Broker network acquires insurance-owned wholesaler

Broker network acquires insurance-owned wholesaler

Broker network acquires insurance-owned wholesaler

Canadian Broker Network (CBN) has reached an agreement with Intact Financial Corporation to acquire Intact affiliate South Western Insurance Group Limited, a wholesale insurance intermediary that provides brokerages with specialty and niche insurance markets.

Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the year, were not disclosed.

CBN is a group of nine independent, commercially-oriented insurance brokers. Collectively, the network writes more than $750 million in property and casualty premiums annually.

In an era when Canadian independent brokers are often viewed as the targets of acquisitions by insurers and other financial companies, CBN notes this acquisition marks an example of bringing an insurance company-owned wholesale broker back into the fold of independent brokers.

“One of the biggest things to celebrate and highlight is that independent brokers like ourselves have brought [South Western] back to the independent channel,” CBN chair Daryn McLean told Insurance Business. “Intact is a great company and they are good at what they do. The fact we were able to bring this back into the independent channel should be something celebrated by independent brokers across the country.”

For its part, Intact lauded CBN's acquisition of its wholesale brokerage, which it viewed as peripheral to its core insurance activities.

“South Western is a wholesale intermediary that provides brokerages with niche and specialty line insurance markets – in other words, it provides markets to brokers for hard-to-place risks,” Gilles Gratton, Intact’s vice president of corporate communications, told Insurance Business. “Since this business is peripheral to our activities, we felt that South Western would benefit from the broker expertise and direction that a pre-eminent group of independent and commercially focused brokers can offer.

“Under CBN's strategic direction, South Western will be better able to expand its activities and pursue its growth opportunities.”

South Western’s offerings include niche and specialty programs such as alarm response, airport security, non-profit and profit D&O, hospitality, paintball, medical malpractice, builder’s risk and specialty property.

Upon closing, South Western will operate as an independent subsidiary of CBN with its own leadership team, name and brand.