September 26, 2015 by Angela Stelmakowich, Editor
It will be a challenging year for the insurance industry, but brokers will be able to manage those challenges with continued focus and hard work, Lorne Perry, president-elect of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC), suggested during IBAC’s annual general meeting in Quebec City Saturday.
“We have new risks, like cyber risk; we have new policies, like Uber insurance and telematics; we have consolidation of insurers and brokers alike; we have new sales channels and new entrants into the field,” Perry told assembled brokers. “It will be a challenging year, but if we work together, we will handle these challenges and we will be stronger for it,” he said.
In response to the current environment, Perry noted that IBAC’s board expects to, among other things, institute a new strategic plan, look at a new operating plan and continue to develop IT solutions.
Change is pretty much a constant. Stephan Bernatchez, who will soon take on the task of IBAC chairman, said that IBACalso faced many challenges in 2015, but responded by stoking national discussion on flood, translating the CAIB program into French and driving home the broker stance on the Bank Act.
With the upcoming federal election, Bernatchez emphasized the need for brokers to redouble their efforts to deliver the message that banks must continue to be prohibited from selling insurance at the point of granting credit.
“In the year of an election, we need to be sharp and get involved in every community across Canada, whatever the party, and make sure that the newly elected members of Parliament get educated on our message,” he said.
IBAC CEO Dan Danyluk noted that Canada’s unique position on this front is thanks to broker efforts. “The fact that we are the only country in the Western world where banks are prevented from using their incredible clout at credit time to take advantage of consumers when it comes to insurance policies, the fact that we’re the only country standing that has managed to prevent that has a great deal to do with the strength of our volunteers, their commitment to the profession and what they do on behalf of their colleagues,” Danyluk told attendees.
Bernatchez suggested that 2015 will remember IBAC as setting “the base for national flood discussions among every stakeholder of the industry,” pointing out that “new solutions are just starting to get in place.”
Noted Perry, “Now we have things like cyber risk, overland flooding, telematics and driverless cars and, ironically, the unbundling of home insurance. At the same time, our customers are being enticed to purchase their insurance through new channels, channels that are promoted as being simpler and cheaper.”
All that said, Perry told attendees the challenges are manageable for brokers. Recalling sage advice he received early on in his career, he emphasized, “Our customers still need someone to be on their side. We still need insurance in order for planes to fly and for cars to drive – even if they are driverless.”
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