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WWW.INSURANCEBUSINESS.CA ISSUE 8.03 | $12.95

2020

ELITE WOMEN

45 of the Canadian insurance industry’s most inspiring female leaders HITTING PAUSE ON M&A

Will COVID-19 drastically reshape the insurance M&A landscape?

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THE CONDO INSURANCE CRISIS Why condo premiums are soaring – and how brokers can help

NATURAL DISASTER RESPONSE How the industry can foster a more effective, collaborative approach

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COMMERCIAL INSURANCE SOLUTIONS

Business Solutions

350% That Work

Increase in Phishing Attacks During the Pandemic Nearly 7 million Canadians are now working remotely because of social distancing mandates. Hackers are trying to capitalize on this and phishing and malware attacks targeting employees working from home have skyrocketed. Cyber insurance is more vital than ever. That’s why we’re quoting all new commercial business with our industry-leading Padlock cyber and data breach protection. Padlock combines the same comprehensive cyber and data loss coverage that big companies receive with the affordable pricing that small and mid-sized businesses deserve. Want to learn more? Speak with your Business Development Manager or Commercial Lines Underwriter today.

goremutual.ca

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When the name on the door is Berkshire Hathaway, it stays Berkshire Hathaway. In a rapidly changing industry, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance provides welcome certainty, with the enduring strength of Berkshire Hathaway’s top-rated balance sheet and 70 year insurance industry track record. Look no further for stable capacity, creative solutions, and stellar service. We’ll be here, year after year. A++ A.M. Best

AA+ Standard & Poor’s

$333.9 billion total admitted assets*

$202.5 billion policyholder surplus*

Atlanta | Boston | Chicago | Houston | Indianapolis | Irvine | Los Angeles | New York | San Francisco | San Ramon | Seattle | Stevens Point Adelaide | Auckland | Brisbane | Cologne | Dubai | Dublin | Hong Kong | Kuala Lumpur | London |Macau | Madrid | Melbourne | Munich | Paris | Perth | Singapore | Sydney | Toronto

*Balance sheets as of 12/31/2019 for the Berkshire Hathaway National Indemnity group of insurance companies.

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ISSUE 8.03

CONNECT WITH US Got a story or suggestion, or just want to find out some more information?

CONTENTS

22

twitter.com/InsuranceBizCA facebook.com/InsuranceBusinessCanada

UPFRONT 04 Editorial

Insurers are pivoting with businesses to address the impact of COVID-19

FEATURES

20

EXPERT ADVICE

Why addressing climate-related disasters like flooding requires a more collaborative approach

42

06 Statistics

Key data that should be on your radar

08 News analysis

After a strong first quarter, industry M&As are largely on pause as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on

10 Intelligence

This month’s big movers, shakers and new products

12 Technology update

Despite the pandemic, CSIO is making good progress on a digital claims and billing solution

14 MGA update

How a new MGA is deploying technology to allow underwriters to spend more time assessing risks

SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN

IBC shines the spotlight on 45 women who are paving the way for greater equality in Canada’s insurance industry

PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

As the newly installed CEO of Crawford & Company, Rohit Verma is steering the claims management giant on a course of constant innovation

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FEATURES

A SKY-HIGH CRISIS

19 Opinion

Insurers using only a commercial credit score to underwrite small businesses are missing half of the picture

What’s driving premiums up in Canada’s condo insurance sector, and what can be done to address it?

PEOPLE

46

Behind the music with bassist and broker Jen Perry

48 Other life

PEOPLE

FAMILY-ORIENTED AND FUTUREFOCUSED

Laura Bolster of Megson FitzPatrick Insurance Services talks leadership, employee development and navigating COVID-19 challenges

INSURANCEBUSINESS.CA CHECK IT OUT ONLINE

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UPFRONT

EDITORIAL

All for one and one for all

I

t was as long ago as 1844 when Alexandre Dumas coined the phrase “all for

one and one for all, united we stand, divided we fall” in his literary classic The Three Musketeers, but the sentiment rings true today as the entire world rallies to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Despite being asked by governments across the globe to practice physical distancing, society has become more unified than ever. Everyone is doing their part for the greater good. Over the past six weeks, a number of key industries have made operational pivots to their production facilities and supply chains to help address the global shortage of personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and life-saving medical equipment like ventilators and respirators. Fashion brands large and small have been churning out protective lenses, face shields, masks and hospital gowns. Distilleries, breweries and wineries have altered their production to address widespread shortages in hand sanitizer. Automotive manufacturers have been using their plants to produce ventilators and respirators, rather than brand-new vehicles that would likely sit in the showroom until the crisis is over.

Insurers around the world have kicked into overdrive to facilitate operational changes by reworking insurance policies and risk management plans The hospitality sector has also seen some enormous pivots. Sports stadiums, hotels, conference centers and many other large venues have been transformed into temporary hospitals and quarantine zones. The amount of action going on when the world has essentially been asked to shut down for an extended period of time is quite extraordinary. And what’s underpinning all of this? Insurance, of course. When companies alter their operations in this manner, more often than not, they will experience a material change in risk, which means they need to get their brokers and underwriters back in the picture right away. Insurers around the world have kicked into overdrive to facilitate operational changes by reworking insurance policies and risk management plans, introducing policy endorsements, and offering premium credit where risk has been absolved. The industry has shown flexibility that could well be crucial in the fight against COVID-19. It’s often a thankless task, but IBC salutes you.

The team at Insurance Business Canada

www.insurancebusiness.ca EDITORIAL Managing Editor Paul Lucas Editor Bethan Moorcraft Writers Lyle Adriano, Ellen Burkhardt, Tom Goodwin, Alicja Grzadkowska, Kasi Johnston, Gabriel Olano, Ryan Smith, Ksenia Stepanova, Mia Wallace Copy Editor Clare Alexander

CONTRIBUTORS Sharon Maloney

ART & PRODUCTION Designer Joenel Salvador Production Manager Alicia Chin Production Coordinator Kim Kandravy Traffic Manager Ella Dayandante

SALES & MARKETING National Account Manager Eric Langille Business Development Manager Desiree McCue Sales Manager Dane Taylor Vice President - Sales John Mackenzie Global Head of Communications Adrijana Monevska Project Coordinator Jessica Duce

CORPORATE President & CEO Tim Duce Office/Traffic Manager Marni Parker Events and Conference Manager Chris Davis Chief Information Officer Colin Chan Human Resources Manager Julia Bookallil Global CEO Mike Shipley Global COO George Walmsley Editorial Inquiries paul.lucas@keymedia.com Subscription Inquiries subscriptions@keymedia.com Advertising Inquiries eric.langille@kmimedia.ca desiree.mccue@keymedia.com

KMI Media 20 Duncan Street, Suite 300 Toronto, ON M5H 3G8 tel: +1 416 644 8740 www.keymedia.com Offices in Toronto, Denver, London, Sydney, Auckland, Manila, Singapore, Seoul

Insurance Business Canada is part of an international family of B2B publications, websites and events for the insurance industry Insurance Business America cathy.masek@keymedia.com T +1 720 316 0151 Insurance Business UK gemma.powell@keymedia.com T +44 20 7193 0935 Insurance Business Australia peter.smith@keymedia.com.au T +61 2 8437 47OO Insurance Business NZ peter.smith@keymedia.com.au T +61 2 8437 47OO Insurance Business Asia peter.smith@keymedia.com.au T +61 2 8437 47OO Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss.

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www.insurancebusiness.ca

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PACICC is pleased to announce the election of three new Members to our expanded Board of Directors. We welcome:

stry

Mr. David MacNaughton Independent Director Mr. MacNaughton is President of Palantir Technologies Canada and is based in Toronto. He previously served as Canada’s Ambassador to the United States of America from 2016 to 2019 and possesses an extensive background in both corporate leadership and public policy.

Mr. Christian Fournier Insurer Director Mr. Fournier is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of La Capitale Financial Group and is based in Quebec City. A Laval-trained actuary, he has more than 25 years of property and casualty insurance experience.

Mr. Brian Esau Insurer Director Mr. Esau is President and CEO of Red River Mutal and is based in Altona, Manitoba. A CPA, he has served in his current role for 12 years and previously served as Chief Risk Officer for a regional credit union.

Re-elected to our Board for additional terms are: Glenn Gibson (Chair), former CEO of Crawford Canada (Independent Director)

Pete Walker, Chief Technical Underwriter Aviva Canada Inc.

Bruce Thompson, former Supervisor – OSFI (Independent Director)

David Oakden, former Chief Actuary – OSFI (Independent Director)

Lynn Oldfield, President and CEO AIG Insurance Company of Canada

Martin Beaulieu, Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, Intact Financial Corporation

Andrew Cartmell, President and CEO Saskatchewan Government Insurance

Alister Campbell, President and CEO PACICC (Ex Officio)

Heather Masterson, President and CEO Travelers Canada PACICC is the industry-funded, non-profit resolution authority for Canada’s Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance industry. PACICC’s mission is to protect eligible policyholders from undue financial loss in the event that a Member Insurer becomes insolvent. The Corporation works to minimize the costs of insurer insolvencies and seeks to maintain a high level of consumer and business confidence in Canada’s P&C insurance industry through the financial protection it provides to policyholders.

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UPFRONT

STATISTICS ALTERNATIVE RISK TRANSFER UPTAKE GROWS

$93 billion

Total alternative reinsurance capital as of the end of 2019

15%

Proportion of total P&C catastrophe reinsurance capacity represented by alternative risk transfer

$4 billion

Approximate value of reinsurance sidecar issuances in 2019

High risk Medium/high risk Medium risk Low/medium risk Low risk

SECURITIES CLASS ACTIONS A GROWING D&O RISK Among the five mega-trends in D&O insurance recently identified by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty is a global rise in securities class actions – lawsuits filed against a company by a group of investors – particularly in response to data breaches and other cyber incidents. Driving this trend is a concurrent increase in litigation funding, which has emerged as a popular investment class due to its high average returns. According to AGCS, companies in Canada, Australia and the US are most at risk for securities class actions, due in part to those countries’ strong litigation funding markets and developed class action mechanisms.

MOST VULNERABLE INDUSTRIES TO RANSOMWARE ATTACKS As cybercriminals become more creative and more businesses are forced to adapt to remote working during the COVID-19 crisis, ransomware attacks have greater potential to halt operations. Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable, as criminals use the sensitivity of patient data and the critical impact on patient care to evoke ransom payments.

PROPORTION OF 2019 RANSOMWARE ATTACKS BY INDUSTRY RETAIL

7%

$6 billion

Approximate value of catastrophe bonds issued in 2019 Source: Sidley Global Insurance Review 2020; all figures in US$

EDUCATION

12%

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

9%

HEALTHCARE

35%

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

16%

Source: Beazley Breach Briefing 2020

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TOP COVID-19 COMORBIDITIES The World Health Organization has identified several pre-existing conditions that have contributed to higher mortality among COVID-19 patients; the organization has also found that men have a higher mortality rate than women (4.7% versus 2.8%).

14%

12%

10%

8%

6%

4%

2% 13.2%

0%

9.2%

8.4%

8%

7.6%

Cardiovascular Diabetes Hypertension Chronic disease respiratory disease

Source: WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019

Source: Directors and Officers Insurance Insights 2020, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

WHAT’S DRIVING MEDICAL INFLATION? Willis Towers Watson’s latest survey of health insurers around the globe found that the cost of medical care rose around 6.7% in 2019. Overuse of medical care is far and away the most significant factor driving the cost increase, according to insurers.

