Western Financial acquires Alberta brokerage

New acquisition will not operate as an independent brokerage, although Western itself operates according to an independent broker model, Western’s CEO states.

Western Financial Group has acquired Craig Insurance, located in Barrhead, Alberta, a town of approximately 10,000 people located about one hour northwest of Edmonton.

Craig Insurance has been serving the people of Barrhead from its current location since 1974. It will continue to offer its core product lines – home, auto, farm and small business insurance – as well as with the same staff. Western said the deal is in keeping with its strategy of growth in small communities throughout Western Canada.

Scott Tannas, president and CEO of Western Financial Group, said Craig Insurance will not be operating as an independent brokerage, although Western itself operates according to an independent broker model.  

“We do work with all of the major insurance companies in Canada,” Tannas told Insurance Business. “They are key suppliers of products. We also make our own products. We would take risk on some things – the line of pet and health insurance, for example, and we take the risk on life insurance.

"We own our own life insurer. We are a bank, so we take deposits and make loans as well. But on the core business of home, auto, farm and small business insurance, we are typically brokers.”

Tannas said the deal would immediately give Craig Insurance access to Western’s product offerings.  

“In the core [insurance] business, there’s a huge shift in terms of the competitiveness of the product,” Tannas said, citing the number of markets the broker can now represent to clients. “Craig insurance had four suppliers. We have well over 100 suppliers of insurance. That allows us to better serve the customer, both from a ‘getting-the-right-fit’ point of view as well as the ability to get best price for whatever a customer is looking for in the core business.”

In addition, Craig Insurance customers will be able to buy GICs and certificates of deposit from an array of banks, including those owned by Western.  As well, Craig clients will now have access to term life, universal life and a number of retirement savings type products.  

"We're very proud of our nearly 30 years of service to the people of Barrhead,” said Bill Johnson, whose family has owned Craig Insurance since 1983. “By joining Western, we've found a partner who shares our belief in providing great customer service. It's time for me to move on to other challenges, but I know I'm leaving the office in excellent hands.”

Mellody Spares will manage the newly integrated office.

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