CEO Martin Thompson: RSA reports strong 2017 financial performance

Below is a message from Martin Thompson, president and CEO of RSA Canada, regarding the company’s 2017 financial performance.

RSA Group has announced its 2017 full-year results. I would like to share some key highlights with you.

Group highlights

Globally, RSA reported a strong financial year with fundamental improvements within its business. RSA is well-positioned to make continued progress.
For further information, see RSA Group’s release.

Canadian result highlights

In Canada, we delivered another set of positive results that saw growth across all divisions of our business in the face of challenging external pressures, primarily significant weather events and large losses beyond our expected averages.

Financially, we delivered solid underwriting results with an underwriting profit of $163m which includes a $97m loss for weather-related claims. It was another volatile year for the industry in terms of extreme weather. A strong focus on cost management and growth have enabled us to build a resilient business in the face of external pressures. Our Combined Operating Ratio (COR) of 93.9% improved by 1% compared to 2016.

Further results highlights:

  • Net Written Premiums (NWP) increased by 5% to $2,707m.
  • Personal Broker NWP was at $815m with a 9% growth vs prior year. Personal Broker delivered a breakeven result and a COR of 100%.
  • Commercial Lines reported a NWP of $834m with a 4% growth vs prior year. Commercial delivered an underwriting profit of $38m and a COR of 95.4%.

Focus on customer-centricity

Last year, we were laser-focused on working with you to improve the overall broker and customer experience and reducing costs to reinvest into the broker channel. I’m very encouraged by the way we are embedding this strategy in our business.

Delivering an exceptional broker and customer experience and investing in the broker channel

Last year, we set a clear ambition for ourselves to deliver an exceptional experience for the end customer. We focused our efforts in some key areas: sharpening our pricing, improving our customer service and enhancing our digital capability.

Through pricing sophistication, we grew in all our target segments while overall our new business premium grew by 52% year over year.

To truly understand how our customers and brokers want to do business with us, we undertook an extensive Customer Journey Mapping exercise for our personal lines customers, which is helping us prioritize the changes we need to make to deliver a better customer experience.

In claims, the implementation of our Guidewire system gives us the foundation to improve the customer experience by speeding up processing time which translates to faster settlements for our customers.

To enhance our digital capabilities, the Commercial team launched the RSA Pro™ tool for SME brokers, which reduces quoting time from hours to minutes, allowing them to focus their time on the individual needs of SME clients.

Today, RSA remains committed to investing in and supporting the broker channel. More so than ever before, this means working together to evolve and adapt to the rapidly changing landscape, including the development of connectivity solutions.

I’d like to personally thank you for another successful year of partnership in 2017. I’m very optimistic about the exciting opportunities ahead of us to drive our mutual success.


Martin Thompson
President and CEO

Opinion: Don’t kill ICBC, the goose that lays golden eggs

Richard Littlemore |

Just to be contrary, I’d like to suggest that the Insurance Corp. of B.C. — characterized so recently by Attorney General David Eby as a financial dumpster fire — is actually a valuable public asset, and one that British Columbians would embrace if they realized the extent of its contribution. The problem, which Eby only partly diagnosed, is that ICBC’s political masters have abused the corporation so badly that it’s in danger of losing all public support.

To review the recent, hysterical narrative, ICBC is the monolithic public auto insurer with which we all must deal. And it appears to be badly run; at least, that might seem a fair conclusion when a once-profitable monopoly threatens a deficit of $1.3 billion.

Clearly, the shortfall is a problem, and I’ll leave it to the lawyers and actuaries to debate whether Eby’s short-term fix — a cap on soft-tissue injury claims — is a sufficient short-term solution. But the larger problem (if you’ll forgive a farmyard full of metaphor) is that the B.C. government has been treating ICBC as both a cash cow and a workhorse, and being less than fully transparent about the implications.

