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across canada

InsurancePeople november 2016

Publications Agreement #40027261

Reward through hard work Climbing to new heights Hard to miss


One to watch Living the village life Win-win situation A magical place

Small-town girl, big league team ‘Upper Canadian’ Karen Kaminska brilliantly pulls off fitting in with the Maritimers in Halifax.

Litigation starts page 37

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Contents Volume 21 

Number 6

november 2016

Marsha Ostertag was inspired by the natural beauty of the countryside when she moved to Riverton, Man., making it the main subject of her photography.

Story on page 31.

c ove r s to ry

Small-town girl, big-league team Karen Kaminska

moved from Ontario to Halifax to become Economical Insurance’s personal lines manager for the Atlantic region. Now the regional vp, sales and distribution, she gives credit to her “fantastic team” for making the job manageable.

F e at u r e s

16 Win-win situation 21One to watch 31Living the village life 34 Hard to miss 62 Reward through hard work

When Alberta’s Brent Oilund merged his brokerage, Prairie Villa Insurance, with Sexsmith Insurance owned by Shayne Milligan, he not only grew his business, he gained a partner that will steer the combined business into the future after Oilund retires. In Ontario Alanna Taylor took a detour into insurance and then turned it into a career. Now she works closely with the Ontario Young Brokers Council, serving as president this year, to help promote working in insurance.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Marsha Ostertag found a whole new lifestyle and career when she moved to Riverton, Man. As office supervisor for Interlake Insurance, she has the knack of making even grumpy people laugh.

Amber Findley built the foundation of her insurance career in Saskatchewan where she was the president of the provincial Young Brokers’ Network. She recently leveraged that experience to take a job with Willis Towers Watson in Vancouver. B.C.’s Farzina Coladon still has a soft spot for the Maple Leafs, the Blue Jays and the Raptors from her hometown of Toronto, but she has embraced the West Coast lifestyle after moving to Vancouver to become a senior underwriter with Guarantee Gold.

litigation begins on page 37

Cover: Karen Kaminska, regional vp, sales and distribution, at Economical Insurance in Halifax. Photo by Kevin MacCormack

d e pa rt m e n t s

7 StreetTalk 66 TravelTalk 69 Ad index 26 Storefront 69 TradeTalk 70 Q&A


I worked my tail off to get there,” says Farzina Coladon of her goal to become an underwriter. “I delivered on my promises, showed initiative on tasks without being asked and built up some wonderful relationships along the way. Story page 63

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Economical Insurance includes the following companies: Economical Mutual Insurance Company, Waterloo Insurance Company, Perth Insurance Company, The Missisquoi Insurance Company, Sonnet Insurance Company. ©2016 Economical Insurance. All rights reserved. All Economical intellectual property, including but not limited to Economical® and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of Economical Mutual Insurance Company and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates and are registered and/or used in Canada. All other intellectual property is the property of their respective owners.


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Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

Sask’s Knight Archer expands with Conexus acquisition; Hibbert takes top spot at Allianz


night Archer Insurance, based in Regina, Sask., has made a deal with Conexus Credit Union to acquire all seven Conexus Insurance service locations and a mixed portfolio of personal, commercial and agricultural insurance policies. “Growth benefits our customers,” said Doug Archer, ceo of Knight Archer. “Our customers now have access to the province’s most extenArcher sive network, and we can offer a growing range of insurance products by managing the largest personal insurance portfolio in Saskatchewan.” With the purchase, Knight Archer will now employ about 160 staff members across 14 locations. All policies held by Conexus Insurance clients will remain intact with no changes to premiums or coverage for the current term. “We’re confident Conexus Insurance clients and staff will be in good hands,” said Cary Ransome, Conexus Credit Union coo and Ransome Conexus Insurance ceo. “We chose Knight Archer because it

shares many of the values Conexus holds dear. It’s an award-winning Saskatchewan-based company with an excellent reputation in the community and the industry.”

Allianz appoints ceo Allianz Global Assistance Canada has appointed Phil Hibbert

as ceo. Hibbert has held key leadership roles Hibbert with the firm since March 2012, with the most recent as ceo of Allianz

Global Assistance New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. “The Canadian operation has made the most of its recent merger, realizing incredible growth during its evolution into a leading provider of comprehensive travel insurance and high-touch assistance services, spanning all distribution channels,” Hibbert said. “I am excited to lead the Canadian team in continuing to build on this momentum, while finding new and innovative ways to leverage technology and improve service for our partners and customers.”

Before his Allianz experience, the New Zealand-native spent 15 years in the financial services and insurance industries. He was also a successful entrepreneur, founding an insurance business he eventually sold to a larger insurer in New Zealand.

Specialty contractor awards ServiceMaster Restore of Moncton, N.B., was recently awarded the best Specialty Contractor in the Eastern Region, and ServiceMaster Restore of Tillsonburg, Ont., won for the Central Region

50 and counting

Insurancewest Media celebrated a milestone this year, publishing the 50th edition of the B.C. Insurance Directory. The directory began as the idea for a graduation thesis in the 1960s when Bill Earle – son of the late Ernie Earle, a well-known adjuster who became the first national chairman of the CIAA from Western Canada in 1963 – was working on his commerce degree at the University of B.C. That project turned into a business under Insurancewest (originally Arbutus Publications) with Earle at the helm as publisher. “Allsport Insurance is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017, and we have always valued advertising in the B.C. Insurance Directory,” said Gina Bennett, president, Allsport Insurance Marketing. “The Directory makes it effortless to locate a suitable company, broker or person, and continues to aid in directing numerous local sport and special event insurance opportunities our way. Best wishes for at least another 50.” The directory publishes annually every April and includes 950 general insurance broker offices, 140 adjusting offices, 160 general insurer offices, 180 trades and suppliers, and 50 insurance association and government-related offices. In addition, 4,200 senior insurance personnel are listed and cross-referenced. In 1978 Insurancewest started BC Broker and then further expanded in 1982 with an insurance directory for Alberta. This evolved in 2012 to become the Prairies Insurance Directory, covering Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Insurancewest magazine was launched in 1996 as a western magazine and later expanded to a national publication, becoming Insurance People. IP Insurance People  November 2016  7



November 2016 Volume 21 • Number 6 managing Editor Sarah Polson 604-875-7768 associate Editor Ron Shorvoyce 306-352-2660 • toll-free 1-855-352-2660 Editorial Contributors Laurie Jones, John Lekich, Keith Norbury Advertising Sales Trish McRae, Tonya Earle 604-874-1001 • toll-free 1-800-888-8811 Publication Manager Cathryn Day Art Director Wil Wong managing publisher Susan Mellor GROUP Publisher Bill Earle

Kenneth R. Wilson Awards

Honourable Mention

Insurance People is published six times a year in Jan., Mar., May, Jul., Sep., Nov. for the general insurance industry by Insurancewest Media Ltd. 661 Market Hill, Vancouver BC  V5Z 4B5 Tel 604-874-1001 • Fax 604-874-3922 Email: Change of address? Please send old address label along with new address. Insurance People is a national publication with about 12,000 copies distributed on a controlled circulation basis to general insurance brokerages, independent ­adjusting firms, insurance companies, wholesalers and risk managers throughout Cana­da: B.C., the Prairies, Ontario, the Maritimes, the three northern territories. Included are major insurance associations and ­organizations as well as selected insurance services, suppliers and trades. All rights reserved. Material appearing herein may not be reproduced in print or electronically without proper credit and written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Insurance People are not necessarily those of the publisher or its advertisers. Insurance People and Insurancewest are registered trademarks of Insurancewest Media Ltd. Insurancewest Media Ltd. produces Insurance People (formerly Insurancewest), BC Broker, British Columbia Insurance Directory and Prairies Insurance Directory. Postmaster Returns to PO Box 3311 Stn Terminal, Vancouver BC V6B 3Y3 CPC Publications Mail Agreement #40027261 Printed in Canada • ISSN 2292-2849

8  November 2016  Insurance People

during the 2016 Contractor Connection Conference & Expo Awards in Las Vegas. The awards are based on performance criteria and overall quality of service and professionalism in disaster restoration. “One cannot win such an award without hard-working, dedicated staff, and I’m proud to share this with them,” said Troy Adams, Moncton franchise owner. Adams Brad VanPuymbroeck, general manager of the Tillsonburg location, said they were honoured to receive the award. “The moment a claim comes into our office, the customer’s needs and satisfaction are always Brad Vantop of mind. From the Puymbroeck office staff to the technicians and everyone else representing our company, we strive to achieve this with a total team effort.”

A.P. Reid expansion in Edmonton A.P. Reid Insurance, based in Dartmouth, N.S., has acquired Robinson Insurance Brokers of Edmonton. RIB’s operations will integrate under the A.P. Reid brand, and Daniel Robinson, president and owner of RIB, will join the A.P. Reid management team as the western regional manager. “It’s exciting to be an Robinson integral part of a wellknown and respected firm from the east, just as they are about to launch a major western expansion,” said Robinson. RIB is a commercial lines insurance brokerage based in Edmonton with clients throughout Alberta, B.C., Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Saskatchewan. The firm’s roots date back to 1859 as the former central and northern Alberta branch of Dale & Company. A.P. Reid is a family-owned national insurance broker with locations throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.

Rogers joins Rogers Catherine Rogers has joined Rogers Insurance, based in Calgary, Alta., as the director of finance. She comes from Western Rogers Financial Group where she has worked since its inception in 1996. Her career there included roles as

executive vp, cfo and cao. “Catherine provides Rogers Insurance with comprehensive financial leadership and direction, leveraging her expertise in strategy, finance, team development, corporate development, acquisitions and investor relations,” said Rogers Insurance in a news release.

CanadaHelps partnership The Aviva Community Fund has partnered with CanadaHelps to help increase its impact on charitable funding. CanadaHelps is dedicated to increasing charitable giving by making it easier to donate and fundraise online. The partnership will allow the Aviva Community Fund to increase its ability to reach Canadian charities of all sizes that are in need of funding. “The beauty of this partnership is that it’s based on our shared ambition to create positive change and drive charitable giving, leveraging our collective impact for Canadians in communities from coast to coast,” said Deborah Hendrickson, senior vp, customer & marketing, Aviva Canada. CanadaHelps will be a part of the latest Aviva Community Fund competition currently Hendrickson underway. Winners, to be announced Dec. 6, will receive certain free services from CanadaHelps in addition to receiving part of the $1 million in funding available from Aviva.

Quebec merger Lussier Dale Parizeau (featured in September 2016 Insurance People, page 10) recently merged with Riverin Girard & Associés and Ouellet Fillion & Associés in Quebec. “This alliance will help us strengthen both our position in the regions of SaguenayLac-Saint-Jean and Chibougamau and our role as a Quebec leader in the areas of insurance brokerage and financial Jean services,” said Patrice Jean, president and ceo of LDP. The branches located in DolbeauMistassini, Normandin, Saint-Félicien, Alma, Chicoutimi, Chibougamau and Jonquière will continue to operate under the Riverin and Ouellet Fillion banners. Sylvie Lambert, president and general Lambert

manager of Riverin, and Luc Ouellet, president of Ouellet Fillion, expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity to offer customers an enhanced experience, including a Ouellet wider range of products and services and access to the 20 LDP branches.

Encon retirement Jean Laurin has retired as

president of Encon Group. David Cook,

previously the mga’s chief underwriting officer, will assume LauLaurin rin’s role. Laurin spent 30 years working at Encon, starting Staff at Red River Mutual in Altona, Man., have had a busy few months raising money and out in the awareness for some of their favourite causes. In September they rode the Big Bike for Heart research and and Stroke through the streets of Altona, raising more than $6,000 in donations. This brings development their total to more than $30,000 since 2009 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. department “With company involvement we are able to provide more funding in the fight for a cure,” in 1985. said Kim Batchelor, Red River Mutual staff organizer. “The money raised in Manitoba stays In 1998 he in Manitoba.” Staff also organized a “dress casual” to support the Manitoba Camping Aswas named Cook sociation & Sunshine Fund, which helps send kids to camp. A monetary donation bought executive vp each staff member the chance to wear jeans to work the day before a long weekend and and moved up to president the last Friday of every month. Red River Mutual raised $3,360 for the cause. “Many of us in 2001. remember attending summer camps as children and the meaningful memories we share to “I am deeply honoured this day,” Batchelor said. “We are delighted to have been able to be part of this fundraiser to succeed Jean Laurin as and to help the children in our communities.” Pictured: The “Mutual Marauders” team in president and appreciate the front of the Red River Mutual head office in Altona. IP significant role he has played in growing Encon into one of the leading mgas in Canada,” said equity and investment firm. His backing across Canada,” said Cook. “Our reputation for unsurpassed ground also includes senior executive Susan Murphy, Totten responsiveness and expertise can be positions in the agricultural, food and oil president. directly attributed to his relentless focus industries in Alberta. CRIS specializes in on innovation, continuous improvement As president and ceo, natural resources and and meeting the needs of our clients.” Bieleny will oversee other specialty niches, inMurphy Cook is also a 24-year veteran with Western’s network of cluding mining, forestry Encon. He joined the company in 1992 insurance brokerages. and construction. Rob Strain, president in the actuarial department. After a few He will also act as ceo of CRIS, will join Totten and report to promotions, he landed in the chief unof Western Financial Murphy. Taylor derwriting officer position in 2009. Insurance Company (Petsecure) until ownership passes to Western’s exec change Economical Insurance. Totten purchases wholesaler Western Financial Group has appointed Patrick Bieleny as president and ceo. Totten Insurance Group recently acquired Canadian Resources Insurance He succeeds Paul Taylor, CBN managing director Solutions, a Sudbury, Ont.-based insurwho retired in July. The Canadian Broker Network, a netance wholesaler. Before joining Westwork of independent commercial insur“The synergies created by this partern, Bieleny was the ceo ance brokers, has appointed Lorie Phair nership will add significant value to our and managing director as its first managing director. Phair most broker partners and further enhance of Xalta Capital Partners, recently served as ceo of ingenie Canada, Totten’s focus on specialty underwritan Alberta-based private Bieleny Continued on page 12

Taking a ride

Insurance People  November 2016  9

cover story

Karen Kaminska, who hails from the Ontario village of Drayton, began her career in the insurance industry as a typist. Her willingness to work hard, move house and take on new challenges was duly noted. Now a resident of Halifax, she is currently vp of Atlantic sales and distribution for Economical Insurance. By Laurie Jones 10  November 2016  Insurance People

Small-town girl, big league team


aren Kaminska is a classic example of small-town girl turns big city executive, and she loves every minute of it. “I’m originally from the village of Drayton, Ont. just outside of Kitchener/Waterloo,” says Kaminska, vp of Atlantic sales and distribution for Economical Insurance. “When I was growing up, the population was a whopping 800.” She had been working in the head office of a Kitchener/Waterloo grocery chain in 1989 when her brother-in-law, who worked in the life insurance department at Prudential Assurance, suggested she look into the insurance industry.

