Since its establishment in 1996, Western Financial Group has grown into the largest Canadian-owned insurance brokerage in the country.
And our 800,000 customers are people just like you — small business owners, farmers and ranchers, and residents who form the proud communities where we live, work, and play.
The milestones below tell the history of Western Financial Group’s steady growth, as well as our efforts to strengthen the social fabric of communities across Western Canada.
1996: Western Financial Group (formerly Hi-Alta Capital Inc.) is established in May as a junior capital pool corporation listed on the Alberta Stock Exchange.
1996: Hi-Alta Capital goes public in September with its initial acquisition, the purchase of Hi-Alta Agencies in High River, Alberta.
2001: Western Financial Group's insurance division, WFG Agency Network Inc. (formerly Western Insurance Network), becomes the largest insurance broker network in Western Canada.
2001: The Western Communities Foundation is created by Western Financial Group as a non-profit organization in support of the communities where it operates.
2001: Hi-Alta Travel Ltd. adds a sixth travel office in Olds, Alberta; under the Thomas Cook/Marlin Travel banner. Hi-Alta Travel already has franchises in High River, Okotoks, Strathmore, Brooks and Drumheller, Alberta.
2002: In August, Western Financial Group makes an initial strategic investment in Jennings Capital Inc. One year later, Western Financial Group will acquire additional common shares to hold a 29.7% interest in Jennings Capital.
2003: Bank West, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Financial Group Inc., begins operations in January, and takes in over $1 million in deposits on its first day of business.
2003: Western Financial Group’s Founder, Scott Tannas, is awarded Ernst & Young's 2003 Prairies Entrepreneur of the Year for Professional/Financial Services.
2005: Western Financial Group acquires Federated Life Insurance Company of Canada in February, changing the name to Western Life Assurance Company.
2006: Western Financial Group moves into its present High River, Alberta, head office on April 24.
2008: Bank West celebrates its fifth anniversary in January.
2009: Western Financial Group acquires Winnipeg’s Hayhurst Elias Dudek (HED) Inc. in July, adding business insurance (Group Insurance Solutions) and pet health insurance (Western Financial Insurance Company) experts to the Western Financial Group family.
2009: The multiple local names of offices within the Western Financial Group Broker Network are brought under one common brand on July 2.
2011: Western Financial Group is acquired by Quebec-based Desjardins Group on April 15, in a $440-million transaction. In the 15 years between the 1996 Initial Public Offering (IPO), and Western Financial Group’s return to a privately-owned company in 2011, the company’s stock price has risen 1,038 percent. Scott Tannas and his management team remain committed to growing Western Financial Group, and creating value for our new ownership for many years to come.
2011: Western Financial Group launches a direct insurance product online in Alberta under the brand name Western Direct Insurance.
2013: Western Financial Group’s President and CEO, Scott Tannas, is appointed to the Canadian Senate on March 26 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
2013: In April, Western relocates its main Winnipeg operations to a new 400-employee capacity building at 600 Empress Street.
2013: In June, The Western Communities Foundation surpasses $1 million in funds raised.
2013: Western Financial Group purchases Coast Capital Insurance Services Ltd. from Coast Capital Savings Credit Union in July. The purchase added 29 locations to Western’s Broker Network.
2013: On August 29, Western Financial Group announces the first leadership change in its 17-year history, as Jeff Burke is appointed President effective September 1. Burke will later assume CEO responsibilities on January 1, 2014, on which date Scott Tannas will also take over a new role of Vice Chairman and Founder, maintaining his leadership position.
2013: The Western Communities Foundation donates $100,000 in December to remediate three school playgrounds following the Alberta floods.
2014: Western Financial Group acquires full ownership of Falkins Insurance Group Limited, the largest general insurance brokerage in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, adding eleven locations to the Western Brokerage Network.
2014: The Western Communities Foundation continues to support ongoing flood relief in March by covering more than $171,000 in sport registration fees for local High River children. The amount is the largest one-time donation by the Foundation.
2014: Western Financial Insurance Company celebrates the 25th anniversary of Petsecure, its core brand, on March 30.
2014: A record $238,000 is raised on May 28 through the Western Communities Foundation’s 10th annual Support the Cause event, a 5-km walk organized in communities across Western Canada.
2015: On January 6, Petsecure insures its one-millionth pet in Canada.
2015: The Western Communities Foundation donates a record 40 infrastructure grants on March 2, totaling $200,000, to support local public health, public housing, education, and recreation initiatives.
2016: Nearly $260,000 is raised through the Western Communities Foundation’s 11th annual Support the Cause event, a 5-km walk organized in communities across Western Canada each May.
2015: On July 6, Paul Taylor is appointed as Western Financial Group's new President and Chief Executive Officer.
2016: Chief Financial Officer, Kenny Nicholls, is appointed as Western Financial Group’s Interim President and CEO upon Paul Taylor’s retirement.
2016: Patrick Bieleny is appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Financial Group effective August 22.