Canadian Underwriter

Top 3 M&A insurance deals in 2019

December 20, 2019   by Jason Contant

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2019 saw a slew of mergers and acquisitions in the Canadian P&C space and it’s unlikely 2020 will buck the trend.

In fact, in the past few weeks alone, one Ontario brokerage bought another one, a Florida-based brokerage bought a Canadian managing general agency, a large brokerage expanded its group employee benefits book through a merger, and an Illinois-based global brokerage acquired a Nova Scotia employee benefits firm.

Here we have compiled some of the major transactions in the Canadian P&C industry this year.

Intact acquires The Guarantee Company of North America and Frank Cowan Company

At the beginning of this month, Intact Financial Corp. said it had completed the acquisition of The Guarantee Company of North America and managing general agency Frank Cowan Company. Intact is Canada’s largest insurer by 2018 net premiums written, while The Guarantee placed 25th, according to Canadian Underwriter’s 2019 Statistical Guide. Earlier this year, Intact also bought restoration firm On Side Restoration.

Between January and March of this year, Intact’s BrokerLink unit closed seven brokerage acquisitions. It then acquired about seven more between May and September.

Applied Systems buys TechCanary, Policy Works and Indio Technologies

In April, Applied Systems announced its acquisition of TechCanary, a cloud-based insurance customer relationship management (CRM) system built natively on the Salesforce platform for brokerages, managing general agencies, wholesalers and insurers.

In October, Applied acquired Policy Works, a major platform in Canada that allows brokers to instantly create legally binding commercial lines policies.

Then, in December, Applied announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Indio Technologies, a software company that digitizes the insurance application and renewal process. Indio currently serves about 360 agencies and brokers, mostly in the United States, but also a handful in Canada.

Lussier Dale Parizeau (LDP) buys Karma Insurance, Samson Consulting, Génius Financial and Petrela, Murray, LeBlanc Inc.

Quebec’s largest brokerage completed several deals in 2019. In June, LDP acquired the assets of Petrela, Murray, LeBlanc. Inc, a brokerage with specialized expertise in construction bonding and site insurance. It also merged with financial services firm Génius Financial Group, which specializes in group insurance and annuities, financial planning, savings and life insurance.

The following month, LDP announced the acquisition of actuarial consulting firm Samson Consulting Group, which provides employee benefits support services to medium and large companies, trade unions and professional associations, among other offerings.

In August, LDP merged with life insurance brokerage Karma Insurance, which offers an online insurance comparison platform.

LDP president and chairman of the board, André Lussier, told Canadian Underwriter in July that the brokerage wants to become a “one-stop shop” for all of its clients needs. “One part of our strategy is to equalize our sources of revenue between personal lines, enterprises and life insurance,” Lussier said. “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.”

There were numerous other noteworthy acquisitions this year, including:

  • Hub International’s purchase of about a dozen Canadian employee benefits firms as well as several P&C brokerages (bringing the total number of acquired benefit firms to about two dozen over the past two years)
  • Archway Insurance’s acquisition of Hall & Fairweather Insurance, George Mitchell Insurance and then a “mega-deal” to acquire three brokerages and seven new offices across New Brunswick
  • CAA Club Group’s acquisition of Echelon Insurance

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