Canadian Underwriter

Why your clients aren’t feeling too good these days

September 9, 2020   by Adam Malik

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Whether it’s your personal or commercial clients, neither are feeling too optimistic about their financial situation as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stress them out, a pair of recent surveys have found.

But the head of the national broker association said brokers are ready to respond to the new realities.

Nearly half of Canadians (45%) told a Sun Life survey that they feel less financially secure than when the COVID-19 pandemic started six months ago.

And it seems to be hitting the younger demographic the hardest as 49% of people between the ages of 18-34 said they’re feeling less financially secure. Additionally, the survey found, more than half (55%) reported that they’ve made changes to their financial goals and plans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a quarter of them (29%) said they’re dipping in to their savings as the pandemic rolls on.

Meanwhile, a new Angus Reid survey found that one in five Canadians anticipate their financial condition to worsen over the coming year. That comes after 35% said it’s already worsened this year (17% said their economic fortunes have improved over the last year). Angus Reid pointed out that 51% of Alberta respondents said they were going to be negatively impacted.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show that about three million jobs were lost due to the pandemic. While more than 60% of them have returned, 1.1 million jobs have not yet returned.

The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus to be a global pandemic on March 11. Pantip

As for businesses, customers aren’t returning to their stores in sufficient enough numbers. And when they do, they’re not spending as much, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reported. And that’s holding back hopes of a recovery.

“Insurance brokers are seeing first-hand the impacts of the pandemic lockdown on the economy, the business community, and individual Canadians,” said Peter Braid, CEO of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC). “During these challenging times, brokers remain focused on matching the changing needs of their customers with the right level of insurance protection.

“This is where brokers shine — having conversations with their customers to respond to changing circumstances, and finding solutions that serve the best interests of their clients now and over the longer term.”

Brokers, as they always are, will be there to assist clients through challenging times, Braid told Canadian Underwriter.

“Although different sectors of the economy may be impacted, including the insurance industry, the broker channel continues to adapt to this evolving situation,” he said. “And as the economy climbs back, brokers will be there to meet the growing needs of their clients as we emerge on the other side.”

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) highlighted the $1 billion provided by its members in personal and commercial relief, plus $200 million in deferred premiums to those clients.

“We anticipate that these figures will increase significantly over the upcoming months, as insurers continue to support Canadians through this challenging period,” said spokesperson Steve Kee. “This is real, tangible support for Canadians who are focused on supporting their families and businesses during this uncertain time.”

When asked what their challenges are for getting back to normal sales, members told the CFIB their top challenges are:

  • Fewer customers (58%)
  • Customers spending less on average (48%)
  • Operational challenges, such as online sales, shipping, and interrupted supply chains (27%)
  • Government restrictions (20%)
  • Not being able to find staff (18%)

The CFIB is hopeful that as leaves change colour, so too will consumer shopping habits.

“We’re hoping that as people get back to fall routines businesses will get a much-needed revenue boost,” said Laura Jones, executive vice president at CFIB. “Consumers are critical to small businesses and their financial and emotional support means more now than ever.”


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