Wawanesa to Buy Western Canadian from Desjardins Group

Published: February 17, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. has agreed to acquire Western Canadian from Desjardins Group. The company will pay around $775 million for the insurance business. The acquisition is the latest purchase in an insurance industry that is going through a period of market consolidation.

This deal is the biggest in Wawanesa’s 121-year history. The Winnipeg-based mutual insurance company announced on Thursday that is subsidiary Trimont Financial Ltd. Will acquire High River, Alta.-based Western Financial Group Inc. and Western Life Assurance.

Wawanesa CEO Jeff Goy says the deal shows the company’s willingness to grow in the market and expand its reach and access to insurance brokers around Canada.

“We made this investment as an investment in distribution of insurance through brokers, to preserve that channel,” Mr. Goy said. He added that Wawanesa’s customers, which are also the owners of the business, largely want to buy insurance through independent brokers that can offer them a range of products in the region where they live.

“We’re a proud mutual company. … We want to continue to grow,” Mr. Goy said.

The Acquisition will result in Wawanesa taking control of Western’s insurance-brokerage network and personal insurance business. This represents 157 offices in Western Canada and beyond. However, the company says Western will continue to operate as an independent company and will retain its 1,700 employees.

This means customers will still purchase insurance products from Western, and brokers will continue to sell the company’s products.