Overuse of care due to medical practitioners recommending too many services 73% Overuse of care by insured members 66% Insured member’s poor health habits 41% Underuse of preventive services 28% Poor quality or misuse of care because primary, specialty and facility care aren’t integrated 24% Poor understanding of how to use the insurance plan 12% Source: Willis Towers Watson 2020 Global Medical Trends Survey Report

Cancer

A LACK OF COVERAGE FOR MENTAL HEALTH Willis Towers Watson’s report identified mental health as a key area that’s likely to drive medical costs up in the coming years. Currently, more than half of group plans offer mental health coverage, although it varies widely by region – in Latin America, an average of 82% of plans provide coverage; in the Middle East and Africa, it’s only around 36%. Yes, we offer mental health coverage

No, and we do not plan to offer within the next three years

No, but we plan to offer within the next three years

23%

56%

31% GROUP PLANS FOR LESS THAN 50 EMPLOYEES

13%

15%

GROUP PLANS FOR UP TO 500 EMPLOYEES

62%

Source: Willis Towers Watson 2020 Global Medical Trends Survey Report

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UPFRONT

NEWS ANALYSIS

M&A plays the long game After confirmation of the Aon-Willis Towers Watson mega-merger in March, expectations for further insurance M&As are high. But how will future deals be affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

WHEN THE merger between brokerage giants Aon and Willis Towers Watson, with its implied combined equity value of nearly US$80 billion, was announced on March 9, it seemed that the insurance M&A market was kicking off 2020 with the energy that has been its trademark for several consecutive years. According to Deloitte, 2019 was the most active year on record for M&A deal volume in the brokerage sector, and MarshBerry had predicted a record-setting number of transactions for 2020. However, the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting global lockdown have led to a rapid

Consulting, who highlights several specific trends that will likely shape the M&A strategies implemented this year. A core trend he hopes to see flourishing is the development of powerful business continuity programs that companies can use once a deal has occurred. The coronavirus has likely forced most of the corporate world to implement such business continuity programs, Purowitz says, but these strategies are currently not often part of M&As. “We don’t see that people are prepared in general to do a transaction,” he says, “and … we’ve been encouraging our clients to get

“[Business continuity] is certainly going to be a consistent imperative, especially with the potential market opportunities coming out of the pandemic recovery cycle” Mark Purowitz, Deloitte Consulting slowdown in the M&A market. Data from Refinitiv indicates that the total number of transactions across all industries has fallen sharply since the pandemic. In terms of deal numbers, M&As in insurance are, by nature, very episodic, says Mark Purowitz, a principal with Deloitte

8

ready to do this. That’s certainly going to be a consistent imperative, especially with the potential market opportunities coming out of the pandemic recovery cycle.” Phil Trem, president of financial advisory at MarshBerry, says COVID-19 will undoubtedly dampen the amount of deal activity in

the market following the strong first quarter of 2020. While the rapid pace at which the pandemic is unfolding will continue to invalidate any forecasts regarding the outlook of the 2020 M&A market, Trem says the fundamental tenets of the insurance industry won’t change, even as the situation progresses. “We still think that the insurance industry is very durable,” he says. “We believe that investors see the insurance distribution marketplace as a safe place to invest their money during a down economy and that it can still generate good returns when the economy returns to a more positive form.” Although it’s too early to say how deeply the pandemic will hit the industry and what downstream impact it will have on M&A activity, Trem points out that several of the key factors that have led to recent recordsetting quarters for the M&A market still exist within insurance. The fragmented supply of agents and brokers that exists today will still exist following the pandemic, he says. This, combined with robust demand

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M&A BY THE NUMBERS

57% Year-over-year drop in Canadian M&A activity across all industries in the first quarter of 2020

69% Decrease in Canadian M&A deal value between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020

59.6% Proportion of insurance M&A deals in 2019 completed by private-equity-backed buyers

that will exist as long as the financial sources supplying it don’t dry up, is a key driver of M&A activity. The coronavirus will likely prompt new dialogue regarding how much risk a buyer is willing to take and whether they will ask

and have historically had good track records of running good businesses will still be able to command high valuations.” Purowitz also highlights how portfolio optimization might be impacted by COVID-19. The pandemic is testing portfolio

“The key is that we’ll come out of this at some point, so firms that are strong fundamentally will still be able to command high valuations” Phil Trem, MarshBerry a seller to share in some of that risk, as well as an examination of the new question of whether a business is considered ‘essential.’ “Those of the kinds of things buyers are going to be looking at,” Trem says. “And the key is that we’ll come out of this at some point, so firms that are strong fundamentally

structures, he says, to see if assets put together under different conditions still stand in today’s environment or if divesting is a way to free up capital that’s not offering needed returns to reinvest in something else. Purowitz says he wouldn’t be surprised to see additional portfolio optimization

2.9% Increase in broker deal volume between 2018 and 2019 (the most active year for insurance broker M&As based on deal volume) Sources: The Financial Post; Refinitiv; MarshBerry; Deloitte

and restructuring activities throughout the year as businesses revisit their strategies. Depending on their expectations, operating models and corresponding cost structures, businesses might see significant changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he says, and the crisis could potentially be a catalyst for unintended M&A. Though a pause in the M&A market is inevitable, Trem says deals are still getting done, and buyers are taking still taking new meetings – albeit virtually. It’s not business as usual, but the market hasn’t frozen, he says. Though this could potentially change depending on the impact of the pandemic on the industry overall, right now, M&As are suspended in a game of ‘wait and see.’

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UPFRONT

INTELLIGENCE CORPORATE ACQUIRER

TARGET

PRODUCTS COMMENTS

Hub International

Morneau Shepell

Hub’s $70 million purchase of Morneau Shepell’s benefits consulting practice boosts its strategic benefits suite by adding actuarial services to its offerings

Navacord

Blanket Insurance, Benemax Financial Group

Navacord has added Alberta-based property, auto and specialty lines brokerage Blanket Insurance, along with Ontario-based group benefits and retirement consulting firm Benemax, to its roster of broker partners

Westland Insurance

Forestburg Agencies

Its acquisition of Forestburg, an agricultural and oilfield specialist brokerage, will expand Westland’s Alberta presence to 15 locations

Wilson M. Beck Insurance Services

Marsh

The BC-headquartered brokerage has purchased a portfolio of business from Marsh that includes its commercial construction, forestry and surety business in Western Canada

a

Palliser Insurance launches platform for crop hail cover

Navacord welcomes two new brokerages

Navacord has announced its third and fourth new partnerships of 2020, bringing Benemax Financial Group and Blanket Insurance onboard. Based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Benemax has helped small and medium-sized firms manage employee, executive and shareholder benefits programs since its inception in 1989. The company has clients across media, healthcare, manufacturing and government agencies. Edmonton-based Blanket Insurance is a niche brokerage that was founded in 2008 and provides a full range of customized insurance services and solutions across personal and commercial lines, including property, auto, and specialty insurance products. Commenting on the acquisitions, Navacord executive chairman T. Marshall Sadd hinted that the company has big growth plans for 2020. “Our model continues to resonate with entrepreneurial brokers, and we look forward to 2020 being another strong growth year for new partners joining our business,” he said.

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Palliser Insurance has launched a new self-service online platform that enables farmers in Western Canada to purchase crop hail cover online. The Compass Hail platform creates real-time quotes so farmers can get coverage if the weather forecast looks ominous or even purchase additional coverage on the fly. Users can review their quotes and view all of their active policies on Compass Hail’s dashboard. Palliser CEO Ken Doleman said the platform allows customers to “choose between personalized agent risk management with Palliser and the self-checkout of Compass Hail.”

CAA Insurance offers digital auto proof of insurance

CAA Insurance has incorporated My Proof of Insurance, CSIO’s digital auto proof of insurance system, which gives customers a secure way to receive, store and present their insurance documents. CAA Insurance hailed the move as the next step in digitizing its business and said its decision to offer My Proof of Insurance coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic, when both paper transactions and in-person meetings are “less favourable.” CAA Insurance president Matthew Turack called My Proof of Insurance “an exciting addition to our service portfolio.”

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PEOPLE Beazley unveils telemedicine coverage

Beazley has launched a new insurance solution for Canadian telemedicine providers, designed to protect them from the risks associated with offering digital healthcare and to address gaps in coverage for such specialized services. The Virtual Care product features medical malpractice and professional indemnity, tech and media liability, and public and products liability, as well as cyber coverage and response services. Optional extensions are also available to cover mitigation costs, abuse and harassment liability, medical regulatory costs, loss of documents, reputational damage, and environmental liability.

Coalition expands its cyber offering to Canada

US-based cyber specialist Coalition has expanded its offering to Canadian companies. Coalition provides proactive cybersecurity products and services, as well as cyber and technology errors & omissions insurance. The company’s online platform will also be available to Canadian brokers, allowing them to immediately generate quotes and giving their clients free 24/7 access to proprietary cybersecurity tools and services. In addition, Coalition offers an in-house team of security and incident response experts and a network of partner firms to help clients quickly recover from a cyber incident.

Lions Gate Underwriting adds environmental product

Specialist MGA Lions Gate Underwriting (LGU) has launched a new environmental insurance solution for contractors. Underwritten by Great American Insurance Group, the program focuses on pollution liability, with wording that includes errors and omissions arising from associated professional services, which normally requires a separate policy. The coverage can be provided on either an occurrence or claims-made basis. “We are pleased to be offering this innovative product in Canada, which we have designed with several features new to the Canadian market,” said LGU’s Rod Spurrell.

NAME

LEAVING

JOINING

NEW POSITION

Rebecca Bunyan

Aldermore Bank

Lloyd’s of London

Chief information and change officer

Alessandro Carriglio

N/A

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Strategy officer of underwriting portfolio management, Americas

Priya Kunthasami

TD Bank

Beazley

Manager, Beazley Breach Response Services

May Ng

ESIS Canada

Chubb

Global client executive, large accounts, Canada

Raman Randhawa

Prolink

Apollo Insurance Solutions

Insurance product manager

Jeffrey Ryan

Axis Re

PartnerRe

Head of financial risks

Joel Schuster

Avigilon Corporation

Apollo Insurance Solutions

COO and general counsel

Chris Snider

N/A

Zurich Canada

Head of risk services

Scott Thomas

N/A

Zurich Canada

Head of human resources

Matt Wolfe

N/A

Aon

President of reinsurance solutions, Canada

Aon names Canadian reinsurance president

Aon has appointed Matt Wolfe as president of its Canadian reinsurance arm. Wolfe joined Aon in 2015 as senior vicepresident, focusing on North American P&C reinsurance; prior to that, he spent 14 years at reinsurance brokerage Beach & Associates. In his new role, Wolfe will lead Aon’s Canadian reinsurance team with a focus on driving change and innovation, operationalizing growth strategies, and bringing analytics and insights to clients across the country. “Matt is a highly regarded industry contributor on the future of reinsurance in Canada and the role of capital markets in the sector,” said David Sloan, CEO of Aon Canada Reinsurance Solutions. “He will be a considerable leader as we drive toward our business targets in 2020 and beyond.”

Zurich Canada appoints head of risk services

Zurich Canada has named Chris Snider as its new head of risk services. Snider takes over from Scott Thomas, who has been named head of human resources. Snider has been with Zurich Canada for 15 years, most recently serving as the manager of risk services – property. He has also been a senior risk consultant and a regional and technical lead for business resilience in North America. “Looking to continue the valuable work that Scott has done with this team over many years, we now look to Chris to take this function to the next level as risk services is strategically positioned to be the core of our enhanced service offering to our customers,” said Zurich Canada CEO Saad Mered.

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UPFRONT

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Swiss Re, Microsoft collaborate for innovation

As part of its “strategic alliance” with Microsoft, Swiss Re has launched a Digital Market Centre in a bid to further advance insurance innovation and extend financial protection to more people globally. According to Swiss Re, the Digital Market Centre will help develop next-generation, large-scale tools designed to transform the way risks are predicted and managed. It will also focus on how the insurance industry creates tangible products. “By building digital markets and not just isolated products, we aim to transform the way businesses approach the risks they face,” said Swiss Re Life Capital CEO Thierry Léger.

Global insurtech funding slashed in the wake of COVID-19

Global insurtech funding was down by more than 50% for the first quarter of 2020, a likely victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from Willis Towers Watson. Despite the impact of the outbreak, insurtechs managed to raise a total of $912 billion during the first quarter. In addition, deal count for Q1 was up 28% from the fourth quarter of 2019 and up 10% year-over-year. But overall funding was down by 54%, a drop driven largely by far fewer mega-deals – those worth $100 million or more – taking place this year.

Two insurers tap Charles Taylor for digital solutions

Charles Taylor InsureTech has created two digital solutions for two major insurance companies. Insurance and reinsurance firm Everest Global Markets has partnered with Charles Taylor to implement the Trax electronic claims

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files (ECF) write-back-enabled claims management platform, which will allow Everest to automate claims notifications and monitor ECF through its write-back capabilities while eliminating manual processes and data re-entry. Charles Taylor has also partnered with global risk and reinsurance specialist Guy Carpenter to develop a cloud-based document management solution (DMS) – a single, global document repository that will be integrated with various Guy Carpenter systems and processes.

Duuo partnership to provide insurance to artisan vendors

Duuo, the digital on-demand brand of The Co-operators, has entered into a partnership with the One Of A Kind Show (OOAK), an event that brings together artisans and craft enthusiasts to share their ideas, stories and wares. In addition to sponsoring OOAK’s virtual spring show, Duuo will help OOAK provide on-demand insurance for artisans at future shows via its recently launched Duuo Vendor Insurance product. The insurer will also sponsor five $1,000 scholarships for vendors to apply toward exhibits at a future show.

Hyperion X digital platforms see recent spike in demand

Hyperion X, the data analytics and digital delivery business of Hyperion Insurance Group, has experienced record demand as the market reacts to the COVID-19 pandemic. In high demand are digital trading platform Tepfin X, which allows banks and their insurance brokers to obtain quotes from across the structured credit insurance market, and xTrade, Hyperion X’s digital marketplace. The latter is forecast to deliver $100 million in premium throughput in 2020. As a result of the increased demand, Hyperion X has launched upgrades for both platforms.