“I applied at his company and ended up typing schedules for personal insurance property policies on the general insurance side. I often interacted with the underwriters, and it didn’t take long before I got a coding position there.” She soon worked her way into an underwriting position. “At that time General Accident was going to purchase Prudential. I was called into the office and told that if I wanted to keep my job I had to be in Hamilton on Monday, which was about an hour’s drive from my home. I took it because I needed the job, but in hindsight I think I didn’t know any better. I did the commute for about nine months. “In 1994 I got a job as an underwriter in the personal lines division of Economical Insurance back in Kitchener/Waterloo. I found a niche for myself there. I liked the company because people were nice, and I quickly realized there were opportunities if you were willing to work hard and try new things.” In 1996 she joined the insurer’s newly formed group division, which wrote group home and auto programs. Karen Kaminska, regional vp, sales and distribution at “That gave me exposure to underEconomical Insurance, with her horse, Wilson. writing nationally rather than just in Ontario. I was able to move into a team charisma, have and will continue to serve me to be a Girl Guide leader. She also leader role and then became a manager. I her well as her career in the insurance rode horses, so I helped with Pony Club was very fortunate that the manager saw industry goes forward.” and volunteered around various aspects something in me, and she gave me a lot Her attitude has also been appreciated of the barn. James played competitive of opportunities to learn. I progressed by co-workers like Kelly Walsom, team hockey, and I was team manager for probably faster than I should have, but lead, administration, Economical Select about three years before becoming part she thought I could grow into Insurance. of the board for his hockey association.” the roles.” “I started working with Now in college, Jessica is heading for She stayed in that position Karen in 1994,” Walsom says. a career in marketing. James is getting until 2004, when she moved “At the time she was a junior a business diploma, but is looking to a to Halifax to be the company’s underwriter in the personal career in law enforcement. personal lines manager for the lines department, and I worked Kaminska loves to travel. She and JesAtlantic region. It didn’t take in administration. Over the sica recently visited New York City. her long to blend into the new years, I have seen how she leads “It was fantastic. We attended a Broadsurroundings. by example. She brings out the way show, took a bus tour, walked CenGreene best in her direct reports and tral Park, rode the subway and stayed in “I had the pleasure of meetsets high expectations for their perforthe Times Square district. I was amazed ing Karen soon after she transferred to mance. To assist in their advancement that you don’t have to walk very far into the Halifax office,” says Boyd Greene, within an organization, she will Central Park before you can’t owner of D.R. Hayman Insurance in take the time to mentor and hear the sound of the city. The Stellarton, N.S. “A week or two after her coach.” trees just smother it all. arrival she was thrown into Eco’s annual Kaminska was next promot“One night we took a subway golf tournament at Digby Pines, where ed to manage the claims dividown to the Staten Island ferry she had the opportunity to meet many sion and subsequently moved for the Statue of Liberty. The of her new brokers and get to know into her current vp role. night view of the city from her own co-workers in a very informal “It’s a big responsibility, but there was stunning. I expected social setting. Of course, despite the I’ve grown into it. My fantastic it to be big and fast-moving, good-natured ribbing about an ‘Upper Walsom team makes it manageable.” but it was way more on both Canadian’ coming and trying to fit in Family is important to Kaminska. She fronts. Even going into a coffee shop, with a bunch of Maritimers, she pulled it and husband Mike have two children: you’d better be ready to order with off brilliantly. Jessica, 20, and James, 19. money in hand because everyone is in a “Karen’s positive attitude and always “When my kids were growing up, I hurry. It’s a far cry from Halifax, which open door policy have endeared her was always involved in the things they is busy if you want it to be, but it’s also to her staff and the broker force. Her did,” she says. “My daughter volunteered laid-back.” IP professionalism, along with her personal

Insurance People  November 2016  11


Continued from page 9

launching the telematics-based insurance provider in the Canadian marketplace. “She is an experienced insurance executive and a proven leader with a track record of thinking and acting strategically,” said Tim Miller, CBN chair. Phair’s past experience includes leadership and board positions in the insurance industry and the non-profit sector. Phair She currently has an advisory council position with Magnet, a non-profit social initiative and with “This is an exciting time in the insurance industry,” said Phair. “I’m thrilled to join this dynamic group as we position CBN for the future and the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead.”

Vericlaim growth Vericlaim recently acquired RGM Claims Services, an independent adjusting company based in Mississauga, Ont.


Diamond anniversary: 60 years of insurance service

Rex Hannibal, now in his 80s, celebrated his 60th anniversary in the insurance industry this year. Specializing in marine transportation and construction, he has contributed to insurance companies in Canada and abroad, and is currently vp account executive at BFL in Vancouver. “As a witness to the insurance industry’s evolution, Rex is nothing less than a landmark and an inexhaustible source of knowledge,” said a news release from BFL. “We truly believe that he is an inspiration for all professionals in the insurance industry and we are proud to count him as a member of our team.” Hannibal started his career in his native Sri Lanka before moving to Vancouver 43 years ago. He previously worked for Crum and Forster, Dale and Company, and Leslie Wright and Rolfe before starting Alliance Insurance Services in the early 1980s. He sold Alliance to Key Insurance 18 years later but stayed on to manage the Alliance portfolio for six more years before joining BFL in 2004. IP

Partnering for the digital world Today, 70% of consumers use some form of digital research before buying insurance. And, 40% of Canadian consumers are obtaining insurance quotes online.* With our Digital First strategy, Aviva is committed to working with our broker partners to ensure we are ready to meet consumers’ insurance needs in the digital space. Contact your Aviva Business Development Representative to find out more. Aviva, proud Canadian partner to 1500 independent brokers from coast to coast. Insurance – Home | Auto | Leisure & Lifestyle | Business | Surety Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks used under license by the licensor. *Deloitte: Property and Casualty Insurance Re-imagined: 2025

12  November 2016  Insurance People

RGM was founded in 2003 by Ross Macdonald. He and his staff will join Vericlaim’s growing Canadian team. The company also expanded operations with a new office in Ginn Calgary. Monte Ponton has joined Vericlaim’s team at the new office as executive general Gopie adjuster. Other new additions to Vericlaim in recent months include Robert Ginn, executive general adjuster/operations King manager, Michelle Gopie, senior adjuster, Eva King, senior casualty claims adjuster, and Deborrah Sherren, senior casualty claims adjuster. Sherren

Co-operators succession The Co-operators has appointed Rob Wesseling as president and ceo to replace Kathy Bardswick, who previously announced she would be retiring in December. Wesseling has spent Wesseling the last 19 years with The Co-operators in increasingly senior leadership positions. Most recently he was executive vp, p&c operations, Co-operators General Insurance Company, and coo, The Bardswick Sovereign General Insurance Company. “Rob has the ability and desire to lead our organization while positively impacting the co-operative movement,” said John Harvie, chairperson of the board of directors. “He’s an inspirational and innovative leader who will ensure The Co-operators’ relevance, strength and sustainability long term.”

Canada region prez Albert Poon has been named as presi-

dent of Cunningham Lindsey Canada. In this role, he will focus on improving client service delivery, strengthening core loss-adjusting services and identifying

Woman of the Year

Lynn Kelly, senior adjuster at Crawford & Company (Canada) at the Calgary, Alta. branch, has been named Insurance Woman of the Year by the Canadian Association of Insurance Women. Kelly has more than 33 years of experience as an insurance adjuster. Her expertise includes liability and malpractice claim investigation. In addition to serving as the CAIW president for the 2015-2016 term, Kelly was the first vp for the CAIW and the director and member chair for the Insurance Professionals of Calgary. She is also a long-standing member of the Independent Adjusters Association. “This is an outstanding achievement and recognition of Lynn’s ongoing contribution to both Crawford in her role as an independent adjuster and to the insurance industry at large as a volunteer, leader, mentor and role model,” said Graham Carstairs, branch manager, Crawford & Company (Canada). IP

opportunities for expansion. Poon has been with Cunningham Lindsey for nine years, most recently in the position of coo. He is also a 25-year veteran of the industry, having worked for two national loss-adjusting firms as an insurer and as a corporate risk manager for a Canadian rental-car company.

SCM U.S. expansion Poon

As the company’s first step in expanding into the U.S., SCM Insurance

Services has appointed Scott Goodreau as coo – U.S.A. SCM, a privately owned Canadian insurance services provider, Goodreau has expanded its services through targeted acquisitions and complementary services to provide insurance solutions across Canada. Expansion into the U.S. will better serve its clients who Continued on page 19 Insurance People  November 2016  13

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Brent Oilund, right, owner with his wife Cindy of Prairie Villa Insurance in Grande Prairie, Alta., and Shayne Milligan, currently a partner in the business, who will buy out the Oilunds in a few years. 16  November 2016  Insurance People


Win-win situation When it comes to succession planning for Prairie Villa Insurance, Brent Oilund has left nothing to chance. After he retires, the brokerage will continue to prosper in experienced hands. By Ron Shorvoyce


rairie Villa Insurance in Grande Prairie, Alta., is a brokerage that’s been around since 1973 when it was started by Edwin and Joyce Boyce. When they retired in 1998 they passed the agency on to their son-in-law Brent Oilund and their daughter Cindy. Now there’s another major change on the horizon. The plan is for Shayne Milligan, a partner in the business, to buy out the Oilunds in a few years. Milligan joined the agency in 2012 after his brokerage, Sexsmith Insurance, located in the nearby town of Sexmith, merged with Prairie Villa. It proved to be the best move for both parties, says Brent Oilund, managing partner of Prairie Villa. “I wanted to have perpetuation,” says Oilund. He didn’t want to sell to a big corporation just to become another corporate office. So talks started with Sexsmith Insurance. “Shayne is 36. I’m 58, and he represents my succession plan.” The merger benefits Milligan, too, since the growth margins are higher in Grande Prairie than they are in Sexsmith. “It was a win-win situation,” says Oilund. Located in Peace River Country, Grande Prairie is about 450 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. Oilund was born and raised in the city of now close to 60,000. After graduating from Grande Prairie Composite High School in 1976, he spent a season at Sunshine Village in Banff working to be a ski instructor. When an accident that broke his leg ended his ski season, he enrolled at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton to study architectural technology. He graduated from NAIT in 1980. But an economic downturn shrank his chances of finding work in his chosen field, so for the next six years he worked as a real estate appraiser in Grande Prairie, Edmonton and Calgary. Meanwhile, he met Cindy and married her in 1984. “She was the boss’s daughter at Prairie Villa Insurance and is currently the bookkeeper,” Oilund says. “I went to work for her father in 1987.” When Edwin Boyce retired in 1996, Oilund became the manager at Prairie Villa. “I was working out of his office doing my appraisal work when he asked me if I wanted to join the brokerage. And that’s how I got hired on. I worked for him for about 10 years before my wife and I became partners.” Edwin had worked in road construction before joining The Co-operators in Stettler, Alta. He then went to Johnson & Connor Insurance before setting up Prairie Villa Insurance. He passed away six years ago at the age of 75. Joyce still enjoys good health. Oilund enjoyed the insurance business right from “the get-go.” He started as a personal lines broker and transitioned to commercial lines. He earned his CAIB designation, winning an award for the highest mark in CAIB 2. He has also served as a director with the Insurance Brokers As-

Insurance People  November 2016  17

“We have a game plan for Shayne to learn sociation of Alberta and the local Peace university) in Edmonton. After graduatall the ropes by that time,” Oilund says. River chapter. ing in 2002, Shayne spent two years playMeanwhile, he will take a back seat while Oilund and his wife have two adult ing fastball in Masterton, New Zealand. still helping out with budgeting and children. Daughter Kirsten, 27, is a regis“It was an amazing experience,” he other housekeeping duties. tered dietician in Jasper. Son David, 24, is says. “I would play ball there for eight Shayne expects to need Oilund as a planning to take an engineering technolmonths and then come back and work mentor even after he retires. He has no ogy course later this year in Calgary. for four months in the family business.” plans to change the way the agency has Partner Shayne Milligan also has Milligan’s connection to New Zealand been successfully operating and will exstrong roots in the community. Born in continued even after his days playing pand the business only Yellowknife, N.W.T., he moved to Grande fastball: his younger in the right circumPrairie with his parents when he was five. sister Nicole married stances. Milligan and His father, Dennis, got into insurance his best friend in New his wife Vickie have two with Aon in Yellowknife after working Zealand. children. Kennedy is in the gold mine, and worked in Grande Shayne joined Sexalmost two, and Sawyer Prairie as a broker at Lewis & Wright smith Insurance full is nine months old. Insurance. An opportunity came up in time in 2004, gradually When Prairie Villa 1992 for Dennis and his wife Marcie, buying out his father’s and Sexsmith merged, both now retired, to buy Sexsmith shares in the busiPeace Country InsurInsurance, which was started in 1921 by ness. A general agency ance Brokers was estabChester Elliott and Jess Thursoon. with a registry office lished as the operating Shayne worked at the family brokerage and a staff of five, it company. The business through high school. After graduating in had $4 million in angrew again with the 1998, he took a year off to play fastball nual premium volume. Brickner purchase of Artesian in Auckland, New Zealand. His love of When Prairie Villa and Insurance located in Spirit River, 75 kilothe game came through his father, who Sexsmith merged, Milligan was the sole metres from Grande Prairie. The three was on the board of directors for Softball owner of Sexsmith. He is now general brokerages now operate as Prairie Villa, Canada, the national governing body. manager of the operating company, Sexsmith and Spirit River Insurance. working out of Grande Prairie. When he returned home, he worked Annual premium volume is just over $28 Oilund will mentor and work with in construction to save up for a two-year million. Shayne and continue with his own book program in business management and File name: McIntyre Publication: Peopleuntil Issue: Twenty-two employees work for of business his November retirement2016 at age 60. insurance at GrantStrategies McEwan College (now Insurance Size: 1/3 square Colour: 4C process Comments: New in-house production Prairie Villa, five for Sexsmith and four for Spirit River. Several long-term staff members include Colleen Penner and Sheila Cripps, who have been with Prairie Villa for 25 and 18 years respectively. Wanda Noren has been at Sexsmith for CONSULTING INC. 19 years, and Donna Ewing has been at Spirit River 20 years. Debbie Reid has done business with SERVICES Prairie Villa for more than five years. She runs a marketing company out • Acquisition Facilitation of Grande Prairie and has helped put • Consulting Services together business plans for Oilund and • Expert Opinions Shayne. • Insurance Product Design “I would say they’re probably the most • Executive Recruitment community-minded and solid business owners I’ve ever worked with,” says Reid. “They’ve got the money behind them, and the talent. They’re awesome people to work with.” Diane Brickner, the retired president of Peace Hills Insurance, says Prairie Villa was one of the first brokerages appointed by Peace Hills. “So the relationship goes Kevin McIntyre has a lifetime of experience as an Insurance way back with Brent and with Shayne.” Broker, Underwriter and Insurance Industry Leader. Experience Brickner has known the two of them that can help guide you through your challenges. for a long time and attributes their business success to their ability to foster strong relationships. “And it’s a good match,” she says. “The two of them are • Office: 778.265.6658 Cell: 250.508.3665 good together. I think very highly of the • organization and was delighted when they came together as one.” IP


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18  November 2016  Insurance People


Continued from page 13

conduct business on both sides of the border. Goodreau has 20 years’ experience in the insurance industry. Most recently he led sales and marketing for Hub International.

