APRIL Canada news

Year formed (APRIL group): 1988
Employees: 150
Offices: Three
Policyholders: 45,000
Broker partners: 1,500

APRIL is an international insurance group that insures more than six million clients and operates in 31 countries, including Canada, where its outpost is the largest independent insurance managing general agent (MGA) in the country. APRIL Canada counts over 40 specialist underwriters and has access to over $10 million in cover through its combined partners.

Insurance offerings available through APRIL Canada include those in commercial, residential, personal automobile, transport and boat lines. The MGA prides itself on finding new and innovative niche insurance market products, and coverage for already existing and emerging insurance needs.

In APRIL Canada’s commercial lines offerings you’ll find hospitality, student house, and small course of construction and renovation insurance, among a host of other coverages, such as product recall, professional liability, and data and cyber. Non-fleet and commercial automobile insurance is available in its transport division, as is automobile insurance for towing, delivery, and moving companies. Pleasure craft insurance, APRIL cargo and storage, marine liabilities and marine general liability, as well as insurance for marinas, boat dealers and yacht clubs is also available through the MGA.

No ceiling to innovation
One of APRIL Canada’s recent 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.

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 specialities. 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.”

A busy year
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 also 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.

“Through his expertise, knowledge of the industry and his career within APRIL Canada Inc. since 2013, Sébastien Gabez will strengthen our position in the property and liability lines, building upon Nick Kidd’s accomplishments, and above all, commit APRIL Canada Inc. to strong and sustainable development,” said Marc-André Dupont, CEO of APRIL’s property line.