Insurance technology marches on Despite pandemic-related shutdowns, insurance technology experts continue to innovate While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the closure of many businesses across the world, the insurance industry is still hard at work developing new innovations. The Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) recently hosted two virtual sessions for its INNOTECH claims and billing working groups. Composed of brokers, insurers and service providers from CSIO’s member companies, the groups gathered to identify improvement scenarios in claims and billing processes. “Although the meeting format and frequency have changed to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, both working groups have made tremendous progress in their virtual sessions in advancing the preliminary work completed by the INNOTECH advisory committee,” says Catherine Smola, CSIO’s president and CEO. The working groups aim to deliver an electronic notification solution for claims and billing, which will allow brokers to make more productive use of technology and reduce the time spent contacting insurers to obtain billing and claims information, freeing up that time to focus on developing client relationships. “We anticipate that the work done by the INNOTECH committee and working groups will make valuable contributions in helping brokers and insurers not only remain competitive, but also enhance their ability to improve their customers’ experiences,” Smola says.


The INNOTECH advisory committee approved moving forward with solutions to improve claims and billing notifications in February after holding sessions to determine major operational issues and challenges and identify potential solutions for the working groups to explore. Now the working groups will hold additional meetings to finish defining business requirements for the solution.

“We anticipate that the work done will make valuable contributions in helping brokers and insurers remain competitive” “After identifying improvement scenarios in the claims and billing customer journeys that are of most value to brokers and insurers in the initial sessions, the claims and billing working groups will now focus on completing their business requirement document,” Smola says, adding that this process will include defining detailed business requirements to create a business case presentation for the INNOTECH steering committee. Group member Mia Dorsey, operations manager at Hub International Ontario, adds that “as a broker, it’s great to have the opportunity to provide our input in the early stages and work collaboratively with insurers and service providers to deliver a digital solution that will allow us to work more efficiently and effectively to improve the customer experience.”

Q&A

Félix Robitaille

A full ecosystem for brokers

CEO XRM VISION

Years in the tech industry 22 Career highlight Robitaille has a passion for helping organizations be more productive and impactful with their clients and designed Tandem to deliver this promise to insurance brokers

What differentiates Tandem, your CRM for insurance brokers, from other CRM platforms on the market? When designing Tandem, not only did we want to ensure group insurance brokers would take advantage of all CRM functions and capabilities, but we wanted to offer a fully integrated, performanceenhancing ecosystem for their entire operations. Tandem not only offers the management of the sales cycle, but also covers all accounting, policy management, commissions management for internal and external brokers, a full customer service module, and electronic signature and document-sharing capabilities.

With remote work becoming the new normal, which business processes can be made more efficient by CRMs? Our goal is to take brokers who had been reliant on manual processes – emailing unwieldy Excel documents or even pen-andpaper record-keeping – and move them into a fully automated, modern, cloud-based environment. With the addition of three external portals – Administrator Portal, External Broker Portal and Employee Portal – our clients are quickly reducing the amount of calls/emails they receive and are streamlining their communication with their clients and advisors.

How can brokers optimize the fluctuation and growth of their clients’ premiums via Tandem? The amount of information that lies in our clients’ databases is impressive! Once centralized, it can become an infinite source of key performance indicators that help them make strategic decisions to grow their business. By understanding which metrics influence premium fluctuation and growth, our customers are better equipped than their competitors to face the future challenges of the group insurance industry.

How else can insurance brokers use a CRM to improve their relationships with their customers, especially while social distancing and virtual communication are the norm? During this unique time, insurance brokers must stay close to their clients and work to simplify their lives using their knowledge and the relationship they have. This consultative approach, as well as finding solutions, will position them as a trusted advisor to their clients. A CRM can help to document the history of the discussions and set reminders for the different follow-up with each client. From that perspective, Tandem has been designed to allow insurance brokers to have a better, more frequent relationship with their clients. A huge part of a broker’s daily life is lost filling out paperwork, exchanging with insurers, following up on customer demands, etc. However, the most rewarding work is the development of the customer relationship and consulting. By working with a lead-to-cash technological tool where most administrative tasks are automated, brokers have more time to invest in what really matters: their client relationships.

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UPFRONT

MGA UPDATE

Getting back to basics Competition is strong among MGAs, but one new firm is relying on the fundamentals to distinguish itself

the company’s commercial underwriters a single access point, enabling them to perform more accurate and more informed risk assessments in a fraction of the usual time. By making documentation more efficient, Hart says, Vailo can focus more on the things that really matter. “Many insurers and MGA underwriters don’t spend enough time on assessing a risk, as they are burdened with collecting,

“Many insurers and MGA underwriters don’t spend enough time on assessing a risk”

Competition in the MGA space has grown fierce in recent times. Apart from the many startups trying to make a name for themselves, there are also insurtechs whose innovations threaten to disrupt the way consumers purchase insurance. And then there are the major insurers, which have been acquiring MGAs to gain their capabilities. But that doesn’t worry Vailo Insurance Services, which was established earlier this year by industry veterans Jeff Hart, Tommy Truong and Bruce MacKinnon. Aiming to provide underwriting expertise backed by

NEWS BRIEFS

cutting-edge technology and more than 100 years of combined industry experience, Vailo is confident that it can take on larger competitors who are struggling to meet the digital expectations of brokers and consumers. “Our cloud-based policy management platform is built on the industry-leading Salesforce cloud, which has made our underwriting department more efficient,” explains Hart, Vailo’s president and CEO. “This efficiency is primarily driven by the optimization of the entire underwriting process.” Vailo’s technology and API platform give

CHES Financial Services opens new Ottawa office

CHES Financial Services, a subsidiary of MGA CHES Special Risk that specializes in life, health, critical illness and travel insurance, has opened a second office in Ottawa. CHES said the new location in the capital – which it described as “a key city for Canada’s economy and home to head offices of significant companies” – will allow it to broaden its reach and offer its products to more major industries. CHES has appointed senior advisor Steven Burke to lead the new office.

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combining and reviewing documentation for submissions,” he says. “APIs enable our system to quickly gather and handle lowerlevel underwriting tasks and functions, which allows our staff to spend more time evaluating the risk and provide quick quotes or feedback to our brokers.” Hart says these tech capabilities also give Vailo more time and capacity for crossselling opportunities with brokers, increase the firm’s renewal retention, and enable it to seek new business opportunities, all while increasing underwriting profitability for its insurer partners. Vailo is initially focusing on business in British Columbia through contracted brokers, but the MGA already has a long-term strategy to expand its operations across Canada.

Aon creates MGA to address intellectual property risks

Aon has established a new MGA that features one of the largest capacities for intellectual property liability risks. Designed to meet the changing needs of clients’ IP exposures, the liability solution features a primary limit of up to $100 million. The coverage automatically includes suits from competitors, patent assertion entities, non-practicing entities and copyright trolls, and can also include coverage for contractual indemnities to customers/licensees and coverage for third-party infringement defence.

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Q&A

Rod Spurrell Managing director LIONS GATE UNDERWRITING AGENCY

Years in the industry 25 Fast fact Spurrell leads LGU’s Toronto branch and was recently named manager of the MGA’s new environmental insurance program

Safeguarding contractors from environmental risks Tell us about your new environmental insurance product. What differentiates it in the market? This is one of the few environmental programs in Canada to offer coverage on both occurrence and claims-made forms. The policy also has the option to include coverage for liability associated with acts, errors and omissions arising from professional services associated with contracting services. Most programs would require a separate policy. The program is designed for general contractors, construction managers and a variety of specialty trades. It also extends to offer a separate project-specific policy, along with a broad range of premises exposures, both first-party and third-party, on-site and off-site.

Why is now a good time to get into the environmental insurance market? With expanding environmental legislation and increased complexity of exposures, businesses and landowners face increasing risks that require comprehensive products. There has been an increase in environmental fines and penalties, and an environmental policy is one response to the abundance of unresolved historical contamination. There is also an ability for the environmental policy to respond to the inherent shortcomings of a commercial general liability policy.

What are some of the common causes of environmental loss among contractors? The day-to-day operations a contractor handles can be challenging to even the most experienced professionals.

CFC launches licensing agreement liability product

CFC Underwriting has launched a new product designed to protect licensees against an unintentional breach of a licensing agreement. Encompassing individual licensing contracts or annual licensing agreements with multiple brands, the product provides coverage for incidents such as selling in unauthorized channels or territories, incorrect usage or quality assurance breaches, and improper sublicensing. It also covers intellectual property infringement in relation to the assets specified in the licensing agreement.

Contractors face situations that could result in extensive cleanup costs and legal expenses. These could be from a variety of accidents and environmental exposures, including design mishaps, mould, chemical and fuel spills, fumes, dust contamination, and more, which may arise on job sites and have the potential to delay project development and cause material financial impacts.

Why does your policy include wording for errors and omissions arising from associated professional services? The coverage under the LGU program is designed to encompass essentially all of the professional services performed in support of the covered contracting services. By collating coverage, this also creates a more cost-effective product. Another benefit is claims resolution. This unified approach eliminates any potential for disputes between carriers during the claim process as to which policy will respond if it was the result of an error or omission.

Does this program offer any other services? Definitely. An example of this is Response and React (R&R), a spill response program that is available to every insured at no additional cost. Through R&R, spill response management is provided across Canada and the United States, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. R&R encompasses a network of 1,000-plus qualified environmental professionals with the knowledge and experience to coordinate and manage a rapid, costeffective response to emergency spills.

Business break-ins highlight importance of insurance

Businesses forced to close down due to the COVID-19 pandemic have seen a surge in thefts, according to Burns & Wilcox. The company revealed that there was a 147% increase in commercial break-ins in Vancouver between March 18 and April 15, as well as a rise in car dealership break-ins in Windsor, Ontario. Burns & Wilcox P&C manager Meghan Maher recommended that business owners and tenants invest in the broadest form of coverage available and research trending perils of loss in their region.

CHES Special Risk rolls out cannabis offering

CHES Special Risk has launched a new offering designed to meet the insurance and licensing concerns of cannabis businesses, particularly microproducers and other niche businesses. The coverage is designed to suit a wide variety of cannabis companies, including cultivators; third-party processors; micro-growers; cannabis-related product manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, laboratories and research; the medical cannabis sector; and ancillary industries like CBD oil manufacturers.

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27/05/2020 3:20:32 AM


PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

POISED FOR TRANSFORMATION Crawford & Company CEO Rohit Verma tells IBC how the 79-year-old organization has put innovation at the center of its evolution

ROHIT VERMA, Crawford & Company’s CEO, has always had a passion for building things. The child of two scientists, Verma was just 11 years old when he built his first solar projector; as he got older, that passion evolved into building insurance businesses. Today, he has more than 20 years of international strategic and leadership experience gained from working for two insurance giants, but Verma started his career in research and development. Within a few years, he had become a consultant at Deloitte and later moved to McKinsey & Company. While there, he got his first taste of insurance while working with clients in the industry. He developed an enthusiasm for it that’s only grown since. “Insurance is a business that has a great combination of the emotional side, because you’re working with people, and at the end of the day, you’re helping them,” he says. “But then there’s a whole technical side to it, which is very interesting.” Verma enjoyed insurance so much that he wanted to go beyond advising clients and put his recommendations into action at an insurance company. In 2007, he found the opportunity to do so at Zurich, where he started out as head of strategy for specialty products before transitioning to roles ranging from finance to underwriting and eventually general management.

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Along the way, Verma realized that every industry is in some way touched by insurance, which further increased his passion. He was also introduced to Crawford & Company, where Zurich was a client. After 10 years at Zurich, Verma had the opportunity to work for the claims management giant, taking on the role of global COO in 2017. “I was excited about [the role] because I

for Crawford & Company. The company has shifted its structure, transforming from a geographic-based organization to one centered around service lines so it can go beyond claims to serve as a well-rounded advisor to clients. Crawford & Company has also evolved into a truly global organization, Verma says, and has defined its mission to restore and enhance lives, businesses, and communities.

“We’re proud of our legacy, but we’re also transforming ourselves to be a lot more forward-looking by using our experience and learning from the past as opposed to being rooted and not changing” felt that the claims space was truly poised for transformation,” he says. “The opportunity to lead a global organization was something that I felt would be extremely exciting to do – and three years into it, I feel every bit of that excitement.” In May, Verma’s ascent at Crawford & Company continued when he was named CEO.

Innovative at heart The past three years have been full of change

“It’s been an all-around transformation – a cultural transformation, an organizational transformation, a transformation of our go-to market and a transformation of how we build businesses,” he says. Innovation has been at the heart of this evolution, and every step the organization has taken has been with clients in mind. The leadership team injects innovation at two levels. The first is innovation that makes the company stronger, such as using robotic

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PROFILE Name: Rohit Verma Title: CEO Company: Crawford & Company Based in: Atlanta Years in the industry: 13 Fast fact: Verma holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, a master’s degree in IT management and has attended leadership programs at Harvard, Cambridge and the London Business School

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PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

process automation and artificial intelligence to make internal processes more efficient. The second level of innovation is one that creates better outcomes for clients, seen in part through the company’s 2017 acquisition of WeGoLook, an on-demand field services provider powered by thousands of independent contractors. Crawford & Company is also working on a new digital first notice of loss (FNOL) capability that will allow its teams to receive an FNOL from anywhere, whether that’s a car with a telematics device or a home with a connected sensor. “This means that we will know when one of our clients is having a claim even before the client themselves knows,” Verma says.

