HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb 13, 2019–The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV ), today announced its series of 2019 educational forums focused on combating distracted driving, managing cyber risks, insuring autonomous vehicles and preparing for severe weather events. Programs are free and open to the public.
“We saw great engagement throughout our symposia series in 2018 and look forward to continuing to raise awareness of important social topics across the United States and Canada,” said Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute and Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Travelers. “By bringing together community members, entrepreneurs, business leaders and students, we hope these events will help to identify solutions that will generate real change for widespread societal issues and help people and businesses stay safe.”
The first symposium of the year will be “Disrupting Distraction,” part of the Travelers Institute ® Every Second Matters℠ series. It will be held today at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, beginning at 6 p.m. ET. This series brings attention to alarming distracted-driving trends contributing to traffic fatalities and highlights innovative approaches to help prevent distractions and encourage safer behaviors.
“Constant connection is so highly valued in our society, but the urge to stay in touch can have devastating consequences,” said Lane. “The Every Second Matters initiative and today’s event will take us a step closer to reducing avoidable fatalities and injuries, and we’re proud to be a part of the effort.”
Travelers has also developed a new video series — “Unfinished Stories” — as part of its efforts to discourage distracted driving. The videos honor victims of distracted driving by imagining what might have been if the crash never occurred. The series is being shared across the company’s social media channels and during Travelers Institute and other events. To see the latest video and other distracted driving content, click here.
Additional educational forums planned for 2019 include Cyber: Prepare, Prevent, Mitigate, Restore ℠, a series that provides guidance for small and midsize organizations to help them prepare for and respond to data breaches and other cyber incidents, and the annual “Kicking Off Hurricane Preparedness Season” symposium to be held at the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, as well as other events focused on natural disaster preparedness, autonomous vehicles and small business solutions.
Visit the Travelers Institute website to see the schedule of upcoming events and learn more about these initiatives.
About the Travelers Institute
The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc., engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and to the financial services industry more broadly. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers’ senior management, as well as the technical expertise of many of Travelers’ underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information, analysis and solutions to public policymakers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.
Opinion: IBC fully stands by our insured loss numbers and their attribution to escalating severe weather events driven by climate change
Since 2009, insurers have paid out an average of over $1 billion per year in claims, in contrast to the $400 million annually averaged through the 1990s. In 2018, insured losses from severe weather events across Canada totalled $1.9 billion, the fourth-highest amount of losses on record. Insured losses, on average, are caused by flooding more than any other single peril. Flooding can be caused by extreme rainfall, by rivers and lakes overflowing their banks due to sudden snowmelt and due to storm surges caused by coastal storms.
Terence Corcoran’s recent article discusses a complaint made by Rob Muir, a licensed professional engineer, which Muir lodged successfully with the Ombudsman for Radio Canada, Guy Gendron. Muir disputed comments by Blair Feltmate, Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, who cited Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC’s) contention that increases in the frequency and intensity of severe weather are the source of these rising insurance claims costs. Gendron, in reaching his findings relied on a single published source that studied historical incidences of severe rainfall between 1953 and 2012.
Gendron’s conclusions were erroneous for several reasons. First, the time series used by Gendron ends in 2012 while IBC’s numbers and Feltmate’s public comments primarily reference increases that started in 2009 and have risen through 2018.
Secondly, Gendron only references flooding that has arisen from extreme rainfall whereas insurance losses accrue from a range of different types of flooding events.
Finally, IBC’s numbers actually understate the growing risk, as the Canadian insurance industry did not start insuring the single greatest peril for residences — overland flooding — until late 2015. Those residential losses had been entirely borne by Canadian governments and homeowners until that date. Even without residential overland flood losses, insurers experienced escalating water claims from commercial policies, automobile policies and sewer back-up coverage.
