Coast Capital Sells Insurance Brokerage

A partnership with Desjardins Group that Coast Capital announced earlier this year begins to take shape as a subsidiary of the Quebec powerhouse snaps up Coast’s insurance brokerage

Coast Capital Savings Credit Union has sold its insurance brokerage subsidiary to Alberta-based Western Financial Group. Customers will see little change, as the insurance outlets will continue to operate under the Coast Capital Savings Insurance Services name for at least two years, and at CCIS locations for at least five years.

“Western will lease space from us in our branches so they can continue to conduct their business in our branches,” explained Coast Capital Savings president and CEO Tracy Redies. Coast Capital Insurance Services currently operates alongside Coast Capital Savings at 30 locations, and at two stand-alone branches on Vancouver Island.

The sale, due to take effect in July, follows an announcement in April this year that Coast Capital entered a partnership with Desjardins Group of Quebec, Canada’s largest cooperative financial group and owner of Western Financial, which it bought for $443 million in December 2010.

“We’re working in partnership with Western and Desjardins. They’re going to be focusing on the insurance business; we’re going to be focusing on retail banking and wealth management,” said Redies.

Coast Capital Savings will retain CCIS’s life and disability insurance offerings, rolling them into the wealth-management services it offers its credit union clients.

Western Financial, founded in 1996 and based in High River, Alberta, is a financial services company specializing in selling home and auto, farm, and small business insurance. Founder, president and CEO Scott Tannas was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in March this year, and will relinquish his executive role at Western Financial at the end of this year.

Of the purchase of Coast Capital Insurance Services, Tannas said, “This will give us around 60 locations in B.C. For us, this is a big step in us building out a very solid footprint in the important communities  in British Columbia. We’re not quite done. Our math still has a few holes in it. But this gets us a long way toward having a complete branch footprint in British Columbia.”