1 W. R. Berkley Corp. recently announced that Andrew Steen has been named president of Berkley Canada, effective January 7. Steen has more than 20 years of experience in the property and casualty insurance industry in Canada. Berkley Canada, based in Toronto, provides commercial lines, professional liability, surety and executive risk products to commercial enterprises throughout the country. Berkley Canada is the trade name for the Canadian branch of Berkley Insurance Company, a member company of W. R. Berkley Corp.
2 The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) has announced that Debbie Thompson  has been elected as the association’s 70th president. Thompson, who is currently director of business development at Beyond Insurance Brokers in Whitby, Ontario, was officially inducted at the IBAO Convention in October. She formally assumed her role as president January 1, 2013. Thompson began her career at the Citadel Assurance, and received her broker’s licence while working at Gellatley Insurance in Toronto. She was chair of the IBAO education committee and sat on the Consumer Engagement and Education Committee as part of the Minister of Finance Automobile Anti-Fraud Task Force.
3 The Canadian Automobile Association Insurance Company (Ontario) has installed Guidewire Software Inc.’s InsuranceSuite software for its personal auto and property lines of business. Foster City, California-based Guidewire recently announced that as of December 1, all 40 retail locations of CAA Insurance (Ontario), and its call centre north of Toronto in Markham, were using InsuranceSuite.
In a press release, Guidewire states that CAA Ontario is using InsuranceSuite to “increase analytical capabilities” and to “more easily integrate” with third-party software. The announcement follows the conclusion of a 14-month implementation project in which all InsuranceSuite systems were completed in parallel, including many external integrations. “An implementation of this size, done in this amount of time, needed to adopt a full Agile methodology to be successful,” says Matthew Turack , vice president of insurance for CAA South Central Ontario. InsuranceSuite includes three software applications — dubbed PolicyCenter, BillingCenter and ClaimCenter — all of which are available separately. ClaimCenter lets users enter new claims, using wizards. Features of PolicyCenter, designed for property and casualty insurance firms, include product definition, underwriting, quoting, binding, endorsements and renewals. The third module of InsuranceSuite, BillingCenter, handles payment plans and agent commissions. CAA Insurance (Ontario) is owned by CAA South Central Ontario.
4 RIMS, the Risk Management Society, has announced that John Phelps  will lead the society as president for the 2013 term, effective January 1. Phelps is director of business risk solutions for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc. He has been a member of RIMS for almost 33 years and on its Board of Directors for nine years. Previously, Phelps served as vice president and board liaison to the society’s External Affairs Committee and RIMS Canada Council.
He is a member of RIMS Northeast Florida Chapter.
The other officers on the RIMS 2013 Board of Directors are vice president Dan Kugler, assistant treasurer of risk management for Snap-On Inc.; treasurer Nowell Seaman, manager of risk management and insurance services for the University of Saskatchewan; and corporate secretary Carolyn Snow, director of risk management for Humana Inc. New board members include Gordon Adams, chief risk officer of Tri-Marine International Inc., and Grace Crickette, chief risk officer of the University of California.
5 FirstOnSite has developed its own software, dubbed mobileCT, which will allow project managers to compile site reports of damaged properties and to generate electronic records for claims adjusters. The firm opted to develop its software in-house rather than buy commercial off-the-shelf software. “There are bits and pieces of solutions which you can put together, but we’re dealing with security and privacy issues,” FirstOnSite chief operating officer Bruce Derraugh said in an interview with Canadian Underwriter. “We’re not just going to be running it off someone’s laptop or an iPad.” Mississauga, Ontario-based FirstOnSite, which cleans up and repairs properties after catastrophes, floods and fires, has 100-plus project managers assessing damage on insured properties. In the past, Derraugh says, the process was manual, so when a project manager visited a damaged property, the initial report would be on paper. Along with photos and sketches, that report would be brought back to the firm’s office and entered into its software. With mobileCT, the project manager can generate both a report for the insurance carrier and a work order the same day.
6 Burns and Wilcox Canada announced that Lalita Mohabir  has joined the company as senior personal accident underwriter in the company’s Toronto office. The firm was created as a result of the acquisition last year of London-based Chesterfield Group Ltd. by H.W. Kaufman Financial Group. Mohabir brings more than 26 years of industry experience to Burns and Wilcox Canada and will lead the company’s personal accident team, offering accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage. In her most recent role, Mohabir served for 12 years as a senior underwriter with William J. Sutton & Co. Ltd. In this capacity, she provided special risk assessment for a variety of prospective policy contracts, including rating and analysis for life and accident, disability, expatriate major medical insurance and special contingency policies.
7 Canadian Broker Network (CBN) and Intact Financial Corp. announced that they have reached an agreement whereby CBN will acquire Intact affiliate South Western Insurance Group Ltd., a wholesale insurance intermediary that provides brokerages with specialty and niche insurance markets. Terms of the transaction, which was expected to close by the end of 2012, were not disclosed. Upon closing, South Western will operate as an independent subsidiary of CBN with its own leadership team, name and brand. “This acquisition is a tremendous opportunity as it allows us to enter an important segment of the brokerage industry,” CBN chair Daryn McLean [7a] notes in the press statement. “Under the strategic direction of CBN, South Western will be well-positioned to better serve the needs of insurance brokers across the country,” adds Intact president and CEO Louis Gagnon [7b].
8 CARSTAR Automotive Canada is entering 2013 with the launch of 25 new franchise partners across Canada. The company’s recent NAPA Autopro transition will account for the conversion of 20 new locations throughout Quebec in January, with more locations expected to be added in the early part of 2013. In Alberta, a new location will open in Medicine Hat, while in Atlantic Canada, a new location will be opened in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Both locations are new centres. In British Columbia, new locations are being added in Duncan and 100 Mile House. In Ontario, CARSTAR Kincardine also recently joined the network.
9 The Co-operators Group Limited announced in December that its TIC travel insurance subsidiary has been recognized as one of the best small and medium employers in Canada. It is also on a list of the best employers in the greater Toronto area (GTA) for 2013. The Best GTA employer list is compiled by AON Hewitt Human Resources, in partnership with the Kingston, Ontario-based Queen’s University School of Business. The list uses results of confidential employee engagement surveys. “We received solid scores in areas, including co-workers, work/life balance and physical environment,” David Hartman , president and CEO of TIC, says in a press release. TIC is owned by The Co-operators Life Insurance Company, part of the Guelph, Ontario-based Co-operators Group.