Canadian Underwriter

Intact buys restoration firm

August 7, 2019   by Adam Malik

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Intact Financial Corporation has entered the restoration services area. The insurer has struck a deal to acquire Vancouver-based On Side Restoration.

The company announced the acquisition late on Aug. 6, which it says will strengthen its ability to provide claims expertise and boost its supply chain network. On Side served as an Intact vendor.

Etienne Berlinguet, Intact’s deputy senior vice president of claims in Quebec, told Canadian Underwriter that the company sees this as a growth opportunity as weather events become more frequent. The move will also help simplify the process that takes place between Intact and On Side, making claim cycle times shorter.

“One example is that we can leverage technology to capture videos of damage and repairs, improving communication between both companies and removing duplicate efforts,” he said. “Our claims service and our people are at the heart of what we promise – getting people back on track and helping them prosper in good and be resilient in bad times. Our claims team will continue to be integral to deliver customer empathy and adjudicate a claim.”

Intact noted the reputation On Side has developed for customer service that over its 40 years in an announcement. On Side has 35 branches with more than 1,200 employees across Canada.

“Intact has been working closely with On Side to improve the customer experience with property claims and we believe that we can strengthen our relationship even more with this acquisition,” Berlinguet said. “We want to ensure the property claims process is faster, simpler and delivers quality for the customer while making it more efficient and cost effective for our business.”

Greater operational efficiencies can be had and better customer service can be delivered as a result of the acquisition, the company said, though didn’t specify if jobs would be lost.

“Property claims will always require physical support – we can’t digitally remove water from a basement,” Berlinguet said. “Right now, we outsource property restoration and we see an opportunity to improve execution and capture margins through the acquisition of On Side.”

This is the first restoration company Intact has acquired. Berlinguet didn’t say if other acquisitions would follow, other than that the company was “focused on this.”

The ownership process will take place over a two-year period and is expected to close by Oct. 1, subject to certain conditions and regulatory approval. It will be financed from internal resources.

On Side was founded by Craig Hogarth, who also serves as president. In June, the company launched a new bilingual website to coincide with its 40th anniversary. In July, the company made a pair of growth moves as it relocated its Vernon, B.C., and Thunder Bay, Ont., branches into larger offices while also acquiring Cope Construction in Windsor, Ont.

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