This & That PT&C|LWG has hired Farhood Nowzartash as technical lead for civil/ structural engineering. Farhood comes to the forensic engineering and recovery solutions firm with more than two decades of civil and Nowzartash structural engineering experience…Linda Herbert has joined TuGo as a regional account manager with the travel insurance firm’s business development team. She will be based in the B.C. interior and will be responsible for partnerships throughout Herbert Western Canada…Economical Insurance recently announced that Chris Van Kooten, senior vp and chief underwriting officer, has left the firm to pursue other endeavours…Hub International recently Van Kooten bought two Canadian insurance firms – New Dimensions Underwriters, an mga based in Edmonton, Alta., and Sarjeant Insurance Brokers, a brokerage in Barrie, Ont. Russ Davis, owner and president of New Dimensions, will join Hub Financial as part of its management team. Randall Maxim, Sarjeant’s president, and Patricia Hanmer, Sarjeant’s vp, will join Hub Ontario… Jennifer Perry, with Hub International Insurance Brokers, was named president of the Insurance Institute of B.C.’s Perry governing council for 2016-2017. Joining her on the council are Manjit Baring, with Hub International, as first vp – academic division, and Sharon Craver, with the Insurance Corporation of B.C., as first vp – professional division…Chadwick Westlake has been appointed svp finance and cfo for RSA Canada. Westlake

Westlake had worked at Scotiabank since 2002 where he was most recently svp and cfo of Canadian banking…RIMS, the non-profit risk management society, has acquired the Risk Manager of the Year Award program formerly administered by Crain Communication’s Business Insurance magazine…The Centre for Study of Insurance Operation has appointed Christopher Harness, vp solutions delivery at Northbridge Financial Corporation, as a new member to its board of directors. “It’s clear that Chris’s proven experiHarness

ence in tech, digital strategy and the provision of superior customer service will help CSIO deliver even more value to its members,” said Steve Whitelaw, CSIO chairman…Economical Insurance recently contributed $100,000 as a sponsor for JA Canada, the largest provider of Whitelaw youth business education programs in Canada. This brings the total sponsorship funding from Economical to $500,000 since 2012. Economical also recently donated $17,000 to sponsor Prostate Cancer Canada’s Wake


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Insurance People  November 2016  19

Up Call Breakfast events in Saint John, Halifax, Moncton and Cape Breton to help raise awareness of prostate cancer, and $10,000 to Cornwall Community Hospital in Waterloo, Ont., to support the hospital’s new community addiction and mental health centre…Signature Risk Partners, an mga based in Toronto, has opened an office in Montreal. Annie Boyle has joined the team as a commercial underwriter in the new office and will lead the firm’s growth in the Quebec region…EFI Boyle Global has opened a new office in Moncton, N.B., which will be led by Bryan Wattie. EFI also recently announced that Jean-François LeclercCloutier has returned to its Montreal team…Zurich Canada committed

to $1 million over three Wattie years to the Plan to End Homelessness in Calgary’s Resolve Campaign. Resolve is a collaboration of nine partner agencies raising $120 million to build Leclercaffordable and supported Cloutier

RIMS awards

RIMS Ontario Chapter recently presented the Donald M. Stuart Award to Mark Day, executive director, risk management and insurance, Treasury Board and Finance for the Government of Alberta, at the 2016 RIMS Canada Conference. The award has been bestowed annually since 1979 by the Ontario Chapter to celebrate Canadians who have made outstanding contributions in the risk management profession. “Just like others did for me, I found it to be crucially important, and perhaps even my responsibility, to give back to the risk management community,” Day said. “The value of the risk management function continues to gain traction and it has been exciting to be a part of this momentum. I am truly humbled to be named this year’s Donald M. Stuart Award recipient and to be recognized for a lifetime of work that I have felt so passionate about.” The Fred H. Bossons Award was also presented at the conference to David Chipp, project consultant, people, performance and culture for Efficiency Nova Scotia based in Halifax. The award honours the risk management professional who earns the highest marks on the three courses required to receive the CRM designation. IP

rental housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians…Donna Barclay has been appointed as chief underwriting officer, property and casualty, at The

Leading the way

The recipients of the CIP Society’s 2016 National Leadership Awards are: Emerging Leader winner Laura Van Vliet, assistant vp of Aligned Insurance in Waterloo, Ont.; Established Leader winner Paul Martin, president and coo of RRJ Insurance Group in Toronto; and Established Leader winner Robert Pearson, president and ceo of Town & Country MuVan Vliet tual Insurance Company in Strathroy, Ont. “Recognizing leaders from both the Established and Emerging leadership categories truly shows the scope of our industry and gives us an opportunity to shine a light on the achievements of members like Laura who is Martin emerging as a leader early in her career, and members like Paul and Robert who have established longstanding professionalism with decades of experience,” said Julie Pingree, chair of the CIP Society National Council. “All three of our leaders demonstrate outstanding leadership and are contributing to the industry in a meaningful way.” The CIP awards were created in 2009 to recognize the outstanding leadership qualities of CIP Society members who demonstrate a passion for lifelong learning and dedication to their employer, profession Pearson and community. IP

Guarantee. With 30 years’ experience behind her, she will be responsible for ensuring the company has compelling underwriting solutions to meet the evolving needs of the company’s property and casualty clients across all its target customer Barclay segments…Origin and Cause recently added two more people to its team – Eduardo Mari, a metallurgical engineer in Mississauga, and Ryan Cockle, a forensic mechanical engineer in Mari Ancaster, Ont…SCM Health Solutions, which provides independent medical evaluations, has appointed Jennifer Foster as coo. She will be based out Cockle of the company’s headquarters in Mississauga, Ont… Louis Rossi, the founding owner of BMS Karate in Foster Woodbridge, Ont., was the latest winner from Economical Insurance’s Rossi Continued on page 65

20  November 2016  Insurance People


nsurance wasn’t on the radar for Alanna Taylor until she got a job as a receptionist with The Co-operators in her hometown of North Bay, a city of about 54,000 in northeastern Ontario. Before that, Taylor, 35, had worked in forestry in Ontario and British Columbia as a silviculturist, planting and looking after trees. Today, Taylor is an account representative with Knox Worldwide, a commercial insurance brokerage with its head office in North Bay. She joined the company after working for another North Bay brokerage, Kennedy Insurance. Taylor graduated from Chippewa Secondary School in North Bay in 1998 with a bilingual certificate – she’s fluent in French – and went on to study earth sciences for two years at Laurentian University in Sudbury. “In the summers, to put myself through school, I was planting trees for a forestry company. I ended up staying and working for a silviculture company in Hearst, in northern Ontario.” After several summers of planting trees and surveying, she moved out to B.C. to work for a different forestry company, near Prince George.” It was a great experience working in B.C., but Taylor got homesick and moved back to North Bay, where she broke into the insurance business with the Co-operators in 2004. At first, she says, it was just a job to earn a paycheque while she figured out what to do with her life. But while answering phones and doing administrative jobs, she quickly built relationships with clients, and decided to get a licence to sell home and auto. “I was there from 2004 to 2006 and during that time I really learned the ropes, getting some wonderful training through the Co-operators.” After a successful interview in 2006, she was hired as a personal lines customer services representative with Kennedy Insurance, a local brokerage with about 20 employees. A few years s Alanna Taylor broke into the insurance business in 2004 with a job at The Co-operators after moving back to North Bay, Ont. Her career path led to her joining Knox Worldwide in 2015 where the coo describes her as “outgoing, enthusiastic, intelligent and absolutely full of personality.”

later, in 2011, she moved on to InsuranceHero, an Internet-based company with its head office in Sudbury. “They had a very interesting business model. They offered to set me up from home because their office was an hour and a half away from where I lived. They were looking for a personal lines producer to do just new business sales, writing business all over Ontario. I got to see a lot of exposures, mainly with highrisk auto. It’s a very different business transaction when you’re doing it over the Internet.” The Internet business allowed her to see first-hand how technology was changing the insurance business. She preferred faceto-face interaction, however, and after a couple of years she returned to Kennedy Insurance to do the same work she did at InsuranceHero: as the personal lines producer, she focused on home and auto insurance for new clients. Her intention was to eventually transition to the commercial side. In early 2015, she was contacted by Knox Worldwide, which does only commercial business, about joining its team. “It was a difficult decision. I had very strong ties at Kennedy’s. They were like family there.” But Knox offered Taylor opportunities for growth and career advancement that she couldn’t turn down, so she joined in February of 2015. Pat Goyette, personal insurance manager at Kennedy Insurance, has known Taylor for about nine years. Goyette, who has her CIP designation, says the brokerage was sorry to see her leave. She describes Taylor as an excellent advocate for insurance, good at educating the public. “She enjoyed telling clients and prospective clients about the benefits of being insured through a broker instead of a direct writer. She was very good at understanding a client’s insurance needs and was always able to answer questions and explain options.” Most of the 15 people who work at Knox in North Bay, Taylor says, are specialists, not generalists. Still undecided about her specialty, she’s leaning toward sports since that’s a personal passion. “Commercial insurance is a learning curve and I have to be patient,” she says. “I have fantastic connections here and I’m excited to see what’s in store.”


One to watch

Former silviculturist Alanna Taylor knows about not losing sight of the forest for the trees. For her, that means eventually focusing on a career specialty as part of an overall career strategy. Will her devotion to physical fitness and running half marathons ultimately lead to sports insurance?  By Ron Shorvoyce

Insurance People  November 2016  21

on presentations and seminars. She has The agency does municipal insurlots of life to her. I really think Alanna is ance, long-haul trucking, and music and one to watch.” entertainment. Aside from North Bay, Taylor works closely with the Ontario the company, owned by Bruce Knox, has Young Brokers Council (YBC). offices in Atlanta, London, Los She started out as a team leader Angeles, Nashville and New with the organization in 2013 York. while working at Kennedy Taylor plans to stay in North Insurance and this year serves Bay with Knox Worldwide. as president. “Technology allows me to work “YBC needs to be exploited anywhere, so North Bay, most and used more. Our young definitely, will be my home people are the future leaders of base.” Goyette this industry and it’s important Joan Knox Downey, chief to reach out to future young brokers. operating officer at Knox Worldwide, We have to be able to build relationsays Taylor has been an excellent addition ships with existing mature brokers and to an exceptional and diverse team. to establish mentorships. So “She’s outgoing, enthusiastic, we reach out to high schools, intelligent and absolutely full of business classes at college and personality. It’s really an incredthe university level to explain ible combination when you’re insurance as a career.” in the business of giving advice. When Taylor meets with I’m very impressed with her. young people, she explains She’s acting now as a general the insurance fundamentals broker but is acting on develand the different roles and oping a special niche. She’s also Knox Downey positions in a brokerage. She enhancing her insurance desigalso mentions the compensation to be nations and is currently working on that. expected – not surprising given Taylor’s She’s very involved with the Insurance reputation as a persuasive advocate for Brokers Association of Ontario and the the insurance business. IP local Chamber of Commerce. She puts

Family, fitness and fun • Taylor is a single mother with an eight-year-old son, Graydon, who is a diehard Ottawa Senators fan. “He’s very active and will be starting his first year of hockey. He’s very excited about it.” • Her dad Geoffery is a retired psychiatric nurse and her mother Yvonne is the general manager of the North Bay District YMCA. Her older brother, Stephen, is a police officer in North Bay. • Taylor is a physical fitness devotee and long-distance runner. “I generally do a half marathon every year.” She also takes part in CrossFit, a strength and conditioning regimen that consists of aerobic exercise, calisthenics and Olympic weightlifting. • For the last 10 years, on the last Saturday of every month, Taylor has been playing poker with her girlfriends. “It’s definitely become a permanent fixture in my life.” • She recently started taking golf lessons. “I’ve never been a golfer. But when you sell insurance it’s almost part of the licence.” IP

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22  November 2016  Insurance People

Looking ahead


Read all about it in the January issue

What’s new Tap in to latest buzz – what will be going live in the insurance industry in 2017... Innovations, announcements, new offices, staff changes and more. Be in the loop.


Insurance People  November 2016  23

Sp ec ia l in fo r m a t io n f e a t u re



New technology spurs new customer demands

Advances in digital technology have created new business models and better ways of doing business. Brokers who don’t adapt risk being left behind.


By Laurent Nadeau

n this digital era, customer behaviours are constantly evolving. Studies show that on average 60 per cent of consumers now research online before buying. Are you meeting their expectations?

Turn Disruption into Opportunity

It’s happening: powerful external

24  November 2016  Insurance People

forces are redefining traditional insurance. Advances in digital technology have created new business models and better ways of doing business, and brokers who don’t adapt risk being left behind. Disruption is no longer something you read about in industry blogs or trade magazines. It’s here now and it’s already affecting you. 3 Uber has become the world’s largest

ride-sharing organization, and it owns no vehicles. 3 AirBNB has become the world’s largest hotel organization, and it owns no hotels. 3 Facebook has become the world’s largest media organization, and it owns no media. 3 Turo is starting a rental peer-to-peer car-sharing service, and it owns no cars.

3 Axa and Alibaba are collaborating. Who knew these organizations five years ago? The world of insurance is no different. Forrester predicts that brokers will have little time to react when we reach the tipping point in insurance distribution. Its estimate is six months! The best way to prepare for and to protect the distribution network is to look at what consumers want and need – and then give it to them. Every survey repeats what they want: 1. Ultimate ease of doing business 2. A choice of insurance products 3. A trusted advisor Brokers excel on points two and three but have significant progress to make on the first one. Some consumers will still come to the office for their insurance. Others will use snail mail or email. A growing number will use social media, mobility, web, etc. Brokers need to be efficient in all delivery modes. Today’s consumers want access to their brokers by whatever means – web, smartphone, text – whenever they want and from wherever they are. That’s what the surveys mean by ease of doing business. It is suggested that over 50 per cent of consumers in the broker distribution network will consider moving to direct, bank or other channels if brokers do not provide ease of doing business. At Keal, we believe that consumers are no longer asking: they are dictating the way companies do business. That is why Keal’s vision for brokers is to offer solutions that ensure direct and efficient transactions. “Consumer to insurer with the control and support of the broker.” The demand for ease of doing business has kept pace with the earlier shift from typewriters to word processing to today’s technology. Those who have resisted such changes are out of business today. Those earlier changes reduced costs, improved efficiencies. Today’s disruption drives business, revenue. Your protection against disruption is to provide consumers with access to your systems in real time 24/7. Consumers need to ask questions, access their documents, make policy changes – or at least ask for those changes – and of course get quotes as quickly as consumers want. As a broker you remain an advisor, but today you need to make it easy for consumers to choose you. Incorporate this in your business planning and marketing strategy. Your market is not only the area where your offices are located. It is where

you are licensed to do business. But do you want to deal with everyone or target a specific group? Which transactions can go directly to the insurer without your intervention, and which ones need to be addressed by a member of your team? To help brokers with their compliance and legal obligations, Keal has developed ways to record conversations in its Broker Management System (BMS). This ensures that you keep an accurate record for e&o. Keal’s survey engine, Keal Engage, allows brokers to survey clients and prospects immediately after claims or after every second renewal. An unacceptable grade will be uploaded to your BMS in real time so that you can act on this and, more importantly, learn what you are

“When the winds of change blow, some build walls, while others build windmills.” Chinese Proverb

doing right so that best practices can be shared quickly in your organization. Nice, But… How to Connect with Customers at the Right Time?

Insurance customers go on a kind of journey when they interact with a business. That’s why Keal has developed a state-of-the-art portal that puts brokers in front of customers and prospects 24/7/365, anywhere in the world. Customers start their journey when they first recognize a need. For example, a first-time homeowner needs home insurance. The customer then moves on to the research stage, gathering information from several sources. The homeowner studies coverage and pricing options online. Finally, the customer enters the consideration stage, ready to select the product that’s best. After considering the options, our homebuyer chooses coverage from a local broker. To stand out from the competition, brokers must reach out to customers at each stage of their buying journey. Does that mean repeatedly hitting them with a sales pitch? No. The goal is to provide your potential customers with helpful information that guides them from one stage to the next.

The Customer Journey

Awareness: Before they can buy from you, customers need to know you exist. In the old days that meant an ad in the phone book and a sign above the door. Now it means having an online presence. • Website. Put your best foot forward. Make sure your website looks professional and is error free. • Facebook. Update your Facebook page at least once a week. • Customer portal. Your website must contain a portal, such as the Keal Portal, so that your clients can get information on products and prices. • Other social media. Consider options like Twitter and LinkedIn, but don’t take on more than you can regularly update. Research: Today’s insurance customers have more options than ever and more ways to find the right broker for their needs. Your website, along with the Keal Portal, guides potential customers to your brokerage by giving them the information they need. • Content marketing. Become a trusted expert by creating informative blog posts, videos or newsletters. • Portal. Provide self-service price-comparison tools and product information to existing customers. • Mailing list. Offer an email subscription link on your website so that you can capture and convert new leads. Consideration: To close the deal, you need to remove the barriers between your brokerage and the customer. That means using a mix of technology – such as the web, a portal, a CRM, other social media – and personal service to help your customers complete their journey. • Personal contact. Remember, most customers still buy insurance from a human being, either in person or on the phone. • Self-service. Meet today’s high customer expectations by offering roundthe-clock web self-service. • Email marketing. Up-sell and crosssell to your existing customers with targeted emails. Keal, with the support of Vertafore, has built a state-of-theart CRM to help you maximize your marketing efforts. Change brings opportunities! Join Keal as we partner with you to develop the technological tools and reap the rewards of change for the broker distribution network. Are you building a wall or a windmill? IP n   n   n

Laurent Nadeau is the vp, sales & marketing, at Keal Technology. Insurance People  November 2016  25



Written up in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the Jack Chow Building in Vancouver measures four feet 10 inches across, and now includes a light show synchronized to music.

