Policyholders Approve Merger to Create Heartland Farm Mutual Insurance

Amalgamation of North Waterloo Farmers Mutual Insurance and Oxford Mutual Insurance Creates a New Stronger Company

WATERLOO, ON and THAMESFORD, ON, Aug. 28, 2015 /CNW/ - North Waterloo Farmers Mutual Insurance Company ("NWFM") and Oxford Mutual Insurance Company ("Oxford") today announced that their mutual policyholders have voted overwhelmingly to approve the amalgamation of the two companies to create Heartland Farm Mutual Insurance Inc.  ("Heartland").

At separate meetings on August 27, 2015, well over the required two-thirds of the voting mutual policyholders of both companies indicated their support for the amalgamation, originally announced in March 2015. 

The merger remains subject to the approval of the Federal Minister of Finance acting on the recommendation of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. With that approval, Heartland will immediately become a leading farm insurance company in Ontario. It will have written premiums approaching  $105 million, with an underlying capital base of approximately $79 million.

"Through this merger, we are creating a much stronger mutual property and casualty insurance company that will continue to compete in an increasingly challenging industry.  Heartland will be able to invest, especially in the technology that is changing the business, and add new products and services for brokers, agents and policyholders," said Helen Johns, Chair of NWFM.  "We will be able to improve our spread of risk, enhance operating efficiency and deliver stronger financial results. Added financial strength means Heartland will be able to provide greater security and stability to stakeholders."

Heartland plans no reduction in the number of employees at the two predecessor companies but expects to reduce its expense ratio through synergies and greater economies of scale. All existing policies of both companies will remain in force as Heartland mutual policies and policyholders will continue to be served by their current brokers or agents.

Heartland's head office will be in Waterloo, with Oxford's current office in Thamesford continuing to have significance as a regional centre. Carlos Rodrigues will be Heartland's President and Chief Executive Officer, positions he currently holds at NWFM.

"This has been a long and carefully considered process from the initial strategic reviews by both companies, to the amalgamation agreement, and now to policyholder approval.  The directors and management agree this is the best way forward for everyone," said Moira Connell, Chair of Oxford. "The operations of the two companies fit well together, but we also share values. We are committed to customer service, the concept of mutual insurance, and giving back to our communities."

Mr. Rodrigues noted that important steps in the integration of the operations are already under way and there is excellent cooperation between the people at each company.

"We are confident we can achieve the potential promised by this merger, strengthening our service and product offering with no disruption to our broker and customer relationships," he said.  

About Heartland Farm Mutual Insurance

Subject to final approval by the Minister of Finance, Heartland Farm Mutual Insurance will offer farm, home, automobile and commercial insurance across Ontario through brokers and its own agents.  It will be a leading provider of property and casualty insurance in the province, consistent with its roots in rural Ontario through its predecessor companies dating back to the 1870s. Heartland will have offices in Waterloo and Thamesford, Ontario. More information is  available at www.nwfm.com or www.oxfordmutual.com

SOURCE Heartland Farm Mutual Insurance

For further information: John Lute, Lute & Company, 416 929 5883, jlute@luteco.com

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