What BrokerLink's three newest acquisitions say about its M&A strategy

It recently sealed its largest deal of the year

What BrokerLink's three newest acquisitions say about its M&A strategy

Mergers & Acquisitions

By Gia Snape

BrokerLink recently closed its largest acquisition of 2023 with Alberta-based Access Insurance Group (Access Insurance).

The deal, which came into effect on July 1, creates significant opportunity for the company to expand its Alberta footprint and deliver services in Edmonton, Lacombe, Red Deer, Stony Plain, Lloydminster and the surrounding communities.

BrokerLink also announced two acquisitions in Ontario and the Atlantic region: Donnell Insurance (Donnell Insurance) and Kent & White Insurance (Kent & White), effective July 1.

Insurance Business caught up with Michael Stack, VP of acquisitions, about how the recent deals fit into BrokerLink’s wider mergers and acquisitions strategy.

“July was really a big month for us,” Stack said. “We’ve made investments and acquired properties in every region that BrokerLink does business in Canada.”

What does BrokerLink value in its acquisition partners?

In an earlier interview, Stack named five key elements that BrokerLink seeks in acquisitions: People, commitment to community, technology, business mix, and location.

Though Access Insurance, Donnell Insurance, and Kent & White each ticked all the boxes in BrokerLink’s list, the VP said each broker highlighted a unique point of value.

“When we look at our acquisition strategy, we think about whether the brokers that we were acquiring align with the values of our organisation,” Stack said.

“They need to have integrity, respect, and be customer driven. They believe in excellence in customer service and in business, and generosity not only with their communities, but with their people as well.”

Scaling in familiar territories

BrokerLink is highly focused on growing in the communities it already does business in, according to Stack. Exploring more opportunities in Alberta, Ontario, and the Atlantic region remains central to BrokerLink’s M&A plans in the near term.

“Each of these regions was important to us. It shows that we're committed to these regions, and that's good for our people to see, and for the communities to see as well,” Stack said. “The acquisition of Kent & White brought us into a new community in New Brunswick, which is Bathurst. While we have clients and employees there, we didn’t have a physical presence.”

Kent & White also brought in a good mix of business that allows BrokerLink to broaden its personal and commercial offerings.

Founded in 1946, Kent & White is one of the largest fully bilingual commercial insurance brokerages in Northern New Brunswick.

“Kent & White has a unique talent of offering group insurance programmes. They offer local Chambers of Commerce group insurance programmes, and they have a military insurance programme as well,” Stack said. “We’re interested in those specialties and in potentially expanding those programmes.”

Emphasis on technology

In terms of technology, Stack said Access Insurance stood out as an acquisition partner.

Edmonton-based Access Insurance has providing personal and commercial insurance solutions to Western Canadians for more than 40 years. The brokerage bills itself as a leader in incorporating technology and innovation into its operations. 

“Brokerages require new technology to help brokers do their job more efficiently and to provide services to clients more efficiently,” said Stack.

“Access Insurance are doing some very unique things with technology, servicing their commercial clients, and we're very eager to learn a lot about that and to hopefully integrate some of those new technologies into our business.”

Investment in local communities

Finally, Stack emphasized BrokerLink’s commitment to its local communities, and its preference for broker partner that are in touch with their roots.

“I think of Donnell Insurance in Ontario when I think of commitment to the local community. This is a brokerage that very well-known in the community, and been in the community for 50 years,” he said.

Founded in 1983, Donnell offers home, auto, and business insurance to Burlington and surrounding areas.

“It has great loyal clientele and wonderful staff,” Stack continued. “They're the people that these clients will see at the grocery store, at the Chamber of Commerce meetings, or at the sports event around the school for the kids.”

Do you have any thoughts about BrokerLink’s latest acquisitions? Tell us in the comments below.

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