Canadian Underwriter

Ample opportunities in changing Canadian demographic: Top Broker Summit speaker

April 27, 2017   by Gloria Cilliers

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Canada’s demographic has changed drastically, creating ample new opportunities for the P&C insurance industry.
This was CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs Darrel Bricker’s key message at the annual Canadian Insurance Top Broker Summit, held on 14 November at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Toronto.

In his presentation, entitled “The Big Shift: The Battle between Old and New Canada,” Bricker outlined the changing demographic of Canada, saying “old Canada” was English and French and “very white”, with more focus on natural resources, had big families/households, trusted public authorities and institutions.

Over the years, this has changed to “more urban-suburban, multi-cultural, older and more female, with smaller families/households, an increasing generational divide, less engaged with traditional institutions, but much more tolerant, opinionated, demanding and difficult”.

Bricker urged brokers and insurers to look at certain challenges and opportunities within the changing demographic, like growing suburbs, the growing share of “well-derly”, the fact that families have become smaller, and the younger generation’s crushing debt. He urged insurers to consider new or enhanced products for Canada’s “new global, mobile middle class” and young and older single women.

A changing demographic

  • Canada has changed from an almost 90% rural population in 1851 to an 81% urban population in 2011, he said. The country’s population grew 1.11% from 2011 to 2014, with Alberta’s growth rate being the highest, at 2.59% and Nova Scotia’s the lowest, at 0.01%.
  • Since 1995, Alberta has lured 500 000 interprovincial migrants. Calgary boasts the highest population growth between 2001 – 2006 (13.4%) and 2006 – 2011 (12.6%), while Halifax reported the least population growth between 2001 – 2006 (3.8%) and 2006 – 2011 (4.7%).
  • Canada’s fertility rate dropped to 1.61 (number of children the average woman aged 15 to 49 would have in her lifetime) in 2011, from 3.5 in 1921.
  • The decline was seen everywhere in Canada, with British Columbia having the lowest rate at 1.42, while Nanavut was at the highest at 2.97, followed by Seskatchewan at 1.99 and the Northwest Territories at 1.97. Ontario’s rate was 1.52.
  • The average lifespan of Canadians increased to 81 years, from 57 in the 1920’s. This number will grow to 87 years by 2036, Bricker said. There are 5 women to every one man in Canada, he added.
  • In 2011, 14.4% of the population was 65 years and older, while this number is projected to grow to 23.7% in 2036. Millennials made up 37% of the workforce between 1972 – 1992.

Massive working age gap

This all, has resulted in “a huge working age gap in Canada”, Bricker said. Where in 2011, 70% of Canadians were of working age, that number would drop significantly to below 60% by 2046.

In addition, “by 2020, Canada will be short 1 million skilled trade jobs,” he said.

In 1971, there were 6.6 people of working age for each senior, in 2012 that number dropped to 4.2, and projections put the ratio at two to one in 2036.

A Surge in Economic Immigrants
Canada led the pack when it came to population growth for the G8 countries between 2011 – 2006 (5.4%) and 2006 – 2011 (5.9%), thanks to economic immigrants, Bricker said.

In 2013, immigrants to Canada were made up of 57% economic immigrants, 31% family class, and 9% refugees. Whereas in 1970, most immigrants to Canada came from the U.K. and U.S., today, most immigrants come from China, India, the Philippines, Pakistan and Iran.

Today, 20.6% of Canadians were foreign born, with Ontario having the highest number, 28.5%. Nearly half (49.7%) of Toronto’s population today, were foreign born. Nine out of 10 immigrants live in urban Canada, Bricker said.
The top countries for relocation are the U.S., followed by the U.K., then Canada. This might change, with Canada becoming even more popular for immigrants in future, Bricker said, suggesting that the recent U.S. election result may even have “something to do with it”.

Download Bricker’s full presentation here.

View pictures from our Top Broker Summit here.

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.