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What brokers want from their carriers during the pandemic

As COVID-19 changes the world, brokers need carriers that will change along with it. For brokers, successful carriers during and beyond the global pandemic will be the ones excelling at the three ‘As’ — accessibility, agility and authority (underwriting).

And while this has always been the case, the crisis situation brought about by the global pandemic has shone a bright light on which carriers are excelling at these underwriting fundamentals, says Garth Pepper, President of Liberty Mutual Canada.


During the onset of the pandemic, the key message that was being prioritized to CEOs of the country’s major insurer carriers was: “We need you to be open for business.” The intention was that they sought confirmation that his markets would be accessible while the country’s economic meltdown buffeted Canada’s commercial clients.


As clients were going through a significant economic shock, they are leaning on their brokers for support. The second message was “You are going to have to figure out how you reflect these reduced exposures, because clients are asking us for it and need it.”

These businesses were calling brokerages throughout the country for relief. They wanted to know what their markets’ game plan was to help commercial clients.

Underwriting Authority

When servicing a client that has unique insurance needs, nothing is more frustrating to a commercial broker than getting an automated message saying the risk can’t be written, citing strict adherence to unyielding underwriting rules or obscure internal guidelines, policies and procedures. Or perhaps a locally-based underwriter can offer a flexible solution, only to have a corporate head office in another country scuttle the deal. For a broker who wants a chance to work through the issue with someone, it’s the worst-case scenario: Underwriters with no authority to be creative problem-solvers.

Brokers and clients are going to have an increased need for companies to provide solutions on a multiple product line basis, and in multiple jurisdictions. That will be more important as well.”

Ultimately, says Shields, echoing Pepper, the pandemic is an opportunity to differentiate between commercial carriers. “I’m hoping that clients and brokers will be able to step back and see who was able to come to the table and respond,” she says.

If you require support, contact your broker or agent. For the full story, review the following source:

Data Shows Canada’s Climate Changing at a Rapid Pace

A government-backed report by Natural Resources Canada states that both past changes and predicted future trends in Canada are about double what is being seen globally. Driven by human influence, the nationally widespread warming is projected to intensify. The report explains how weather extremes will increase in the future, including frequency and severity of heat waves, risk of drought and wildfire, precipitation and coastal flooding.

These events are no longer occurring only in areas that have been traditionally exposed to them and this is bringing us into an era of increased threat to life and property. More severe weather events are leading to more damage and more insurance claims, causing greater strain on the government treasury for which they are financially unprepared for future disasters.

The government needs to take steps to help Canadians understand and adapt to the reality of climate change. The first step is to invest in consumer education, sharing data on how the changes are impacting the country. The government can also invest into water and sewage systems and make changes to improve land-use and building codes and standards.

The insurance industry is leading the discussion and encouraging citizens and governments to adapt to the rapidly changing climate. For more information, contact your broker or company agent.


Renters Still Need Insurance

The number of renters is increasing, especially in highly populated urban areas. With this increase, comes a decrease in people requiring comprehensive home insurance policies. However, if an accident or damage occurs on the rented property, is the renter liable to cover the costs?

Homeowners typically take out a traditional home and contents insurance policy, covering any significant damage caused to the property or personal belongings. However, renters should consider other risks that landlords are not responsible for covering, such as theft, loss or damage to personal property within the home (ex. laptops, televisions and other electronics). Additionally, if an injury occurs to a visitor on the property, or large-scale damage occurs (ie. flooding in the bathroom or a fire in the kitchen) the tenant may be liable.

If there are several tenants in one building, it is possible to save costs and share a contents insurance policy if there is stability in occupancy. Individual tenant policies may provide peace of mind for their own valuables. Additionally, tenant liability policies are transferrable between properties and can move with the tenant without affecting the total amount. A monthly fee is affordable and can save renters money in case of accident or damage. For more information, contact your broker or company agent.


Spring Brings Floods to Quebec

The spring flooding is at its peak and although most water levels are down, some areas of the province are still considered to be major flood zones. Some flooded residents are facing an incident that is not their first and in the face of repetitive flooding, it is essential to rethink urban planning in high-risk areas.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says his government is implementing new programs that will take into account repetitive incidents encouraging people to relocate out of flood zone areas. A new version of the compensation program came into effect April 15th, simplifying the process of receiving financial assistance for citizens dealing with the consequences of disaster.