Looking to the future When Verma looks at 2020 and beyond, he sees more innovation on the horizon for Crawford & Company, as well as the continued expansion of its capabilities and geographic footprint. He also sees the company’s experts driving thought leadership initiatives and providing crucial resources to clients around the world as they navigate the challenges facing their respective industries. This is especially important as the so-called ‘silver tsunami’ hits the insurance industry and experts with decades of knowledge retire, which will require companies to change with the times and not leave vital expertise behind. “We’re one of the oldest loss adjusting firms and TPAs in the world,” Verma says, “and we’re

“It’s been an all-around transformation – a cultural transformation, an organizational transformation, a transformation of our goto market and a transformation of how we build businesses” Other innovations include the use of 3D imaging to document and visualize losses, allowing team members to put on virtual reality goggles and ‘walk’ through a 3D rendering of a site. In addition, the company’s Total Property Solution ensures that the most efficient path is always used to handle a claim by analyzing each claim and routing it through one of three processes based on complexity, while also monitoring the claim as it progresses to ensure timely and accurate resolution. “We believe that through this process, not only can we save about 20% to 30% of loss adjusting expense for our clients,” Verma says, “but most importantly, we can make the experience for the policyholder better and the speed of settlement a lot faster.”

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proud of our tradition, we’re proud of our legacy, but we’re also transforming ourselves to be a lot more forward-looking by using our experience and learning from the past as opposed to being rooted and not changing.” The need for innovation will only grow as emerging risks impact insureds around the globe. “The world is getting more complicated, and anytime something gets more complicated, the risks increase,” Verma says, pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of a pertinent risk. “We’re an organization that has the global presence, that has 79 years under its belt and is the largest publicly traded [claims management] company today. We are best positioned to assist our clients in building capabilities and helping them with these emerging risks.”

CRAWFORD & COMPANY BY THE NUMBERS

1967

Year Crawford & Company expanded to Canada, opening offices in Toronto and Vancouver

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Current number of Crawford & Company offices across Canada

9,000

Number of Crawford & Company employees worldwide

1.6 million

Number of claims Crawford & Company has handled worldwide

600+

Client programs Crawford & Company added in 2019

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UPFRONT

OPINION

GOT AN OPINION THAT COUNTS? Email insurancebusiness@kmimedia.ca

Closing the information gap Using a single credit source to price insurance policies for small businesses creates a significant gap in underwriting data, writes Sharon Maloney WHEN INSURERS begin pricing a policy for a new small business customer, they often rely solely on a single financial data source. But did you know that using only one commercial credit source could give you only 50% coverage of your small businesses book? That could leave the other half of your book of business completely unknown when underwriting or rating, leaving you exposed to any competition that wants to move in on that business. Pricing in this way often results in small business owners paying for other business owners’ risks simply due to a lack of sufficient information, yet there’s so much data and analysis available to help overcome this problem. To properly protect a small business customer, insurance carriers need to make sure they’re collecting and analyzing all available data in order to accurately assess the risk and design and price the policy. One of the challenges facing insurers when underwriting a small business is finding sufficient financial performance information, leaving them to rely only on financial data about the business itself for underwriting and creating a gap in the full risk picture. While consumers start accumulating credit history any time they apply for credit, business credit is vastly different: According to an internal study conducted by LexisNexis Risk Solutions in 2019, only around half of small businesses have a credit profile with a single commercial credit bureau. As insurers began using commercial credit for commercial rating, it left a large gap, making half of an insurer’s book of

business completely unknown when underwriting or rating a small business. How can commercial insurers close this gap? The key is to determine a methodology that enables the insurer to accurately and confidently assess, predict and price the risks associated with each business. A multiple-source approach can help address the gap, but identifying and evaluating the right sources is critical. If risks are assessed and insurance policies are priced based on

they might otherwise over- or under-predict using only a business entity model. So, what are the steps to take? First, understand your current and future target market. How do these types of businesses compare to similar entities in your book of business, and what financial products do they use? Next, select the right sources of data for a particular business. Credit bureaus, nontraditional financial sources and personal financial data can all be used to better align to your book. Finally, design an underwriting program that leverages these data sources to better segment small businesses based on a more accurate view of the business’s financial performance. Taking advantage of this segmentation can increase the effectiveness of your program and positively impact your loss ratio relativities. To remain competitive within the growing small business insurance market, carriers need to evaluate the right mix of information on both the business and its owner to accurately price the risks of each small busi-

“To properly protect a small business customer, insurance carriers need to make sure they’re collecting and analyzing all available data in order to accurately assess the risk” only one view of financial data, the insurer is potentially missing other views and critical information. Our internal analysis shows that when you add three or more financial data sets to your underwriting, it results in an average rate of 74% of risks covered, compared to just 52% with only one source. When insurers layer in the business owner’s personal information, particularly for non-employer or sole proprietor firms, they increase not only their coverage, but also segmentation. Since both types of data effectively identify higher loss propensities when combined, there is additional segmentation available for the insurer to leverage. This overlaying segmentation can enable insurers to better identify areas of the population where

ness they insure. Embracing change and following the right models can help insurers provide a faster and more seamless underwriting experience. Working with this multi-source process can be a daunting task. Partnering with a trusted solutions provider can help insurers manage this effort by assisting with the move from one data set to another, providing better predictive modeling, and targeting and capturing new profit pools. Sharon Maloney is a director of commercial insurance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, where she’s responsible for assessments, requirements and the design of data solutions and services focused on commercial insurance.

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FEATURES

EXPERT ADVICE

Crafting climate resilience RSA Canada outlines why Canada’s quest for climate resilience will require more cooperation

FLOOD SEASON has returned with a vengeance. In late April, a 25-kilometre ice jam on the Athabasca River in northern Alberta triggered a once-in-a-century flood that forced nearly 13,000 residents of Fort McMurray from their homes. It’s a similar story across Canada: Spring flooding has impacted multiple provinces at a time when the nation is also contending with the COVID-19 pandemic. A study by the World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) and RSA Canada shows that around 31% of Canadians are worried they will experience flooding in the next 12 months. Despite this concern, the survey revealed some significant flood-related knowledge gaps, misinformation about the peril and widespread confusion about flood insurance and risk mitigation. Notably, almost half of Canadians (47%) admitted they do not know how to protect their home from flooding. “I’ve seen the destruction and disruption that flooding can cause firsthand,” says Anthony Black, national catastrophe manager at RSA Canada. “In many cases, Canadians don’t even know that they are at risk and aren’t even sure what they could have done to protect themselves. We have to band together as an industry, as a community and with all levels of government to do a better job in helping people recognize the risks they are exposed to and providing them with tools that result in immediate and sustainable solutions.” The WWF-Canada and RSA Canada report noted that communities across the country have experienced an increased frequency and

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intensity of rain and wind events due to climate change, leading to flooding that has damaged homes, businesses and public infrastructure. The two organizations have formed a partnership to improve Canada’s climate and flood resilience and encourage communities to take collaborative action.

The broker’s role Insurance brokers are an important part of the climate resilience equation. As the primary point of contact with policyholders, brokers play a key role in their clients’ climate risk preparation, including the purchase of

brokers conducted by RSA Canada revealed that only about half of brokers in Canada consider themselves expert or proficient in this area and feel comfortable having discussions about climate change with their clients. Despite the risks posed by climate change, 13% of insurance brokers still are not educating their customers about climate-related risks. To assist brokers in this endeavour, RSA Canada has released a series of tip sheets, webinars and other climate-related resources for brokers at rsabroker.ca/climatesmart. The page includes information on water damage, earthquakes and wildfires that brokers can share with their clients.

Partnering with WWF Beyond focusing on insurance coverage, insurance professionals can also help boost cooperation at a community level during climaterelated crises like flooding. RSA Canada’s partnership with WWF-Canada is one example of that. With RSA Canada’s support and funding, WWF-Canada is helping municipalities in the Saint John River watershed assess climaterelated flood vulnerability and develop adaptation plans that include restoring ecosystems and building natural infrastructure. “Our work in the Saint John River watershed is helping build a model that will

“Insurance brokers are on the front lines when it comes to educating policyholders about climate risk” Anthony Black, RSA Canada adequate insurance and the implementation of best-practice risk mitigation. “Insurance brokers are on the front lines when it comes to educating policyholders about climate risk and ensuring they are adequately protected with insurance,” Black says. “At RSA Canada, we recognize the important role brokers play in Canada’s climate resilience equation, and we support our broker partners by providing them with market-leading insurance products, such as our Waterproof Coverage, as well as climate-related tools and resources they can share with policyholders.” A recent national survey of insurance

empower local communities to enhance their flood resilience and respond to the impacts of climate change,” says Simon J. Mitchell, lead freshwater specialist at WWF-Canada. Together, WWF and RSA Canada will share lessons about how successfully partnering with government, industry and local communities can develop climate-resilient solutions that work for all. For more information on how to protect properties against weather-related damage and more advice on climate resilience, both at the personal and community level, visit rsabroker.ca/climatesmart.

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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE ELITEWOMEN WOMEN

2020

ELITE WOMEN

CHELSEA FITZPATRICK Vice-president of operations and COO Park Insurance Agency

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Ten years ago, Chelsea Fitzpatrick began an internship in the insurance industry; on her first day, she realized it was the career for her. “There was an emphasis on being an expert and education, the opportunity to speak with people from all walks of life, teamwork, and the promise of digitalization,” she says. “All the different aspects of the job, the unlimited opportunity and career paths – that, and helping a client understand their coverage, is what kept me there.” In her role as VP of operations and COO at Park Insurance Agency, Fitzpatrick has a heavy focus on digital optimization, something she enjoys due to her love of coding. Building on Park Insurance’s dedication to being an employee-centric company, Fitzpatrick also launched a plan to improve employee satisfaction in 2016. Since then, the company’s overall satisfaction scores have gone from 72% to between 92% and 96%. “Employee empowerment as a priority is absolutely the right choice,” she says. “I am grateful to work with a like-minded leadership team that is dedicated to our culture and making our community a better place.”

GILBERTA MORRISON President PAL Insurance Brokers Canada

Gilberta Morrison was seven years old and spoke no English when her family immigrated from Belgium to southwestern Ontario. She started her career in insurance after high school by handling crop hail claims. She continued handling claims for 12 years before moving across the country to Calgary in 1980, where her husband founded Morrison Insurance. Morrison worked there as an underwriter for 12 years and eventually took over the accounting department. After her husband founded Party Alcohol Liability (PAL) Insurance, Morrison eventually took over PAL’s accounting department and the leadership of the Calgary office. When her husband passed away suddenly last year, Morrison rose to the challenge of leading PAL with help from family members. “I learned that by creating a strong and stable base from which to operate, it is possible for a team to not only survive but thrive in the face of adversity,” she says.

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IBC celebrates 45 of the Canadian insurance industry’s foremost female leaders IN AN INDUSTRY traditionally dominated by men, the tides are finally turning. More and more women are entering the insurance field and climbing the ranks into leader­ ship positions. This year’s Elite Women list shines the spotlight on 45 women who are changing the gender balance of Canada’s insurance industry, 40% of whom hold executive-level positions, from CEOs and owners to directors and department heads. The industry’s overall shift toward inclusivity wouldn’t be possible without the many trailblazers who began their insurance careers decades ago, before gender equality was a badge of honour for insurance companies. Several of these women, who entered the industry as fresh-out-of-school graduates and continue to pave the way now as executives, are highlighted on the following pages. From insurtech leaders and specialty program experts to entrepreneurs and analytical masterminds, these 45 women have proved themselves capable of overcoming stubborn cultural and societal obstacles to achieve any goal. As they forge a path for future generations of insurance professionals through today’s especially challenging economic climate, IBC is proud to highlight their individual achievements and contributions to the industry.

ALICE KEUNG Chief transformation officer Economical Insurance

As Economical Insurance’s chief transformation officer, Alice Keung is a champion of digital innovation and a strategist in business transformation. Twice recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, she was also named to the Insurance Business Global 100 list in 2019. Keung has more than 30 years of senior leadership experience in various industries. She joined Economical in 2016 to lead the launch of Sonnet, Canada’s first fully digital direct-to-consumer insurer. “I’ve always been drawn to developing new capabilities,” she says. “In leading the implementation of Sonnet, I had the ability to reimagine the customer experience and deliver an industry-first solution through leveraging technology, Big Data and advanced analytics, as well as the way we work.” A fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion, Keung founded Economical’s Women in Leadership speaker series, which brings together female executives from the insurance and technology industries. Over the next several months, Keung plans to leverage Economical’s various technologies to help deliver relief to P&C customers impacted by COVID-19.

