High River, Alberta, March 11, 2019 – The Western Investment Company of Canada Limited (“WICC”) (TSXV: WI) announces today it has received board approval for its plan to acquire a fifty percent interest in Fortress Insurance Company (“Fortress”).
Fortress is an Alberta registered and regulated insurance company, exclusively providing automobile third party liability coverage in the rental car and airport services business in Calgary. WICC and its partners have agreed on a plan to transform Fortress from its current narrow scope to seize upon opportunities in specialty and surplus lines of business within the western Canadian insurance marketplace. The plan includes expansion of Fortress’ licenced operations to include all four western provinces, and to offer various property insurance products geared to niche customers.
WICC Chairman Jim Dinning stated: “The Fortress plan is unique in our portfolio in that we’re confident we can use our experience and networks to drive growth in the business. We have high expectations for Fortress, and expect it to become the cornerstone of our portfolio.”
Fortress intends to collaborate with a number of insurance brokers in western Canada to exploit new insurance product niches and participate in current insurance programs. Management also contemplates growing the company through acquisitions in order to add new product lines and expertise.
With post-closing capitalization of approximately $4 million, Fortress will utilize re-insurance treaties to allow it to underwrite insurance policies with its existing capital base.
WICC CEO Scott Tannas will take on the role of Chairman and Chief Executive at Fortress, and provide experienced guidance in the development of a small team to be led by Shafeen Mawani who will dedicate the majority of his time to the building of Fortress as President and Chief Operating officer.
Mr. Tannas commented: “The Fortress plan is both bold and timely, and is being launched when insurance capacity is shrinking in Canada, as large insurers, both global and domestic are moving capital to other parts of the world. Now is a time of opportunity for a tightly focused, nimble regional insurer able to use its size to advantage. Sometimes small is beautiful!”
The proposed transaction remains subject final approvals by the TSX Venture Exchange and the Alberta Superintendent of Insurance. It is expected the transaction will close in early Q2 2019.
Western is a unique publicly traded, private equity company founded by a group of successful Western Canadian business people, and dedicated to building and maintaining ownership in successful Western Canadian companies, and helping them to grow. The company’s shares are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol WI. For more information on the company, please visit its website at www.winv.ca.
The Western Investment Company of Canada Limited
President and Chief Executive Officer
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