Muhamed Ibrahimovic, Email Storefront suggestions to account executive for Cowan Agencies in Medicine Hat, Alta.

Jack Chow Insurance, Vancouver, B.C.

A magical place


By John Lekich

ack Chow Insurance has been a fixture in Vancouver’s Chinatown district since Jack and Jean Chow founded the business in 1962. Currently, the brokerage has two locations – both heritage sites – within a short walk of each other. But it’s the main office – with its nostalgic neon sign – that gets most

26  November 2016  Insurance People

of the attention from camera-wielding tourists. Written up in Ripley’s Believe It or Not – and officially known as the world’s shallowest building in The Guinness Book of World Records – the building measures four feet ten inches across. Rod Chow – Jack’s son and company president – can spread his arms and touch the walls on either side. “It’s probably one of the most photographed buildings in Vancouver,” he says. “Everything in here is skinny. We have a skinny piano, a skinny

closet, even a skinny toaster. When we have children come in, I ask how tall they are and say, ‘Well, you’ll fit perfectly.’” Thanks to its most recent renovation, the building contains several highly innovative features, including a centrally located neon-glass staircase with a light show synchronized to music. Such features provide regularly scheduled streetside entertainment for anyone choosing to linger next to one of the building’s large windows. Recently, the Chows were presented with the prestigious Live Design Excellence Award for Architainment. This is the first time a Canadian building has won the award, which has been bestowed on buildings in Paris, Las Vegas and New York’s Times Square. “It’s almost like watching the Celebration of Light or the Bellagio Fountains,” says Rod. “Because of the way the building is constructed, you can get really close up and take pictures. It’s a very intimate experience.” The building was constructed in 1913 on a ten-thousand dollar bet. Back then, it housed up to 13 businesses from a barbershop to a bathhouse. Today, the multiple

service-windows – each window originally for a separate business – have been preserved as a unique feature of the design. Rod Chow explains: “Even though it’s the narrowest façade in the world, it’s been designed to be non-claustrophobic. We take advantage of the fact that the building occupies an entire city block. There are bay windows, a glass sidewalk,

“Because of the way the building is constructed, you can get really close up and take pictures. It’s a very intimate experience.” a lower level which tunnels beyond the ends of the building and a continuous skylight system from one end of the building to the other.” Rod’s brother Reg and his two sisters Barbara and Debra are also company executives involved in the business on a daily basis. “It’s nice,” says Rod. “We’re a very close-knit family and we get along really well. So there’s a great comfort level among our siblings.”

“My father still comes into the office regularly,” says Chow. Actively involved in both major renovations of their award-winning building, Jack has always been proud to be a long-time advocate of Vancouver’s Chinatown. Today, Jack Chow Insurance remains at the centre of Chinatown’s business life as well as being a vital part of its history and heritage. “We’re an established business that serves people throughout Vancouver’s Lower Mainland,” says Rod. “But we’ve chosen to stay here and help the community flourish. To still be a part of Chinatown after all these years, it’s a source of pride for all of us. “I grew up in the business,” says Rod. “Even as a baby I was part of it. My parents used to take me to work and the customers would see me there.” In fact, Chow doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t involved in the family business. “I started out stamping our return address on envelopes because we didn’t print them back then,” he laughs. “I’ll always remember that. “Insurance is basically my whole life,” he explains. At 16, he became the young-

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Insurance People 9/29/2016 November 2016  1:26:02 PM 27

Jack and Rod Chow with their Live Design Excellence Award for Architainment.

est licensed insurance broker in the province. “I’ve always enjoyed a challenge,” he explains. “My parents were an inspiration and, since I was already involved in the business, it seemed like the logical thing to do.” Chow went on to earn a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia while working part time in the family business. The insurance industry has always been a good fit for him. “Some of our customers have been with us for over 40 years,” he observes. “They come to visit and there are a lot of good memories.” The Chows bought the location at the corner of Pender and Carrall in 1985. “The building was all worn out,” recalls Rod. “It really hadn’t been looked after. 28  November 2016  Insurance People

When it came up for sale, my father saw it as a great opportunity.” The family completed the first renovation by the following year – mindful to preserve and enhance the structure’s unique heritage. “It was Vancouver’s centennial and my father took it on as a kind of centennial project. I was young at that point but I was still actively involved in the decisions.” By the time of the second major renovation from 2013–16, Rod designed and supervised the changes. Oddly enough, a tour of the building leaves you with a distinct feeling of spaciousness. “Everything from our colour scheme to an allglass, mirrored central core is designed to create the illusion of more space,” he says. But then, Chow knows a thing or two about creating illusions. A champion ma-

gician, who has won several international awards, he enjoys informing clients about the building’s history through a series of specially designed card tricks. Magic runs in the family. Chow’s two teenaged sons are accomplished magicians. When not attending to clients in the business, his wife Sylvia still serves as an assistant when he performs his act. Asked if she knows all his secrets, Chow laughs. “She knows what she wants to know,” he says. “She wants to keep that sense of wonder. After all these years she’s still amazed when I do magic.” Watching Chow perform his dazzling sleight-of-hand while talking about the world-famous building that houses his business seems perfectly natural. And why not? As Rod Chow explains, “It’s a magical place.” IP

Tell us a story! Insurance People magazine has several monthly columns which draw from the lives and experiences of the folks who make the p&c insurance industry in Canada tick. If you know someone we should be talking to, or you would like to contribute your own story, please email your suggestions to


A kind of (good) gossip column – short items about the comings and goings of brokers, adjusters and insurance company employees. It includes promotions, retirements, obits, fundraising efforts, expansions, jokes, accomplishments and awards, mergers and acquisitions, announcements from the many industry groups and associations, the weird and the wacky.


Our travel experience column. If you have had an unusual (or embarassing/amusing!) travel adventure, share your tale.

Q&A A one-page question-and-answer feature. We are always on the lookout for subjects from all regions of Canada, so send us your recommendations. Subjects are encouraged to be humorous!

yourstorefront This popular feature usually, but not exclusively, features owner/operators of brokerages, often in small-town or remote settings.


Insurance People  November 2016  29

Sp ec ia l in fo r m a t io n f e a t u re


Growing with a company


longstanding commitment to a company is unusual today. The norm for millennials is to change jobs multiple times before even hitting their 30s. A member of the RSA team for almost 20 years, Martin Thompson, ceo and president of RSA, has resisted that millennial trend. His time with RSA has crossed continents (he started in RSA’s U.K. division) as well as business areas (he started as a commercial property claims handler). The one constant throughout his career has been his commitment to RSA and his desire to learn and grow with it. “Having spent many years with RSA, I’ve seen it in all its strengths, as well as all of its development areas,” says Thompson. “I think that from that experience, I understand what we do well and what we can do better.” Thompson has worked his way up to the helm of RSA Canada through internal development, proving the importance of developing talent from within. “Our ability to develop talent and bring talent to the organization is going to be key to us in the future.” He also understands the importance of striking a healthy balance between employees who have developed within the organization and those who come from outside. “In order for us to do things better, sometimes we have to look outside for people who have a different perspective and people who can question the way that we do things,” says Thompson. “Our goal is to be a bestin-class organization, and to achieve that I strongly believe that we also need an outside perspective to challenge us to become better at what we do. In any healthy business, you want to have a mix of those who you’ve hired internally and those brought in externally.” 30  November 2016  Insurance People

For people just starting out in a new organization or looking to grow with one, Thompson finds that it’s imperative to lay a good foundation and have an understanding of the business. Also essential for success: taking ownership of your path. “A key thing for me was to take responsibility for my own development,”

Martin Thompson was recently named as the new ceo for RSA Canada.

says Thompson. “I always had the mindset that my personal development is not the company’s responsibility, nor was it my boss’s responsibility. I had to take ownership of it.” Martin credits his passion for insurance and the right mentors as essential to his success. “I’ve built many different relationships across the company, having worked with everyone from brokers to affinity partners,” says Thompson. “But when it

comes to career development, finding the right mentors in the organization and working with them as a sounding board for my plans and ideas for my career development was especially helpful in forwarding my career.” For any new position, he always considered if the skills he would acquire would transfer to future roles and align with his personal growth trajectory. After several leadership positions within RSA, Thompson is today at the helm of its Canadian operations, overseeing over 4,000 employees. As expected, he leads a very busy life. Two jobs demand his full attention: one as ceo of RSA Canada and the other as husband and father of three boys, ages 2, 6 and 7. “My sons keep me quite busy, that’s for sure,” says Thompson. “They’re involved in soccer, hockey and baseball, so I spend a lot of time at practices and games with them.” Despite being busy on a personal and professional level, Thompson still finds the time to pay it forward. “I’m not the kind of person who wants to be at my desk all day,” he says. “There is a lot of value to me both personally and professionally being out there and speaking to people, which is why I like to invest time in mentoring and developing people.” Thompson won’t be slowing down anytime soon. “RSA is a very different company, even from just a few years ago,” he says. “We now have an idea of what the next few years look like, and the changes we still need to make to keep up with evolving market demands and to reinforce our position as one of the best insurance companies. I’m excited for this next challenge in my career and I feel privileged to be able to continue my growth with the company.” IP

Living the village life


Marsha Ostertag discovered the unlooked-for pleasures of village life when she started working for a brokerage in Riverton, Man. Since then, her photographs of the countryside have appeared in the evening TV news of the big city — silent but eloquent confirmation of the natural beauty she’s encountered in her adopted home. By Ron Shorvoyce

Insurance People  November 2016  31


arsha Ostertag never thought life in a small community would be for her. She was born and raised in Winnipeg, but as it turned out she would settle down in a little place called Riverton on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Formally known as the Municipality of Bifrost-Riverton, the village, with the Icelandic River running through it, is located in the Interlake Region and has a population of just 700. About 100 kilometres north of Winnipeg, it has some basic amenities and Interlake Insurance, where Ostertag, 38, is the office supervisor. When she graduated from Winnipeg’s St. John’s High School in 1997, Ostertag first worked some odd jobs – waitressing, telemarketing and working for a catalogue order desk – while she figured out what she wanted to do in life. “I’d also done some website administration, but I quit because I wanted to go to college.

I had my heart set on being a dietician, but there wasn’t a big demand for that in the job market,” Ostertag says. “So off I went in 2002 and ended up taking the pharmacy technician course at Winnipeg Technical College.” She worked at a few pharmacies, but when she moved to Riverton, where her husband was from, that type of work wasn’t in demand. Instead, Ostertag applied for a job at the local insurance office in Riverton, which was then operated by Sigvaldason Insurance. A friend recommended her for the position, and she was hired in October 2003. “That was my first encounter with insurance,” Ostertag says. “They sent me off for training, and when I finally got my licence, they said: ‘Welcome to Autopac, Marsha.’” She started with the government-sponsored auto insurance business for the agency, and continued working in that area for many years at both the Riverton and Arborg offices of the brokerage. In 2009 Ostertag decided she wanted a change and took a position with the

claims department at the Manitoba Public Insurance office in Arborg, about 20 minutes from Riverton. However, after working there 10 months, she realized that the position wasn’t the right fit. “It was good,” she says, “but I knew I would have to move south to get promoted, and with a baby at home I didn’t want to do that.” Fortunately, Sigvaldason’s was hiring again. The brokerage had been purchased in 2008 by the Arborg Credit Union and was now offering benefits and more pay. More importantly, Ostertag discovered that more opportunities were now available there. In April 2011 Ostertag earned her CAIB 4 designation, and she knew that she’d really “arrived” in the insurance business. In 2012 she became interim manager of the Riverton brokerage. At about the same time, the Arborg Credit Union and others in the area amalgamated under a new operation called Noventus Credit Union. Noventus bought 50 per cent of Interlake Insurance, based out of Gimli, and the Riverton office became

“I’m really inspired as to how beautiful it is out in the country,” Ostertag says. Her photos of the countryside have made it on the evening edition of Winnipeg’s Global News broadcast. 32  November 2016  Insurance People

Interlake Insurance in May 2013. After a new manager was appointed to oversee Riverton, Ostertag became the office supervisor. The brokerage is a twoperson agency offering p&c lines and auto. Her work colleague, Melanie Weidl, has been friends with Ostertag for about four years. The two met when Ostertag was managing the branch at Riverton. Weidl describes her friend as easygoing and fun to work with. “She does very well with the insurance business,” says Weidl. “She has a very good rapport with everybody.” Weidl adds that Ostertag has the knack of making even grumpy people laugh. Ostertag’s close friend, Karla Triska, has known her for 15 years. Triska lives in nearby Arborg where she works for Canada Post and owns a construction company. She has her personal and company insurance through Ostertag. Triska praises Ostertag both personally and professionally. Ostertag is a “great mom to her kids,” Triska says, but she also makes close personal connections with everyone she knows. “My whole family loves her, my parents, my grandparents,” Triska says. “Everybody gets along with Marsha.” On the business side, Triska says, Ostertag takes care of all her insurance needs, making sure that everything is up to date. The rural Municipality of BifrostRiverton is a farming and fishing centre. It offers most of the basic amenities: a large grocery store, a gas station, a couple of mom-and-pop stores, three churches,

a thrift store, a credit union and a motor inn with a bar and restaurant. For winter sports, there’s a skating rink and curling rink. A freshwater fish plant processes pickerel, pike, catfish and rock bass.

The village of Riverton is the gateway to two provincial parks, and in the winter hockey is a big part of community life. It even boasts a former NHL player as one of its own: Reggie Leach – “the Riverton Rifle” – who played in the NHL for 13 seasons with the Boston Bruins, California Golden Seals, Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers. It was only natural that Ostertag took up playing hockey when she first moved to Riverton, joining one of the area’s three women’s teams. Spending lots of time with the game made it easier for her to adapt to village life. And her hockey skills have improved enough to get her invited to the occasional tournament. Inspired by the area’s natural beauty, Ostertag has made the countryside the main subject of her photography. “I’m really inspired as to how beautiful it is out in the country,” she says. “I want to pull over and take pictures all the time.” Her photos have made it on to the evening edition of Winnipeg’s Global News broadcast, just before the weather report. Ostertag says Riverton offers a quiet lifestyle that she’s comfortable with. She likes being close to home and her children. “It’s really a good little place. I will remain in Riverton for a long time.” IP

Insurance People  November 2016  33

Described as “superorganized, involved, accomplished and professional,” Amber Findlay is an account manager with Willis Towers Watson in Vancouver.