ELITE WOMEN INDEX NAME

COMPANY

Camille Alexander

Gallagher Bassett Canada

PAGE 33

Tracy Archer

Knight Archer Insurance

34

Catherine Brown

Aviva Canada

25

Sheri Clay

J.T. Insurance Services Canada

33

Debbie Coull-Cicchini

Intact Insurance

34

Laurel Cutting

RSA Canada

34

Jacinta Davies

Aon Risk Services

36

Jodie Kaufman Davis

Burns & Wilcox Canada

24

Jacki Detablan

CNA Canada

26

Dianna FioravantiAshikwe

Nacora International Insurance Brokers

28

Julia Fischer

Intact Insurance

38

Chelsea Fitzpatrick

Park Insurance Agency

22

Diane P. Flynn

Zurich Canada

34

Jill Fratpietro

Canada Life

28

Ann Furlotte

Aha Insurance

36

Loren Gardiner

Intact Insurance

32

Christine Gaudreau

OTC Insurance Brokers

38

Shkya Ghanbarian

Eddy Solutions

26

Christine Hirst

CHES Special Risk

37

Miranda Hirte

Gallagher

32

Kelli Hunt

Next Wave Insurance Canada

26

Donna Ince

RSA Canada

32

Lisa Ivan

Marsh Canada

36

Carol Jardine

Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company

33

Sukhdeep Kang

Armour Insurance Brokers

40

Katie Kernick

Morison Insurance

41

Alice Keung

Economical Insurance

23

Jurenda Landry

Kase Insurance

29

Margo Lyons

Apollo Exchange

25

Lindsay Mather

Rogers Insurance

38

Anna McCrindell

Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company

38

Gina McFetridge

Archway Insurance

24

Karen Mican

RSA Canada

40

Gilberta Morrison

PAL Insurance Brokers Canada

22

Marlene Morrison Nicholls

Stewart Morrison Insurance Brokers

30

Monica Ningen

Swiss Re

28

Lynn Oldfield

AIG Canada

40

Tina Osen

Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers

30

Tiffany Reider

Reider Insurance

30

Rissa Revin

DAS Legal Protection

24

Jennifer Savage

Cambrian Insurance Brokers

36

Hailey Taskey

Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers

30

Jacinta Whyte

Ecclesiastical Insurance

41

Monica Woldring

InsureLine Brokers

41

Lisa Wolfe

QBE Services

25

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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN JODIE KAUFMAN DAVIS Managing director Burns & Wilcox Canada

Jodie Kaufman Davis began her career in the insurance industry after spending a decade in law. Although it wasn’t the path she had originally planned, having family in the industry illuminated the fulfilling career possibilities it could offer. Once she decided to pursue an opportunity with Burns & Wilcox Canada, she never looked back. As managing director, Davis is responsible for operations of all six of Burns & Wilcox’s Canadian offices, and she plays an integral role in the development and execution of the company’s growth strategy. “I thrive off the fast-paced environment that yields opportunities to grow the business in creative ways and build talented teams,” she says. “If you empower your teams and give them the learning tools they need to succeed, you are more empowered to expand as a company. This kind of momentum fuels creativity and innovation for product and service development, forcing us to think and create outside the box.” Davis is committed to enhancing women’s equity within the industry. She formed an internal Women & Allies Group at Burns & Wilcox Canada and is the first Canadian chair of The Insurance Supper Club, a business network for women in the industry.

GINA MCFETRIDGE President Archway Insurance

As president and co-owner of Archway Insurance, Gina McFetridge fosters and maintains relationships with her team, oversees brand management, champions operational efficiencies, and guides corporate communications to share the strategic plan, vision, mission and values of the company with all employees. A second-generation family business that McFetridge co-owns with her brother, Archway was established in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1985 and currently comprises 30 locations and 200 employees across the Maritimes. Over the past year, McFetridge says she’s found practicing gratitude to be a powerful tool in growing her career. “The simple discipline of taking time to give thanks each day has helped me gain better insight into what motivates and excites me so I can focus on using my strengths to better advance the strategic goals of our brokerage,” she says, pointing to the successful implementation of Archway’s largest and most ambitious IT project in 2019 as an example. Outside of Archway, McFetridge is an active member of the local business community. She is the current chair of the Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia, a director for the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada and chair of the board of Easter Seals Nova Scotia.

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RISSA REVIN CEO DAS Legal Protection

Rissa Revin began her career as a litigator who “refused to work on anything related to insurance.” Eventually, after being exposed to specialty casualty, she began to understand the breadth of business the industry offers and found that she enjoyed it so much that she was inspired to move in-house. In late 2018, Revin took over as CEO at DAS Legal Protection, a role that has increased her knowledge and experience and helped her grow both professionally and personally – “especially given the 2020 we’ve all had so far,” she says. Revin says she’s motivated daily by relationships, helping people, diversity and the opportunity for innovation, from insurtech to developing new coverage. “Especially in this current world, the currency of this business is its people, the relationships we form, how we work together and how that helps our communities,” she says. “Often in some of the most challenging times, insurance offers solutions. Diversity – of people, background, thought leadership, culture and approach – [is how] this business is continuously rebuilt; it’s the way we can keep insurance ahead of the curve.”

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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LISA WOLFE Underwriting manager, property QBE Services

CATHERINE BROWN Vice-president of marketing and corporate social responsibility Aviva Canada

Catherine Brown’s professional experience has been anchored in financial services, and the complexity of portfolio-based businesses is something she’s always enjoyed. “I think many people outside the industry think insurance is boring or overly technical, but digging into it over the last few years, I feel it’s a very dynamic and rewarding career,” she says. “The diversity of my role is my greatest challenge and motivator.” As Aviva Canada’s VP of marketing and corporate social responsibility, Brown supports all distribution channels and product lines, as well as corporate social responsibility. Pivoting between multiple business challenges and opportunities guarantees that no two days are alike. In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, she is also involved with Aviva Canada’s sustainability initiatives and employee volunteering programs, which are a core part of the company. Last year, Brown and her colleagues hosted the first Women in Leadership event in Western Canada. “It was amazing to gather over 50 industry-leading women together to discuss insurance trends and challenges,” she says.

Lisa Wolfe was inspired to join the insurance industry based on its learning opportunities and challenges. “We are fortunate to work in an industry that offers a career path that points in every direction: finance, marketing, operations, underwriting, claims, business development, risk management,” she says. “It is an industry that offers progression and possibilities, and presents the opportunity to support my analytical skills while combining negotiating capabilities and building and sustaining strong relationships.” In addition to believing that her work makes a worthwhile contribution, challenges her to push boundaries and teaches her to embrace her limitations, Wolfe says she appreciates that it affords her the opportunity to empower others by serving as a coach and mentor. The industry has also nurtured her philanthropic nature, providing opportunities to volunteer with such organizations as the United Way, SickKids, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and her local food bank. Wolfe also participates in the Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade, the Ebony Women Insurance Network and the Property Casualty Underwriters Club.

MARGO LYONS Head of broker distribution Apollo Exchange

With an ability to envision a better way for customers, brokers and underwriting teams to operate, and the tenacity to motivate people toward that vision, Margo Lyons is at the forefront of change in the insurance industry. Lyons is responsible for driving Apollo’s broker distribution strategy across Canada, working closely with teams across the organization to identify opportunities for growth and innovation. Outside of work, Lyons co-founded and is acting chair of the Young Insurance Professionals of BC. “The ability to have a vision, create a strategy and then execute with rapid pace is rewarding and continues to drive me forward,” she says. “Now is the time for young professionals to step up. They are faced with the opportunity to make a huge impact on the industry, if they rise to the challenge. Conversely, with a hard market, the older generation of insurance experts must pivot their roles to educators and focus on knowledge transfer. I would like to see more organizations formalize knowledge transfer, mentorship and the passing of the torch to the new future.”

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN SHKYA GHANBARIAN Director of insurtech and channel partners Eddy Solutions

A generalist who is passionate about learning, Shkya Ghanbarian’s career has spanned sales, training, customer service and business development. She joined Eddy Solutions at its inception in 2014 and has helped it establish a presence in the insurance industry as an Internet of Things (IoT) supplier. “During that time, we have learned so much about the industry, about overall risk management and how technology helps protect people and property,” she says. “I have been proud to share this knowledge with so many Canadian insurance brokers through our accredited training and through speaking at many conferences in North America.” Looking ahead, Ghanbarian says she expects to see the appetite for IoT connection continue to increase as more carriers lead the way toward greater consumer adoption. “We have much work to do with consumer understanding of the importance of technology as tools of protection,” she says. “Like with long-adopted risk mitigation instruments such as smoke detectors, insurance sets the overall stage for mass adoption.”

KELLI HUNT JACKI DETABLAN

Vice-president of underwriting Next Wave Insurance Canada

Vice-president, specialty CNA Canada

After participating in an insurance training program that involved continuing education and rotating through various commercial lines, Jacki Detablan realized the industry’s potential for professional development and education. Today, as vice-president of specialty at CNA Canada, what she enjoys most is the variety of people she interacts with and the endless challenges that present themselves. “As the world changes, insurance evolves, and this is a big part of what makes the industry interesting and engaging for me,” she says. For several years, Detablan has been promoting thought leadership in the cyber community. She is also involved in training front-line underwriters, volunteering and mentorship, and diversity and inclusion opportunities. “As a leader, I’ve seen and experienced how supporting the growth of others can have a positive impact on one’s own development,” she says. “When you contribute to success around you, your career path becomes much more of a natural progression. Team success translates into personal success for yourself and others and is a much more rewarding experience for all.”

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After two years of working at an insurance company during university, Kelli Hunt became fascinated with the mechanics of the industry, got a job as a file clerk and never went back to finish her degree. A risk-taker by nature, Hunt grew up in the horse racing world and says that in insurance, “knowing you backed the right ‘horse’ at the end of the race is a pretty good feeling.” Every day, Hunt strives to empower her team and acknowledges that what she does wouldn’t be possible without them. She puts a high priority on ensuring younger team members get the training and leadership they deserve. “I’ve been fortunate enough to get to work for some of the brightest minds over the last 20 years, and I hope to pass along their wisdom,” she says. “I’ve also learned to collaborate and ask for assistance – vital tools in our business. Managing different lines of coverage and working with different parties demands good communication and a team effort.”

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN JILL FRATPIETRO Senior account executive, employee benefits Canada Life

MONICA NINGEN President and CEO, Canada and English Caribbean Swiss Re

An inclusive, motivational and resultsoriented leader with more than 20 years of reinsurance experience, Monica Ningen currently serves as president and CEO of Swiss Re’s Canada and English Caribbean operations, overseeing the company’s P&C and life and health reinsurance operations across both regions. She also serves as the chief agent of Swiss Re’s Canadian branch, fostering strategic client relationships and helping to raise awareness of key topics that impact her regions. Beyond her daily responsibilities, Ningen is an advocate for the insurance industry and its role in fostering a more resilient society. She’s also a devoted champion of diversity and inclusion, which she believes goes beyond visible factors such as gender and racial diversity to include diversity of experience and creating an environment that embraces diversity of thought. As a mentor, she works with people to recognize their strengths, develop their talents and envision their possibilities. Outside of Swiss Re, Ningen serves on the board of directors for the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization.

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Jill Fratpietro intended to become a high school English teacher until she found her calling in the insurance industry, where she has spent almost two decades on the employee benefits team at Canada Life. “Every day, I look forward to navigating the fast-paced challenges the industry brings,” she says. “I enjoy creating innovative solutions to help employees, to do what is right for the client and to assist advisors in growing and retaining business.” Beyond her main business development responsibilities, Fratpietro enjoys mentoring and has invested in coaching to learn how to help others visualize their goals and take action toward achieving them. She is also engaged in mental health initiatives: She has obtained Workplace Mental Health Leadership certification and has taken on the roles of captain and committee member for the Run for Women, which benefits women’s mental health programs at the Royal Ottawa Centre for Mental Health. “Looking ahead, I see opportunities for the advancement of gender diversity in the industry,” Fratpietro says. “Though we have made significant strides over the last few years, I believe women are still underrepresented. There is an opportunity for the industry as a whole to prioritize progress.”

DIANNA FIORAVANTIASHIKWE President, North America Nacora International Insurance Brokers

An energetic, visionary leader with more than 20 years of experience, Dianna FioravantiAshikwe is known for her commercial and personal underwriting expertise and her passion for serving employees and customers. As president of Nacora International’s North American region, Fioravanti-Ashikwe is actively involved in expanding the brokerage’s geographical footprint in the US, Mexico and Canada while also executing on its global strategy to be a leading provider of professional supply chain risk management solutions. Prior to joining Nacora in 2014, Fioravanti-Ashikwe held various senior positions at SCM Risk Management Services and served as vice-president of sales distribution and underwriting operations at Economical Insurance. She is the recipient of the Crawford Adjusters Canada Award and the Top Broker Award from the Insurance Institute of Canada and is an active member of Women in Logistics Leadership, currently mentoring two high-level senior managers. She also serves as co-chair of the Careful Workplace initiative in Nacora’s Canadian branch and helped Nacora Canada become the first corporate sponsor for the Trillium Health Partners Foundation’s Perinatal Bereavement Program.

