South Western Group: Everything you need to know
Service: Wholesale insurance intermediary/Managing general agent
Locations: Three (Toronto, ON, Quebec City, QC, and Vancouver, BC)
South Western Insurance Group offers a range of insurance solutions for specialty, niche, program, and hard-to-place business, and, since 1961, has been providing underwriting expertise to brokers, today doing business with over 3,000 of these insurance professionals in Canada. The company transacts business with established domestic and foreign markets licensed in Canada, including Lloyd’s of London.
Its products span casualty (from commercial general liability and commercial marine insurance, to foreign risk and pollution liability), professional liability, property, specialty (kidnap & ransom, legal expense insurance, contingency insurance, among others), personal lines, and programs.
South Western Group in the news
1961: South Western Insurance Group is established.
March 2014: South Western Group completes three major acquisitions of product offerings in the golf course insurance space.
May 2018: Canadian Broker Network (CBN) sells South Western Insurance Group to Three Holdings Inc., a privately held insurance services group.
Key people as of 2019
John A. Barclay – President and CEO
Barclay took on the role of president and CEO at South Western Group in May 2013. He has extensive experience in expanding various platforms and products, and has been in the insurance industry for over 20 years. His previous positions include being the president of Simmlands Insurance Services, and before that, managing director of Marsh Canada.
Barb Pattenden – Director of insurance operations
Pattenden has been the director of insurance operations at South Western Group since 2009. She oversees day-to-day operations, and is responsible for the HR functions of the company in this role. Pattenden joined South Western Group back in 1995, and has climbed the ranks to attain her current leadership position. She has experience as a senior professional liability underwriter, previously overseeing the professional liability department for over a decade.
Ghazal Hamid – Director of underwriting
Hamid has been involved with the growth of South Western Group since 2002. He boasts a strong commercial liability and property background, and has played an important role in the development of the company’s corporate and regional branch strategies. He also focuses on broker and company relationship management, while overseeing the growth of the P&C business lines.
Following the purchase of South Western Group by Three Holdings in 2018, the combined advantages of each company allowed Three Holdings to reach a much larger distribution network with focused messaging on what the companies are able to offer them. This spells out tremendous value for brokers, it believes.
“Brokers are dealing with a market that can help them understand their client’s issues,” said Neil McRuer, president and CEO of MedThree Insurance Group, an MGA focused on the healthcare and life sciences industries. “The broker gets a specialty product with technical knowledge, and it helps them win and retain accounts; whereas a generalist off-the-shelf type solution probably isn’t the right one for each of the risks in their client portfolio.”
Meanwhile, South Western Group’s Barclay explained how Three Holdings’ shared services solutions help its companies stand up to the rigorous scrutiny of insurance markets.
“South Western Group has a number of specialty or industry-focused offerings, products, and programs,” said Barclay. “Each of those specialties can fit the model that MedThree provides to the marketplace, which is really knowledgeable underwriting with focused products. At the same time, SWG had strong compliance, finance, reporting, and analytics that supports the group’s operational efficiency. The deal killed a couple of birds with one stone by providing a scalable back office and a readymade cluster of tailored offerings to accelerate the Three Holdings plan.”