April 23, 2020 by Greg Meckbach
Despite the massive disruptions from COVID-19, commercial insurer Chubb Limited is promising no layoffs in Canada.
“Concerning our no-layoff pledge, we want our 33,000 employees around the globe to be assured that their jobs are secure at this difficult time,” stated Evan Greenberg, CEO of Zurich-based Chubb, in a recent release.
A Chubb spokesperson told Canadian Underwriter the no-layoff policy applies to Chubb in Canada.
Chubb placed fourth last year (behind Lloyd’s, Intact and Aviva) in the list of top liability insurers in Canada, ranked by direct premiums written, as reported by the Canadian Underwriter Statistical Guide. In the overall P&C market, 16th with $455 million in premium.
Chubb was called ACE Limited until 2015 when ACE acquired Warren, N.J.-based The Chubb Corporation.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic March 11. Since then, most Canadian provinces have ordered various shutdowns and many people are working from home or have lost their jobs.
Canada’s unemployment rate jumped 36% (or 2.2 percentage points) from 5.6% in February to 7.8% in March. The rate was 5.7% in March, 2019, Statistics Canada reports.
“Given all of the uncertainty that exists in the world, employment and benefits are one thing my colleagues will not have to be concerned about at this time,” Greenberg stated in a release.
StatsCan says there are about 20 million in Canada’s labour force, of whom 1.547 million were unemployed last month, compared to 1.14 million in February, an increase of 413,000.
The Canadian Press reported that most of the increase in unemployment came from temporary layoffs, meaning workers expected to get their jobs back in six months. And nearly 598,000 people were not actively seeking work, meaning they weren’t counted among the unemployed.
BMO chief economist Douglas Porter was quoted by CP as saying April’s figures may be darker because the shutdowns began in March.
“I don’t think it would be shocking to be talking about a three-million job decline in April,” Porter said. “That’s within the realm of possibility, but let’s see how firms respond in the next week or so to the prospect of the wage subsidy program.”
As of Monday morning 5.38, million people were getting payments through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, CP reported.
That includes some two million people who were previously approved for employment insurance benefits, but moved over to the new $2,000-a-month benefit that opened for applications one week ago.