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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JURENDA LANDRY Director of client services Kase Insurance

Jurenda Landry first realized the opportunities present in the insurance industry while working in an insurance-adjacent role. “I started doing some research and was amazed by the plethora of options out there,” she says. “I realized that the insurance industry would give me endless growth possibilities and that

my potential was truly limitless.” Particularly appealing to her was the industry’s constant evolution and technological development. “I love being able to engage in new processes, working with new technologies and overall creating a better client/broker experience,” she says. “I love pushing the boundaries and seeing the creativity and solutions that come from that.” Landry also highlights Kase Insurance’s “exceptionally inclusive office,” where

the focus is on helping to grow the next generation of industry leaders. “Building the right foundation from the start will lead to a long, stable career – that and continual learning, taking advice and being conscious of constructive criticism,” she says. “That has been a huge differentiator for me.” Outside of the office, Landry is involved with the IBAO mentorship program and the Young Insurance Professionals of Toronto’s ambassador program.

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN TINA OSEN President Hub International Canada

Growing up with a father who had a successful insurance brokerage and truly loved what he did, Tina Osen thought “it would be foolish to not at least give something a try that had brought him so much joy.” It didn’t take long for insurance to hook her, too. Constantly working to improve performance by driving more value to Hub International Canada’s teams, Osen has helped grow a division of Hub from $10 million to $100 million in revenue over the last 18 months. Throughout her career, she has served as a mentor at Hub and through groups like the Women’s Executive Network, and she currently sits on the faculty advisory board for the Sauder School of Business at UBC. Osen says the number-one factor in her career satisfaction is the people she has worked with through the years, from clients to co-workers to industry colleagues. “The opportunity to work with such a diverse group of people has been very rewarding and intellectually stimulating, as I’m always learning something new,” she says.

HAILEY TASKEY Partner

TIFFANY REIDER

Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers

Vice-president

Starting by answering phones and doing paperwork at a brokerage in Edmonton, Hailey Taskey quickly realized that she loved the insurance industry, specifically the ability to learn about the inner workings of different companies. “Every day is different, and every client is different,” she says. “You could get a client in the same sector, but they may have something unique about their operation or a different type of exposure, and I think that aspect always keeps you on your toes.” In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, Taskey enjoys mentoring employees, developing projects and creating solutions for clients that no one else offers. “Something I have always believed and implemented throughout my career is that you need to learn from your mistakes, apply what you have learned going forward and be better as a result,” she says. “Approach situations with empathy, understand where people are coming from and be able to relate to them.”

MARLENE MORRISON NICHOLLS President Stewart Morrison Insurance Brokers

Marlene Morrison Nicholls grew up on a farm, working alongside her father and assisting him in the early years of developing the family’s insurance business. After spending more than 40 years in the insurance industry, she still finds it interesting and challenging. “Changes happen every day, but one thing that does not change is the growing need for great customer service,” she says. “I believe we can truly help people solve problems and meet their needs. I am vigilant about my business ethic and care deeply for my staff and my customers.” An avid volunteer, Nicholls has served on the board of the Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce for more than 14 years and uses the platform to champion business in her community and D&I campaigns to enhance economic growth. She has also served as vice-chair of the Kawartha Lakes Health Care Initiative, was part of the founding committee of the Kawartha Lakes Community Foundation, is a Rotary member and sits on Aviva’s broker council.

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www.insurancebusiness.ca

Reider Insurance

Tiffany Reider’s grandfather opened the doors to the first Reider Insurance location 54 years ago, and today she is “proud to be not only the first of the third generation, but the first female in our family to join the business.” Although she grew up around the insurance industry, it wasn’t until Reider started working part-time while studying to become a teacher that she realized it was the right fit for her. “I have always enjoyed helping and educating people and am able to do just that and then some,” she says. “I love that I can help clients problem-solve and help individuals insure their dreams.” Recently, Reider has been working on bringing the brokerage into the digital age, including an updated website with online chat and online quoting options. Outside of Reider Insurance, she is involved with the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba, serving as chair of the Young Brokers Network for 2018–19, and she was recently appointed to the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada’s Young Broker Advisory Committee as the Manitoba representative.


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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN MIRANDA HIRTE Corporate client manager Gallagher

LOREN GARDINER National vice-president, specialty P&C

As a university business student, Miranda Hirte had many ideas about her future career, but “I can definitively say that working in insurance never crossed my mind,” she recalls. “As cliché as it may be, insurance quite literally found me.” Two years after graduation, while she was working as a sales representative for a Fortune 500 technology company, one of Hirte’s clients – a mid-sized, family-run brokerage in Hamilton – reached out to her with a job opportunity. “The rest is history,” she says. In her role as a corporate client manager for Gallagher, Hirte operates on a grassroots level to create tailored risk transfer solutions for her clients, enabling them to focus on their business operations. Outside of Gallagher, she is passionate about her community and the industry as a whole, serving on the board of the Insurance Institute of Hamilton-Niagara and as secretary and social media chair for the Insurance Brokers Association of Hamilton. Hirte credits “a handful of incredibly smart and talented female mentors” for helping catapult her personal and professional growth, allowing her to showcase “the best and healthiest version” of herself inside and outside of work.

Intact Insurance

While volunteering with special-needs children as a high school student, Loren Gardiner happened upon a connection to a summer job at an insurance company that specialized in equipment breakdown coverage. From there, her path was set – the company’s engineers took Gardiner under their wing, exposing her to the technical side of insurance. After graduating university, she helped the company open a new office in Australia and, upon returning to Canada, “was fortunate to work with some incredible people” who helped her learn how to present technical content with personality and to be fiercely loyal to staff and unapologetic in success. “I’ve ended up where I am today because of the amazing people I’ve worked with, and it’s my goal to help foster a new generation of insurance professionals and pass on lessons learned,” Gardiner says. “Moving forward, I would like to see a change in the perception of what it’s like to work in insurance. I want to be impactful in mentoring and growing the young ladies whom I likely will report to in the future.”

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DONNA INCE Senior vice-president, personal insurance RSA Canada

Donna Ince credits the dynamic nature of the insurance industry and the challenge of constant adaptation with keeping her inspired for more than 28 years. “Working with a team of highly skilled and committed colleagues to solve business challenges is particularly rewarding when it translates to growing profitable portfolios, developing teams and supporting the success of broker partners,” she says. Previously the president of the governing council of the Insurance Institute of Ontario and currently the deputy chair for the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Ontario committee, Ince actively participates in numerous panel discussions on topics such as climate, education and diversity. She’s also passionate about supporting women in the industry, and she’s committed to advancing the diversity and inclusion agenda as the Canadian executive sponsor on RSA Group’s diversity and inclusion council. Reflecting on the challenges she’s faced over the past year, Ince says they’ve given her “the opportunity to learn and grow into a better leader. I am confident that we have the best team in place today – one that will continue to rise to the occasion, no matter what lies ahead.”

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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SHERI CLAY Director, private client services J.T. Insurance Services Canada

Before insurance, Sheri Clay worked in the cruise industry, which she describes as “a fun, sexy business – and I didn’t feel insurance would be even remotely similar.” But after having her first child, she was looking for more work-life balance, so she joined her husband’s brokerage, J.T. Insurance Services Canada, and soon found her niche. “I love working with my clients and take pride in knowing they will be protected if and when the time arises,” she says. “A client once said to me, ‘Do whatever you would do for your own family,’ and that has stuck with me ever since.” Clay enjoys mentoring new team members on what it means to advise, care for, protect and advocate for clients by fully understanding their needs and tailoring their insurance accordingly. “Coaching our team on how to provide value for our clients also goes a long way to keeping team members engaged,” she says.

CAROL JARDINE CAMILLE ALEXANDER Director and vice-president of claims operations, Canada Gallagher Bassett Canada

In the insurance industry for more than 30 years, Camille Alexander points to the growth opportunities and people as the factors that have inspired her to stick around. She enjoys the new challenges each day brings and the fact that her team and clients push her to continue to grow personally and professionally. “This industry and Gallagher Bassett have allowed me to be instrumental in client services, business development, growth and claims excellence,” she says. “I’ve always found meaning and motivation in being able to see how our team’s work impacts our clients and continues to meet our core values.” Outside of her daily responsibilities, Alexander has taught insurance courses for more than 30 years, allowing her to share knowledge and coach and mentor those entering the insurance business. She has also been part of several industry committees, boards and associations over the years, taking particular pride in championing initiatives aimed at women in the workplace. Fifteen years ago, she started a charity golf tournament for the industry that raises funds for seriously ill children; to date, it has raised more than $500,000.

President of Canadian property & casualty operations Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company

Carol Jardine was appointed president of Wawanesa’s Canadian P&C operations in April 2018 after serving as senior vice-president and chief strategy officer. “Mutuals serve their people and policyholders through our mutual values, and I try to bring that philosophy into my decisions as a leader every day,” she says. Insurance wasn’t Jardine’s chosen field, but she was offered a permanent role while working as a telephone adjuster during university. She enjoyed the people, the customers and the problem-solving, so it was an easy decision to stay. Forty years later, her career has included roles at TD Insurance, Canadian Northern Shield Insurance, CUMIS General Insurance, Allianz Canada and RSA Canada. She has been named a Fellow of Distinction by the Insurance Institute of Ontario, is on the board of directors of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, was a founding member of CANATICS and became chair of the board of the Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction earlier this year.

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN DEBBIE COULL-CICCHINI Executive vice-president, Ontario, Western and Atlantic Canada Intact Insurance

Appointed executive vice-president at Intact Insurance at the beginning of 2018, Debbie Coull-Cicchini oversees the company’s operations in Ontario and Atlantic and Western Canada. Prior to taking on her current job, Coull-Cicchini was senior vice-president of Intact’s Ontario division, playing an integral role in the integration of three successful acquisitions and leading the implementation of numerous key strategic priorities. She also serves as a mentor, coaching individuals to help them navigate their careers. “Coming from banking 15 years ago and moving into insurance, I didn’t know completely what to expect,” Coull-Cicchini says. “What I found was a hidden gem in the financial services sector. There are rich opportunities with which to nurture a career, learn through various roles, challenge yourself and be rewarded by helping people. The pace of change in insurance is exhilarating, [and] we are at the opportune time to attract new talent to our industry.”

LAUREL CUTTING Director of accident benefits, Ontario RSA Canada

TRACY ARCHER President and CEO Knight Archer Insurance

Tracy Archer began her insurance career by working the front desk as a licence issuer some 20 years ago. In 2010, she assumed her first management role; last fall, she was appointed to her current position as president and CEO of Knight Archer Insurance. In addition to sitting on the Knight Archer board of directors, Archer is also part of the Keal System Users board and is active in the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada, Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Young Brokers Network. “What I find most enjoyable about the insurance industry, and my role in particular, is being able to work on strategic initiatives and innovation,” she says. “In many instances, technology can help achieve our objectives, but I also believe that most people have a desire for human contact and connection that will never be removed completely. Challenging myself with the development of new, innovative approaches to doing business is at the core of what drives me each and every day.”

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Laurel Cutting began her insurance career 30 years ago as an auto claims adjuster. “At the time, I didn’t know much about insurance other than everyone needs it, so there should be ongoing jobs in the market,” she says. “Little did I know how interesting it is, with plenty of opportunity to learn, meet great people and assist customers in their time of need.” Cutting has always enjoyed mentoring others. In all she does, she strives to identify better ways of working by “embedding a culture of pushing the status quo by creating continuous improvement to drive change. It is always key to do this with fairness being top of mind. I will always listen before saying no.” Cutting is also passionate about diversity and inclusion and is dedicated to encouraging women in the industry to be their authentic selves and achieve their goals. Outside of her work at RSA Canada, Cutting is an active member of the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Health Claims for Auto Insurance advisory committee.

DIANE P. FLYNN Vice-president of energy Zurich Canada

With two decades of industry experience and a specialty in mining, power and risk managed accounts, Diane Flynn is a recognized expert in international insurance placements. Familiar with the complexities of foreign jurisdictions, Flynn has experience in placing complex projects in Latin America, West Africa, Europe and Canada. In late 2018, Zurich Canada named Flynn vice-president of energy based on her reputation as a results-oriented leader with a relentless passion for focusing on customer needs. Flynn is responsible for developing, refining and executing Zurich’s strategy for the Canadian energy sector. Prior to joining Zurich, Flynn served as senior vice-president for the mining, power and utilities team at Marsh in Toronto and held senior positions with JLT and Aon.

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN LISA IVAN Managing director, national commercial and consumer leader Marsh Canada

Lisa Ivan was initially inspired to enter the insurance industry by her grandmother, who worked as an underwriter and then a broker. Now, with 36 years of experience under her belt, Ivan’s passion for the industry and natural aptitude for collaboration have shaped her into an effective mentor and executive leader. Ivan’s evolving career has played into her strengths of improving business practices and mentoring others by helping them navigate a large brokerage and working with them to build their brand. She’s especially passionate about helping women advance and build a career path. “Becoming an insurance broker has allowed me to showcase the best parts of my personality while utilizing my skills,” she says. “Of all the roles I’ve played in the industry, negotiating, building and fostering relationships is a big part of what I enjoy the most.” In addition to overseeing the performance of Marsh Canada’s national commercial and consumer business, Ivan is an active participant in various insurance carriers’ broker council advisory panels and recently was asked to speak at The Insurance Supper Club about managing a large team during COVID-19.

