Hub International Ltd. is acquiring two more Canadian companies as it rolls out its strategy for expanding its employee benefits and pension business in Canada.
“We decided a few years ago that one of the key strategic initiatives for the entire company was to build a market-leading employee benefits and pension organization in Canada to complement the property-casualty strength that we have across Canada,” says Mike Barone, president of employee benefits at Hub.
“We’ve made great strides in the U.S. over the last five years in terms of growing our employee benefits practice and, as we look north into Canada, we just felt that there was a huge opportunity to make big investments in shared services and infrastructure to attract leading firms to Hub, and really round out the portfolio of products and services that we offer to our customers across Canada.”
The new acquisitions — Coquitlam, B.C.-based Optimum Group Benefits and Insurance Services Ltd. and Leamington, Ont.-based Hammond Insurance Agency Inc. — bring Hub’s total acquired employee benefits commission and fee revenue to almost $20 million in 2018. It plans to grow the division to $100 million by the beginning of 2021 through acquisition and organic growth.
“Both of these firms, in addition to the other acquisitions that we’ve done previously, bring a unique skill-set to Hub in terms of primarily employee benefits consultancies,” says Barone. “We felt their relationships and their know-how, complemented with significant investments that we’re going to make in resources, is what’s going to help them . . . differentiate themselves not only for existing customers but prospective customers.”
Part of Hub’s aim is to deliver the benefits experience enjoyed by larger organizations to small- and mid-size businesses, including the development of multi-year strategies, sophisticated technology, communications, call centres and wellness programs, noted Barone.
“If you think about what a Fortune-500 company’s experience might be with a global consulting firm, we’re going to shrink wrap that experience and be able to deliver it down market, and that’s what will fundamentally change the employee benefits landscape in Canada,” he says.
Hub has also appointed Faizal Mitha as chief innovation officer of its Canadian employee benefits business.