Canadian Underwriter

Industry hasn’t done a great job of service: broker execs

September 16, 2022   by Alyssa DiSabatino

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The Canadian P&C industry hasn’t done a great job of service, says one industry CEO in an executive panel discussion at RIMS Canada Conference in Halifax. 

What’s the good news? The industry can meet and maintain service levels through collaborative effort and technological advances.  

“Let’s be honest, this industry hasn’t done a great job of service,” says Sarah Robson, president & CEO of Marsh Canada. “Let’s raise the bar. I think we still have—collectively, as an industry—a long way to go on that.” 

“Thinking about prior to COVID, there’s certain issues that existed before,” agrees Stéphane Lespérance, president of Aon Canada. “There’s deficiencies in our industry that have occurred before [the pandemic] and we’ve just got to fix those issues together.” 

These statements may be backed up by Canadian Underwriter’s Trusted Advisor survey which in 2021 found only 36% of respondents (commercial clients of brokers) said they were satisfied or very satisfied that their broker “helped me through the claim process to clear up confusion and move things along quickly.” 

And while service levels have suffered recently—thanks to pandemic delays, claims volumes, consumer behaviour, supply chain issues and staffing shortages—Robson admits this is “without a doubt” a historical issue in the industry. 

But how does Canada’s P&C industry raise the bar? Part of the solution may come from industry collaboration, panellists say.  

“Insurers are working differently, the brokers are working differently, the clients are working differently,” Robson says. “Let’s make sure that we are [coming] together to establish what those [service] expectations should be.” 

Digitizing and automatizing will also go a long way in improving service levels.  

“I do think technology is going to help us in that area as well,” says Robson. “We’ve certainly increased our investment through the course of pandemic to be able to make sure that we can truly offer a digital high-end experience to help us [respond to] the service challenges.” 

The industry may start their digital transformation by reevaluating their legacy tech systems. Sixty-one per cent of 1,220 surveyed companies said legacy systems were their biggest impediments, followed by 42% for budget approval issues and the skills gap, according to survey results from digital intelligence company ABBYY. 

“We’ve got to become a lot more efficient in that way and create a much better experience [for customers]” says Robson. 


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