December 30, 2019 by David Gambrill
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.