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Broker corner: Going national

Jamie Reid, president and CEO of A.P. Reid, was part of our “Top 10 Under 40” in 2014, and just celebrated his 24th anniversary in the industry at age 41. But, he says, his biggest accomplishment to date is seeing his mother’s business grow from a small Nova Scotia shop to a national brokerage.

When Reid took over the position of CEO from his mother in 2010, the company’s goal was “becoming Atlantic Canada’s premier insurance organization. Then as time went on, we discovered that in order to become that we had to become national. Atlantic Canada itself is a pretty small market, so even if you’re the biggest guy, you’re not all that big,” Reid says.

A.P. Reid began its national expansion plan in 2014 when it acquired a Waterdown, Ont. brokerage. In 2016, the company bought Edmonton’s Robinson Insurance Brokerage; the deal closed November 1. The family-run business now totals 11 branches.

“With Robinson they have some fantastic commercial accounts that will make prime group targets, or we can take our group expertise and offer it to their large commercial accounts and then a number of other exclusive group programs that are done for associations.”

We target 15 percent in acquisition growth every year; that’s perfectly manageable.”

Reid says the company is talking about more acquisitions; some are what he calls “synergy” deals, where a target company makes economic sense because it is nearby an existing office. But, the vast majority of acquisitions under consideration – including the Robinson Insurance Brokerage deal – are strategic.

“[Strategic deals are] picking somebody who gets you into a new territory or a new market, so you’re using the acquisition to develop something stronger than you already have – rather than just making more money at what you’re already doing because you have more volume.”

Reid admits his company’s growth plan is aggressive. “We want to grow organically every year by about the same pace that we grow through acquisition. We target 15per cent in acquisition growth every year; that’s perfectly manageable.”

Though aggressive, the company’s growth is focused in areas they excel. “We’re going after targeted classes of business that gives us a strategic advantage where we have developed some exclusive program. Then that pays off much more than investing our energy in putting up a big billboard and hoping someone phones us.”

The series of acquisitions is leading toward Reid’s end goal for his family’s company: “becoming Canada’s first family-owned national insurance broker.”

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Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the March 2017 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

Transcontinental Media G.P.