Finally, our stated numbers only capture catastrophic events that total over $25 million and not the host of smaller events that occur regularly across Canada. Based on these errors IBC is requesting that the CBC review Gendron’s decision. IBC fully stands by our insured loss numbers and their attribution to escalating severe weather events driven by climate change.
The IBC-sponsored report, Combatting Canada’s Rising Floods Costs: Natural infrastructure is an underutilized option, was recently featured at a special event hosted by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). It provides a framework for making decisions about the return on investment of green infrastructure deployed as a climate-adaptation measure. IBC, along with a number of OSPE members, spoke to ways in which both green and grey (or engineered) infrastructure are vital elements to a whole-of-society approach to climate change.
Fundamentally, we as a nation need to prepare for the impacts of severe weather. By focusing on adapting to climate change we can work together constructively to keep Canadians out of harm’s way.
Craig Stewart is vice-president of federal affairs at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
SSQ Insurance proudly welcomed the news of their CEO Jean-François Chalifoux’s designation as the 2018 Financial Personality of the Year. Chalifoux was honoured by an independent jury of industry peers as part of the annual Top 25 financial industry ranking by Finance et Investissement.
“I’m very pleased to be receiving this award, which I wish to share with my SSQ Insurance colleagues. I’m happy to be able to count on the 2,000 employees dedicated to our organization. Their commitment and involvement in the company’s projects has allowed SSQ Insurance to continue to grow and position itself well in the industry,” said Chalifoux. “I thank them for their hard work and dedication.”
Jean-François Chalifoux is a leader with a vision who has focused the company’s efforts on performance and innovation to maximise the company’s results. The members of the jury acknowledged his strategic audacity and sense of innovation in addition to the company’s growth.
Chalifoux joined SSQ Insurance as CEO in September 2015. Since then he has orchestrated the company’s transformation. Following the implementation of a new organizational model, the merger of the company’s legal entities and the introduction of an ambitious strategic plan, the company launched its new brand identity in 2018 as the crowning achievement of the changes for the company’s members, customers and partners.
About Top 25 ranking of Quebec’s financial sector
Each February, the French-language publication Finance et Investissement hands out its Top 25 ranking of Quebec’sfinancial industry personalities, including the Financial Personality of the Year. This honour is an acknowledgment of the influence, exceptional achievements and remarkable growth of the company under their management.
The Top 25 of the financial industry as determined by Finance et Investissement pays tribute to 25 standout leaders who live and work in the province of Quebec and whose accomplishments stood out in the last year. The award winners are chosen by a jury made up of outstanding members of the financial industry.
About SSQ Insurance
Founded in 1944, SSQ Insurance is a mutualist company that puts community at the heart of insurance. With $12 billion in assets under management, SSQ Insurance is one of the largest companies in the industry. Working for a community of over three million customers, SSQ Insurance employs 2,000 people. Leader in group insurance, the company also sets itself apart through its expertise in individual life and health insurance, general insurance and the investment sector. For more information, please visit ssq.ca.
SOURCE SSQ Insurance
By Bill Curry | Ottawa
The Globe and Mail
The federal government appears to be considering a budget announcement that would allow first-time homebuyers to obtain 30-year insured mortgages, up from the 25-year limit now, according to the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association.
Such a move would represent a change in direction after more than a decade of measures by federal Conservative and Liberal governments since the 2008 recession aimed at cooling housing markets and encouraging Canadians to take on smaller mortgages.
While the Bank of Canada continues to express concern about high household debt, politicians are also getting an earful from younger Canadians – a potentially key voting demographic – who can’t afford to enter the housing market.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s coming budget will be the government’s last before the scheduled October election. The minister recently said he is looking at home affordability issues for millennials, but he has not publicly speculated on potential policy options.
Over the past two weeks, top officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and Mr. Morneau’s office met with Kevin Lee, the chief executive of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, to discuss potential budget measures.
Association spokesman David Foster said there is clear interest from government in the request put forward by housing industry groups to bring back 30-year insured mortgages.
