Canadian Underwriter

2018 Outlook: Rob Wesseling, President, CEO, The Co-operators Group Limited

January 3, 2018   by Rob Wesseling

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Taking on an increased leadership role with respect to climate change, and working to engage clients more effectively are two key challenges for the industry in the year ahead.

In the short term, climate change may be a premium-level issue for the industry. But over the long term, it is a societal issue that will bring into question our ability to continue to live and work where and how we do today. To put it bluntly, insurance is not a viable solution when families, businesses and governments cannot afford the cost of the risk to which they are exposed.

With respect to climate change, the Canadian insurance industry should be the canary in the coal mine. We are on the front lines and well-positioned to step forward and play a more significant role. Now is our time to make an important positive impact through proactive efforts to help strengthen resiliency in Canadian communities. Our industry has shown leadership in this area, both internationally and in Canada, such as at the National Roundtable on Flood Risk, which brought together key stakeholders for a national discussion on a vital societal issue, as well as the Insurance Development Forum, which brings together the insurance industry, the UN and the World Bank to use insurance as a mechanism to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

In today’s connected world, our ability to engage clients is paramount. Yet, our industry’s digital and mobile capabilities are not at the same level of maturity as other industries, and this presents a threat for us collectively.

Providing options for clients to interact with us digitally while at the same time ensuring that they have access to professional advice tailored to their needs is of critical importance.

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