Canadian Underwriter

Pandemic communication between brokers and insurers needed improvement, brokerage executive says

October 19, 2021   by Jason Contant

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Communication between brokers and insurers could have been better during the pandemic, a Hub International executive said during Insurance Bureau of Canada’s 2021 Commercial Insurance Symposium.

“We did have some good communication, but I think there was a little bit of a breakdown at times,” said Mona Krolak, senior vice president and partner with Hub International. “The coordination of communication, I think, could have been better between insurers and brokers.”

For example, there were times that brokers received communications at the same time as clients, Krolak said. It would have been better if brokers could digest the information and express it to clients themselves, she said, but acknowledged that “it was the environment we were in.”

Krolak made her comments during the session Coming Back from COVID: A Discussion on Industry Approach and Lessons Learned with Susan Penwarden, chief technical underwriter with Aviva Canada. Krolak and Penwarden discussed lessons learned from COVID-19 and the path forward for the insurance industry.

Mona Krolak, senior vice president and partner with Hub International (left), speaks with Susan Penwarden, chief technical underwriter with Aviva Canada, during IBC’s 2021 Commercial Insurance Symposium.

Penwarden asked about the actions insurers were taking to try to mitigate some of the impacts of hard markets. “Does it feel from your perspective that we could have communicated that more clearly to yourself as a broker? Or was there room for us to do better?” Penwarden asked.

Krolak, who leads Hub’s healthcare practice, said the coordination of communication could have been better to clients in general. While she acknowledged that the industry as a whole did some things very well — “I think our quick shift to working virtually with very little disruption to our clients we did very well” — there’s always room for improvement.

“This is a business that’s based on relationships,” Krolak said. “We have wonderful relationships with our partners, and we could have leveraged that a little bit more… to better plan and communicate these fundamental changes that had occurred.

“We need not to just educate ourselves and our customers, but we need to educate government and other stakeholders that could be in this circle of people that really need to be prepared for something like this again,” she said of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the pandemic was “certainly a challenge that no one was expecting,” Krolak said, the insurance industry is well-prepared for disaster scenarios. “We aggregate data to prepare for unforeseen, catastrophic loss,” she said. “And we can use that to prepare for another seismic event like this one that may come out of the blue.”

That could involve emergency preparedness plans to communication plans within the industry. “We ask our clients to be prepared and we talk about their emergency preparedness, yet — and we may do it individually as organizations — we are an interconnected industry where we should have, I think, at least a plan of how things flow in a crisis like this.”


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