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The strategy behind BrokerLink’s latest acquisitions


March 12, 2019   by Greg Meckbach


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If you run a brokerage in Ontario, Alberta or Atlantic Canada and there is no BrokerLink in your town, there soon could be.

Intact Financial Corp.’s BrokerLink unit has closed seven brokerage acquisitions since Jan. 1, said Paul Meyer, BrokerLink’s head of acquisitions, in an interview Tuesday.

“Over the last two years – not counting the seven we have done this year – we have done 35,” said Meyer. “We expect that to continue or accelerate.”

BrokerLink has brokerages in Ontario and Alberta, and entered Atlantic Canada in 2014 with the acquisition of Macdonald Chisolm Trask.

“We are not in the other provinces at this time and we don’t have any plans in the short term to enter those, but we do want to expand within the provinces we are in,” said Meyer.

So if there is a city or town in those provinces without a BrokerLink office, someone at BrokerLink may be looking for a brokerage within that community that BrokerLink could acquire.

“We like a stake in the ground in the communities we are in. Sometimes we do multiple acquisitions within the same community and of course at some point we would consolidate those into one but we are absolutely committed to [having a physical presence in] the communities we are in and expanding that footprint into more communities,” said Meyer.

Intact reported Feb. 5 that in 2018, 8% of its $10.1 billion in direct written premiums came from BrokerLink. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of premiums were sold through brokers (other than BrokerLink) using the Intact Insurance brand, 15% were from OneBeacon (a Plymouth, Minn.-based commercial specialty insurer that Intact acquired in 2017) and 14% were from belairdirect.

BrokerLink now has boots on the ground in Ontario’s Niagara region. BrokerLink closed March 1 the acquisition of Condotta, Merrett and Company Insurance Brokers Inc., which has a presence in Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Hamilton, Brantford, Kitchener and Mississauga.

The Condotta acquisition gives BrokerLink 26 additional employees, Meyer said.

“We like to be where our clients are and have employees where our clients are.”

Amedeo and Eva Condotta will remain with their brokerage during the transition period to BrokerLink, the company said Monday in a release.

“We will use the Condotta Merrett brand for up to a year. It is not a hard and fast rule but generally any time up to 12 months, so that the clients in the community get comfortable with us, and we will convert it to a BrokerLink brand,” Meyer said.

The seven brokerages that BrokerLink has acquired since Jan. 1 place about $100 million in premium a year put together, Meyer suggested.