Canadian Underwriter

Gavan’s Global Perspective

February 21, 2018   by Greg Meckbach, Associate Editor

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Huge gaps in earthquake coverage in eastern Canada, the impact of climate change on property damage, and harmonizing regulations across the globe are all top of mind for Karen Gavan, the former CEO of Waterloo, Ont.-based Economical Insurance.

Perhaps best known in the Canadian property and casualty industry for leading Canada’s first P&C mutual insurer into the demutualization process, now Gavan is poised to enter the boardroom of global reinsurer Swiss Re.

Based in Toronto, Gavan was nominated for election as a non-executive and independent member of the board of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation, which tops A.M. Best Company Inc.’s list of global reinsurers as ranked by premiums.

Karen Gavan, board member, Swiss Re America Holding Corporation

One of her chief objectives with Swiss Re is to reduce “protection gaps,” the difference between economic and insured losses.

Worldwide, economic losses from natural and man-made disasters in 2017 totaled US$306 billion, while insured losses were $136 billion, Swiss Re figures for December show — a gap of US$170 billion. Gavan says there will continue to be large gap unless insurance penetration rates increase.

“Even Canada has a significant protection gap,” says Gavan, referring to a Swiss Re report released this past July, Earthquake risk in eastern Canada: mind the shakes. Swiss Re predicts Montreal homeowners could experience $45 billion in economic losses if a 5.8-magnitude earthquake were to hit the city. A magnitude 5.0 earthquake bordering Ottawa and Quebec happened in 2010.

Read the full article in the Digital Edition of the February 2018 Canadian Underwriter.

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Atul Vohra, Regional Managing Director, Solera Canada, India and Australia