Canadian Underwriter

Brokerage acquisition features insurtech talent, online binding

January 8, 2018   by Greg Meckbach

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The potential to expedite policy issuance to brokers online was a major factor in the decision of Totten Insurance Group to buy Belyer Insurance Limited of Windsor, Ont., Totten CEO Susan Murphy said Friday.

Belyer does business as EasyInsure, whose acquisition by Totten was announced Jan. 3.

Totten, a managing general agency with several Canadian offices, was planning on rolling out its own online policy system. But it probably would have taken Totten two years to launch its own system and it would have needed “a significant capital investment,” Murphy said Friday in an interview.

With the EasyInsure acquisition, Totten inherits a system for quoting, binding and issuing policies online. Totten plans to use EasyInsure’s online policy issuance system with smaller accounts, those paying in the neighbourhood of $1,000 a year in premium.

This way, Totten will be able to reduce underwriters’ workload on small account and let them focus on “more complex accounts,” Murphy said.

At the moment, it takes 60 to 90 days for Totten to issue policies after the clients buy them, Murphy said. But with the EasyInsure system, a broker placing through Totten would have a policy within 72 hours. With some larger clients buying in specialty markets, the process will not change.

Related: Totten buys online brokerage

“Insurtech in the [property and casualty insurance] space is critical,” she added. “Everyone has to be investing in it. If we are not we are going to be left behind.”

Totten said it is pleased to bring in the insurtech experience of Belyer founders Grant Belanger and Leen Meyer, who are entrepreneurs in their mid-30s. Bringing their talent into the fold was just as important as acquiring EasyInsure’s technology, Murphy added.

“They will help lead our way with this technology space,” Murphy said, adding the EasyInsure founders “will continue to lead the EasyInsure team.”

Chicago-based Hub International Limited, Totten’s corporate parent, is not disclosing the terms of the EasyInsure acquisition. H. Ross Totten founded Totten Insurance Group in 2002 and was chief executive officer until 2012.

EasyInsure’s coverages include personal and commercial auto, homeowners, commercial general liability, professional liability and surety, among others. EasyInsure has both a retail brokerage and an MGA operation, Murphy said.

Hub acquired Totten in 2007. Other MGAs recently acquired by Hub include Canadian Resources Insurance Solutions Inc. and New Dimensions Underwriters.

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