Canadian Underwriter

2018 Outlook: Lynn Oldfield, President, CEO, AIG Canada

January 2, 2018   by Lynn Oldfield

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As chair of the board of the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC), I see graduating insurance professionals who are educated, committed, and inspiring. Their sacrifice and determination in completing their Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) and Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP) designations inspires us and we can have confidence that the future of our industry is in good hands. The war for talent will continue to be a key issue in 2018 and we need to work together as an industry to reach high schools, colleges and universities to attract the best and brightest.

Innovation and disruptive technologies will enrich and enhance the tools of our trade for customer service, underwriting and claims adjudication. Groundbreaking innovation such as big data, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and blockchain could help to address some of the most pressing domestic and global risks. A positive impact for corporate Canada is the ability to collect real time data, based on the adoption of connected devices or the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT connected devices can be 1) applied to industrial machinery sensors to prevent downtime; 2) attached to points along the supply chain to track inventory and shipping; and 3) connected in commercial property to track metrics and reduce losses if a process breakdown was to occur.

With the emergence of autonomous vehicles and other IoT developments, new questions of liability will come into focus. The insurance industry will play a vital role to help our clients mitigate the risks associated with data, innovation and IoT. Insurers can lead by anticipating the risks associated with this latest technological revolution and fostering the dialogue necessary for all participants to understand the opportunities and the consequences.

If the current trend of increasing catastrophic severity continues, we can continue to expect significant losses in Canada and abroad in 2018. This past year is shaping up to be the costliest year ever for insurance losses due to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, an earthquake in Mexico and the California wildfires. In a globally connected economy, these losses matter to Canadians. Many industry leaders have already gone on the record to state that there will be broader implications on 2018 pricing.