Western Financial Group announces acquisition of Manitoba's largest insurance broker


    Deal makes company major employer in Winnipeg, provides insurance company
    resource, and expands call centre capabilities

    HIGH RIVER, AB, Sept. 8 /CNW/ - (TSX - WES). Western Financial Group
("the Company" or "Western") announced today that it has agreed to acquire all
issued and outstanding shares of Winnipeg based Hayhurst Elias Dudek Inc.
("HED") and its subsidiaries, including Securican General Insurance Company
("Securican"). The transaction has been approved by all applicable regulatory
bodies and is scheduled to close on or before September 30, 2009. The Company,
which currently owns 49% of HED, had been a minority shareholder for almost 3
    HED is one of Canada's largest independent insurance brokerages, with its
Head Office in Winnipeg and a service office in Laval, Quebec. HED specializes
in progressive and unique commercial insurance and employee benefit products
specifically designed for Canadian independent businesses and Government
entities that are aligned with associations or buying groups. Securican is
Canada's largest and most profitable underwriter of pet health insurance
through its own brand name - PetSecure - as well as a number of white label
agreements with national brand name companies. It also plays a supporting role
in the placement and management of HED's commercial "Protected Self-Insurance"
    "With the acquisition of HED and Securican, we have a powerful set of
resources in place to continue the systematic growth of our business. We are
one of only a few Canadian organizations operating in the banking, life, and
property and casualty manufacturing insurance sectors. In addition, we own and
operate the largest insurance network of brokerages - now more than 100
locations - in Western Canada," said Scott Tannas, President and CEO of the
Company. "There are many reasons why I am particularly excited about the
strengths of our combined operations, and these include:

    -   Providing our company with a unique and powerful platform on which to
        expand its sales of commercial insurance in the West.

    -   While Western's focus has been in the West, we welcome and embrace
        HED's cross-Canada business model of serving client group member
        firms' needs across the country including not only the West, Ontario
        and Quebec, but reaching all the way to Atlantic Canada.

    -   Unleashing HED's employee benefit sales methodology toward all
        Western's existing small business customers.

    -   We intend to make Securican a platform for future development of a
        roster of specialty insurance products that could be marketed by
        Western's distribution force. That said, our policy of acting as only
        brokers in our core home, auto and small business insurance business
        has not changed.

    -   Securican operates a 50 seat call centre that currently supports the
        sale and service of pet health insurance to its 60,000+ policy
        holders across Canada. This call centre and its licensed personnel
        provide Western with expert staff and an infrastructure on which to
        build future sales and service initiatives encompassing home, auto
        and life insurance.

    -   Winnipeg will become the focal point for after-hours care for our
        existing branch customers, as well as the hub of our long-term plan
        to expand into the sale of insurance by telephone and through the
        internet to new customers in the West, including those in
        metropolitan centres.

    -   HED and Securican have a history of solid profitability, and should
        therefore be accretive to shareholders.

    -   Western and HED recently developed significant profit and sales
        momentum on cross sales between business units, particularly between
        Western Life and HED.

    HED is a top Canadian performer and has been recognized repeatedly as one
of the best employers in Manitoba, as well as in the top 100 in Western
Canada. With HED on board, we also become a significant employer in Winnipeg,
with over 300 on the payroll, meaning greater employment advancement
opportunity for staff at all our businesses," he said.

    Western Financial Group is a leader in providing insurance, financial
services and banking services in over 90 communities, to more than 500,000
individuals and businesses in Western Canada through its Network locations,
its affiliated insurance brokers, Western Life Assurance Company and Bank
    The Company in its second quarter report released on August 13, 2009
reported an overall increase of 538% in net income over the first quarter
    The Common Shares of Western Financial Group are traded on the Toronto
Stock Exchange under the symbol "WES".

    Forward-Looking Information

    This press release contains information that constitutes "forward-looking
information" or "forward-looking statements" (collectively "forward-looking
information") within the meaning of applicable securities legislation. This
forward-looking information includes, among others, statements regarding: the
timing of completion of the offering and other expectations, beliefs, plans,
goals, objectives, assumptions, information and statements about possible
future events.
    This forward looking information is based on various assumptions,
including without limitation, the ability to complete the offering and the
size of the offering. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking
information. Forward-looking information is based on current expectations,
estimates and projections that involve a number of risks which could cause
actual results to vary and in some instances to differ materially from those
anticipated by the Company and described in the forward-looking information
contained in this press release. The material risk factors include, but are
not limited to, uncertainties as to changes in capital markets and the
abilities of the parties to complete the transaction generally.
    Forward-looking information is based on the estimates and opinions of the
Company's management at the time the information is presented. The Company
assumes no obligation to update forward-looking information should
circumstances or management's estimates or opinions change, except as required
by law.

For further information:

For further information: Arlene Beggs, Assistant to the President,
Western Financial Group, (403) 652-2663, info@westernfg.ca

Organization Profile

Western Financial Group

More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890