Canadian Underwriter

Q&A: Business Continuity in the Digital Age

May 26, 2020   by David Gambrill

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More than 3 million Canadians lost their jobs in March and April due to the business closures to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. An Angus Reid poll published in March suggested that 44% of Canadian households reported lost work as of Mar. 25, two weeks after the novel coronavirus was declared to be a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

It is not known how many jobs have been lost in the Canadian property and casualty insurance industry itself. The P&C industry has been declared an “essential service” by most governments, meaning they are allowed to keep their offices open if they are unable to work remotely from home as part of social distancing rules.

The issue of recruiting talent in the face of such widespread layoffs came up after came up recently in questions that followed the first episode of our webinar series in mid-April, COVID-19: Business Continuity in the Digital Age. Here’s how webinar panelist Steve Whitelaw, vice president of broker and industry partnerships at Applied, tackled the question.

Q&A with Steve Whitelaw (Mar. 26, 2020)

Q: Can you comment on the layoffs that have happened in the P&C insurance industry, especially within the millennial cohort, and how that will affect recruitment? I”m thinking about the independent adjusters who have laid off hundreds of employees both before and during the pandemic, and vendors that are having problems keeping staff because the industry is slow. Even insurer claims teams are struggling to stay busy with a 30% to 40% drop in claims in the past month. How do we recruit again?

A: Redefining customer experiences and employee expectations have become essential for continued growth — and in some industries, essential for survival. The time frames to achieve this have been compressed. Companies must jump years ahead in a matter of months to provide digital experiences that are easy, intuitive and reliable, as well as to educate their workforce and customers. Providing the right tools to empower your workforce to succeed and serve your clients is critical through the pandemic while attracting top talent in the future.


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