Insurers are less likely to insure homes that have previously suffered water damage. For more information, contact your broker or company agent.


IBC Welcomes Reform of Compensation Program

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) welcomes the new Government of Quebec Coalition’s compensation and financial assistance program, which came into effect April 15, 2019. Genevieve Guilbault, Deputy Prime Minister of Quebec and Minister of Public Security, says the new program is part of a sound management of funds and is an updated solution. During a press conference in Sainte-Marie, she stated that the program is more humane, flexible and efficient.

Peter Babinsky, IBC’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, says this is the first step to a solution for the organization. They have been asking various governments to stop building or rebuilding in flood zones but their recommendations are not always heard. They want to encourage residents who are at risk to relocate or install certain infrastructures, such as flood barriers or sand bags to greatly reduce risk. He emphasizes that the new assistance program provides for a severance allowance or immunization for a resident in a high-risk area.

The insurance industry cannot cover all flood risks if flooding continues in the same places annually. For more information, contact your broker or company agent.


Businesses Moving More Services to the Cloud, Heightening Security Risk

Many companies are moving sensitive activities to cloud providers, thus becoming at risk for cyber scams. This could come in the form of an email phishing scam, where a hacker gets access to your mailbox allowing them to steal HR data and redirect payments.

Manish Khera, Cyber Security Incident Response and Investigations Leader with Ernst and Young Canada, says companies are at great risk when a hacker phishes the “right person” in the company. He has spoken publicly about lessening cyber risk, helping employers make sure their employees do not fall victim to scams and citing proper training as a key mitigation technique. Other forms of protection include using multi-factor authentication and browser plug-ins that inform users when their passwords have been compromised. For more information, contact your broker or company agent.


High Winds Have Costly Impact on Canadian Insurers

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) and the Standards Council of Canada released a report suggesting the need for a new national standard on wind resilience for homes. The report draws on the significant amount of research that was recently conducted and is the first to focus specifically on provisions related to wind resilience.

Between 1983-2017, 64% of the catastrophes that swept through Canada had a wind component. Storms, tornados, windstorms or hurricanes caused insured damage of $25-million or more. The development of a new standard would be the first step in mitigating damage to residential and small building properties from wind-related natural disasters.
The ICLR report proposes measures in four major categories, emphasizing protection of roofs, which are especially exposed to damage from high winds. Regulation will come after measures outlined in the report have gone through a code development process. For more information on this, contact your broker or company agent.


How to Avoid Basement Flooding

When the weather gets warmer, there is a chance of flood to your basement from melted snow. Here are tips that can save your basement from water damage.

  1. Move snow and ice away from your home.
  2. Check for any cracks to your home’s foundation.
  3. Unclog eaves troughs and other drainage that can overflow and move to the lower levels of your home.

Using these tips could save you upwards of $10,000 dollars on home repairs if your basement gets flooded. These repairs may not be covered under your insurance policy, because not all insurance companies cover overland and sewage flooding. For more information on this, contact your broker or company agent.


Jaguar Land Rover Canada ULC Partners with Aon for Car Insurance

Jaguar Land Rover Canada ULC has partnered with Aon Reed Stenhouse to offer brand-specific automobile insurance coverage for their customers and vehicles.

The reason for the partnership is to make things even more personalized for Jaguar and Land Rover clients. What’s included in the insurance package is original car parts for repairs, premium discounts, and exceptional service.  The insurance is offered for their entire line of vehicles, whether that be collector editions to daily commuter vehicles.

Aon offers the custom insurance right at the dealership.  The insurance is called Jaguar Insurance and Land Rover Insurance. It was introduced on February 4, 2019 throughout Canada. For more information on this, contact your broker or company agent.


Ontario Government Working Well With The Financial Services Regulatory Authority

The Progressive Conservative government of Ontario and the newly appointed Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) will be working together to restructure auto insurance rate regulations, supporting auto reform strategy, and developing fraud reduction policies. FSRA replaces FSCO this year.  Additionally, auto insurance rate control methods will be reviewed and the question of whether postal codes have a relation to a driver’s rating factor will be examined.

Insurance companies want modifications to the approval process when it comes to rate increase as it takes too long and may have an impact on their profits.

The FSRA budget and priorities documents will have input from the Ontario government working to reduce fraud, and improve the decision making process.  FSRA is expected to take over from FSCO sometime in June.