Canadian Underwriter

Top 5 insurer expanding into Quebec commercial

January 13, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Quebec brokers can now place commercial coverage with Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company for policies starting Feb. 1.

The Manitoba-based insurer announced Monday that it is offering commercial coverage in Quebec, making good on a promise made to the province’s brokers more than two years ago when Wawanesa announced it would stop writing insurance directly in Quebec.

The company described its Jan. 11 announcement as the next chapter in its 70-year history of operating in Quebec.

Wawanesa began accepting commercial property submissions for non-lead subscriptions in Quebec in September, 2020, a company spokesperson said Wednesday.

“However, our broad range of commercial packages were not available. This expansion brings that broad range of our commercial packages to the Quebec market.”

Wawanesa’s Select Series is comprised of commercial insurance packages tailored to vertical markets such as retail, manufacturing, contractors, wholesalers, salons, realty and clinics.

“Brokers look after their customers better than the directs,” said Carol Jardine, president of the Canadian property and casualty operations for Wawanesa, during a January 2019 luncheon presentation to the Insurance Brokers of Toronto Region.

“Brokers know what their customers need and want, and brokers will provide the value that a customer requires, which is choice,” Jardine said at the time, explaining her company’s strategy to “double down” on brokers and not to be a direct writer in Canada.

The Quebec commercial property market had $1.963 billion in direct written premiums in 2019, according to the 2020 Canadian Underwriter Statistical Guide. In 2019, the top 5 Quebec underwriters, in commercial property, in order, were Intact, Promutuel, Northbridge, La Capitale and Lloyd’s.

In the province’s liability market, insurers made $1.24 billion in direct written premiums in 2019. The top five underwriters were led by Lloyd’s and followed by Intact, Northbridge, Aviva and Chubb. The rankings are different in other commercial lines. For example, FM Global led the Quebec boiler and machinery market, while Trisura placed fifth in surety in 2019.

In overall P&C, the top five Quebec insurers in 2019 were Intact, Desjardins, La Capitale, Promutuel and Aviva.

In the overall Canadian P&C market, Wawanesa ranked fourth in 2019, behind Intact, Desjardins and Lloyd’s. Wawanesa had 6.25% market share and $3.56 billion in direct written premiums in 2019 in overall P&C in Canada. Wawanesa also writes insurance in the United States.

In overall P&C, Wawanesa placed 22nd in Quebec but first in both the Manitoba and New Brunswick markets in 2019. Wawanesa placed second in Alberta, 11th in Ontario, third in Saskatchewan and fifth in British Columbia.

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