Cal Legrow Insurance and Financial Group is investing in the technology and innovation part of its sector with the acquisition of St. John’s-based firm Optimized Insurance.
Optimized, started by ClearRisk Inc. founder, president and CEO Craig Rowe in 2014, is a specialty brokerage focusing on business insurance and risk. As part of the acquisition, Rowe will join the Cal LeGrow team as a risk management adviser.
“Optimized was founded to be entrepreneurial and innovative in the way we looked at insurance and risk management for our clients. We have been fortunate to have been able to work with some of the most innovative and exciting companies in the province,” Rowe stated in a news release announcing the sale.
“We joined Cal LeGrow because they are an organization that continues to reinvent themselves, they share our passion for innovation, and bring considerable depth of expertise and resources to our clients.”
LeGrow chairman and CEO Jeff LeGrow said Rowe’s experience and understanding of risk management and the tech sector will be a benefit to all its clients.
By adding Optimized to the stable, LeGrow inherits a number of startup and scaled-up technology and innovation clients, which it believes will help position the company as the brokerage of choice for similar businesses.
“The future of Atlantic Canada rests with entrepreneurs who are willing to take risks and ignite ideas,” LeGrow stated. “We want to be the go-to brokerage for those firms, and provide the services and support to enable their growth and success.”
In the fall of 2017, LeGrow got out of the personal insurance lines business when it sold that portion of the company to Nova Scotia-based Macdonald Chisholm Trask (MCT).
While part of the reason for the sale was a desire to focus on maintaining and strengthening its position as the largest independent commercial broker in Atlantic Canada, it also has a lot to do with the challenges presented in the personal marketplace as a result of technology.
“You need certain depth and size and you need to invest in technology because the customer is demanding a different experience these days and they want to do it digitally and through other ways and means,” LeGrow said.
“Those are big, big investments and we thought it was time for us to divest from that business and focus all our attention on our commercial clients, which represents a larger portion of our business in terms of size.”
In 2016, Cal LeGrow became the Atlantic Canadian representative of the Canadian Broker Network (CBN), a consortium of leading independent insurance brokerages representing more than $1 billion in property casualty premiums as well as employee benefits and life and financial services. The network includes a total of 1,500 employees in more than 50 offices throughout Canada.