ANN FURLOTTE Vice-president of operations Aha Insurance

JENNIFER SAVAGE Broker Cambrian Insurance Brokers

Jennifer Savage admits that becoming an insurance broker “was not my dream career growing up.” Despite constant encouragement from her father (himself a broker), Savage ignored his entreaties until she moved to northern Ontario with her husband. “I had no career to fall back on, and my father once again suggested that I look into the possibility of insurance,” she recalls. “I took the phone book and found Cambrian Insurance. I explained that I had no experience, and the brokerage took me right under their wing.” Today, Savage’s key accomplishments include her involvement in the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario’s Young Brokers Council and obtaining her life insurance licence through the Life License Qualification Program. “It was a self-study course, and being able to do that with two young children at home was an accomplishment in itself,” she says. Savage was recently elected president of the Young Brokers Council and spends countless hours on charity events, including efforts for local food banks and shelters.

JACINTA DAVIES Senior vice-president Aon Risk Services

With more than 25 years of experience in helping clients mitigate enterprise risk, particularly during acquisitions and divestitures, Jacinta Davies has built a roster of clients that includes publicly traded, privately held and private equity firms. Focusing on enterprise risk management, D&O, E&O, cyber and P&C, Davies helps her team assess, manage and mitigate business risks. She also provides guidance to private equity firms and corporate clients to help them manage the insurance exposures and risks surrounding acquisitions and divestitures by strategically using transactional liability insurance to help close the deal.

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As vice-president of operations for Aha Insurance, Ann Furlotte supports the company’s sales and service team, driving growth, sales initiatives and retention. A substantial part of her role is focused on growth via geographical expansion, product offerings and insurer partners, for which Furlotte relies on her substantial past experience in the industry. This year marks her 40th anniversary in insurance; she spent 34 of those years with Marsh Canada, where she helped grow the business from two individuals writing Ontario-only business in 1984 to a national service centre of 65 to 70 individuals by the time she departed in 2018. “I took an early retirement but soon found that I was not done with the insurance industry, as I missed the challenges, excitement and interaction within the industry,” she says. Throughout her career, Furlotte has served as a mentor, teaching continuing education courses and helping individuals learn and grow. She has been heavily involved with diversity and inclusion initiatives and is currently focused on giving back to the community by volunteering with the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, House of Friendship and Community Support Connections.

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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CHRISTINE HIRST Vice-president CHES Special Risk

After transitioning out of the graphic design field, Christine Hirst started working in sales for an insurance magazine, which marked the first step in a lifelong career shift. A decade after her first position as the magazine’s junior marketer, Hirst has become a vice-president of broker solutions, marketing and distribution at MGA CHES Special Risk. “I can’t imagine another career where co-workers are a constant source of inspiration for marketing – every day brings different challenges, and professional relationships with people from all over the world are forged,” she says. On top of her daily responsibilities, Hirst says she strives “to be an inspiration to young female professionals,” serving as an advocate for women’s issues within the company and emphasizing the importance of hiring the right person for the job, a credo that has led to a femalemajority senior management team. Hirst says she looks forward to continuing to encourage her employees’ insurance education, promote their personal development and further CHES’ standing as equal opportunity employer – not just by implementing policies, but also by leading by example.

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN ANNA MCCRINDELL Vice-president, commercial insurance Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company

JULIA FISCHER Manager of personal lines, digital distribution Intact Insurance

Julia Fischer began her insurance career more than 20 years ago in an entry-level position at a small insurance brokerage. She quickly realized that there were many avenues she could pursue within the insurance world, and this curiosity prompted her to move to the insurer side of the business, where she broadened her knowledge by working in many departments. Since then, Fischer has held roles in underwriting, quality assurance, training and business development. She recognized early on that she wanted to be proactively involved in the insurance industry’s evolution, which led her to a leadership role overseeing Intact Insurance’s national digital sales program with a team focused on providing superior customer and broker experiences. She continues to collaborate with brokers to deliver value-added digital services to customers and enjoys working with both groups on a daily basis. Fischer’s work ethic has helped her build an excellent reputation with her broker partners and earned her the 2017 Business Development Manager of the Year Award (along with another nomination the following year) at the Insurance Business Canada Awards.

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Anna McCrindell leads Wawanesa’s commercial insurance executive office team and is responsible for financial performance, strategic and operational planning, and execution of underwriting strategies for the insurer’s Canadian commercial P&C and farm business. Since being recruited out of university into a commercial underwriting training program, McCrindell has amassed 30 years of commercial underwriting and leadership experience at global and Canadian organizations. She won the Woman of Distinction Award at the 2019 Insurance Business Canada Awards and is a member of the board of governors and chair of the academic council for the Insurance Institute of Canada. McCrindell says she derives daily inspiration from the pace of change in the industry, along with the opportunity to make a difference and provide solutions that help to protect what people and businesses care about most. “Looking ahead, my hope is that we continue to not only provide insurance coverage solutions, but also work with our broker partners to help mitigate future losses through education and loss prevention initiatives,” she says.

CHRISTINE GAUDREAU President OTC Insurance Brokers

Christine Gaudreau began her insurance career in 1995. As she rose through the ranks, she spent nights and weekends studying until she obtained her CIPD in 1998, her FCIP designation in 2001 and her CRM designation in 2004. Two years later, she co-founded OTC Insurance Brokers. “I had this drive to understand the insurance world and how it all worked,” she says. “I’ve worked in all areas of insurance and wondered, how could I use this expertise to help people? That’s when OTC Insurance was developed, and we built our team with smart, educated, compassionate people to give the service that I would want to receive.” Gaudreau is now the sole owner of OTC Insurance, which she says “offers exceptional service and advice with that old-fashioned, personal feel. Our goal is to offer an elevated customer experience to ensure they have the information they need to make sound decisions about their insurance.” Outside of her brokerage, Gaudreau is an active member of the Women Presidents’ Organization, the Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia, and the Risk and Insurance Management Society.

LINDSAY MATHER Vice-president of human resources Rogers Insurance

After spending her last semester of university studying in Argentina and then staying in South America for a year, Lindsay Mather worked for a few years in the oil and gas industry after returning to Canada. When she started at Rogers Insurance almost 10 years ago, she was brand-new to the industry. “I quickly learned that it was an interesting and constantly evolving industry to be in, and I have never looked back,” she says. As part of Rogers Insurance’s senior management team, Mather is able to bring an HR perspective to all major decisions. “The president and COO both take the building of culture and an HR-centric approach very seriously,” she says. “I have a lot of flexibility to create programs that help us on our mission to be the best place to work in insurance in Canada.” Mather is also involved in all strategic planning and decision-making for Rogers Insurance, and she participates in industry networking groups such as Intersure and the Canadian Broker Network to keep up to date on best HR practices.

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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SPECIAL REPORT

ELITE WOMEN

SUKHDEEP KANG CEO

KAREN MICAN

Armour Insurance Brokers

Senior vice-president, claims

Sukhdeep Kang moved to Canada in 2001 as a qualified engineer and soon became the second South Asian woman to join the Peel Regional Police. In 2006, she was appointed by the Ontario government to become a member of the criminal injury compensation board. “During these tenures, I enjoyed interacting with multicultural people and felt the insurance industry would give me a great opportunity to interact with people from various communities,” she says. “I enjoy meeting and learning from new people and accepting challenges to tailor solutions for my clients’ insurance requirements, especially in specialty risks. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to educate my customers on the importance of adequate and proper coverages.” As a principal broker at Armour Insurance Brokers, Kang enjoys developing her team and empowering her staff to make the right decisions. Outside of her brokerage, Kang is an active member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario and the Ontario Trucking Association, sits on the board of directors for the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada, and serves as an ambassador for the Peel Crime Stoppers.

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RSA Canada

LYNN OLDFIELD President and CEO AIG Canada

Lynn Oldfield joined AIG Canada in 1991 as a professional liability underwriting manager and went on to hold a variety of management positions in underwriting, client and broker relationship management, sales, and marketing before becoming president in 2008 and CEO in 2010. Oldfield has received a number of awards throughout her career, including Wilfrid Laurier University’s J. Alex Murray Alumni Award and the Fellow of Distinction Award from the Insurance Institute of Canada. Most recently, she was named CEO of the Year at the 2019 Insurance Business Canada Awards and Canadian HR Champion (CEO) at the 2019 Canadian HR Awards. Oldfield has an MBA, along with FCIP and CRM designations, and sits on the boards of AIG Canada, Canada’s P&C Insolvency Fund (PACICC), the Global Risk Institute and the Global Commercial Insurers Association, as well as Wilfrid Laurier University’s risk and audit committee.

As SVP of claims at RSA Canada, Karen Mican puts her diverse background of claims, underwriting and operations experience to use every day. Mican was drawn to the insurance industry right out of university, admiring its investment in continued education, strong history of development and the opportunity to explore diverse areas within one organization. She says that leading a large claims team offers “an extraordinary opportunity to drive change through strategy.” Mican is part of several industry committees on behalf of RSA. Passionate about career development and mentorship, she has launched networks in several organizations that have brought together talent to discuss leadership and breaking through barriers. “Looking ahead, I’m laser focused on continuing to develop best-in-class service by integrating digital technology and tools within the customer journey,” she says. “I believe this effort will create a tremendous learning and development opportunity for people across the industry, pushing all of us on a path of continuous improvement for our customers.”

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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MONICA WOLDRING Vice-president, commercial lines InsureLine Brokers

After entering the insurance industry as the result of unforeseen family circumstances, Monica Woldring traded her dream of being a teacher for putting her skills with a calculator and computer to use and discovered that she enjoyed working with clients to find them the best coverage they could afford and making sure they understood their policy. “It turned out to be the right job, the right industry,” she says. After working for several insurers, Woldring transitioned to the brokerage side of the industry and says she still finds great joy in her job. Along the way, she’s even been able to fulfill her original dream of teaching: Since 1984, she has taught insurance classes to both industry professionals and newcomers and is currently an instructor in the General Insurance and Risk Management program at BCIT. “I love seeing the students get excited about their future in this industry,” she says.

JACINTA WHYTE Deputy group chief executive; general manager and chief agent, Canadian business Ecclesiastical Insurance

With more than 45 years of experience in the insurance industry, Jacinta Whyte currently serves as deputy group chief executive of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group and the general manager and chief agent of the group’s Canadian business. In 2014, Whyte helped introduce and champion a dramatic new vision for Ecclesiastical Group: to become the most trusted and ethical specialist financial services group and to donate $82 million to charity by 2017. When that goal was accomplished, the company decided to double that number and donate an additional $163 million to charity by 2020. Thanks to Whyte’s leadership, Ecclesiastical has built deep trust within the communities it serves and has been named one of Canada’s top employers for young people for eight consecutive years and one of Greater Toronto’s top employers for two consecutive years. In the UK, Whyte helped lead Ecclesiastical to be recognized as a most trusted insurance provider by Fairer Finance; in Canada, she oversaw the launch of the company’s Community Impact Grant, which has donated $1 million to local charities over three years.

KATIE KERNICK Registered insurance broker, digital sales Morison Insurance

Katie Kernick credits a college friend for pointing her toward her current career. “After a long discussion, I ended up sitting down with the program director, who opened my eyes to the opportunities I would have in the insurance industry,” Kernick says, adding that her mother entered the industry after 16 years of being a stay-at-home mom, and “they welcomed her with open arms, offering training and advancement with her hard work. What woman wouldn’t want to enter an industry full of amazing opportunities?” Kernick became a broker at Morison Insurance and is currently involved in training staff, championing projects, and teaching clients, colleagues, and friends about insurance – “something I didn’t even realize was missing in my life,” she says. Looking ahead, Kernick hopes insurance companies will continue to offer increased support to clients and brokers as they’ve been doing so far during the COVID-19 crisis. “Let’s prove that we are here to support everyone during these challenging times,” she says.

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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27/05/2020 3:24:17 AM


FEATURES

SECTOR FOCUS: CONDO INSURANCE

A sky-high crisis With rates climbing and discontent soaring, IBC takes a look at Canada’s condo insurance calamity and what can be done to fix it CANADA’S CONDO insurance sector is in crisis. Rates have skyrocketed in multiple provinces, and many condo and strata corporations are struggling to secure adequate and/or affordable insurance coverage. In January, the 26-storey Mahogany Tower in Abbotsford, British Columbia, saw its insurance premium costs jump from $66,000 in 2019 to $588,000 in 2020 – a whopping 780% increase. Another condo complex in Ottawa saw its premium skyrocket by 730%

are facing across Canada. Throughout 2019, many condo corporations across the country either received notice of a premium and/or deductible increase upon renewal of their building’s insurance policies, or they were advised they should budget for increases in future renewals.

