Ontario-based EGI Financial Holdings Inc. (EGI), parent company of Echelon General Insurance Company, announced the amalgamation with Canadian Insurance Marketing Inc. (CIMI).
“To this point, EGI had been owned 50 percent by The Co-operators Group and 50 percent by CIMI,” said the announcement. “Co-operators will retain a 43 percent interest in the amalgamated company, which will carry on business under the EGI moniker. The remaining shares of EGI are owned by members of management, employees and outside investors.”
The bulletin indicated that “CIMI brings additional financial resources, systems and expertise in non-auto, specialty lines of insurance and an existing book of specialty program business to be underwritten by Echelon.” It also said that the amalgamation does not entail any changes to the current operating management, which will continue to be directed by CEO Douglas E. McIntyre.
“We know from past industry experience that niche and specialty insurers are most effectively developed as independent, entrepreneurially-driven companies, rather than as special risk departments within large multi-line insurance groups”, stated Katherine Bardswick, Co-operators Group CEO. “Co-operators remains a significant shareholder and an important distribution channel for Echelon General, but we do not intend to control either the operation or the future development of the company.”
“We now have all of the human, financial and corporate resources necessary to fully develop Echelon General’s potential as a focused niche insurer, offering both non-standard automobile and other specialty lines of business”, McIntyre commented. “Our group will also look beyond Canada’s borders, to the United States and elsewhere for niche insurance underwriting opportunities.”
The bulletin also noted: “Echelon General is currently the highest ranking non-standard auto insurer in Ontario’s Claims Satisfaction Survey, offering fast, efficient service on policies and claims. Echelon’s Niche Products Division underwrites producer-initiated insurance programs in a variety of specialty lines such as warranty, higher risk property, casualty and accident & health. The group also offers rent-a-captive and fronting services to program clients.”