The Optimum Group, a Canadian-owned, private international financial group has been active in property and casualty insurance since it acquired, in 1976, Société Nationale d'Assurance Inc., a  Montreal-based company specializing at the time in insurance for jewelers and furriers.

Pursuing its goal to broaden its P&C activities, Optimum Group made the acquisition of the British Columbia Insurance Company in 1983 and, in 1985, entered the Ontario market by purchasing Northern Frontier Insurance Company, a company specializing in insuring hunting and fishing lodges. To regroup all of the P&C subsidiaries together, Optimum Group created Optimum General Inc. in 1988. During the 80's and 90's it made 11 other acquisitions with the last major one in 1995 of Union Québécoise, an insurer specializing in farm insurance in Quebec, which  became Optimum Farm Insurance Inc.