The driving force behind Navacord triple merger

Three firms have formed one of the largest commercial brokers in Saskatchewan

The driving force behind Navacord triple merger

Insurance News

By Gia Snape

The merger of Henderson Insurance, Hoffman Kool Insurance, and Life Line Brokers to become one of the largest commercial insurance brokerages in Saskatchewan was the result of a “natural evolution” but also a response to mounting challenges in the industry, according to president and CEO David Reidy (pictured). 

The Navacord partner firms came together as HK Henderson on November 1, 2023. Reidy was previously CEO of Henderson Insurance, a second-generation brokerage specializing in agriculture, transportation, and manufacturing. 

“As Navacord broker partners, we would work collaboratively, and as our teams work closer together, this step was a natural evolution,” Reidy told Insurance Business.

“We felt that now was the time, not only to better manage the problems we’re facing from a talent attraction and retention standpoint but also on the commercial capacity standpoint within Saskatchewan.”

What’s the driving force behind Navacord triple merger?

HK Henderson has around 125 employees in five locations in Saskatoon, Regina, and Moose Jaw. Its commercial team comprises around half its workforce, a group that Reidy is tremendously proud to have put together.

Talent has been a driving force for the merger, Reidy said, allowing the brokerages to better position their frontline talent to capitalize on opportunities.

“What we’re hearing from business leaders across the province is that there’s this tremendous upheaval of frontline commercial talent in Saskatchewan,” the CEO said. 

“Meaning a business that had a relationship with an advisor for seven, 10, or 20 years might have been transitioned to a new advisor, in certain cases, multiple times in the last few years. That’s not only due to unprecedented mergers and acquisitions but also an aging commercial workforce.”

HK Henderson is “positioned to take advantage and gain market share” because of its deep connections in Saskatchewan communities, Reidy said.

With Navacord’s robust learning and development resources, the joined-up business is better equipped to support its employees and provide them with more substantial career opportunities as the organization grows.

 “As we come together collectively, there’s going to be roles within the brokerage that currently don’t exist, whether that’s in claims, risk services, or specialized lines of business,” Reidy said. 

“We hope that we can bring somebody on at whatever age and they can have a career path and change roles three, four or five times without ever leaving the company. That’s our ambition.”


Better serving Saskatchewan’s communities 

For nearly six decades, Henderson Insurance has offered customized insurance services to businesses in Saskatchewan and beyond. It was Navacord’s first broker partner in the province, joining in 2018. 

The two other firms that make up HK Henderson are also longstanding brokerages. Hoffman Kool, led by CEO Darryn Knibbs, has provided expertise in transportation, construction, and other industries in Saskatoon and northern Saskatchewan for over 50 years.  

Saskatoon-based Life Line Brokers, on the other hand, specializes in personal insurance, life insurance, and financial services.  

The brokerages have complementary areas of business focus, but together, HK Henderson would be a leader in several lines of business, including commercial transportation, agribusiness, and realty, according to Reidy.

Opportunities for HK Henderson’s organic growth

 Though commercial insurance would remain the “tip of the spear” for HK Henderson, Reidy also acknowledged potential growth opportunities in personal lines. 

“As we do gain market share in commercial, we are aware that the cross-sell into the personal insurance and the group benefits side is a huge opportunity for us to grow organically,” he said. “As a Navacord broker partner, we want to become multi-line.”  

Reidy is also open to branching out beyond its current markets. 

“We’re certainly open to looking at other areas, but it would come with talent and potentially further brokerage acquisition,” he said. 

How is HK Henderson setting up for 2024?

 Looking ahead to the new year, Reidy said HK Henderson is focused on ensuring its carrier partners are on the same page. 

“It’s getting them to understand who we are, where our opportunities to grow are, and just making plans for the future,” he told Insurance Business. 

“We’re coming off a year where the combined organic growth was about 10.5%, which is significant. There are many new clients to deal with, so we’re working on integration and best practices while keeping clients top of mind.” 

What are your thoughts on the Navacord broker partners’ merger into HK Henderson? Tell us in the comments.

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