34  November 2016  Insurance People


Hard to miss A recent move to Vancouver allowed Amber Findlay to expand her career, taking a position as account manager with Willis Towers Watson. However, she built her insurance career in Saskatoon, moving up in responsibility quickly and promoting the insurance field through Saskatchewan’s Young Brokers’ Network. By Ron Shorvoyce


mber Findlay thought she’d be working at Saskatoon’s Butler Byers Insurance for a long time. But as fate would dictate, she spent only a few years there before moving on to the Vancouver office of Willis Towers Watson, a global risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory company. Findlay started work there in August

as an account manager. It was a big move for a young lady who has had considerable success in the insurance industry in a short time. “An opportunity came up for the expansion of my career and I decided to make the move and try it out.” The fact that she loves Vancouver was another plus. Findlay graduated from John Paul Collegiate in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, in 2007 and was set to continue her education at the University of Regina. She had a scholarship and a

bursary, but after six months at university, Findlay, who is 26, wasn’t sure what she wanted to do in life. While taking a break to figure things out, she got into insurance. It wasn’t glamorous at first, but before long she knew it was the career for her. At the end of 2007, after leaving university, she got a job at Prestige Insurance Brokers in North Battleford, working there for about two years. Her parents had their insurance with the brokerage, and after checking with them

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Insurance People  November 2016  35

time to learn and really get to know it. If ence for me. The networking was great, she approached Prestige about a job. At you don’t have the resources, you’re kind you get introduced to people, and the Prestige she worked the front desk as a of limited in knowing where to go. But education was great.” receptionist, doing motor vehicle licensit’s been really rewarding for me to help Findlay met her best friend, Jaycee ing and eventually some personal lines people continue Turtle, through as well. with their learning YBN. They’ve Before working at Prestige, Findlay experience.” known each other had little idea what insurance was about. Colin Rooke, for about four years. But she soon got hooked. To advance a commercial Turtle, manager of her education, she started taking CAIB producer and Lakeview Insurance courses and, after a couple of years, sales manager at in Martensville and before Prestige was sold to Western Butler Byers who Blaine Lake, says Financial Group, she joined Butler Byis also part of the Findlay stands out ers Insurance in Saskatoon in 2010 as a management team, as an exceptional commercial account assistant. Today she has worked closely person. has her CAIB designation and is an acwith Findlay over “She’s super count manager at Willis Towers Watson. the past couple of organized, very inShe attributes her success to working years. volved, very accomhard and learning from her colleagues at plished and very Butler Byers. “I always tell professional. Those people she’s for“There was lots of learning involved Rooke are the words that and I just worked my way up. It’s a great gotten more about easily describe Amber. With people she’s place to work. Butler Byers is fully supinsurance than I know. She’s a lifelong totally outgoing and likes to get them portive of young brokers.” The wealth of learner. If she doesn’t understand someexcited about the insurance industry. The knowledge at Byers, Findlay says, is inthing, she’ll dive in and not only find best thing about credible. She spent the answer but know the answer. She’s our friendship is five and a half years not afraid to pick up the phone and call we’re in the same at Byers, where she an underwriter to get the true meaning business.” transitioned into of what she’s after.” Rooke adds that Findlay’s role the main commerFindlay contributed to the sales process at Butler Byers cial department. by doing sales calls. IP included working Findlay was very with new brokers, involved with the FAMILY & FUN offering them Young Brokers’ insurance support Network (YBN) in • Her parents look after a grain farmand helping to Saskatchewan. In ing enterprise in Medstead, a village train them. “It was 2011 she joined the 45 minutes north of North Battlepretty satisfying. YBN board, and was ford. When I first started president this year • Findlay’s older brother Tyler owns in the industry, I before moving. “It’s a directional drilling company that had to take my own been a great experiTurtle lays power lines. Younger sister Arin

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is a stay-at-home mom who teaches preschool two days a week in Medstead. • Findlay is a country music and rock fan. Her favourite entertainers are Kings of Leon, an alternative rock band, and Kip Moore, a country singer. • She enjoys reading suspense and mystery novels. She also keeps up with developments in the insurance industry. “I read about emerging risks and stuff like that.” • She fishes in all seasons and hunts, mostly deer. “Anything outdoors is my passion.” • Findlay takes at least one vacation a year, often to Florida, where her parents rent a condo. “I usually join them for two or three weeks every February. We have family in Manitoba, close to Winnipeg, so I go there, too.” IP

Canada’s Insurance

Litigation Forum


DANGER AHEAD Singleton Urquhart’s insurance group helps avoid the pitfalls of coverage reserves

Singleton Urquhart’s insurance group: Scott Brearley, partner; Jane Ingman Baker, associate; John R. Singleton, Q.C., managing partner; Steve Berezowskyj, partner; Elizabeth (Betsy) Segal, associate; Avon Mersey, Q.C., associate counsel.



Insurance People  November 2016  37


45 -30- Forensic Engineering

Customizing the best solution for each loss

59 Alexander Holburn Delayed claims take toll on defence costs

50 Bilkey Law Corp.

Legal depth and geographic reach for clients

54 Carfra Lawton

Exploring a third-party liability claim

61 Harper Grey

48 Richard van Leeuwen

Defending a landlord through the tenant’s insurance

How cellulose insulation may contribute to house fires

53 Jensen Hughes

46 SHK Law Corporation

The dangers unique to Li-ion batteries

Bringing aboard Don Smith and his 25 years of experience


39 Singleton Urquhart

The unique nature of vehicle fire investigation

Exercise caution when taking coverage reserve positions

43 Richards Buell Sutton Cybercrime and business liability

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-30- Forensic Engineering............44 Alexander Holburn.......................58 Bilkey Law Corp............................50 Carfra Lawton...............................55 Harper Grey...................................60 Jensen Hughes...............................52 MDD..............................................51 Michael O’Meara & Co.................49 MKA Canada.................................51 PT&C|LWG...................................57 Richards Buell Sutton...................42 Richard van Leeuwen....................48 SHK Law Corporation..................47 Singleton Urquhart.......................41

38  November 2016  Insurance People

ad v e r tising

S u p p l e m e nt

L i t i gat i o n

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At the outset of a claim, qualified personnel should conduct a complete coverage analysis to provide the insurer with advice.


Coverage reserves: danger ahead By John Singleton


hen presented with claims under liability policies, insurers must exercise extreme caution in assessing the coverage available and in taking coverage reserves or off-coverage

positions. A claim that includes both covered and uncovered allegations, or allegations which might possibly give rise to uncovered liability, may justify coverage reserves or non-waiver agreements. But those coverage reserves must be taken in isolation from those involved with the defence of the claim, whether an adjuster, a claims examiner or defence counsel. Otherwise, there exists the potential for a “reasonable apprehension of conflict of interest” resulting in the foreclosure of the insurer’s right to instruct defence counsel or control the defence of the proceedings commenced. This article identifies some of the

pitfalls associated with this aspect of liability insurance and provides some cautionary notes as to how insurers might avoid them. Early Review of Coverage Concerns

A complete coverage analysis should be conducted at the outset of a claim. That is, as soon as the claim is presented, qualified personnel should be commissioned to review coverage and provide the insurer with coverage advice. Where there are legal issues or serious coverage concerns, legal counsel should always be involved in this assessment. An incorrect coverage position taken with the insured at the early stages Insurance People  November 2016  39


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of proceedings can prove fatal to the insurer’s rights if it is determined that the coverage analysis was incorrect. For instance, if a coverage reserve taken leads to the insurer refusing to contribute to an overall settlement of a claim, but later turns out to be incorrect and the matter proceeds to trial with an excess coverage judgment, the insurer could be faced with a bad faith claim and with responsibility for the amount of the excess judgment. Independence of Coverage Assessment

It is critical that both the assessment of coverage and any coverage positions taken be kept isolated from claims examiners or adjusters responsible for instructing defence counsel and also from defence counsel. Mere knowledge of coverage reserves or coverage issues on the part of defence counsel can give rise to a “reasonable apprehension of conflict of interest” and foreclose the insurer’s right to instruct counsel and control the defence. ©

Coverage Excluded

When it is clear that the claim brought against the insured does not give rise to coverage under the liability policy, then the insurer must take an off-coverage position and not bow to the temptation of defending under a reservation of rights. The insured is entitled to know at an early date if there is no coverage available, and an insurer which knows of the absence of coverage cannot exercise its right to control the defence. By doing so it is more likely than not that the insurer will be later prevented from relying on policy exclusions which would otherwise be Singleton applicable.

“Coverage reserves” refers to an insurer’s notice to the insured that once all the evidence is known it may be determined that indemnity coverage is not available to the insured, but the insurer will continue to defend the insured in the meantime. The coverage reserves may relate to exclusions in the policy, a breach of condition by the insured or a claim that falls outside the insuring agreements stipulated in the policy.

defend is limited to the covered allegations. Although the case law suggests that the uncovered allegations should be defended by counsel appointed by the insured, the practicality of doing so is dubious and the more appropriate way forward would be, in these instances, Urquhart’s to have the insurinsurance group: er and the insured Possibility of enter into a nonExclusions John R. Singleton, Q.C., Where the claim waiver agreement managing partner advanced raises whereby defence Steve Berezowskyj, partner the possibility that of all claims by Scott Brearley, partner an exclusion may appointed counsel Avon Mersey, Q.C., associate counsel apply – but with will not be taken Jane Ingman Baker, associate  uncertainty as to as a waiver of the whether or not it insurer’s or the Elizabeth (Betsy) Segal, associate in fact will apply insured’s right to – the appropriate re-visit coverconduct for the insurer is to enter into a age issues upon any finding of liability. reservation of rights agreement with Again, the non-waiver agreement must the insured. This agreement cannot be be kept independent from defence shared with defence counsel. counsel, who should be instructed, in these cases, that their mandate is to Covered and Uncovered Claims Where the claim presented against provide a full and robust defence to the the insured includes both covered and insured and there should be no suggesuncovered allegations, the duty to tion that there are coverage reserves or 40  November 2016  Insurance People

coverage issues in the background. Ill-Informed Coverage Reserves

Coverage reserves taken without any underpinning factual justification can be just as harmful as cross-pollinating coverage reserves with defence counsel. An unjustified coverage reserve can in and of itself be seen as a reasonable apprehension of bias or conflict of interest on the part of the insurer, leading, in some cases, to the foreclosure of the insurer’s right to continue to instruct defence counsel or control the defence. Central to all of these matters is recognition that coverage reserves are a two-way street. They need to be taken to protect the interests of the insurer when that protection is warranted, but they must be taken in the appropriate manner by the appropriate personnel so as to protect the interests of the insured in receiving a full and robust defence free from any reasonable apprehension of conflict of interest on the part of the defence counsel. IP n    n    n

John Singleton, Q.C., is managing partner at Singleton Urquhart LLP based in Vancouver.

Clearing the path to success Members of our Insurance Law Group are recognized by multiple rating agencies as leaders in the field of Insurance Law. With over 40 years of experience, we represent the industry and consumers of its products in such areas as construction claims, professional and product liability, personal injury, property damage claims and insurance fraud. We continue to assist the industry in developing policy wordings and act as counsel on a wide variety of coverage issues. Please visit our website to learn more:

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awyer Nicole Mangan is a partner at the law firm Richards Buell Sutton. She has a particular interest in cyber liability. “So many businesses and organizations are collecting personal information on people these days,” she observes. “What if that information is leaked, either through negligence or through a criminal act by somebody who hacks into your system? These risks can come from people both inside and outside of an organization.” Mangan Mangan points out that data breaches can “arise in a number of different ways,” providing a couple of typical examples that can affect both the business community and the general public. “You never know when you’re going to be hacked,” she says. “Just as you never know when you’re going to have an employee who accidently releases information for which a business might be vicariously liable. “Take the example of phishing e-mails where somebody tries to pass themselves off as representing your bank or another business you deal with. Almost everyone today has a story of receiving those fake emails – some of which can look very legitimate.” Negligence is one thing. But, as Mangan explains, deliberate criminal activity in today’s high-tech world is a growing problem. And one incident involving either negligence or a criminal act can sometimes impact an unusually high volume of victims with the potential to constitute a large-scale claim. It’s this potential for theft or unintended publication of a high volume of information that can have a direct effect on the insurance industry. “Let’s say that an affected individual has a hypothetical claim for damages of $200,” says Mangan.

“If you multiply that by thousands of people who can potentially be impacted by one breach, the scope of the claim can be very significant for an insured. “For a broker, the vast majority of their business clients are storing valuable



Discussing cyber liability with Nicole Mangan

cyber liability coverage with clients and the potential importance of that kind of coverage,” she observes. “Cyber liability is so widely talked about in the industry now. If a broker has never mentioned the potential products to a client, the client might say: ‘How come we never discussed this risk?’” What can a business person do to protect themselves? “First of all, make sure that you have good technical advice on the security of your system and the corresponding security of your information. That can be important in terms of trying to show that your company did everything it could to ensure that the information wasn’t jeopardized in the first place. “Second, work with your broker to make sure that you have the right Because regulations on cyber liability vary from province coverage. to province, businesses need to make sure they’re get“Third, if anything ting advice that applies to the specific rules they have to does happen, make sure comply with, whether they’re provincial or federal. you act as quickly as possible to re-secure your personal information in some way,” she system and to comply with notifying any explains. “Often when an insurance claim regulatory bodies or individuals. Often, happens, a business broker is their first if the insured mitigates the risk by acting point of contact.” quickly, that can help in terms of your Mangan feels that the security of defence regarding liability.” personal information is an increasing However, since regulations on cyber concern for both the business and insurliability vary from province to province, ance communities. “What happens if an “complex jurisdiction issues can arise.” employee takes their unsecured laptop on So you want to make sure you’re getting a business trip and loses it, or a hospital advice that applies to the specific rules accidentally uploads patient information you have to comply with, whether they’re to the Internet?” she asks. “Now you may provincial or federal. have a whole bunch of information that “Brokers are really on the front lines – just due to inadvertence – is potentially when it comes to calls from their clients at risk, which could result in a class acwho think they may need to make an tion claim.” insurance claim,” concludes Mangan. Education is the key here, both for “They frequently play a key role in knowthe broker and his client. “For a broker, ing what policies their client has and it’s important to review the options for getting the insurer notified.” IP Insurance People  November 2016  43

Bre aking news

giffin koerth has changed its name to -30-.

get the whole story at

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L i t i gat i o n


Multi-disciplinary approach to remediation Buildings, systems and infrastructure have become increasingly complex and interconnected, making loss events increasingly complex as well.

