Canadian Underwriter

Executive Outlook 2020 | Carol Jardine, Wawanesa

December 30, 2019   by David Gambrill

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Carol Jardine, President, Canadian P&C Operations, The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company

One of the most important issues facing the industry is the Canadian consumer’s pocketbook. Canadian families have never been more in debt and GDP and wage growth aren’t helping. Many families live one paycheque to the next.

These dynamics are linked to the challenges facing our industry.

Within the P&C industry, underwriting capacity globally has shrunk. Claims costs are increasing because of climate change, the sophisticated technology in today’s cars, and injury recovery costs continue to climb. All of this is driving up loss costs and premiums. It’s a recipe for consumer price shock, raising the risk of backlash from consumers, especially policyholders who are claims-free.

At Wawanesa, we start from the principle that as a mutual insurer we have an obligation to help families manage the increased costs of insurance within their household budgets.

Central to this work is partnering with insurance brokers to equip them with the tools and options they need to assist consumers and businesses in making the right risk management choices and in selecting the right insurance options for their unique circumstances.

This involves investing in technology and systems to make the transactional side of our business easier to navigate. The goal is fast, reliable communications between brokers and customers, with options to control their risk acceptance and the price of their insurance. Let’s say a customer asks a broker, “If I increase my deductible, how much will I save?” An instant, accurate answer from Wawanesa will help Canadians make better choices in an environment of rising premiums. That’s what brokers need and what we are delivering with our new technology.

At the same time, we can’t expect brokers to carry the weight of justifying higher premiums to consumers. As an industry, we need to do more to improve consumer literacy about rising costs and the essential service we provide to Canadians.

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3 Comments » for Executive Outlook 2020 | Carol Jardine, Wawanesa
  1. Doug Davidge says:

    Our Wawanesa house insurance premium just went up nearly 52% from last year’s premium (2019). This is a significant increase particularly for a retired married couple on a fixed income. According to the pamphlet that was enclosed with our insurance package this past week (to be renewed in February, 2020) it stated ” For every premium dollar we received last year, we paid out more in claims and expenses.” This suggests to me the company could be going under?? Is this the case?

    • Logendra Naidoo says:

      No answer yet? Mom having same issue in Alberta.

    • Avishek Biswas says:

      Not necessarily. Insurance companies have other ways of making money besides premiums. For example, they invest in low-risk securities such as bonds and earn interest. I should also mention that all insurance companies are mandated to reserve a certain portion of their premiums collected to make sure they have enough to pay out all claims, so it’s unlikely they will go under. It just means that on average, claims costs exceeded premiums collected in 2019. So Wawanesa did not profit much from their policyholders. To compensate for last year’s loss, they had to increase premium amounts for everyone to maintain their reserves.

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