Robert McDowell is the Co-Chair of the firm’s Financial Institutions Group. Robert specializes in advising life and general insurance companies, reinsurers, brokers and agents, and other financial services players on transactional, financing, incorporations, corporate, governance, regulatory and risk management matters.
Robert assists clients in a variety of areas, including:
Financial Institutions Advice - Acting on the creation, structuring, incorporation and registration of domestic and foreign insurers, reinsurers, credit unions, and cooperatives.
Transactional Expertise - Acting on the merger, acquisition, reorganization and public and private financing of life and general insurance companies, reinsurers, cooperatives and credit unions, as well as the demutualization of life and general insurance companies.
Robert has led several significant transactions in the insurance industry including advising:
- The Travelers Companies in its strategic acquisition in Canada of the majority of the shares of an InsureTech company, Zensurance, to own it together with the Founders, which provides digital insurance broker distribution of commercial insurance products. Closed August 8, 2018.
- The Co-operators Group on the merger of its wealth management business held through The CUMIS Group with those of Desjardins Group and the five provincial credit union centrals to become Aviso Wealth with $55 billion in combined client assets, anticipated to close February 28, 2018.
- The Co-operators acquires the minority interest in the common shares of The Cumis Group which it did not already own from Central 1 Credit Union.
- CCR RE being licensed as a reinsurance branch in Canada as of January 1, 2017 and the assumption reinsurance of the business of CCR in Canada to it.
- Aviva Canada Inc. on the acquisition of RBC General Insurance Company and entry into a 15 year strategic agreement with RBC closed in June 2016.
- Westaim on the completion of a $234 million financing for the creation of Arena Finance to provide Alternative Credit Asset Financing completed in August 2015.
- Intact Financial Corporation on the acquisition of Canadian Direct Insurance from Canadian Western Bank completed in May 2015.
- Esurance Insurance Company of Canada on its incorporation and licensing in 2015.
Regulatory Advice - Advising clients extensively on regulatory matters in relation to a great variety of transactions and has significant expertise dealing with financial institution regulators including with respect to distribution and market conduct matters:
- Licensing of insurance and reinsurance companies and branches across Canada or with numerous provinces/territories
- Licensing of corporate insurance agencies, brokerages, MGAs, and adjusters
- Incidental sale of insurance across Canada
- Restricted licensing regimes in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and licensing exemptions in other provinces/territories
- Warranty vs. insurance, including discussions with provincial/territorial regulators
- Insurance vs. guarantee and surety insurance
- Structuring and distribution models for insurance products (such as travel insurance, gap insurance, etc.)
- Title insurance matters, including discussions with provincial/territorial regulators
- Legal expense insurance proposals and litigation funding arrangements
- Market conduct issues (i.e., inducements, rebating, and other deceptive acts/practices)
- E-commerce issues relating to the distribution of insurance
In addition to advising domestic clients, Robert also assists international insurers and financial institutions from the United States, Europe and Asia on transaction, business and regulatory matters.
Robert is active at the National Insurance Conference of Canada, the Northwind Forum on Financial Services for the Life Insurance Industry and the Property and Casualty Insurance Industry, and others.