“They keep wanting to talk with us about it, and it wouldn’t cost them a dime, so I’ve got to think those are somewhat positive signals,” Mr. Foster said on Wednesday.
The association discussed the matter earlier this week with Mr. Morneau’s chief of staff, Ben Chin. They also met last week with Sarah Hussaini, a policy adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Pierre-Olivier Herbert, a spokesperson for Mr. Morneau, declined to comment, saying the office does not speculate on potential budget measures.
The association has had several meetings with officials and MPs over the past year in the run-up to the 2019 pre-election budget and recently narrowed down its wish list to just two items: a return to 30-year insured mortgages for first-time homebuyers and an easing of stress test measures that restrict access to non-insured mortgages.
Mr. Foster said officials are expressing interest in both options, but especially the 30-year mortgage proposal because it can be enacted unilaterally by the Finance Department. Changes to the stress test would require the co-operation of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, an independent regulator that just this week defended the existing rules.
MP Francesco Sorbara, who chairs a Liberal caucus on housing affordability issues that formed last year and is a member of the House of Commons finance committee, did not dismiss the 30-year mortgage proposal as a way of helping first-time homebuyers.
“It is one idea of many that is worthy of consideration, with the caveat that we maintain a secure and healthy housing market and that individuals are not overextending themselves,” he said.
Paul Taylor, president and CEO of Mortgage Professionals Canada, is also advocating for the 30-year mortgage option and said he was “encouraged” by Mr. Morneau’s recent comments about addressing affordability for millennials. However, Mr. Taylor said he has not received any indication from federal officials that a decision has been made.
The date of the budget has not yet been announced. The House of Commons only sits for one week in March, which makes the week of the 18th a likely window for the minister to deliver the budget. However, there is also speculation in Ottawa that the budget could be released in the final week of February.
Homebuyers with a down payment of at least 5 per cent of the purchase price but less than 20 per cent must be backed by mortgage insurance. This is offered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. – a Crown corporation – as well as two private insurers.
In 2008, after briefly allowing insured mortgages with a 40-year amortization period, then-Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty reduced the maximum period to 35 years. The Conservative government lowered the maximum to 30 years in 2011 and acted again in 2012 to bring it to 25 years, where it has stood since. The moves were promoted as a way to prevent high-risk borrowing.
Shortly after the Liberals formed government in 2015, Mr. Morneau announced further mortgage tightening rules that December by doubling the size of the required down payment for insured mortgages for the portion of a home’s value from $500,000 to $1-million.
Mr. Foster, of the home builders’ association, said restricting insured 30-year mortgages to first-time homebuyers should prevent consumers from getting in over their head.
Millennials have most of their working years ahead of them and would likely pay off the mortgage sooner than 30 years, he said.
“We don’t think it involves any additional risk,” he said. “These are prime borrowers.
Source: The Globe and Mail
Led by insurtech disruptors, novel business models are causing disintermediation in the insurance industry and altering power dynamics. The rise of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and smart devices is placing the spotlight on flexible services based on usage-based insurance, on-demand insurance and Prevention-as-a-Service models, which are redefining the role of insurance in people’s lives. These models will especially appeal to Millennials and Generation Z, the newest buying groups.
Lines of business such as liability, property, and casualty will especially gain from models such as Prevention-as-a-Service,” said Lauren Martin-Taylor, Visionary Innovation Principal Consultant at Frost & Sullivan. “Even though insurtechs and start-ups are leading in addressing shifts in social, mobility, and technology trends by pioneering innovative business models, traditional insurers often back them or play an integral role.”
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, The Future of Insurance, analyzes emerging insurable markets and business models, evolution in operations and the value chain, as well as disruptors and opportunities in various lines of insurance. It also covers technologies such as AI, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), blockchain, wearables, implants, self-healing materials, and automation. An overview of the trends and challenges in each market is presented along with industry best practices, notable activity, and case studies.