What caused the crisis? The causes of the condo insurance crisis are multifaceted. One factor that’s driving

“Claims, repair and maintenance history are contributing to premium increases for many condo corporations, so any steps that can reduce loss or damage will help improve the situation” Rob de Pruis, Insurance Bureau of Canada upon renewal due to wind and fire damage, and in Alberta, a Fort McMurray condo saw a rate increase of 690%, according to Global News. While these are some extreme examples – not all condo corporations have seen rate increases in excess of 600% – they do reflect the wider challenges condo insurers

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premium increases in the sector is simply the fact that losses have caught up with insurers, and they can no longer maintain competitive pricing. New provincial regulations are also contributing to drastic rate increases and driving carriers out of the market. Chuck Byrne, executive director at the Insurance Brokers Association of BC,

explains that the condo market “has had its ups and downs over the last decade, but a protracted level of competition has effectively been advantageous for the consumer and the strata corporations over an extended period of time. But now the pendulum has swung back the other way, and with the combination of global reinsurance costs rising and general capital issues, we’re seeing some aggressive premium increases.” Extreme weather has also impacted the market. In Alberta specifically, insurers saw high losses as a result of the 2013 floods in Calgary, the 2016 wildfires in Fort McMurray and the 2019 fires in High Level. “We’re seeing an increase in frequency and severity of weather events across the country, from wildfires and floods to hail and windstorms,” says Rob de Pruis, director of consumer and industry relations, Western, for the Insurance Bureau of Canada. While natural disasters have certainly contributed to the crisis, the main culprit is water damage, where claims have been known to impact multiple units and cause extensive ruin. Once there is damage to an adjacent unit or common areas of a building, that’s when the liability comes into play and things get expensive. “Problems with water lines can create huge unexpected hazards and can sometimes require ripping out large sections of the interior of buildings to investigate and then repair a problem,” explains Matthew Harwood, national director of operations at iv3 Solutions, a tech-driven property inspection company. A main concern for insurers, especially with older buildings, is that once one claim gets filed, there’s always the risk of a domino effect. Because water damage takes place behind the walls in many cases, issues might not be visible right off the bat. This can lead to mould and deterioration that could be devastating once discovered. “That’s what puts insurance companies in a really hard position,” Harwood says. “They

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don’t know if it’s an isolated issue or an indication of a much more catastrophic problem.”

Understanding condo insurance With so many moving parts, condo insurance is often misunderstood by brokers, clients and even insurers. Now that insurance companies are raising rates and imposing stricter policy terms and conditions, condo corporations are turning to individual unit owners to cover their loss assessment and risk mitigation needs. Those costs are reflected in the annual budget, which determines annual condo or strata fees.

“It’s very stressful for condo unit owners right now to obtain insurance and provide what is required by the condo/strata corporation,” says Lucie Lee Frappier, underwriting and business development manager at April Canada. “Unit owners are now being asked to have loss assessment by property deductibles with a limit of $50,0000 to $250,000, but some can’t even get that type of coverage.” She adds that brokers are asking insurers for policies that can’t be granted to unit owners because they don’t understand what is being covered under the condo policy. To help protect owners’ equity in BC,

the province’s Strata Property Act requires strata buildings to be insured for full replacement value of all common property, common assets and fixtures, which includes original construction and finishes attached to the building. Strata corporations generally have a modified commercial property insurance policy that covers the building and its systems, including plumbing, electric and ventilation. Unit owners, meanwhile, are responsible for the contents of their unit, which includes personal property and improvements. Frappier stresses the importance of

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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FEATURES

SECTOR FOCUS: CONDO INSURANCE

HOW TO IDENTIFY AND PREVENT WATER DAMAGE COMMON SIGNS OF WATER DAMAGE

Nursing the market back to health

Swollen or cracked appliance hoses Moisture around pipes or fittings Holes, cracks or splits in exterior siding Cracked caulking around doors, windows, shower or bathtub Cracked flashing Damaged concrete foundations FOUR WAYS TO PREVENT WATER DAMAGE Replace the hot water heater every 10 years Clean snow from the roof in winter Regularly inspect the foundation Install a water lead detector and automatic water shutoff valve Source: Promutuel Insurance

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including liability insurance in a condo owner’s policy, which would cover damage to other units or common areas that extended from the client’s unit, plus a portion of the strata building’s deductible.

Rescuing the condo insurance market and bringing rates down will require collaboration from all parties, including the insurance industry, stakeholders and the government, de Pruis says. The Insurance Bureau of Canada recently created a national commercial insurance task force to examine the impact of the current market conditions and develop recommendations to help improve the situation over the long term.

“The unit owner can take every precaution to keep their unit safe, but if the building doesn’t take the same precautions, the unit owners will suffer.” Harwood recommends condo corporations also take a lead role in explaining to unit owners the importance of reporting issues, big or small, right away. If unit owners are aware of the impact a claim can have on insurance premiums and maintenance fees, he says it could instill a sense of responsibility. “Building management should promote how they invest in prevention,” he says. “Putting plans in place to proactively prevent issues, as opposed to fixing problems after they occur, should be prioritized.” De Pruis strongly encourages building

“It all starts with the mainframe. The unit owner can take every precaution to keep their unit safe, but if the building doesn’t take the same precautions, the unit owners will suffer” Lucie Lee Frappier, April Canada “We also hired a risk manager to work with brokers of record to assist condominium corporations that are having trouble obtaining insurance,” de Pruis says. It’s also important for brokers to educate their clients on just how disastrous water damage can be. Accidents happen, but unit owners should take as many precautions as possible to prevent it. Simple measures like scheduling regular repairs and maintenance for appliances and turning off the water while they’re away can help owners prevent big claims. Strata corporations also have a responsibility to make sure the building is well maintained, Frappier adds. “It all starts with the mainframe,” she says.

managers to come up with a comprehensive preventative risk management strategy to reduce the potential for loss or damage. Brokers should help guide board members on how to properly use reserve funds for repairs, as opposed to making a maintenance-related claim, which will be added to the building’s claims history and impact premiums. “Claims, repair and maintenance history are contributing factors in the overall premium increases for many condo corporations, so any steps that can reduce loss or damage will help improve the situation,” de Pruis says. “Education for condo boards and property managers on the impact of claims, risk reduction and maintenance is integral.”

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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27/05/2020 3:24:49 AM

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27/05/2020 11:01:42 3:24:53 AM 14/03/2018 PM


PEOPLE

BROKER INSIGHT

Family-oriented, future-focused Laura Bolster, president, COO and partner at Megson FitzPatrick Insurance Services, tells IBC about her passion for leadership and how she’s positioning the brokerage to bounce back from COVID-19

IBC: How did you get into insurance, and how did your career path lead you to being named as president of Megson FitzPatrick in March? Laura Bolster: When I was in Grade 12, our typing class had to go on work experience, and they placed me at an insurance brokerage for a week. The brokerage asked me if I wanted to continue working, and as I didn’t at that time have a plan for after I graduated, I kept working there [during high school]. After I graduated, I worked there full-time. I loved it. When I decided to move to Victoria, my boss gave me a reference to David FitzPatrick, and they hired me almost 31 years ago. I never would have thought I’d have stayed here that long, but they treated me great – they were great mentors, Megson and FitzPatrick.

to do everything to be successful. That was always their motto: to do all types of insurance for all clients. Our purpose statement is to improve the lives of our clients, team and community and have a good reputation for the volunteering, donations and support we give our community.

IBC: Having started at the company at age 19, you’ve probably held quite a few positions along the way to your current role as president and COO. LB: I started selling auto insurance and working in reception. After a couple years, I went into commercial insurance. I was Michael Megson’s account manager for about 10 years and a commercial broker for quite a long time; I still have some of those clients. I

just sort of evolved into leadership and into managing the commercial team, which I did for many years. I’ve always had an aptitude for the operational side of the business and the management side and gravitated toward being the COO, which I’ve been for about six or seven years. Last year, our CEO decided it was time for him to take a little more worklife balance. It was a natural fit for me after all these years and seemed like a natural evolution to step up – keeping the operational side but adding more overall responsibility for the agency and the strategy part.

IBC: What attracted you to becoming part of the management team? LB: I’m a people person – I really like

IBC: Tell us a little about the company. LB: We are a general agency started by Al

PUTTING FAMILY FIRST

Megson, Michael Megson’s dad. We just had our 51st birthday last fall. Michael bought the agency from his dad after he graduated from university in 1978. He met David FitzPatrick in university and brought him on as a partner in 1979. It’s a family-oriented business, about 50% commercial insurance and 50% personal and auto. Victoria’s not a big city, so you have

After half a century in business, Megson FitzPatrick is stronger than ever. “We’ve been steady at 100 people for a couple years now and take a lot of pride in our culture,” Bolster says. “We have a great reputation in Victoria for being a nice company, a family-run business. We have one of the FitzPatricks working for us and have had mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces working here.” The company looks after its employees after retirement, too. “Part of our succession plan about three years ago was to bring on another partner: the Rogers Group,” Bolster says. “That helped a lot of our older shareholders retire. It also helps us leverage our size – they’re in Alberta and Ontario mainly, and we’re the first partnership they have on the West Coast.”

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FAST FACTS: MEGSON FITZPATRICK INSURANCE SERVICES Areas of service Directors & officers Professional liability Cyber Surety and bonds Employment practices liability Commercial fleet Group benefits Home, condo and tenant Travel

“I’m optimistic that we’re going to come out of this, and we’re going to rebuild and get back to where we were, if not be a stronger company”

Auto Life insurance Recreation Motorcycle Year founded: 1968

getting to know people, and I think I’m really personable and approachable. I like troubleshooting for the team: the leadership and making decisions, and helping them make decisions and problem-solving together. There was a time when I had to make a choice between the client side and the management side, and I wavered back and forth, but I’ve always come back to this side; I find this is where I get the most satisfaction.

IBC: Looking at the next couple of years, what are you most excited about for the company? LB: One of the big things is developing and improving our leadership group. A lot of

our senior leaders are exiting the business in the next couple of years, and identifying and developing our next group of leaders is definitely important to me. Through this COVID-19 situation, I have seen some amazing things from our team that have just blown my mind. I’m so happy and proud of the team that we have. I see so much potential in them, and I think now it’s going to be easier to develop them after we get through this. I’m optimistic that we’re going to come out of this, and we’re going to rebuild and get back to where we were, if not be a stronger company. It’s not going to be easy, but I feel very optimistic about our future.

Number of offices: 3 Head office: Victoria, BC Number of employees: 101 Leadership: Laura Bolster, president, COO and partner; Luke Mills, commercial account executive, risk advisor and partner; Craig Mattear, CFO; Jay Tuson, director of sales; Julia Hopewell, director of finance; Nicole McDonough, commercial insurance manager; Cole Halliday, personal insurance manager; Michele Krompocker, personal insurance manager; Emily Panzenboeck, human resources; Jennifer Currie, marketing and communications manager

www.insurancebusiness.ca

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PEOPLE

OTHER LIFE

TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER LIFE Email insurancebusiness@kmimedia.ca

Perry has been friends with her ba nd mates, who are brothers, since they were kids

3

Number of guitars Perry owns

2012

Year Perry’s band was founded

300+

Gigs The Red Cannons have played

ROCKING AND ROLLING Having grown up on classic rock, Edmonton broker Jen Perry hits all the right notes with her band JEN PERRY has loved music – especially classic rock – ever since she was a young child. Her first taste of live performance came in the fifth grade, when she played the clarinet and drums in the school band; today, Perry, the Edmonton branch manager for the insurance division at First Foundation, is the bass guitarist for a band called The Red Cannons, which counts among its influences everything from Boston and Led Zeppelin to the Foo

48

Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age. In her mid-20s, Perry took a break from her insurance career to tour across Canada with The Red Cannons, which has released three singles that have gained national radio play. After the tour, she got into talent management before making her way back to insurance. “I don’t think a lot of people fully get how that actually played into my career as an insurance broker, [but] when you’re

managing talent, you’re essentially running a small business,” she says. “It essentially comes down to Business 101, and running a brokerage is very similar to how you would want to set up a person’s career in the music industry.” Though the band has scaled back a bit due to the members’ careers and family lives, Perry says they’ll continue to perform as long as fans come out to experience their music.

MPA

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Members of #TeamEconomical from the Claims department

TEAM PLAYERS WITH TEAM PURPOSE Evolving our customer and broker experiences…and supporting each other along the way… is the core of our team DNA. This is why our quest to grow our team, and look for innovative ways of working together, is so important to us. From the launch of Vyne™, to sophisticated pricing and analytics, to our claims transformation, and our plans to become a publicly traded company — we tackle the big things to show brokers, customers, and employees they can rely on us — now and into the future.

Interested in helping us make insurance better? You’ll find current career opportunities at: economical.com/careers

property | auto | business Economical Insurance includes the following companies: Economical Mutual Insurance Company, Family Insurance Solutions Inc., Sonnet Insurance Company, Petline Insurance Company. ©2020 Economical Insurance. All Economical intellectual property, including but not limited to Economical® and Vyne™ related trademarks, names, and logos are the property of Economical Mutual Insurance Company and are registered and/or used in Canada. All other intellectual property is the property of their respective owners.

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