Canadian Underwriter

This mutual aspires to break into Top 10 by the 2030s

March 12, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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If multiple Juno-winner Tom Cochrane were to analyze your industry, he might say, “My Gore’s going to play in the big leagues.”

Gore Mutual Insurance Company, based in Cambridge, Ont., has big ambitions. Although the mutual currently commands less than 1% of the Canadian P&C market, it is aiming to be a Top-10 player sometime over the next decade, CEO Andy Taylor told Canadian Underwriter.

“Our vision over the next 10 years is to be a national Top 10 insurer and so we are investing heavily in operating models, technology, and talent to support that future vision,” Taylor said in a recent interview in the context of Gore Mutual’s 2020 financial results. “Our next objective is to grow our overall company-wide head count by 25%. This will add about 200 to the head count during 2020 and 2021.”

In 2019, Gore Mutual placed 20th, with nearly $450 million in net premiums written, among Canada’s P&C insurers, according to the 2020 Canadian Underwriter Statistical Guide.

(Placing first and tenth were Intact and Allstate, with $8.76 billion and $1.95 billion in net premiums written respectively in 2019).

Gore Mutual had roughly $475 million in net premiums written in 2020, Taylor told Canadian Underwriter. The company reported Feb. 25 its revenue growth was 8.3% in 2020, with gross written premiums of $515 million before customer relief initiatives.

The company essentially broke even on its underwriting results, with a combined ratio of 101.6% if you include strategic investments. The combined ratio was 96.6% if you do not include those strategic investments. The 96.6% underlying combined ratio included weather catastrophe losses.

Talent and technology were key strategic investments that add 4.5 points to the 2020 combined ratio (bringing it from 96.6% to 101.6%), said Taylor.

“The overall strategy we have right now for a two-year period is to take the profits of the organization that we would normally generate and re-invest those profits into the transformation. It is sort of a break-even concept. We can fund our transformation through our profits. That is our goal in 2021 as well,” added Taylor.

Gore Mutual is not publicizing the exact amount it spends on technology but key investments include the cloud version of Guidewire as well as Amazon Connect.

“The long-term strategic view is, Amazon Connect can enable an omni channel experience,” Taylor said. “The aim is to have seamless handoffs of customer calls, between different individuals within the organization.”

Gore Mutual’s business transformation includes growing beyond Ontario and British Columbia, becoming a digitally-led national insurer. This means re-thinking its approach to technology, data, products, and pricing.

In property insurance, Gore ranked 13th and 15th in B.C. and Ontario respectively in the Canadian Underwriter 2020 Stats Guide.

In an earlier interview, Taylor told Canadian Underwriter that Gore Mutual is not only looking for industry skills but is also willing to look outside the industry to get the right soft skills. Examples include business and strategic leadership, judgement, communications, relationship management, leadership, ownership, and accountability.

Placing second through ninth in the Canadian P&C market, measured by 2019 net premiums written, were Desjardins, Lloyd’s, Wawanesa, The Co-operators, Security National, RSA, Economical, and Aviva.

If Gore Mutual were to break into the Top 10 tomorrow, it would leapfrog over Travelers, La Capitale, SGI, Genworth, Promutuel, Green Shield and Chubb Canada. The 2020 Canadian Underwriter Stats Guide, which uses statistics from MSA Research, counts SGI and the Saskatchewan Auto Fund as two separate insurers.

Market leader Intact expects to complete its acquisition of RSA Canada during 2021 Q2. Intact and Tryg A/S announced this past November they formed a consortium to acquire London-based RSA.

Northbridge ranked 11th in 2020.

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