WINNIPEG — In what is likely the largest deal in its 121-year history, Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. is acquiring Western Financial Group and Western Life Assurance from Desjardins Financial Corp. for $775 million.
The transaction, being undertaken by Winnipeg-based Wawanesa’s subsidiary Trimont Financial Ltd., includes Western’s brokerage network, Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions and Coast Capital Insurance Services as well as Western Life Assurance.
The acquisition will add 157 locations and more than 1,700 employees to Wawanesa’s current workforce of 3,000, who work out of 50 locations in Canada and the U.S.
Wawanesa CEO Jeff Goy said there will be no changes in the Western companies’ operations and the brokerage network will continue to operate under the Western Financial Group name. There are no plans to close or relocate any of Western’s existing brokerage locations.
"Today’s announcement will ensure that Western Financial Group remains a trusted, familiar local broker in communities across Western Canada," Goy said.
The transaction is scheduled to close in the third quarter of 2017.
The deal is being done between two co-operative/mutual companies — both Desjardins and Wawanesa are owned by their members/policyholders.
"We are pleased that ownership of Western will remain in the co-operative-mutual sector, given Wawanesa’s shared values and customer focus," said Denis Berthiaume, Desjardins Group’s chief operating officer.
Desjardins had acquired Western Financial for a reported $443 million in 2011.
Wawanesa is one of the largest property and casualty insurers in Canada with $3 billion in annual revenues and assets of more than $9 billion. As well it operates Wawanesa General, a subsidiary that offers property and casualty insurance in California and Oregon, and Wawanesa Life, which distributes life insurance products and services throughout Canada.
» Winnipeg Free Press