Unleashing growth through partnerships, acquisitions and expansion, Selectpath Benefits & Financial looks to balance scale and identity
Photo: Selectpath president and CEO, Gord Hart
ORIGINALLY FOUNDED IN 1994, Selectpath Benefits & Financial Inc. has surely and steadily grown to become one of the largest benefits consulting firms in Canada, with an established presence in Southwestern Ontario.
With more than $500 million in group insurance premiums and $450 million in assets under management, Selectpath creates solutions for the hospital and healthcare sectors, as well as for a wide range of industries such as transportation, automotive dealership, technology and advanced manufacturing sectors.
But it’s probably safe to say that the last year or so has brought about more change and growth for the firm than any in its past. “We’ve seen 17 per cent annual growth since 2000, but we have grown dramatically in the past 12 months, doubling our size in the past six months.,” says president and CEO, Gord Hart.
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Part of that is attributable to the company joining forces with Navacord in 2020, a Toronto-based insurance and risk management brokerage that partners with independent companies. That partnership, while improving Navacord’s position in the Canadian benefits space, also enabled Selectpath to leverage the strength of a national organization and build out their service offerings without giving up its unique entrepreneurial identity.
The growth kick continued earlier this year when Selectpath launched a new business division, Selectpath Atlantic, and expanded geographically with the addition of offices in Halifax and Saint John, New Brunswick.
“We had a bit of business on the East Coast, but acquiring the group benefits and pensions consulting division of OMG (Owens MacFadyen Group) in the Maritimes grew our operation by about 10 people and our revenues by about 20 per cent,” says Hart. “Establishing Selectpath’s presence with branded branch offices in the Atlantic provinces, and investing in regional talent, is part of our future growth strategy.”
Around the same time, the company launched a new division, Selectpath Insurance, a multi-line property and casual insurance brokerage to meet the changing needs and complexity of client businesses.
Next up was the acquisition of Navigo Financial Solutions, based in Oakville, which will continue to operate as a separate brand but will move to the Selectpath platform this year.
“We now have more than 100 staff under the Selectpath umbrella,” says Hart. “Selectpath is the largest integrated insurance broker in Southwestern Ontario.”
Part of the firm’s success, states Hart, is a commitment to measure outcomes and results, both externally and internally.
“We don’t just say we have great service, we measure that every two years with a third-party survey of our clients. We ask them to tell us how we’re doing compared to what we promised,” says Hart. “Our retention rate with clients in 98.5 per cent, and we’ve earned it.”
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Like in many industries, one of Hart’s biggest challenges these days is finding the right people to support plans for continued expansion. “We are looking for the right attitude and aptitude. We have created our own ‘university’ to train people, to put the right tools in their toolboxes, and to add talent to the industry.”
Since 2007, Selectpath has also conducted annual engagement surveys with staff. “Everyone wants to have happy employees — we measure it,” says Hart. “Our employee retention rate is incredible.” Kym Wolfe