On the cash cow front, provincial politicians have been milking ICBC for years, sucking a net $2.1 billion into general revenue in the last decade alone. Christy Clark and Gordon Campbell’s Liberals loved this tactic; they helped balance the provincial budget by demanding dividends from Crown corporations.

(Even worse, the Liberals accumulated off-the-books debt in the same way — drawing more than $5 billion in dividends from B.C. Hydro even as that organization hemorrhaged money in ill-considered capital projects. Because the resulting shortfall appeared only on B.C. Hydro accounts, Clark’s Liberals were able to claim that they were balancing the provincial books and protecting B.C.’s credit rating, even while piling up profligate debt levels at Hydro.)

On the workhorse front, the provincial government uses ICBC to run all provincial licensing services, thus covering an expense that would fall on provincial taxpayers if B.C. had a private insurance regime. It’s difficult to tease those expenses out of the ICBC budget, but it’s easy to see how much ICBC collects in licensing fees and fines: last year, it took in $572 million — which also went directly into provincial coffers.

So, ICBC customers pay all auto-related administrative costs, while government spends the revenue, not on auto insurance claims or even, necessarily, on transportation-related investments. In fact, ICBC pays for some of those, too. Last year alone, the corporation spent $41 million in “road improvements and traffic safety programs” and more than $50 million in “road safety and loss management services.”

None of this is bad, necessarily. It makes sense for an insurance monopoly to spend small sums fixing dangerous street corners when those improvements will reduce accidents and cut insurance claims by a larger amount. It makes sense for an insurance monopoly to manage licensing and fines, creating a single, helpful service point for administration and enforcement (if you don’t pay your fines, you don’t get your insurance). Such efficiency would never be available in a private insurance environment.

But it doesn’t make sense for taxpayers to reap billions of dollars in good times and then condemn ICBC when claims go up. Imagine how much better the corporation would look if that $2.1 billion was sitting in retained earnings, ready for this rainy day?

Longtime ICBC watchers will recall the short, impressive tenure of the late Nick Geer, a senior executive to Jimmy Pattison who the Campbell Liberals recruited in 2001, ostensibly to privatize auto insurance. No ideologue, Geer studied the business and concluded that privatization would be a mistake: the system works.

But government interference has since endangered ICBC’s solvency and a lack of transparency has undermined public support. The current government has a chance to fix that – and the fate of a worthy enterprise hangs in the balance.

Richard Littlemore is a Vancouver speech writer, consultant and cyclist, who is nevertheless heavily invested in a safe and affordably insured transportation network.

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Canada’s Olympic athletes return home from Pyeongchang

Air Canada will be flying members of Canada’s Olympic team back to Canadafrom the PyeongChang Olympic Games. Flights are scheduled to arrive from Korea at Toronto Pearson and Vancouverairports on Monday February 26th with several athletes connecting to flights across the country including Calgary and Montreal. Details of athletes’ arrivals are provided by the Canadian Olympic Committee:


“Congratulations to Team Canada for bringing home a record number of medals. Our athletes have inspired all of us at Air Canada with their skills, determination and sportsmanship. As an Official Sponsor of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic teams, we are proud to play our part by safely transporting competitors, team officials and their supporters home to Canada from the PyeongChang Olympic Games,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.

Transporting Canada’s team to the Olympics in PyeongChang was a large logistical undertaking requiring the dedicated efforts of hundreds of Air Canada employees. Here are some key facts about Air Canada’s involvement:

