Canadian Underwriter

CNA offers brokers ‘full range’ of coverage in Canada with specialty launch

January 28, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter

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With the introduction of its specialty products in Canada, commercial insurer CNA Financial Corp. plans to “build out” its talent base, focusing “primarily” on brokers with whom it already has relationships and expand its offerings to include directors’ and officers’ liability and technology liability, among others, company officials told brokers and reporters Tuesday.

Before this month, CNA has offered commercial customers “a rather limited offering” in Canada, CNA Canada president and chief operating officer John Hennessy suggested, adding markets in Canada include manufacturing, construction and marine/cargo.

“We have only been able to provide our broker partners with a limited cadre of CNA’s products,” he said during the CNA Canada Specialty Launch in Toronto Tuesday.

CNA Canada president and chief operating officer John Hennessy addresses guests at the CNA Canada Toronto Celebration and Specialty Lines Launch at the Shangria-La Hotel in downtown Toronto

The Chicago-based firm announced Jan. 5 it would offer its specialty lines in Canada effective Jan. 1. At the time, CNA said coverage options are available for healthcare, directors & officers (D&O) liability, technology and telecommunications liability, employment practices liability, fiduciary liability, crime and miscellaneous professional liability.

Executives from CNA went into more detail at Tuesday’s launch at the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Toronto.

CNA Canada executives at the specialty launch in Toronto: Michael O'Connor, vice president of underwriting; Rhonda Buege, vice president, underwriting, healthcare; John Hennessy, president and COO; and Paul Meinschenk, vice president of sales and producer management

With the specialty products, Canadian commercial brokers will have access to “the full array of CNA’s products, so moving away from just a commercial operation, to a full operation that would encompass technology risks, healthcare, life science, professional services, management liability, financial institutions,” Hennessy said at the launch. “These are all areas of the company that CNA enjoys great successes in other jurisdictions and we want to bring those capabilities to our brokers so we can together service our customers in the most effective way possible.”

CNA Canada has “a small group of employees” led by Michael O’Connor, its vice president of underwriting, Hennessy added. “But we will quickly be building out our talent base. Right now we are involved in building up our products, and our service capabilities, so that we can start approaching the marketplace in a much broader way than before. 

CNA is planning specialty launch events next month in the four other Canadian cities in which it has offices: Vancouver Feb. 2, Calgary Feb. 4, Montreal Feb. 10 and Winnipeg Feb. 26.

“It really is the first opportunity that CNA has had in Canada to provide the full breadth of coverage that CNA brings to the table,” O’Connor said during the launch Tuesday in Toronto.

CNA Canada already has “a real strong broker presence across Canada,” Hennessy said. “We are working with who we believe are the very best brokers, so we believe our first focus is going to be on those brokers that we already have deep relationships with.”

CNA announced Hennessy’s appointment in August, when he replaced Gary Owcar, who retired. Hennessy was previously chief executive of CNA Europe.

He referred on Tuesday to CNA Financial’s acquisition, in 2012, of Hardy Underwriting Bermuda Limited. That deal “gives us more capability and more international presence, and we will be working closely with our international colleagues in London to make sure that our Canadian customers are brought those international capabilities as well,” Hennessy added.

CNA is majority-owned by Loews Corp.

Bottom picture: CNA Canada executives at the specialty launch in Toronto: Michael O’Connor, vice president of underwriting; Rhonda Buege, vice president, underwriting, healthcare; John Hennessy, president and COO; and Paul Meinschenk, vice president of sales and producer management.