Canadian Underwriter

Q&A: Business Continuity in the Digital Age

June 1, 2020   by David Gambrill

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As an industry challenged by all of the various disasters that the world has to offer, many Canadian property and casualty insurance companies already had business continuity plans in place to keep their operations running in the face of a catastrophe.

And so, many brokerages and insurance companies were able to react quickly when the novel coronavirus was declared to be a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Mar. 11, 2020. Provincial governments considered insurance to be an “essential service,” meaning insurance organizations were allowed to keep their offices open throughout the pandemic. But to help contain the spread of the virus, most industry employers sent their workers to work from home remotely.

After months of this arrangement, the strengths or weaknesses of the various individual company business plans have had time to manifest themselves. Some wonder whether the comparative strengths of organizations (based on their response to COVID) could potentially lead to mergers and acquisitions activity.

This question came up after the first episode of our webinar series in mid-April, COVID-19: Business Continuity in the Digital Age. Here’s how webinar panellist Steve Whitelaw, vice president of broker and industry partnerships at Applied, tackled the question.

Q&A with Steve Whitelaw (June 2, 2020)

Q: Thinking about future implications, are there any early indications or expectations of broker or company consolidation as a result of insurmountable vulnerabilities having been exposed?

A: While we can’t predict what the future holds, it’s critical to have a business continuity plan in place to prevent vulnerability, and in some cases help consumers recover. Accenture polled consumers in 14 different markets including United Kingdom, Canada, and United States; ninety-two percent of respondents indicated they expect their insurance provider to help them manage their risk rather than simply insure against it.


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