Partnering on an international level is one way to take your business to the next level, says the president of a U.S. company whose parent recently announced the acquisition of an Ottawa-based broker.
“There is a significant amount of business that is done between the U.S. and Canada, and we needed someone in the Canadian market place,” said Jim Durkin, president of Gallagher Benefits Services, Inc., a subsidiary of international brokerage and risk management firm Arthur J. Gallagher & Company – the parent that purchased Ottawa-based employee benefits broker and consultant Dickinson & Associates. “The Dickinson folks help us in Canada, so we help them in the U.S. marketplace. For the Canadian client, there is still that familiarity with the Dickinson brand, but now they have a global reach.”
Founded in 1998, Dickinson & Associates offers a full range of group employee benefits products and consulting services to its business and individual clients throughout Canada. The firm specializes in providing group health and welfare, business insurance, executive programs, pension programs, and retirement and estate planning services. (continued.)
The economic realities of today, said Durkin, the natural evolution of growth demands that business owners broaden their horizons if they are looking to grow and remain competitive.
“As business evolves and complexity grows, there’s a need to bring more tools and resources to the customer,” he told InsuranceBusiness.ca. “So by partnering up with someone like us, an international firm, a Canadian partner now has a broader platform to deliver to their customers. That is a trend that is happening around the world.”
For Durkin, the services offered by Dickinson & Associates are complementary to what his company offers as an insurance broker.
“We are an insurance broker. In our area, and the firm that we acquired, we work specifically in the employee benefits and human resource areas,” he pointed out. “We work with customers to help them with their human resource strategies, when employers decide here is what I want to provide on an employer benefit program.”
Durkin likens his approach to insurance as more of an advisor or consultant for the client, sometimes acting as a facilitator between the client and insurance brokers. (continued.)
“Our business model is to act as an advisor, to act as a consultant – or in many cases to act as a broker,” he said. “We act on behalf of the customers, which tend to be businesses, corporations – as they consider their insurance needs. As we help them work on that, we might go to an insurance company and place a product on their behalf.”
David Dickinson and his team will continue to operate from their Ottawa location under the direction of William Ziebell, Gallagher's Canadian employee benefit brokerage and consulting leader.
"Dickinson is good example of our merger partner of choice," said J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., chairman, president and CEO. "In addition, their Canadian presence and solid industry relationships will be a terrific complement to our growing employee benefits brokerage and consulting operation. We are pleased to welcome Dave and his associates to our growing Gallagher family of professionals."