Canadian Underwriter

Briefing Note: Territories

July 13, 2020   by Canadian Underwriter Staff

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Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are feeling the effects of insurers pulling out of both areas.

“We had Aviva Elite, who wrote probably all of the mobile homes in the Northwest Territories, discontinue writing [that line],” says Mark Harris, the president of Hay River, NWT-based Norland Insurance Agencies. “And Travelers Insurance in the last 12 months discontinued writing any commercial lines.”

Harris says Aviva Elite departed because of the high loss ratios for mobile homes. “They kept throwing rate at that particular book of business, hoping that rate would straighten things out and make the book profitable. But it didn’t.”

Colin Matchyuk, a commercial account executive at HUB International’s Winnipeg office, has been serving Nunavut for almost 20 years. He hasn’t seen conditions so meagre. “There’s been a mass exodus of insurers from the territory. Options are poor and pricing is escalating,” he says.

Some specialty lines are stable, such as D&O and cyber. But “in the general liability [GL] and property markets, things have gotten horrific,” says Matchyuk. “Nowhere in Canada is as bad in terms of capacity and rates in property and GL.”

Brokers in Yukon see the exacerbation of capacity struggles felt elsewhere in the country due to the territory’s remoteness and small population.

“Companies that would have put up 15% on a $50-million building three years ago now want to put up 7%,” says Doug Lyall, chief sales officer of the prairie arctic region at HUB. “That’s requiring more capacity to insure that same building than it did three years ago.”

Covering mobile homes in Yukon is a growing challenge, Lyall says, though the situation isn’t as dire as in the Northwest Territories. “The largest insurer of mobile homes in the Northwest Territories completely got out of mobile homes.”

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