provides insurance services to Toronto and surrounding communities, specializing in niche business insurance, including coverage for home inspectors and energy auditors. It offers a variety of products, including home, auto, condo, tenant and recreational vehicle insurance, BrokerLink said in a Jan. 4 press release.

“In 2022, we welcomed many new team members through acquisition from small towns to metropolitan cities across all regions we serve, and I’m excited to welcome our latest team members from URS Insurance,” said BrokerLink president Joe D’Annunzio.


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