Forward-thinking insurers will look to realign their business strategies to tap the growth opportunities presented by:
- Medical advances, wearables, and growth of the elderly population.
- Rise in urban population density, particularly in Asia and Africa.
- The largely untapped low-income demographic in developed countries, which holds huge potential for microinsurance and automation advances.
- Biological augmentation technologies, which can transform the markets for life insurance and reinsurers.
- High levels of digitization, increasing data breaches, and cyber threats.
“The auto insurance industry will be one of the most affected by the rising adoption of advanced technologies, as connected and autonomous vehicles will generate real-time data and improve underwriting accuracy,” noted Taylor. “In due course, the focus will shift from insuring drivers to insuring the vehicle, systems, and technology.”
The Future of Insurance is part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Visionary Innovation (Mega Trends) Growth Partnership Service program.
About Frost & Sullivan
For over five decades, Frost & Sullivan has become world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success
OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s Liberal government will propose a limited expansion to the country’s universal healthcare system in the spring budget to cover part of the cost of prescription drugs, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The modest broadening of the healthcare program is set to become one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s key campaign promises ahead of the October election, which is shaping up to be a close fight.
The government would not commit to meeting 100 percent of the cost of prescription drugs for those who have no insurance through their workplace, the sources said. That suggests the government is leaning toward a narrower, more insurance industry-friendly model of pharmacare, as it is called, than that recommended by a government health committee last year.
A spokesman for Finance Minister Bill Morneau declined to comment.
Officials have yet to decide how much detail to provide about the pharmacare system in the budget, which is expected in the week of March 18, the sources said. They may release a general commitment to boost coverage and leave the specifics for the campaign, they added.
But new information on pharmacare’s inclusion in the spring budget and its limited scope gives a first glimpse of the government’s blueprint for what has been called the “unfinished business” of Canada’s publicly funded healthcare system, called medicare.
The sources, who spoke in recent days, requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Canada’s health system covers care provided in hospitals and doctors’ offices, but prescription medication remains largely the purview of private insurance, often offered through employers, and a patchwork of public plans geared primarily toward the old and the very poor.
Opinion polls consistently show strong popularity for Canada’s public healthcare system.
There have been calls for Canada to extend medicare to include prescription drugs since medicare came into existence in the late 1960s, and multiple studies have recommended its inclusion.
Surveys have found 20 percent of Canadians are either uninsured for prescription drugs or under-insured, and one in 10 Canadians goes without prescription medications because of an inability to afford them, according to the standing committee on health’s pharmacare report released in April 2018.
Manulife Financial Corp, Sun Life Financial Inc and Great West LifeCo are among the major insurers in Canada.
FILLING IN GAPS
The Liberal-dominated government health committee strongly recommended Canada adopt a universal, national pharmacare program that covers drug expenditures for all Canadians for a wide range of drugs.
That would not only improve equity and access, advocates said, but lower drug costs because there would only be one buyer negotiating with pharmaceutical companies.
The government’s budget watchdog estimated that would cost about C$20.4 billion ($15.5 billion) a year – a hefty price tag for the government, but offering an overall saving of C$4.2 billion compared with the total now spent on prescription drugs.
What the government is likely to include in its budget is a much more targeted plan aimed at filling the gaps in coverage not already filled by private insurance or existing public plans, the sources said.
That matches with the government’s finance committee recommendation late last year, which Morneau, himself a former benefits industry executive, has said he would prefer.
It is also in line with what the insurance industry has been asking for. Standing to lose business to a universal government plan, the insurers have argued that most Canadians have good private coverage and that pharmacare changes need only affect a small uninsured minority.
But the Liberals will likely face criticism from policy advocates and left-leaning political opponents for not pursuing a more comprehensive plan. Without a universal system overhaul, advocates argue, people will continue to slip through costly cracks in the coverage system.
An advisory council appointed to study the implementation of pharmacare is expected to come out with recommendations this spring.