  • Renewed its Altitude Podium Program to provide qualified athletes 35K status and access to International Maple Leaf lounges while competing abroad;
  • Sponsored the outdoor area, Air Canada Flight Deck, available to the public, at the Canadian Olympic House in PyeongChang;
  • In total, Air Canada transported approximately 750 athletes, coaches and support staff with the Canadian Team to PyeongChang;
  • Air Canada’s “Our Time” ad supported the athletes by paying tribute to the unique Canadian values that make us all so proud to be a part of this country. Five high-profile athletes featured in the ad are figure skaters Patrick ChanTessa Virtue and Scott Moir; hockey player Marie-Philip Poulin; and freestyle skier (halfpipe) Cassie Sharpe.
  • Air Canada’s #FlyTheFlag initiative struck a chord with Canadians keen to show their pride throughout the games and achieved peak mentions in social media.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline serving more than 200 airports on six continents.  Canada’s flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2017 served approximately 48 million customers.  Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 64 airports in Canada, 60 in the United States and 98 in Europe, the Middle EastAfricaAsiaAustralia, the CaribbeanMexicoCentral America and South America. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,300 airports in 191 countries.  Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax, which also named Air Canada the 2017 Best Airline in North America.  For more information, please visit:, follow @AirCanada on Twitter and join Air Canada on Facebook

SOURCE Air Canada

The not so golden years – 1 in 4 Canadian retirees living with debt

A worry-free retirement may be a thing of the past as Canadians struggle to manage debt. From living with a mortgage to unpaid credit cards, retirees can find themselves facing financial challenges in their golden years.The Sun Life Financial Barometer, a new national survey, found that one-in-four (25%) retirees are facing such challenges and living with debt.

  • 66% have unpaid credit cards;
  • 26% are making car payments;
  • 7% have unpaid health expenses;
  • 7% owe money on holiday expenses or vacation property; and
  • 6% haven’t paid off home renovations.

“Through our national survey, we took a moment to check-in with Canadians and gauge how they are stacking up when it comes to their finances,” said Jacques Goulet, President, Sun Life Financial Canada. “From credit card debt to a mortgage, retirees are faced with a list of expenses in life after work. We recognize that managing finances can be overwhelming, particularly for those who are no longer working. Seeking sound advice and working with a financial advisor can help you reach your goals.”

At the same time retirees face lingering debt, almost one-quarter (24%) of working Canadians are dipping into their retirement savings. Canadians pulled cash for the following reasons:

  • 63% did so because they needed to (e.g., health expenses, debt repayment);
  • 24% as part of the First Time Home Buyers’ Plan; and
  • 13% because they wanted to (e.g., vacation, car purchase).

“Our survey results highlight the importance of getting ready for retirement,” explains Tom Reid, Senior Vice-President, Group Retirement Services, Sun Life Financial Canada. “Although it can seem far away, retirement creeps up faster than you think – building a financial plan and making meaningful contributions will pay off in the long run. There are helpful tools and resources you can tap into to get on the right track to building the income you want and need to retire.”

The following tips can help Canadians save for a bright retirement:

  1. Start now. Begin saving and investing as early as possible to set yourself up for success.
  2. Don’t leave money on the table. If your employer offers a pension plan and will match your contributions, contribute the maximum amount possible.
  3. Invest wisely. If you do not have access to a defined contribution plan, RRSPs and TFSAs are other great vehicles to consider.
  4. Have a plan and stick to it. It’s never too late to build a financial plan that will get you where you want to be.
  5. Seek valuable advice. A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan, set achievable goals, and guide you through each life stage.

Ready to get started? Find a Sun Life Financial advisor who can support you on your journey to achieve a lifetime of financial security and well-being.

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies.

About the survey
The Sun Life Financial Barometer is based on findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 13 and October 19, 2017. A sample of 2,900 Canadians was drawn from the Ipsos I-Say online panel: 2,900 Canadians from 20 to 80 years of age. The data for Canadians surveyed was weighted to ensure the sample’s regional, age, and gender composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population.

The precision of Ipsos online poll is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 2.1% at 95% confidence level had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canadathe United States, the United KingdomIrelandHong Kongthe PhilippinesJapanIndonesiaIndiaChinaAustraliaSingaporeVietnamMalaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2017, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management (“AUM”) of $975 billion. For more information please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars except as otherwise noted. 

Media Relations Contact:
Kim Armstrong
Manager, Media & PR
Corporate Communications
T. 416-979-6207

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Canada

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