October 23, 2017 by Canadian Underwriter
The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) announced on Monday that it is formally suspending its sponsorship partnership with Aviva Canada “for the foreseeable future.”
IBAO CEO Colin Simpson argued in a media release that “Aviva continues to leverage the Aviva brand for broker-distributed products and direct-to-consumer products, with an inconsistency around product availability and pricing – a strategy the IBAO believes promotes confusion for consumers.”
Simpson contended that it’s also “damaging to IBAO member businesses. Consumer awareness of the Aviva brand has been built in partnership with the broker channel over many years,” he said, and the association “cannot continue to promote Aviva as a supporter of broker distribution in Ontario while it continues to leverage that brand against us.”
The release reported that the association received “overwhelming support” to take action following the latest direct-to-consumer offering leveraging the Aviva brand – their partnership with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE).
On Jan. 18, Aviva Canada announced that it was offering “team-branded” home and auto insurance directly to fans of Toronto’s Raptors and Maple Leafs sports teams. In partnership with MLSE, Aviva Agency Services Inc. will offer and administer home and auto insurance online, Aviva reported last week. The offering will be underwritten by Aviva Canada subsidiary S&Y Insurance Company.
But an Aviva Canada spokesperson told Canadian Underwriter that “when we notified the IBAO leadership of our new agreement with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to offer Maple Leafs insurance and Raptors insurance, their initial reaction was positive. However, it seems that after further dialogue with some of their members, this view has changed.”
The Aviva Canada spokesperson added that the IBAO’s decision to suspend its partnership with Aviva Canada “is both surprising and disappointing. We have been consistent in communicating our strategy to de-emphasize direct in favour of partnerships like RBC and affinity deals like MLSE. We are having productive discussions with many brokers about how customers want to buy insurance and we are actively supporting our brokers with a range of innovative solutions to help them meet the evolving needs of their customers. Aviva Canada remains fully committed to our broker partners and we will be speaking directly with them over the coming days about our strategy, the partnership with MLSE and how we continue to develop our business together.”
Simpson said that IBAO is also “committed to keeping an open dialogue with Aviva to resolve the issue of product availability and pricing under the Aviva brand.”