Canadian Underwriter

Executive Outlook 2022: Christian Fournier, Beneva

December 20, 2021   by Canadian Underwriter Staff

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Christian Fournier, Executive Vice-President and Lead, Property and Casualty Insurance, Beneva [La Capitale/SSQ]

One lesson from 2021 is that the consolidation in our industry is ongoing. There have been mergers of brokers and insurers. The pandemic hasn’t slowed that down. This is a trend in our industry, as much in distribution as in carriers.

The question was asked, at the beginning of the pandemic, whether we should go ahead with the merger of La Capitale and SSQ, which was announced prior to the pandemic. The answer was yes. The industry, like everybody else, was a little caught off guard by the pandemic. But by the beginning of 2021, I think the industry really got its act together. The industry has shown a lot of resilience. I think we got to a point in 2021 where we’re almost back to business as usual, except that many employees are working from home.

One thing we learned from the pandemic is the importance of having digital solutions, so our clients and brokers can decide how they want to interact with us. This was already a trend before the pandemic, but we expect it to accelerate in the coming years. In 2022, the market will continue to evolve rapidly. We need our systems to be more flexible and nimble. This is a very significant undertaking.

Another thing on our radar is the upward trend in the cost of repairs – whether it be cars or property claims – over the last little while. Cars are getting more sophisticated and more expensive to repair. Property costs have gone up a lot in the last 18 months.

Climate change, and catastrophic events in general, is something that we as an industry, are going to have to deal with. The pandemic gave us a glimpse of what we may have to deal with in a situation such as a wildfire or earthquake. We’ve had to help our employees first get through the early stages of the pandemic. The same could happen if we had an earthquake, for example.

See all the 2022 Outlooks here.