SGI works toward more online sales with $3M stake in tech-focused Alberta broker

Saskatchewan Government Insurance is set to acquire a $3 million stake in an Alberta-based online insurance broker in an effort to develop its own online technology.

Sask. insurer bought 15% ownership of Nuera Insurance Inc.

SGI office building with blue sky behind
Saskatchewan Government Insurance has acquired 15 per cent of an Alberta company that specializes in online insurance brokerage. (Tyler Pidlubny/CBC)

Saskatchewan Government Insurance is set to acquire a $3 million stake in an Alberta-based online insurance broker in an effort to develop its own online technology.

SGI is in the process of acquiring 15 per cent ownership of Nuera Insurance Inc., which is already a broker for the government insurer.

SGI president Andrew Cartmell said the corporation wants to learn from Nuera to work toward introducing immediate online insurance sales.

"We were interested in that because of the technology that they were developing and the fact that we wanted to gain experience in working in an online environment with a broker," said Cartmell.

"And access to that technology and ownership of it, at least in part, might help our brokers here in Saskatchewan down the road or at least some day."

SGI's financial contribution started as a loan to help Nuera develop technology, but the Saskatchewan insurer agreed to Nuera's request to convert that amount to equity. 

Software could be licensed and sold

Cartmell said it is currently rare for brokers to work on developing purpose-built software.

He said the software that Nuera develops could potentially be licensed and sold to other brokers in other provinces.

SGI would then be able to offer it to brokers in Saskatchewan.

"It allows the consumer to basically enter a few questions and bind a policy immediately and that's the part that's unique in our world," said Cartmell.

He said SGI has the authority to loan money to brokers but an acquisition requires approval from cabinet members, which was provided about two weeks ago.

The acquisition is still in process and the deal is expected to close around the end of April.

Cartmell said SGI has bought equity in other companies in the past but not recently.