Canadian Underwriter

Which business line has taken the biggest hit?

February 25, 2020   by Greg Meckbach, Associate Editor

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How would you characterize the hardening commercial market right now? We put the question to Scott Treasure, CEO of Edmonton-based Treasures Insurance and Risk Management Inc., a founding partner of the Excel Insurance Group.
– As told to Greg Meckbach

It is not a hard market in the fully traditional sense.

In times past, you had a situation in which a market would say, “We are not dealing with anything in this particular field.” Now, there is more information at underwriters’ fingertips. So now, if the story-telling is right, if the underwriting and risk management story is put forward to the carrier, there’s more of an ability to find a home for clean risks.

Given this caveat, the current hard market started in a few lines. Commercial realty was hit early. That market includes large condo buildings and multi-unit buildings, which are now at a tough point. The commercial realty sector was extremely competitive for a long time, and the overarching push had been market share. But this line of business is susceptible to all of the little things that have challenged property for a while. Water damage in those spaces can be a big deal. People are stacked up on top of each other, so the problems literally cascade. The loss ratios in that space are extremely difficult to deal with. Now we are getting down to brass tacks on things and the reality is, the commercial realty space has been underwater on the claims side for a while. The rate has been below where it should be for some time now. The correction has been particularly harsh.
In general, there was some serious competition that went on in P&C insurance. We obviously had rates that were held low for a while, and now the stop has been removed.

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