Toronto MGA Ches expands in Quebec

TORONTO-based commercial MGA Ches Special Risk has expanded its operations outside Ontario.

Last month it opened an office in Quebec and it hopes to open offices in Alberta and B.C. next year, president and CEO Gary Hirst told Thompson’s.

Ches recruited Gabriel Morneau to lead the Montreal operation as Ches Solutions Spécialisées director and senior underwriter.

“We like the concept of a local office to source the business a lot more quickly and that helps our risk selection,” Mr. Hirst said. “Quebec has been something that has eluded (the company) for a number of years.

“The first run at trying to enter, we were thwarted by lack of language skill but now we have hired a top quality colleague in Morneau heading it up in Montreal.”

He said Ches worked closely with the Quebec regulator Autorité des marchés financiers to establish a licence and it aims to be a fully bilingual office.

Mr. Hirst said the MGA wanted to be active in Quebec, not only because it is Canada’s second largest province in GDP, but also because Ches’s underwriting capacity — facilitated by the Canadian market and Lloyd’s of London — enables it to compete with the standard market and help the province’s independent broker channel.

“It appears to us that brokers are under pressure from direct writers so there is a huge amount of capacity,” Mr. Hirst said. “Also, the large domination of market share by a couple of insurers is reducing the choice available.”

He said Ches is aware of some difficulties in the Quebec commercial sector but it believes its speedy policy issuance and claims process will be a differentiator.

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