Canadian Underwriter

2 risks keeping these business leaders up at night

July 12, 2022   by Alyssa DiSabatino

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Québec businesses are more likely to prioritize business interruption and environmental risks than their counterparts in the rest of the country, according to a new report by Aviva. 

However, both Québec and the rest of Canada are equally keen on risk management, the survey finds.

Business interruption risks ranked first among the concerns of Québec business leaders, whereas it ranked fifth in the rest of Canada, finds Aviva’s Risk Insights Report, which surveyed 300 Quebec business leaders across revenue sizes in Sept. 2021. 

Comparatively, the list of Top 5 concerns among all Canadian business leaders surveyed include: 

  1. Public health events
  2. Cyber security and cyber incidents
  3. The health and mental well-being of employees
  4. Shortage of skilled workforce
  5. Business interruption, including disruptions in supply chain 

Although 35% of Québec businesses are concerned about business interruption, the rest of Canada (27%) is less concerned. 

“Québec’s manufacturing sector was hit hard by COVID-19, losing billions of dollars during lockdowns and feeling the rippling effects of disrupted supply chains,” Urs Uhlmann, managing director of GCS Aviva Canada, says in the report. “They recognize there’s more to come, be it in the form of further supply chain disruptions, inflation, people challenges or geopolitical events.” 

Interestingly, more Québec businesses felt like their Business Continuity Planning (BCP) stood up well against pandemic restrictions compared to the rest of Canada.

While about 47% of large businesses in Québec felt prepared for the pandemic, only 30% of Canada felt the same way. The pattern continues between middle market, medium and micro/small businesses, although the differential gets smaller in concert with revenue size. 

What’s more, Québec business leaders are more concerned about environmental risks than the rest of Canada. 

For 65% of large corporations, environmental risks overshadow other concerns whereas less than 20% of large corporations in the rest of Canada feel similarly. The pattern reigns true for all business sizes, although the differential shrinks simultaneously with revenue size. 

Québec businesses are more likely to undertake flood and natural catastrophe emergency response plans than the rest of Canada, the survey finds. That sentiment was especially strong amongst the medium and mid-market businesses where they were twice as likely to undertake these plans than the rest of the country. 

Looking outward, almost half of Québec businesses (47%) cite environmental factors like sourcing sustainable materials and minimizing waste as very important versus 23% of large businesses across Canada. 

In terms of risk management, one-third of Québec business leaders pinpointed market development and the health and well-being of employees as key exposures. 

Three-quarters of medium and mid-market businesses in Québec say they will increase risk management activities in the next few years, consistent with the rest of Canada. 

Québec and Canada seemingly share a lack of urgency surrounding risk management. Only 17% of businesses in both Québec and the rest of Canada indicate risk management as a key business priority. Québec businesses are focused on growth and investment in IT, alongside internal retention and customer acquisition. 

However, Québec businesses differ from their Canadian counterparts in that they feel well protected by their BCPs — only a small percentage within each business size segment believe their BCPs require considerable revision. 

According to Québec businesses, budgetary issues and lack of expertise will impede them from implementing more risk prevention protocols. Over a third of medium (43%) and mid-market (39%) businesses in Québec say they are considerably less likely to purchase more insurance due to limited budgets. 


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