APRIL Canada : Everything you need to know
Corporate address: 3250 Blvd Lapinière, Suite 100, Brossard, Québec J4Z 3T8, Canada
Year established: 1988
Office locations: Brossard, Laval, Toronto
Broker partners: 1,500
Underwriting expertise: Automobile, residential, contractors, professionals and businesses, commercial and personal marine, commercial realty insurance
APRIL is a leading Independent Canadian MGA, servicing brokers across the country with offices in Toronto and Quebec. The key to APRIL’s success is strong broker partner relationships built on trust, underwriting expertise and determination to be the MGA of choice through product offerings, innovation, and commitment to service.
With a wide range of specialty insurance products, cultivated by listening to the needs of the market and brokers, APRIL offers commercial solutions, including: student housing, hospitality, and commercial marine and personal insurance solutions including: home-sharing, cancellation for non-payment, rented dwellings and personal marine. Having a focused approach on specialized niches enables the MGA to quote quickly, offer broad coverages and develop digital solutions. APRIL is driven by one ambition: to push limits and innovate; with APRIL ON, an online quoting platform, they help brokers transform digitally to simplify their life.
No ceiling to innovation
One of APRIL Canada’s innovative releases was an alternative solution for landlords to make sure they aren’t left with out-of-pocket expenses for tenants’ negligence. The Landlord Protection product is a comprehensive insurance solution that was born out of APRIL’s expertise in the rental sector, Lucie Lee Frappier, residential team leader at APRIL Canada, told Insurance Business.
“The Landlord Protection is an unprecedented insurance that covers unpaid rents and damage by tenants for Ontario and Quebec landlords on top of our traditional property and liability package,” said Frappier. “For example, the unpaid rents protection is much more than just insurance in the event of rent arrears; it also includes coverage if the tenant dies, leaves before the end of the rental agreement without respecting the proper notice, damages the property to the point that it’s not tenantable for more than a week or refuses to vacate the rental despite the eviction notice.”
APRIL Canada’s other residential insurance offerings include insurance for: seasonal or secondary homes, homeowners living out of the country, rented homes, vacant homes, Airbnb and short-term rentals as well as other unusual risks.
Recently, the company also launched an insurance quotation tool, which allows brokerages to quickly quote construction insurance on their websites. Called APRIL Construction FlashQuote tool, the platform allows visitors to a brokerage’s website to fill out a form to estimate their premiums for construction contractor insurance. Once submitted, users will be immediately directed to a broker who can process the quotes produced by the tool.
Back to the books
In November 2018, APRIL Canada launched its APRIL University program, which is led by a team of accreditation professionals approved by RIBO and helps to educate insurance professionals on specific business lines and specialties. The MGA ran training sessions in Quebec City earlier in the year that saw more than 180 professionals come out to learn about various insurance topics in unique venues, such as the Quebec Aquarium and Notman House in Montreal.
Some of the training programs focus on the essentials of pleasure craft insurance, rentals and the Airbnb market in Ontario, and insurance for general and specialized contractors, and fit in with APRIL Canada’s determination to educate its broker partners.
“A lot of brokers we work with are rural or smaller in size, and they might only have one or two professional accounts to deal with, and so we do our best to assist them with placing that business,” said Kent Pitkin, VP Ontario and commercial lines director, APRIL Canada. “What we’re seeing in the marketplace is that lots of brokers are shifting from personal lines into the commercial lines space. At APRIL, we like to be able to offer some expertise and knowledge around commercial lines products in order to help brokers make the transition.”
Acquisitions and leadership changes
In April 2018, APRIL expanded its reach in Canada through the acquisition of Benecaid, a managing general underwriter and third-party administrator specializing in group health insurance for VSEs. The acquired company had 53 staff members and served more than 22,000 clients, which translated to approximately €60 million (CA$93.9 million) in premiums. The deal was intended to diversify APRIL’s Canada business beyond its wholesale property and casualty brokerage business.
“By acquiring Benecaid, the group is continuing its expansion in a growing and priority business line for APRIL,” said Emmanuel Morandini, APRIL group CEO. “Canada is already one of the main contributing countries to our gross margin outside France; we’re boosting our positioning there thanks to a profitable company recognized for the quality of its expertise, and which complements our existing activities.”
Later in 2018, APRIL Canada appointed a new CEO, Sébastien Gabez, who replaced Nick Kidd at the helm of the company. Gabez joined APRIL Canada in Montreal in 2013 as chief financial officer and then took over as Quebec vice-president of the APRIL subsidiary in 2017.
2021, however, marked big changes at the top for APRIL Canada, with Gabez exiting his position and taking on a new role within the APRIL group as CEO of APRIL Caribbean, based in Guadeloupe. Daphné de Vitton, who was then director of marketing, innovation, and digital, was named as a replacement.
with the company appointing Daphné de Vitton – then director of marketing, innovation, and digital – as a replacement.
de Vitton joined APRIL in October 2019. She headed up APRIL’s future-ready initiatives, including its focus on broker relationships and experience, as well as digital transformation. In June 2020, she oversaw the launch of APRIL ON, which has almost 3,000 brokers online.