Canadian Underwriter

Nova Scotia aims to boost insurance profile


April 9, 2010   by Steven Lamb


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Ask most people about the economy of Nova Scotia and they will probably think of fishing and tourism. While these may be the cornerstones of the province, the insurance industry is also one of the largest contributors to the economy.

Insurance already contributes $460 million in direct annual GDP to the provincial economy; $757.4 million if you count indirect contributions; but a new report suggests the industry can take an even larger role.

Commissioned by the Greater Halifax Partnership and Nova Scotia Business Inc., the INSURECONOMY report calls for greater co-operation between the industry and government.

"From executive level presence and head offices located in Halifax; our economic hub; to smaller offices in communities across Nova Scotia, close to 4,500 Nova Scotians are employed by the insurance sector, making it a significant economic asset," says Paul Kent, president and CEO, Greater Halifax Partnership.

It is easy to understand why Nova Scotia might want to grow its insurance sector.  Not only would it further reduce reliance on finicky economic sectors like resource extraction and tourism, but wages in the sector are 38% above the provincial average.

The INSURECONOMY report recommends that the province strive to become an international hub for the insurance sector.

"Nova Scotia is well-positioned for growth in this exciting sector," says Pat Ryan, vice-president and chief operating officer, Nova Scotia Business Inc. "Our success in financial services and insurance to date is proof positive that we can compete and win locally and internationally."

"Halifax has become a hub for the insurance industry; with one of the highest concentrations of insurance industry firms and employment among metropolitan areas in Canada," says Fred Morley,  executive vice-president and chief economist, Greater Halifax Partnership. "Already the firms consulted for this report are looking to grow their collective employment by 25% over the next three years."

He points out that this growth will require cooperation government, academic, institutional and private sectors.

The report is based on an economic footprint assessment by the Conference Board of Canada, and a study of the province’s property and casualty insurance firms and insurance brokerages conducted by Jupia Consultants Inc.

The insurance industry has deep roots in Halifax, with Canada’s first insurance company being founded there in 1804. There are over 360 insurance-related firms in the province, ranging from insurance providers to brokers and support companies, with the majority of Canada’s top insurance firms having a "significant presence."

Insurance employs nearly 4,500 people directly, with another 2,400 jobs in support industries.  And its growing quickly; over the past five years the number of employees has increased by almost 20%. That growth rate is expected to climb to 25% over the next three years.

To download a copy of the report, visit http://www.insureconomy.ca

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.