Canadian Underwriter

New leaders, divisions at Economical with dramatic changes to commercial business

November 16, 2017   by Staff

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16120673 - business people silhouettes in a modern officeEconomical Insurance is implementing a new organizational structure for its commercial lines business that will see greater emphasis on regional management and the introduction of new core segments.

The goal of the change is to improve profitability, capture more market share in small business and expand capabilities in middle market and specialties. The new structure is in effect on Dec. 1.

Related: Economical welcomes new executive vice president for personal insurance

“We have better strategic and operational alignment across all arms of commercial insurance with new senior leadership roles. We have streamlined and decentralized decision-making authority, enabling quicker decisions in the regions and key underwriting segments,” said Fabian Richenberger, executive vice president, commercial insurance, through a statement.

“Our knowledgeable front-line underwriters will have the authority to make timely assessments to service brokers better. We anticipate this renewed focus will empower employees to bring their best and help attract top talent from outside of the company,” he added.

The insurer has created three regional teams, which will also support the execution of the company’s personal lines strategy.

The Western region will be led by Chris Weber, vice president, who will oversee regional commercial underwriting in British Columbia, Alberta and the Prairies.

Richenberger will take charge of the Ontario region until a new leader has been appointed. Sherry Miller, regional commercial manager, will assist Richenberger in the meantime.

Related: Respect for broker channel was key to launching Sonnet: IBAO 2017

Glen Bates joins Economical on Dec. 1 and will be vice president of the Eastern region with oversight of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

Economical is also introducing core commercial segments that are designed to deliver products and services that meet the needs of “unique customer groups,” according to the insurer’s announcement.

The new core segments are:

>Agriculture and transportation – Ken Worsley, as division vice president, will be accountable for the agriculture business, Western General and transportation.
>Small business – Katherine Hanratty, division vice president, has been tasked with increasing market share and gaining scale through the creation of a highly automated underwriting solution.
>Specialty lines – Matthew Buchalter will be the interim leader of this division. This team is responsible for managing relationships with managing general agencies and will begin to explore additional specialty product opportunities.

Related: The future of commercial brokers: RIMS Canada Conference

Other changes at Economical include:

>Pricing – Buchalter also takes on the role of vice president of commercial pricing. He will lead the development and maintenance of pricing frameworks, tools and processes, and analytics.
>Underwriting – Brenda Smythe has been named assistant vice president of corporate underwriting and will oversee product development and implementation and co-ordinate business line risk and quality assurance activities.

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This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.