By Jeff Reitsma


ew technologies and ever more sophisticated designs and materials have made our daily experiences far different than they were even five years ago. Buildings, systems and infrastructure are increasingly complex and in-

terconnected. As a result, loss events are increasingly complex. This complexity is coupled with easier access to information: owners, contractors, insurers and lawyers are more aware than ever of the technical issues and risks they face. At -30- Forensic Engineering, we support our clients and partners by developing and delivering remediation solutions that address this new reality. We draw from experts across 14 in-house technical business lines to customize the best solution for each loss. Our approach to remediation of complex losses centres around applying multiple technical disciplines in an efficient, transparent and Continued on page 49 Insurance People  November 2016  45

L i t i gat i o n

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Celebrating 25 years of legal practice

Don Smith and his new employer, SHK Law Corporation, are both celebrating 25 years of practising law this year.


or lawyer Don Smith, counsel at SHK Law Corporation, 2016 has been a celebration on two fronts – his 25th anniversary of practising law and the firm’s 25th anniversary of being in business. In October the firm invited clients and associates to join in the festivities – and a good time was had by all. “I started working with SHK in the spring of 2016 and it’s been a great fit,” says Smith. “The work we do centres around construction, with profound ties to the insurance industry. We work with architects, engineers and other design professionals to protect them from professional and product liability. In previous years, I have been involved with many aspects of construction projects, acting on behalf of general contractors, 46  November 2016  Insurance People

subtrades and municipalities.” One of the key factors that Smith enjoys about being part of the SHK team is the technical talent in the office. “A couple of lawyers also have their P.Eng. designation,” he says. “That’s beneficial within the scope of my work with property claims and product liability because we deal with architects and engineers. “The question is often whether there were errors in the design. Did the structural engineer under-design elements of the structure? Were proper geotechnical considerations taken into account? Comfort with the technical aspects of a case is essential in order to understand the issues in these kinds of cases. It is not enough simply to have good court skills. Proper advocacy in technical cases requires sufficient technical knowledge to understand the project documents and

to know what questions to ask.” Smith’s skill in court is only one aspect that had the partners at SHK eager to bring him aboard. “You learn a lot about a lawyer when you cross swords with him or her in litigation,” says Craig Wallace, P.Eng. “There are some counsel whose professionalism, good manners and respect for their colleagues at the bar are not compromised by their fervent desire to do the very best for their clients. Don is one such counsel. I always found Don to be fully engaged with the issues, enthusiastic in his work and above all courteous to other counsel. It is this combination of skill and civility that has rightly earned him a reputation as a lawyer’s lawyer and a gentleman. “It is therefore with the greatest of pleasure that we have welcomed Don to SHK. He brings his wealth of experience in commercial litigation generally, and insurance litigation in particular. His many years of experience serving sophisticated clients have taught him what insurers need and want from the team handling their files.” Growing up in Regina, Sask., Smith came to his knowledge of the construction industry naturally, as his father was a carpenter. As a young man, he helped his father on projects, watching how he managed his crews, eventually becoming part of the team. He went on to law school at the University of Saskatchewan. “I began my law career in Vancouver as an articled student in 1990. Shortly after I was called to the bar in 1991, I worked on a large file involving a near failure of a shoring wall at Bankers Hall in Calgary,” says Smith. “That changed my direction from general litigation to construction liability cases. I often joke with my father that I’ve backed into his profession. Construction has always been a part of my life in some way.” Family is an important part of Smith’s life with his wife, Carrie Sylvestre, and their blended family of four children – Sophie, 19, Taylor, 17, Evan and Chris, both 15. “We call it two-thirds of the Brady Bunch,” he says. “A couple of the kids are working, and the others are on the verge of getting their driver’s licence. It’s constant chaos but we love it.” While he has yet to have any of his children follow in his legal footsteps, Sophie is taking criminology at SFU. With a quarter century of success to build on, the coming years look bright for both Don Smith and the team at SHK. IP

insurance law

SHK’s lawyers have been recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada as Canada’s leading lawyers in the area of insurance law. Our firm has been providing legal advice to the insurance industry for over 25 years. Our team has extensive experience in all aspects of insurance, including: SHK is construction law.

Build better. Build with SHK.

· Professional liability claims · Commercial general liability claims · Subrogated claims · Professional disciplinary claims · Coverage claims · Insurance litigation To learn more about the services we offer, please contact Craig Wallace (

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• Ceiling heating panels have been used with cellulose insulation, and have resulted in many fires and a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturer and the government agency that approved them. • An oversized incandescent lamp – temporarily used in a bathroom to provide lighting for painting – ignited the cellulose insulation in the ceiling above it. • Pot lights initially installed for aesthetic effect but later covered by cellulose insulation resulted in multiple fires. The pot lights were not rated for installation in an insulated ceiling. • Fluorescent ballasts in fluorescent light fixtures – installed flat against ceilings – provided enough heat, when they failed, to ignite the cellulose insulation above them.


Electrical equipment and cellulose insulation


hat is the relationship between electrical equipment and cellulose insulation? I’m glad you asked. Everyone knows what electrical equipment is, but few know about cellulose insulation. Most homes use fibreglass insulation, but cellulose insulation, often

Richard van Leeuwen E L E C T R I C A L ENG I NEER

Electrical Claims Investigation Expert Witness 30 years of industrial electrical experience 1540 Lawson Ave., West Vancouver, B.C.  V7V 2C9 Office 604-922-9386 Residence 604-922-9339 E-mail:

48  November 2016  Insurance People


By Richard van Leeuwen

used in attics and usually blown in, is made mostly from shredded newspapers treated with a chemical fire-retardant. It appeals to some people because it insulates better than fibreglass, it’s easy to install and produces less irritating dust than fibreglass during installation, and it’s made of recycled and biodegradable material. But when heated, cellulose insulation can ignite and smoulder in spite of the fire-retardants added to it. A fire can smoulder in a wall or attic undetected by your smoke detectors – not a scenario you want to confront. After over 20 years of investigating electrical failures, I have linked several fires to cellulose insulation.

p. eng.

After over 20 years of investigating electrical failures, Richard van Leeuwen has linked several fires to cellulose insulation, which can ignite and smoulder in spite of fire-retardants added to it.

• A stovetop fire was successfully extinguished. But when the heat passed through the fume hood’s flue, which was buried in cellulose insulation, a second fire started in the attic. • The heat from the pipe of a woodburning stove ignited the cellulose insulation in the ceiling. • When a connection in an electrical junction box failed, it heated and ignited the cellulose insulation around it. • The heat from a self-cleaning oven was routed through cellulose insulation, igniting it. How many ways can cellulose insulation contribute to burning down a house? I’ve counted eight so far. IP n   n   n

Richard van Leeuwen is an engineer and forensic investigator specializing in electrical failures.

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-30- FORENSIC ENGINEERING Continued from page 45

coordinated way, and developing appropriate solutions which will satisfy owners and insurers as well as third parties such as regulators. The goal is to minimize any residual risks. After the work is finished, no concerns should be left unaddressed or questions left unanswered. The broad range of technical experts in our multidisciplinary firm allows us to develop these holistic solutions. Our firm initiates a typical multi-disciplinary remediation (MDR) file when asked to provide support for an event such as a flood or fire. In general, our approach includes the following steps: Emergency Response: Our team of

The depth and breadth of our technical expertise allows us to make such assessments with confidence. first responders (fire, environmental or structural experts) can support and coordinate with local emergency responders to confirm scene security and safety, and to recommend emergency remedies and health and safety protocols. Loss Assessment: Our field assessment professionals define and document the extent of the loss. They are supported by our multi-disciplinary project-execution and construction experts, who can identify related, yet technically independent, issues (e.g., water damage to fire-rated structures). Remediation Scope and Methodology: After the assessment, our team defines the scope of remediation, including cost and scheduling, for the remedial contractor. Our cross-disciplinary team generates clear drawings and specifications to allow for removal and restoration, while collaborating with regulators and following the relevant insurance policies. Monitoring and Sign-off: Our team monitors the site to ensure that the remedial work is done safely and efficiently at the required level of quality. After the work is finished, our team signs off to satisfy owners, insurers and regulators. We sign off only when we are confident that the loss has been fully remediated, with all residual risks addressed. Our approach to large, multi-faceted

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losses is really quite simple: we break down complex scenarios into manageable steps, which the appropriate experts then address. Moreover, what at first glance may appear highly complex often isn’t. More often than not, a simple, inexpensive solution is the best option. The depth and breadth of our technical expertise allows us to make such assessments with confidence. This technical expertise – together with our knowledge of the needs of our clients, partners and external stakeholders, and our ability

to coordinate the efforts of multi-disciplinary teams – allows us to tailor the optimal solution for large and complex losses. Crafting the right solutions allows -30- Forensic Engineering to foster longterm partnerships built on communication and trust. IP n   n   n

Jeff Reitsma is practice lead, remediation, at -30Forensic Engineering. He provides project execution services within the Remediation Group on multi-disciplinary, large-scale and complex loss and reconstruction projects.

michael O’meara & company Barristers

Experienced Counsel serving the Insurance Industry • Motor Vehicle Litigation • Personal Injury Claims • Product Liability • Property Damage Claims

• Coverage Opinions • Occupiers’ Liability Claims • Subrogated Claims   • Mediation and Arbitration

104 - 645 Fort St., Victoria, BC  V8W 1G2 Telephone: 250-475-6529  •  Facsimile: 250-475-6528 Toll Free: 1-877-246-6529 Michael F. O'Meara Mark W. Henderson, Associate Insurance People  November 2016  49

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Five decades of insurance litigation experience over 50 years of experience in insurance litigation. But at the same time, our small size allows us to offer competitive pricing.


egal depth” and “geographic reach” are two qualities that have caught the attention of our clients. We are a small group of lawyers dedicated to insurance litigation, with experience appropriate for all levels of court in B.C. We offer

50  November 2016  Insurance People


By David Bilkey

Our legal depth has served a large number of insurers well in the settlement and trial of complex property and casualty claims, subrogation and coverage. It has also served underwriters and claims personnel well through our advice on policy wording. Our resumé includes the successful handling of claims up to the Supreme Court of Canada, ranging from modest bodily injury to billion-dollar class actions covering multiple jurisdictions. Our lawyers have published on imporBilkey Law Corp. has an open door policy and tant topics ranging from welcomes calls from all claims personnel.

complex construction defect cases involving multiple parties, recreational injury claims and commercial-host liability to fire loss and soil subsidence claims. We boast a long-standing reputation for excellence and credibility among our peers and at all court levels in British Columbia. Remarkable growth has recently allowed us to expand. From our offices in Vancouver, Kamloops and Nelson, we’ve put boots on the ground throughout B.C. This geographic reach has proven extremely attractive to our clients. Our current objective is paperless data management. One of our mottos is embracing change. It means that we listen to our clients and respond to their needs in a changing marketplace. Our door is always open. We welcome calls from all claims personnel. Do we always charge for our advice? No. We welcome your business. IP n   n   n

David Bilkey is a partner at Bilkey Law Corp. In his spare time he is also a professor of insurance law at the Thompson Rivers University Law School.






CALGARY OFFICE 403.532.8662

MKA Canada, Inc., a multidisciplinary construction consulting firm, provides creative solutions to the construction, legal and insurance industries. Our professional team assists in claim resolution with technical advisory services in: • Property Loss • Builder's Risk Insurance Claims • Construction Defect & Liability Insurance Claims

TORONTO OFFICE 289.521.8662 Insurance People  November 2016  51

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The role of Li-ion batteries in consumer electronics fires

don’t often have these features. Additionally, many battery chargers have monitoring and auto-shutoff circuits that are designed to prevent overcharging or improper charging, but many low-cost devices do not include such protection and rely instead on the user to follow By Martin Coles safety protocols during charging. ecent reports in the meAfter a fire, differentiating between dia about fires involving battery failures and other types of malbatteries in consumer functions is often difficult. Engineering electronics, aircraft and analysis may be needed to determine electric vehicles have exactly what failed, since battery failures focused and these other potential on lithium-ion (Li-ion) malfunctions may cause batteries. However, these the same physical damage. reports do not often For example, the cause of explain the specific role of a charging failure may be these batteries in the fires. pre-existing battery damage, Nor are the other potential a malfunctioning charger, causes of the fires exambattery/charger incompatined. These other potential ibility or improper charging causes may not be unique or overcharging. Distinto Li-ion batteries. guishing between these posBecause Li-ion batteries sibilities requires carefully are lightweight and can examining all the available store more energy than information from user reconventional batteries, they ports, witnesses, the condiare ideal in weight-sensitive tion of the battery, wires and applications. Additionally, charger, and the damage to they can be recharged the surrounding area. many times – often without It can be tempting, once needing to be fully disa Li-ion battery is found charged – without comproin the area of the most fire mising performance. These damage, to overlook other features explain why they potential causes such as are popular with engineers, Lithium-ion batteries are popular with engineers, designers and smoking, cooking or nondesigners and consumers. consumers alike because they are lightweight and can store high compliant electrical work. A All batteries carry some amounts of energy. However, Li-ion batteries have unique dangers report that suggests a fire is risk of fire, injury or battery-related is not comthat other battery types don’t have. property damage. Even plete without an assessment to fires at unpredictable times, but not an ordinary household battery carries of all other potential causes. IP n   n   n necessarily at the time of impact or overenough energy to cause a fire if that charging. This unpredictability complienergy is released in an uncontrolled An electrical engineer with Jensen Hughes, Martin cates the effort to determine the cause of way. Indeed, our office recently invesColes is responsible for forensic investigations, the fire. tigated a fire where an AA battery in a engineering design and code analysis. Jensen Most large manufacturers of Li-ion jacket pocket discharged itself, igniting Hughes is a multi-disciplinary engineering combatteries include features such as overthe jacket. A larger battery in a vehicle or pany involved in fire origin and cause, litigation load sensors and circuit interrupters other high-demand device could release expertise, fire protection design, and building code to mitigate these dangers. However, far more energy. compliance, with extensive experience in battery economy brands or counterfeit batteries These are some of the dangers unique and appliance electronic testing and analysis. to Li-ion batteries: • Their capacity for storing more energy means that any failure can result in greater damage. • The inside of a Li-ion battery is manufactured to a very fine tolerance, increasing the chance of manufacturing defects. • They are more sensitive to rough handling and impacts than other batteries. • They are also more sensitive to overcharging or improper charging. Most of these conditions can lead



Insurance People  November 2016  53

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Depths of duty-of-care liability

54  November 2016  Insurance People



ince 1985, Victoria-based Carfra Lawton law firm has offered insurance defence throughout B.C. and the Yukon, with cases ranging from routine to highly complex. Few have been more heartbreaking than one that began Aug. 24, 2007, when a 10-month-old infant, Cora Boyes, suffered a traumatic shock after putting an electrified extension cord in her mouth, causing severe electrical burns to her face and body. At the time of the incident, Cora’s mother and father were renting the upstairs suite of a residence in North Vancouver. They had been there for three months. That day, Cora was playing peekaboo around a couch with her aunt. When Cora failed to reappear, her aunt found her non-responsive, and began administering first aid until paramedics arrived. The infant was placed in a medically induced coma and spent three weeks in ICU at Children’s Hospital. Aron Bookman and Trevor Morley of Carfra Lawton got involved when the previous owner of the house, Sandra Ryckman, found herself in court facing a third-party liability claim started by the current absentee owners of the home who lived in Hong Kong. In court with Ryckman was one of the owners’ sisters, who acted as the property manager. Ryckman owned the house from 1969 to 1992 before selling it to the absentee owners. The property manager oversaw maintenance and rental to tenants. The case revolved around the duty of care for the safety of those who lived in the house and the safety of a built-in entertainment unit, or cabinet, from which the charged cord protruded. The court’s decision dealt only with liability for Cora’s electrical burns. The issues raised in this liability case included: • When was the cabinet created or modified? • Who owed a duty of care to the infant plaintiff and what was the standard of care? • Was the standard of care met? • Did a failure to meet the standard of

After a 10-month-old child put an electrified extension cord in her mouth, causing severe electrical burns to her face and body in 2007, the former owner of the child’s home found herself in court facing a third-party liability claim revolving around the issue of duty of care.

care result in harm to the infant plaintiff and was the harm foreseeable? • How is liability to be apportioned? The cabinet had been installed in the 1980s to accommodate a TV, stereo equipment, record player, VCR and cable box. After the incident, a mechanical engineer disassembled the unit. He found an electrical junction box that was wired directly into the electrical system of the house and two receptacles that were soldered into the cabinet’s wood frame. When asked, Ryckman noted that she and her late spouse were safety conscious and would not knowingly allow an electrical hazard to exist. She said she did not recall ever seeing the extension cord, believing she would have noticed it if it had been there because she often vacuumed the living room. In closing, Bookman argued on behalf of Ryckman that the plaintiff and other defendants had not proven that the cabi-

net was constructed with the dangerous cord that injured Cora Boyes. The judge concluded that the electrical supply to the cabinet was likely altered after Ryckman sold the property. Bookman also argued that even if it had been proven that the cord was installed originally in the cabinet, or that the receptacle hidden under the cabinet was a hazard, a previous owner’s duty of care was limited to a duty to warn of any known hazards or hazards of which she ought to have known. Further, if the hazard should have been discovered upon reasonable inspection by the subsequent owner, the chain of causation was broken and no fault should be assessed against Ryckman as the previous owner. In this way, Ryckman’s case aligned with the infant’s case against the owners and landlord. The court accepted Bookman’s submissions, dismissed the claim against Ryckman and awarded costs. IP

NO MATTER HOW HIGH THE HURDLE Effectively defending challenging and complex insurance claims requires the confidence and skill that come from years of practice.

