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What’s going on in the Canadian MGA space?


February 6, 2020   by Jason Contant


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The managing general agent space in Canada has been busy over the past few months, with the launch of one MGA and the expansion of another.

On Jan. 20, three industry veterans – Jeff Hart, Bruce MacKinnon and Tommy Truong – announced the creation of Vailo Insurance Services, based in Port Moody, B.C. The MGA is “promising to merge good ol’ fashioned underwriting street smarts and strong partnerships with cutting-edge technology… [to take] aim at larger, slower-moving competitors now struggling to meet the rapidly evolving expectations of today’s digitally-savvy brokers and consumers.

“Being a startup allows us to reimagine how we engage with the market without being tied to legacy systems and processes,” said Hart, the company’s CEO, in a press release. At the outset, Vailo will focus on B.C. business through contracted brokers, before executing its long-term strategy for expanding operations across Canada.

Hart began his insurance career in 1993 and is joined by chief underwriting officer MacKinnon, who has over 30 years of industry experience and chief operating officer Truong, who started his insurance career in 2004.

The MGA’s products include property, casualty, construction and specialty insurance.

Two days after the launch of Vailo, Agile Underwriting Solutions announced its ongoing expansion across Canada with the opening of a new office in Burnaby, B.C. Agile began operations in 1995 as Underwriting Contract Administrators (UCAI) and has helped brokers find coverage for hard-to-place personal and commercial insurance. Its head office is based on Bedford, N.S. and it also has an office in Ontario.

Agile also appointed Mashood Ali as vice president of western Canada. He will be based out of Agile’s B.C. office and will play an active role in growing and strengthening the Agile brand in western Canada through a range of underwriting and business development initiatives. This includes educational seminars, marketing and bringing on new markets and brokers in the western region. Agile currently offers commercial property/casualty, environmental liability, professional liability, residential insurance and specialty programs.

Just this week, Nacora International Insurance Brokers – a commercial broker specializing in providing risk consulting and commercial (marine and non-marine) insurance solutions, products and services – announced the appointment of Darryl Wolfe as Nacora’s Canadian group CEO, effective Jan. 1. Wolfe will be responsible for the management of the Nacora Canada insurance operation, in addition to the firm’s MGA, GFH Underwriting Agency Ltd.

At the end of last year, U.S.-based brokerage Brown & Brown Inc. said that Brown & Brown Programs (CA) Inc. had entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of MGA Special Risk Insurance Managers (SRIM). With products including sports and entertainment, commercial and specialty insurance as well as international risk, SRIM is headquartered in Langley, B.C., but has an office in Vancouver, Vulcan, Alta., Winnipeg, Markham, Ont. and Bedford, N.S.