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CAMIC drives lobby efforts and membership growth


April 3, 2005   by Canadian Underwriter


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The Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (CAMIC) told membership it will be looking to respond to federal legislation and increase its own numbers through the rest of 2005, at the association’s “Mid-Year Meeting” in Toronto last week.
CAMIC president Normand Lafreniere says among the association’s lobbying points will be to push for more federal money aimed at provinces and municipalities. He says this agenda is “based on the mutuality spirit”, as mutual insurers seek to protect the interests of the local communities they serve. He notes with some dismay that although the federal government has been able to reduce debt spending through budgetary surpluses, it is directed much of its spending to new federal programs, rather than increasing payments to the provinces, and thus municipalities. What money does come the way of local governments tends to come with federal oversight, making municipalities accountable to the federal government rather than their own constituents.
He says CAMIC is also looking at how it will respond to the federal government’s review of financial institutions legislation, with responses to the recently released consultation paper due this June.
CAMIC is also proposing ways to increase membership, with board member Robert Forsythe noting the association is looking at expanding membership to include cooperative and reciprocal insurers. These kinds of organizations, as alternatives to stock insurance companies, “share similar values” to mutuals, he says. “Ultimately we are all working for the same constituents our policyholders,” he says of the common bond between mutuals and reciprocals or cooperatives. “We believe CAMIC is a much stronger organization with the addition of these new members.”
He hopes expanded membership will help increase CAMIC’s role as the “other voice” in an industry dominated by foreign-owned “giants”.
CAMIC will be looking to this issue at its annual convention, set for the first week of October in Niagara Falls, Ontario. At that time, CAMIC will also officially launch its new logo, which was presented at last week’s mid-year meeting.