Since 1985, international and domestic insurers, institutions and government agencies throughout B.C. and the Yukon have placed their confidence in Carfra Lawton LLP.

Carfra Lawton LLP lawyer Caroline Alexander riding Finesse G at the 2013 Arbutus Meadows Island Classic

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Vehicle fires require unique investigative skills By Brian James


Fire patterns

Fire patterns are one of the four leading tools used to determine where a fire started. However, vehicle fires, most of which occur outdoors, are subject to

Vehicle subsystems and parts

A fire often spreads through a vehicle’s subsystems and combustible parts in ways that are far more unpredictable than the ways a fire spreads through a building. Buildings generally have a fire barrier, such as drywall, between different spaces. Vehicles, on the other hand, are not fitted with barriers between such spaces as the engine compartment, the passenger compartment and the trunk. As a result, fire spreads more easily and quickly between vehicle compartments even though the fire still has to breach the separate compartments. This rapid spread of a fire from vehicle compartment to compartment is often mistakenly taken to indicate an incendiary cause. A fire will easily breach even the bulkhead (the so-called firewall) between the engine compartment and the front of the passenger compartment. However, 56  November 2016  Insurance People

media for photos and videos. The passenger compartment of the average vehicle contains an enormous amount of “fuel.” A full-size sedan has about 35-40 kilograms of combustible material. A small fire inside the vehicle will develop differently if any of the windows are open or shatter. Open or broken windows will increase ventilation and change the burn patterns. In addition, power windows (or sunroofs, power tailgates, etc.) will sometimes open and close as the fire damages the vehicle’s electrical system. Opening and closing windows increase the challenge of interpreting the remaining fire patterns and fire damage. Fuel load configurations

Different vehicles have different fuel load configurations. The average engine compartment contains plastic air-filter housings and fuel filters, and plastic reservoirs for fluids (cooling, window washing and brake fluids). But the locations, sizes and materials of these parts differ from vehicle to vehicle. These differences result in different fire patterns.


ehicle fires are a small subset of all fire investigations. While investigating vehicle fires relies on the same methodology used for structure fires, vehicle fires require additional specialized knowledge. The 2014 version of the Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations – published by the National Fire Protection Association as NFPA 921 – dedicates about eight per cent of its 394 pages to vehicle fires. Since the term vehicle describes anything with wheels, tracks, skids and a motor – ranging from golf carts and passenger vehicles to transit vehicles and trains – conducting vehicle fire investigations involves a wide range of specialized knowledge.

that barrier contains multiple openings through which pass conductors for such systems as air conditioning, heating and ventilation. In other words, the “firewall” helps to spread the fire from compartment to compartment. A fire that spreads in this way early in the fire timeline will often misleadingly appear to have two different sources.

Gaps in training and experience Conducting vehicle fire investigations involves a wide range of specialized knowledge.

changing weather conditions. Winds can push a developing fire in different directions. In addition, the location of fuel in the engine compartment can have a significant effect on the way the fire develops. These factors can lead to misinterpreting the other three patterns. Reconstructing conditions at the time of the fire

After most fires, the vehicle gets towed to a storage yard. As a result, determining the vehicle’s orientation at the time of the fire, relative to weather conditions, is often challenging. Cellphone photos or videos are invaluable in determining the direction of smoke and fire from the vehicle. Cellphone photos can provide evidence of both wind direction and velocity. It’s well worth searching social

Training for fire investigators usually begins with structure fires. Many new investigators then start to “dabble” in vehicle fires. But a disservice to the client or company may result from lack of experience with vehicle fires. Applying the same methods used for structure fires to vehicle fires can lead to misinterpreting fire patterns and ultimately the cause of the fire. Investigating vehicle fires requires a more demanding set of skills and knowledge. IP n   n   n

Brian James is the technical lead for mechanical engineering at PT&C|LWG Forensic Consulting Services. Based in Toronto, he is a qualified expert witness in civil and Superior Court in Ontario. As a forensic engineer, James has conducted over 1,000 engineering investigations of fires involving vehicles, heavy equipment, machinery and commercial structures.

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Limits of relief from forfeiture: Court of Appeal for B.C. denies insured pre-tender defence costs

notice until April 2014. In the interim, from forfeiture was not available to Blue Blue Mountain incurred substantial legal Mountain because Lloyd’s had accepted fees. coverage and, therefore, the relief-fromforfeiture provisions in the Insurance Act or a variety of reasons, an Upon receiving notice, Lloyd’s accepted did not apply. Blue Mountain could not insured may fail to report a the claim but also asked the court to recover its pre-tender defence costs. liability claim to its insurer determine if the policy covered preWhat remains unclear, however, is in a timely manner. The intender defence costs. Lloyd’s argued that whether the pre-tender defence costs sured may fail to appreciate the cases where courts have granted relief would have been recoverable if the policy that the insuring agreement from forfeiture due to late reporting did not include the “voluntary payis triggered, may worry about an increase should be set aside because those cases ment clause.” While the court relied on to premiums, or may simply forget to addressed different sets of circumstances. this clause to support its conclusion, its forward the “paperwork” As Lloyd’s had not denied decision was underpinned by the finding to the insurer. coverage, it relied both on that the duty to defend did not arise Standard CGL wordthe “notice” provision and until the insurer received notice. This ing requires the insured the “no voluntary paysuggests that even without a “voluntary to report an accident or ment” clause in the policy, payment clause” an insurer may not be occurrence “as soon as which reads as follows: held responsible for pre-tender defence practical” and to forward The Insured shall not, excosts. While it is advisable for insurers to to the insurer any demand cept at his own cost, voluninclude such a clause, its absence may not or notice “immediately” tarily make any payment, prevent an insurer from refusing to cover once a claim or suit is assume any obligation or pre-tender costs. brought. However, the incur any expenses other Notably, Blue Mountain also argued insured’s failure to follow than for first aid or other Davies that the defence costs were not truly such notice provisions will medical, dental or surgical “voluntary” because it did not know not necessarily entitle an insurer to deny relief to others at the time of accident. about the Lloyd’s coverage. The Court of a claim. In general, an insurer cannot rely Lloyd’s argued that this clause makes Appeal refused to consider on the notice provisions to deny a claim any pre-tender defence this argument because it unless it can show that the late reporting costs the responsibility of was not made before the has resulted in prejudice to the insurer the insured. The chambers chambers judge. This may in defending the claim. In the absence of judge rejected Lloyd’s arise in future litigation, prejudice, Canadian courts will typically submissions, and found however, in which case the grant relief from forfeiture as provided that Blue Mountain was insured’s reason for nefor in B.C.’s Insurance Act. entitled to relief from forglecting to report a claim In Lloyd’s Underwriters v. Blue Mounfeiture under B.C.’s Insurwill become relevant. tain Log Sales Ltd., 2016 BCCA 352, the ance Act, and was entitled While the Court of BC Court of Appeal addressed whether to recover its pre-tender Appeal’s decision in Blue the insured, Blue Mountain, was entitled defence costs. Mountain leaves unanto recover the defence costs it incurred In overturning this Harcus swered questions, the before reporting the claim to its insurer, earlier decision, however, court’s conclusion that a duty to defend Lloyd’s. the Court of Appeal made two key finddoes not arise until the claim is reported The claim related to lawsuits started ings. First, the duty to defend does not highlights the need for insureds and against Blue Mountain in Washington arise until the insured reports the claim. those advising them to report claims in a State. Blue Mountain reported the claims In reaching this conclusion, the court timely manner. IP to its American insurer, but did not know rejected a line of American cases that n   n   n that the lawsuits triggered the Lloyd’s held that the duty to defend arises from polices issued in British Columbia. While the date the claim against the insured is Todd Davies is a partner and Scott Harcus is an the American insurers were put on notice made, even if the insured has not yet proassociate with Alexander Holburn Beaudin + in September 2012, Lloyd’s did not get vided notice to the insurer. Second, relief Lang in Vancouver, B.C.

By Todd Davies and Scott Harcus


Insurance People  November 2016  59

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Triggering the duty of a tenant’s insurer to defend a landlord By Jennifer Woznesensky and Paul Saunders


o secure liability protection, landlords should require their tenants to name them as additional insureds on their insurance policies and include this information in their associated lease agreements. However, this step may still not be enough to force a tenant’s insurer to respond when a lawsuit is filed against the landlord. The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed in Progressive Homes Ltd. v. Lombard General Insurance, [2010] 2 SCR 245, the “mere possibility” that a claim is covered triggers the insurer’s duty to defend. Unless there is a clear exclusion clause in the insurance certificate for a claim, the insurer has a duty to provide a defence if the insurer is required to indemnify the insured. The courts in B.C. have applied the ruling with differing results, as demonstrated by the following three cases involving landlords and tenants: Williams v. B.C. Conference of Mennonite Brethren

(2010 BCSC 791) The floor collapsed during a concert held at a church, causing numerous concertgoers to fall into the basement and suffer injuries. The injured concertgoers sued the church’s owner, the promoter and the band. Their claims alleged that the band’s equipment was unsafe, the attendees’ behaviour was out of control, and the concert should have been stopped when there was evidence of equipment instability and floor vibration. The claims also alleged that the church’s design and construction were substandard. With the promoter/venue relationship treated similarly to that of tenant/ landlord, it was ruled that although the church owner’s negligence could be distinguished from the promoter’s, the promoter’s insurer still had a duty to

defend all claims arising from the floor’s collapse during the concert. The B.C. Supreme Court held that if the promoter had not held the concert, then no injuries would have occurred.

Hardie v. Kamloops Towne Lodge

(2014 BCSC 955) The B.C. Supreme Court considered a hotel’s application for indemnity after a customer fell while walking near a buffet table on an elevated tier in a restaurant Vernon Vipers Hockey Club operated by the tenant. The customer sued v. Canadian Recreation Excellence the hotel. After the customer’s lawsuit (2012 BCCA 291) was settled, the hotel sought indemnificaIn this case, a guest at a hockey game fell in the parking lot of a sports complex. tion from the restaurant tenant. The lease He sued both the owner between the hotel and its and manager of the rink. restaurant tenant required These two parties issued a the restaurant to indemnithird-party notice against fy the hotel if the hotel was the hockey club. The hocksued for the restaurant’s acts or omissions. The ey club, as tenant, sought a restaurant had also named ruling that it had no duty the hotel as an additional to defend the owner. insured on its certificate The B.C. Court of Appeal of insurance. The Court considered if the certififound that the restaurant’s cate of insurance – which Woznesensky insurer had a duty to named the owner as an defend the hotel even though it had been additional insured and covered injury alleged that the hotel’s negligent design of “arising out of” the hockey club’s “opthe table caused the fall. erations” – required the club’s insurer to This review of case law in B.C. emphadefend the rink’s owner. The trial judge found that the accident occurred in an sizes that a certificate of insurance coverarea outside the club’s control and that it ing a tenant’s operations will not necessaroccurred due to the owner’s ily trigger an insurer’s duty negligence rather than to defend the landlord. arising out of the club’s The courts may exclude operations. Therefore, the accidents that are caused by club’s insurer had no duty a landlord’s sole negligence to defend. This decision and that have a tenuous was affirmed on appeal by relation to a tenant’s operaformer Chief Justice Finch tions, particularly in areas who held that, although outside the tenant’s control the word “operations” in such as that in Vernon the certificate of insurVipers Hockey Club v. Saunders Canadian Recreation Excelance was broad enough to include situations connected to a lessee’s lence. It is wise for landlords to write an (in this case, the hockey club’s) operaindemnity clause into any associated lease agreement that addresses these liability tions in “an unbroken chain of causapossibilities and to require their tenants to tion,” an additional insured (in this case, name them as additional insureds on their the rink’s owner) was not covered when insurance policies. IP that connection is “merely incidental or n   n   n fortuitous.” The club’s operations only caused the person “to be in a place where, Jennifer Woznesensky is a partner with Harper for unrelated reasons, he became injured.” Grey LLP in Vancouver and the assistant chair of As a result, the club’s insurer had no duty its insurance law practice group. Paul Saunders to defend. was a 2016 summer student with the firm. Insurance People  November 2016  61

Vancouver’s Farzina Coladon is a senior underwriter for the Western Canada Region of Guarantee Gold. 62  November 2016  Insurance People


arzina Coladon is a senior underwriter for the Western Canada Region of Guarantee Gold, The high net worth personal lines program of The Guarantee Company of North America. At the company office in Vancouver, she explains the professional philosophy that got her where she is today: “Saying and doing little extra things just for the sake of doing them goes a long way. It creates respect and sometimes even leads to friendship. “There’s a human element to this business, and that’s probably one of the most important things we have to be mindful of,” adds Coladon. “The people I work with are like a second family to me. I get a lot of support from that.” Susan Penzner, senior vp of Aon Reed Stenhouse, has known Coladon in a professional capacity since 2000. They’ve become friends. “She’s a very caring person,” observes Penzner. “She knows the right thing to do and she just does it.” Penzner describes Coladon as a perfectionist who is always there for you. “It’s important for her to put in the extra hours and really deliver,” says Penzner. “They say you should put 110 per cent into your job. But she puts in 150.” Coladon’s parents taught her that working hard is the best way to getting rewarded. “You get your foot in the door, start at the bottom,” Coladon says, “and work your way up by really going for it.” Coladon’s parents emigrated from Tanzania to Canada in the ’70s. Coladon was born and raised in Toronto where her parents and younger brother Alim still live. But after almost three years on the west coast, she considers Vancouver home. “I still have a soft spot for the Maple Leafs, the Blue Jays and the Raptors,” says Coladon, who moved from Toronto to accept her current position with The Guarantee. “But I’ve really opened my arms to the culture and lifestyle here.” Waking up every morning to spectacular scenery – the water and mountains – means a lot to her. Marilyn Horrick, national vp for Guarantee Gold, was instrumental in getting Coladon to take the Vancouver position. “I’ve known Farzina since the early days of her career,” she says. “I’ve watched her navigate her career with an unmatched combination of passion, dedication and technical fortitude.” Horrick explains that, in addition to being solution-oriented,

profile Coladon is a relationship builder who puts people at the centre of her decisions. “You have to be a team player to want to relocate to the other side of the country. It takes drive and a certain entrepreneurial spirit to pull it all together.” Not that the adjustment was easy. There were lots of loose ends to tie up before Coladon’s husband Nicholas could join her in their new home. “My second day on the job, I was on a plane to Winnipeg,” she laughs. “The toughest part was being away from my husband for five months.” And yet it was Nicholas, also an active professional, who encouraged her to make the move, quitting his job back east to relocate. “He’s a keeper,” she smiles. Although Nicholas had never been to Vancouver, he was determined to support his wife on this adventure. “Because I know if we don’t do this,” he told her, “we’re going to regret it.” The couple enjoys travelling when time allows. For Coladon, merely taking a day off still means being preoccupied with what’s happening at the office. So the best way to unwind is to visit another country. “We just came back from a wonderful trip to Cuba,” says Coladon. “I need to be out of the country.” An avid user of social media, she notes that her cellphone is always in her hand. She likes reading the news and keeping up with what’s happening. “If I see something thoughtful about the industry, I enjoy sharing that article with others.” Coladon’s diligence has paid off in several satisfying ways. Last year, J.T. Insurance Services named her Underwriter of the Year. She’s quick to point out, however, that her success wouldn’t have been possible without the sacrifices her parents made to provide her with a better life. “I still get emotional when I think about it,” she says. “Coming to Canada to raise a family and start a new life wasn’t easy. There were struggles and challenges. As a family, we were taught to take nothing for granted.” Coladon got her start in the industry thanks to her mother, Nasim, who worked in the payroll department at Chubb. “It was her first job when she moved to this country, and she always spoke very highly of the company.” Her mother suggested submitting a resumé for a summer internship with the insurance company. As Coladon remembers, her mother’s approach was low key. “In her mind, the job represented four months of good solid earning that would allow me to save up for school.” Coladon also liked the idea of working for the same company as her mother. Coladon joined Chubb as a summer intern in 1996 after completing her first year studying psychology at Carleton University.

