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Expertise / Sectors / Insurance
 “High-profile insurance and reinsurance practice with strong transactional and regulatory capabilities. Commentators add: ‘They are responsive, business-oriented and really understand the realities of my business.’”
Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2021 (Insurance: Transactional & Regulatory)

The insurance industry is undergoing many changes. Evolving International Financial Reporting Standards, heightened regulation, shifting demographics and increased competition are impacting the way companies are doing business, driving new product development and affecting M&A activity. Meeting these challenges requires legal counsel with deep industry knowledge and specialized legal expertise.

Blakes leading Insurance lawyers provide sophisticated legal advice on all aspects of insurance business, operations, structure, investments, acquisitions, corporate governance and risk management. Our multidisciplinary team advises on financings, restructurings, onshore and offshore reinsurance arrangements and related trusts, pension de-risking transactions, real estate, and portfolio investment management.

Blakes has the largest and most active Financial Services Regulatory practice in Canada allowing us to effectively advise clients on the current regulatory framework and any draft legislation and regulatory proposals that may affect them. We assist in identifying regulatory issues in connection with the development, marketing, licensing and distribution of new insurance products. We regularly represent parties before the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and provincial regulators. Our Financial Services Regulatory team advises ceding insurers and reinsurers on structuring, implementing, negotiating and maintaining complex reinsurance, retrocession and longevity insurance transactions.

The Firm’s preeminent M&A expertise includes the insurance sector where we advise major domestic and foreign insurance companies and insurance distributors on all aspects of sale and purchase transactions, including regulatory, employment, pension, outsourcing, tax and intellectual property matters. We also provide our M&A clients with the benefit of strategic advice from our Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment group, Canada’s top-ranked competition law practice.

When disputes arise, the Blakes Litigation & Dispute Resolution team represents both insurers and insureds at all court levels and before administrative tribunals and government commissions, routinely prosecuting and defending specialized insurance claims.

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Recent Experience
  • Definity Financial (formerly, Economical Mutual Insurance Company) on the first property and casualty demutualization in Canada.

  • The Canada Life Assurance Company, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc., on its acquisition of ClaimSecure Inc.

  • iA Financial Group on the sale of its majority interest in Forstrong Global Asset Management Inc. to a group of independent purchasers.

  • ​Hub International on its acquisition of H.W. Hollinger (Canada) Inc., an independent insurance agency operating in Quebec, Canada.

  • ​Great-West Lifeco Inc. in connection with its public offering of C$1.5-billion principal amount of 3.60 per cent Limited Recourse Capital Notes.

  • ​Intact Financial Corporation in connection with its proposed C$12.3-billion acquisition, together with Tryg A/S, of RSA Insurance Group Plc and related private placements of C$4.45-billion of subscription receipts.

  • Hub International Limited on its acquisition of Seymour Alper Inc.

  • A shareholder of Canada Protection Plan on the sale of its life insurance distribution business to Foresters Financial.

  • Industrial Alliance Financial Services Inc. on the sale of its subsidiary iA Investment Counsel Inc. (operating under the brands T.E. Wealth and Leon Frazer & Associate) to Canadian Western Bank.

  • Hub International Limited on its acquisition of the benefits consulting practice of Morneau Shepell Inc.

  • Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada on its assumption reinsurance of British Columbia Life and Casualty Company.

  • Intact Financial Corporation on its C$1-billion acquisition of The Guarantee Company of North America and Frank Cowan Company Limited and related C$401-million bought deal public offering to finance a portion of the acquisition.

  • Hub International Limited on the acquisition of the insurance business of Cypher Systems Group Inc. and certain of its affiliates. The acquisition establishes a new regional operation for Hub, Hub Customer Central, to be based in Windsor, Ontario.

  • Outland-Carillion Services, a subsidiary of Carillion Canada Inc., on the sale of certain assets and liabilities to a wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings.

  • Central 1 Credit Union, the largest shareholder of Credential Financial Inc., on the merger of Credential Financial Inc., Qtrade Canada Inc. and NEI Investments.

  • CDP Investissement Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, on its acquisition of approximately 19 per cent of the share capital of First Lion Holdings Inc., an insurance broker, and its pending acquisition of an additional approximately three per cent of the share capital from the same sellers each year in 2019, 2020 and 2020. Concomitantly, CDP Revenu Fixe II Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has lent approximately C$17-million to First Lion Holdings Inc.

  • Hub International Limited on its acquisition of Integro (Canada) Ltd.

  • Hub International Limited on its acquisition of Delisle Agencies Ltd., an insurance agency based in Delisle, Saskatchewan, specializing in personal lines and government automotive insurance solutions.

  • Hub International Limited on its acquisition of Belyer Insurance Ltd. (operating as EasyInsure) through its subsidiary Totten Insurance Group Inc.

  • Insurance Bureau of Canada, an industry association comprised of many of Canada's largest property and casualty insurers, on successfully opposing a constitutional challenge brought in the Nova Scotia courts to statutory limitations with respect to a plaintiff's ability to recover damages for pain and suffering for minor injuries.

  • Intact Financial Corporation on its US$1.7-billion proposed acquisition of OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd., and its related offerings of C$754-million of subscription receipts, C$150-million of preferred shares and C$425-million of medium term notes.

  • Citi Holdings on the sale of Financial Reassurance Company 2010 Ltd. to a subsidiary of Munich Re.

  • Desjardins Group on the sale of its pet insurance business to Economical Mutual Insurance Company.

  • Power Financial and Power Corporation on their and Great-West Lifeco’s substantial issuer bids totalling C$5-billion.

  • SCOR Global Life regarding the C$5-billion Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada/Bell Canada pension de-risking insurance contract.

  • Standard Life plc on the sale of its Canadian business to Manulife for C$4-billion.

  • Canadian Western Bank on the proposed sale of its property and casualty insurance subsidiary Canadian Direct Insurance Inc. to Intact Financial Corporation for C$197-million.

  • VRG Capital in connection with its backing of a management buyout of Jones Brown Inc., and the subsequent acquisition of Pearson Dunn Insurance.

  • Genworth MI Canada Inc. on its C$850-million Canadian initial public offering. 

  • Transamerica/Aegon on the C$600-million sale of its business in Canada to Wilton Re/CPPIB.

  • Intact Financial Corporation on its C$2.6-billion acquisition of the Canadian insurance businesses of AXA SA.

  • MetLife Canada on the sale of its Canadian life business.

  • Standard Life Assurance Company and its affiliates in connection with the Canadian aspects of its demutualization and reorganization, including the transfer of most of its insurance business in Canada from a branch to a Canadian subsidiary through three separate transactions.

Awards & Recognition

Recognized as one of the most well-balanced insurance practices in the market, [Blakes] has strong skill sets in regulatory, transactional and contentious insurance matters.
The Legal 500 Canada 2020

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada

  • Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada

  • IFLR1000: The Guide to the World's Leading Financial and Corporate Law Firms

  • The Legal 500 Canada

  • Who's Who Legal: Canada

  • Who’s Who Legal: Insurance & Reinsurance

  • Euromoney’s LMG Banking, Finance and Transactional Expert Guide

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada