Canada’s Economical Insurance Moves Closer to Becoming Public Company

Economical Insurance, one of Canada’s largest property and casualty insurers, moved closer to becoming a public company after its board voted to demutualize.

The 10-member board of directors recommended it convert to a shareholder-owned company from one owned by its policy holders, the insurer said today in a statement. The vote is the first of several steps in bringing the Waterloo, Ontario-based firm onto the public markets.

Canada’s largest life insurers went through the process more than a decade ago. Manulife Financial Corp. the nation’s biggest life insurer, demutualized in September 1999 and Sun Life Financial Inc., the third-largest, demutualized 15 years ago.

Economical, founded in 1871, or four years after Canada became a country, has 2,200 employees and annual revenue of C$2 billion ($1.53 billion) in 2014. Its annualized written premiums make it the eighth-largest provider of home, car, and business insurance in the country. By comparison, Intact Financial Corp., the nation’s largest provider of P&C coverage, had revenue of C$7.9 billion in 2014.

It’ll take at least two years from the board vote until the date the Minister of Finance approves the final conversion proposal, the company said in a June statement.