Reward through hard work

Her mother’s low-pressure suggestion to apply for a summer internship led the way to Farzina Coladon’s resolve to pursue an insurance career. Then after getting her foot in the insurance door, she mapped out her own path to the career goal of underwriting — from Toronto all the way to Vancouver. By John Lekich Insurance People  November 2016  63

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“I had no idea that insurance would turn out to be my future,” she says. She stayed with the company until 2013. As a summer intern, she started at the bottom, covering for people on vacation, in departments such as the print room and mailroom. She also worked in Quality Control, reviewing policy documents before they were mailed out. As it turned out, Coladon’s first exposure to the industry was too satisfying to leave behind. “I was enjoying the money a little too much,” she laughs. The company offered to extend her summer contract, and Coladon chose not to go back to school. Coladon’s father Sadrudin stressed the value of learning all aspects of the industry while encouraging her to pursue her ultimate goal of becoming an underwriter. Coladon’s father, an engineer, kept up with the news in the insurance industry because of his wife’s job. “He said that insurance was something that everybody needs,” Coladon recalls. “It will always be there.” Coladon’s extended contract allowed her to immerse herself in different aspects of the industry. Every day she learned something new. “It showed me that insurance wasn’t just about insuring your home or your car. I ended up getting a total overview of the industry.” Coladon started out in the surety department but also gained wider experience. She has worked in appraisals as well as in the personal lines service centre where she eventually trained others. And she never lost sight of her ultimate goal: underwriting. “I worked my tail off to get there,” she says. “I delivered on my promises, showed initiative on tasks without being asked and built up some wonderful relationships along the way.” Active in the community since relocating to Vancouver, she’s become a busy volunteer for the Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade. “It’s a great thing to be part of,” she observes. “And there’s an emotional side to it as well. My grandmother passed away from cancer.” An Ismaili Muslim, Coladon is also active in her religious community, and recently delivered a seminar on how insurance ties into the global implications of disaster preparedness. With everything she’s doing, Coladon can look back on what she’s accomplished and know her parents were right. Hard work brings a lot of rewards. “Where I am today,” she smiles, “I would say that’s the reward.” IP

Team Gushue swept up by Johnson Insurance

Johnson Insurance has signed on to sponsor Team Gushue, consistently one of the best curling teams in Canada, for the 20162017 season. Sponsorship supports the team to continue to train, compete and work towards its goals. “Team Gushue’s hard work and dedication are an inspiration, and these are values we live by every day at Johnson,” said Kenneth Bennett, president of Johnson Insurance and senior vp, lifestyle insurance, RSA Canada. “The team captured our attention not only for its outstanding performance record, but also because of striking similarities in our two journeys. Both Johnson and Team Gushue share Newfoundland roots and have worked tirelessly to rank among the best in their fields in the entire country – Johnson in the realm of insurance and Team Gushue on the ice.” Brad Gushue, the team skip, said, “Having Johnson Insurance as one of our sponsors allows us to focus on our game and compete to the best of our ability. It makes a huge difference to have people in your corner cheering for you – people who care about what’s important to you and who help you achieve what you want in life.” Pictured: Kenneth Bennet with the members of Team Gushue: Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker. IP


Continued from page 20

Select Sweepstakes. Rossi won a 2017 Jeep Wrangler after being entered into the Select Sweepstakes through Cornerstone Insurance Brokers…The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group recently distributed $159,500 to 11 local charities in Ontario through its Create A Ripple Effect program. The Commonwell’s C.A.R.E. program helps to fund vital charitable organizations in the Eastern Ontario communities the firm serves…David Price Price

has been appointed senior vp and chief underwriting officer for CNA Canada. He joins CNA from AIG Canada where he served as executive for their property & specialty risks and financial lines…ClaimsPro has brought in Richard Smith as vp, central region, and Jeff Sutton Smith as senior vp, business development. Smith joins the company’s Specialty Risk Division with more than 30 years’ experience in commercial, industrial, Sutton

property, marine and general aviation adjusting. Sutton was previously the senior vp, sales, with Opta Information Intelligence, a fellow SCM company… Brian King, president and ceo of King International Advisory Group, was recently awarded the 2016 International Investigator of the Year award by the Council of King International Investigators based in Chicago. King International is an Ontario-based investigation firm that provides services on complex litigation and insurance claims, white collar crime and fraud. IP Insurance People  November 2016  65

Proudly sponsored by RSA Travel Insurance


Climbing to new heights Eric Green trained for more than a year before heading to Argentina to spend two weeks climbing Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western hemisphere.

By Eric Green


own in South America there’s a mountain called Aconcagua, which I’ve been obsessed with for more than 15 years. At 22,800

feet, it’s the highest mountain in the western hemisphere — and I wanted to climb it. Mount Aconcagua in Argentina is often called a “walk up” because the easiest route doesn’t require technical skills like rock climbing or glacier travel. But “walk” doesn’t begin to describe the experience: high altitude, extreme cold and many long days carrying a 40- to 50-pound backpack are the main physical challenges. But the real challenge is mental. I’ve always heard that about mountaineering, but it’s hard to

grasp until you spend two weeks on a mountain. More on that later. I spent over a year training, planning and gathering up the enormous amount of gear I’d need. Finally, in December I flew to Mendoza, Argentina, to meet my small team. We were a truly international group made up of two Americans, an Aussie, an Ecuadorian, a Nicaraguan and one Canadian. After a couple of days fortifying ourselves with excellent Argentine steak and wine, we headed into the mountains near the border with Chile.

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During the threeday trek to base camp, a large train of mules passed by every couple of hours loaded down with duffle bags, backpacks and crates of food.

It was a relatively easy three-day trek to base camp, as we gradually gained altitude with only light packs on our backs. Every couple of hours, a large train of mules would come clattering by, loaded down with duffle bags, backpacks and crates of food. Sitting at about 14,500 feet, base camp was a sprawling tent city complete with hot food, dining tents and sometimes even Internet access. We rested for a day, gorging ourselves, telling stories and taking one last chance to make our piles of gear a little smaller. Then we started going up the mountain. Three high camps allow climbers to ascend gradually. We carried a load of gear up to

the next highest camp before returning to the lower camp. Then we carried another load up, this time staying at the higher camp. We’d repeat that until we reached the summit. Including rest days and the trek to base camp, we expected to be on Aconcagua for two weeks. This slow, methodical process helped us acclimatize to the high elevation and avoid the potentially deadly effects of altitude sickness. In its mildest form, altitude sickness can make it hard to sleep, and can cause headaches, nausea and loss of appetite. At its worst it can cause fluid to leak into the lungs or swelling of the brain, either of which can lead to

death if not treated right away. As we moved up the mountain, the temperatures

dropped well below freezing and the weather worsened. When we weren’t climbing, the cold and snow generally kept us in our tents. We talked, played cards and slept, emerging only when absolutely necessary. The toughest day I had was while carrying a load of gear up to the second camp during a snowstorm. I struggled right from the start and fell further behind my team as the day dragged on. In those cold temperatures you can’t stop long enough to recover. Even after my teammates took some of the weight off my pack, I continued to struggle. My spirit was crushed. I wondered, Is this it? Am I going to have to turn around and head home? After a year of planning and training, that prospect made me feel even more miserable. When we finally made it to our camp, I stewed about how terrible I felt. My guides and teammates were incredibly supportive and convinced me that I’d recover and be able to continue with the group. As it turned out, I had plenty of time to recover as we were tent-bound in a snowstorm for the next two days. My earlier struggle still weighed on me when we finally continued up the

On his flight out of Argentina, Green had “glorious views of Aconcagua.” Insurance People  November 2016  67

Eric Green was the lone Canadian on a team that included two Americans, an Australian, an Ecuadorian and a Nicaraguan who took on the challenge of high altitude, extreme cold and carrying 40 to 50 pound packs to make it to the top of Aconcagua in December.

was necessary but it was still devastating: our climb was over. After our initial disappointment, we realized we still had good reason to be proud. We fought our way through cold, snow and gale-force winds to reach over 20,300 feet. Back in Mendoza we rewarded ourselves with more fine Argentine wine and food. On the flight back to Canada, I had glorious views of Aconcagua. Finally warmed up and with a full belly, I looked out the window at the mountain, and considered the idea of coming back to finish what I started. IP n   n   n

mountain. Would it happen again? Would I learn how to cope better? We finally reached our highest camp but the weather was windy and miserable. Due to the earlier days spent stuck in our tents, we had only one chance to try for the summit.

We got up at 4 a.m. in cold but clear conditions and started climbing just as the sun rose. The thin air made progress very slow and tiring. It was going to be another tough day as we tried to move fast enough to stay warm. After a couple of hours, we

were forced to turn back when one of our teammates developed frostbite on several fingers. We knew the decision

Have you had an interesting travel experience? You write it or we will. Contact editor Sarah Polson at 604-549-9543 (toll-free 800-998-5211) or by email at

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Eric Green is a marketing communications specialist at the Insurance Corporation of B.C. in Vancouver.



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TradeTalk Diversity and inclusion in the workplace


to guest presentations, participated in group activities, assessed Economical’s current culture, worked on a visioning exercise and identified short- and longterm actions that Economical could take to advance diversity and inclusion. The keynote address by Olympic champion Mark Tewksbury was on the value of diverse perspectives and on how unconscious bias hampers progress and innovation. Canadians are fortunate to live in one of the most pluralist societies on earth. Diversity in Canada extends beyond race and ethnicity. It spans language, gender, religious affiliations, sexual orientation, abilities and economic status. It includes diversity of thought. “Diversity is a source of strength, particularly diversity of thought,” said Green. “Economical is a diverse company. However, we want to get better at acknowledging, accepting and embracing the differences among our employees. We believe that fully embracing diversity will help us attract and retain top talent, lower turnover, and enhance productivity.” To make progress, an organization must embed Mark Tewksbury, gold medalist in the 100-metre back- diversity in its DNA. That’s stroke at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, was one of 10 lessons in a recent the keynote speaker for Economical Insurance’s recent PwC Canada report on PwC’s progress in terms of diversity Diversity & Inclusion Think Tank. and inclusion. In addition to this first lesson, the PwC diversity by our experiences and backgrounds, journey: Creating impact, achieving results are valued and appreciated,” said Taylor highlights nine other lessons: tailor the Green, chief human resources officer business case, then make it resonate; at Economical. “By leveraging diversity, recognize there is no quick fix; no leaderwe can build an even more inclusive ship commitment, no accountability, no workplace that enables employees to progress; use data analytics to plan the contribute fully to organizational success. program; use data analytics to execute A workforce that reflects the customers the program; one size doesn’t fit all culwe serve will enable us to understand tures; focus on inclusion from day one; our customer base and position us as an recognize performance over presence; industry leader.” and engage the masses. Participants in the think tank listened ore than 50 Economical Insurance employees and leaders from across Canada recently came together for a Diversity & Inclusion Think Tank to build the framework for Economical’s diversity and inclusion strategy. The company plans to launch the strategy in early 2017. “We believe we are stronger together when our unique perspectives, shaped

“Embracing diversity and inclusion makes business sense and more importantly is the right thing to do,” said Bob Moritz, chairman of PwC International. “By sharing experiences and ideas we can all learn from each other and drive the change we need.” IP



Applied Systems............................... 3 Aviva............................................... 12 Burns & Wilcox................................. 2 Can-Sure........................................ 27 CIP-Insurance Institute of Canada.. 35 Economical Insurance...................... 6 First General Services.................... 33 Intact...............................................14 McIntyre Strategies........................ 18 Midwest Claims.............................. 71 Pal Insurance................................. 72 RSA Travel..................................... 66 Sovereign General......................... 22 TSW Management...................... 4,36 Wawanesa...................................... 19 Other BC Insurance Directory.................. 64 Insurance People........................... 29 Prairies Insurance Directory........... 68 What’s New.................................... 23 Litigation Forum -30- Forensic Engineering.............. 44 Alexander Holburn Beaudin   + Lang LLP................................... 58 Bilkey Law Corp............................. 50 Carfra Lawton LLP.......................... 55 Harper Grey LLP............................ 60 Jensen Hughes Consulting............ 52 MDD Forensic Accountants............ 51 Michael O’Meara & Co................... 49 MKA Canada.................................. 51 PT&C|LWG Consulting................... 57 Richard van Leeuwen..................... 48 Richards Buell Sutton LLP.............. 42 SHK Law Corporation..................... 47 Singleton Urquhart LLP.................. 41 Special Information Feature Keal Technology............................. 24 RSA................................................30 Insurance People  November 2016  69

Gracious with his Irish fans

…with Kurt Gutoski, regional branch operations manager, HUB International Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man. If not insurance, what job would you like to do?

I would probably say law enforcement. I was working part time at Leipsic Insurance while completing a Criminology program and volunteering with the Winnipeg Police Service. I was well on my way to making that my career when the allure of the insurance industry took hold of me. If your life was made into a movie, which actor would you choose to play you?

If it were based on appearance, many who know me would most likely say David Duchovny. I remember being on vacation in Ireland during the height of the X-Files and being approached by some local Irish folk to have my picture taken with them and give them my autograph. That was fun, and I definitely played along.

’80s bands like The Cars and The Police were on constant repeat on my cassette tape. Tell us about your first day on the job.

That was almost 20 years ago when I was 19. I remember feeling quite overwhelmed with everything I had to learn. On day one, I even remember a customer being upset with me for, in his words, the “exceptionally” high auto rates of Manitoba Public Insurance. I think I nervously apologized a dozen times. So I wasn’t initially sure what I got myself into but I very quickly developed an appreciation for and saw the importance of the role of being a trusted insurance advisor. What is your dream vacation?

I’d love to travel across Europe, seeing everything I possibly can with virtually no set plan, to decide each morning where I will go to next and spend as much or as little time as I want on that stop.

Who would you choose to play your significant other?

Ever had a nickname?

Sofia Vergara. She is extremely funny, beautiful and smart. She would be a perfect choice for the role.

I have had a few different ones ranging from elementary school to my late twenties. Kurt the Dirt (I think this one was just a rhyming thing as I was a pretty clean kid) to Mulder when the XFiles were big, and more recently Wildcat (not sure the exact origin, but it stuck).

What do you like to do away from the office?

Away from the office, I love to spend time with my kids and my girlfriend Jessica. We love to be outside as much as possible. The outdoors, the Manitoba beaches and especially the camping are huge for us.

Kurt Gutoski and his girlfriend Jessica Sumabil at a Winnipeg Jets game.

If you could acquire a super power, what would it be?

I have to say time travel if that’s considered a power. I wouldn’t want to change anything. I’d just love to be able to go back and witness all of the important historical events and be able to answer so many unsolved mysteries. If our publisher gave you $1 million, how would you spend it?

Definitely a vacation home, though I would have a very hard time deciding exactly where it should be. In the Whiteshell area of Manitoba/Ontario or somewhere along a beach in Mexico?

Your three all-time favourite movies are…

Shawshank Redemption (I think on everyone’s top three), Raiders of the Lost Ark and Big Trouble in Little China. I could have easily picked three Kurt Russell movies. What’s your favourite dessert?

I’m not a huge dessert person but I will take handfuls of my mom’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Is there anything you won’t eat?

There are two things I won’t eat or won’t even try for that matter: apple pie and sushi. IP

When you were growing up, what were your favourite bands?

I had to listen to whatever my older brother liked. He is eight years older and had complete control over what I would play on the radio and what I would eventually like. Late ’70s and early 70  November 2016  Insurance People

Do you know a good subject for our Q&A questionnaire? Email suggestions to

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InsurancePeople November 2016  

Across Canada

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Across Canada