By Brett Bundale
THE CANADIAN PRESS
The ongoing controversy involving politicians who ignored travel warnings over the holidays holds important lessons for Canadian business executives, according to experts in public relations and organizational strategy.
They say the situation provides valuable insight into effective C-Suite leadership and communication during a turbulent period.
A growing number of federal and provincial politicians have found themselves in hot water in recent days for travelling outside the country over the holidays even as Canadians were urged to avoid non-essential travel to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The backlash against politicians illustrates how easily hypocrisy, contradiction and privilege are exposed in an age of social media, said Bob Pickard, principal at Signal Leadership Communication.
Outdated “spin-doctoring” is not only ineffective, he said, it can make leaders appear further out of touch, worsening the backlash.
“There’s a disconnect between how leaders are communicating and how people are feeling,” Pickard said.
“There’s a lot of pain out there and high anxiety, public emotion is on a knife’s edge … leaders need to anticipate the playing out of public emotions.”
The public relations expert said politicians and business leaders alike must “understand the zeitgeist” of the moment and how people feel and allow that to shape their actions and communications.
He said leaders should practise a sort of “radical candour” communication style.
“You’ve got to be transparent, you’ve got to be candid. You don’t need to sugar-coat it,” Pickard said. “Leaders have to be frank and honest if they want to earn the respect and buy-in of the public or their workforce.”
Lorn Sheehan, a professor of strategy at Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business, said it’s critical that the actions of leaders align with the policies and objectives of an organization.
“If you expect people to behave or act in a certain way, and then the leaders act or behave in a different way, it creates confusion and raises very legitimate questions,” he said. “The leader needs to set the example.”
While crafting a good strategic plan or policy is important for any organization, he said the actions of the leadership will determine its effectiveness.
“Increasingly, we’re realizing that for any organization to achieve its vision, it requires a strong culture,” he said, adding that the culture is often set “at the top.”
“It’s the effect that people in positions of power hold.”
Steve Pottle, director of risk management services at Thompson Rivers University, said the success of a strategic plan at any organization or company hinges on individual buy-in.
He said that’s achieved through strong leadership, an effective plan and consistent follow-through by senior management.
For example, if a company makes masks mandatory but the CEO fails to wear one, Pottle said it sends a message to employees that it’s not necessary to follow the rule.
Meanwhile, Pottle, also vice-chair of RIMS Canada Council, a standing committee of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, said it’s also important to consider a plan from a risk perspective, including what can throw a plan off course and what can help an organization achieve its goals faster.
The excerpted article was written by The Globe and Mail
Recent efforts from the Ontario government to ensure that only financial professionals with appropriate credentials be able to call themselves “financial planners” or “financial advisors” are being met with resistance from financial services industry associations lobbying to maintain the status quo. If this self-serving push is victorious, it will only benefit the least-qualified providers of financial services and be another setback for professionalization and transparency in the investment industry.
Currently, financial professionals’ titles in any province other than Quebec are borderline meaningless due to lack of standardization and qualifications. These titles do nothing to inform consumers of financial services as to what the financial professional they deal with actually does. Worse yet, these titles give the person providing the service a level of credibility that may be completely unearned and unwarranted.
The provincial government in Ontario – home to the largest population of financial professionals in the country – aimed to rectify all of that when it passed the Financial Professionals Title Protection Act, 2019. (The legislation received Royal Assent in May 2019.) Since then, the Ontario government has entrusted the province’s newest financial services regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), to oversee the implementation of the law. Public consultations on the draft regulations closed on Nov. 12.
The proposed regulations would limit the use of the title “financial planner” or “financial advisor” only to financial professionals who hold a qualifying credential. Ontario’s goal is to review the available credentials – such as the certified financial planner and the chartered investment manager – to determine which ones qualify for either title. This will be a substantial improvement from where things stand today, in which anyone can call themselves anything they want.
There are many positive submissions to the public consultations. For example, various investor groups and advocates have argued the proposed rules don’t go far enough because they don’t impose a fiduciary standard. Many have even provided constructive feedback on how the FSRA can make the most of this legislation.
In contrast, some industry associations’ submissions are nothing more than a self-interested preservation of the status quo. They say Ontario’s proposed rules set the bar too high because they would exclude some people who are using either title now from continuing to do so without achieving further designations or credentials.
For example, the proposed rules say that someone who has achieved a licence to sell life insurance products – and no further designations or training – would not qualify to use either the financial planner or financial advisor title. In response, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc. (CLHIA) and various insurance-centric organizations argue that the existing insurance sales training “meets or exceeds the baseline competency of someone who calls themselves a ‘financial advisor,’” and, as a result, no further qualifications should be required.
Similarly, the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) argued in its submission on the proposed rules that financial professionals who are regulated by either the Mutual Funds Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) or the Investment Industry Regulatory Association of Canada (IIROC) should be exempt from any requirement to obtain further credentials or training before using the financial advisor title.
In both cases, the argument is that the existing qualifications are sufficient to merit the use of the financial advisor title and that requiring further training would pose an “undue regulatory burden” on financial professionals. The problem with this approach is that IIROC or MFDA licensing provides people the level of understanding required to sell a product. However, financial advice and financial planning are not focused narrowly on product sales. In fact, they may result in no product sales whatsoever.
Instead, financial planners or financial advisors synthesize information to make well-educated, informed recommendations. Product selection and sales are only a tiny fraction of financial planners’ or financial advisors’ process and are only made after information-gathering, analysis, and synthesis to ensure the right fit.
The FSRA has already singled out the course that qualifies someone to sell insurance in Ontario as falling short of the standard required for the financial planner title. The course leading to MFDA licensing similarly falls short of that standard. In fact, Jason Watt, a full-time instructor at the Business Career College, a financial services course provider that’s recognized nationally, says “the mutual fund licensing course represents a bar of proficiency no better, if not lower, than the standard set by the life insurance sales training course.”
If the submissions from the CHLIA, the IIAC and others pushing for the status quo are accepted, title reform in Ontario won’t amount to anything more than rubber-stamping the entire financial services industry as-is – turning this entire exercise into a perfect example of regulatory capture.
The winners of title regulation will be the least-educated and least-qualified members of the industry – and the companies that rely upon them for sales revenue. Everyone else – especially consumers of financial services, educated and credentialled financial planners and financial advisors, and the entire financial services industry in Ontario – will lose.
Millennials and members of Generation Z already distrust financial services institutions and are looking at digital alternatives like robo-advisors. Turning title reform into a farce is just one more reason for them to continue to shift away from traditional financial services providers altogether.
Enhanced protections to give customers peace of mind during uncertain times
TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2020, Many trends have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic; people are travelling less, working from home and spending more time online. Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) is offering enhanced protection to give customers working from home increased liability and home coverage, the option to add identity theft coverage and cyber protection, at a discount, as well as free access to mental health and well-being programs for a limited time.
“During a time where so many are working from home, customers are searching for added value and thinking about their well-being,” said Louis Gagnon, President, Canadian Operations, Intact Financial Corporation. “We want customers to have peace of mind and we are focused on supporting their changing needs”.
Intact Insurance’s enhanced protection provides customers with increased liability and home coverage for people working from home. Existing and new customers can also add identity theft coverage and cyber protection to their home policy with my Identity at a discount, and for a limited time, enjoy free access to online mental health and well-being programs through LifeSpeak.
Intact also understands that with more people working from home, driving habits and patterns are changing. Usage-based insurance programs give customers more control over their auto insurance premium. Intact Insurance’s my Drive™ offers customers personalized feedback and tips to help improve their safe driving and the opportunity to earn up to 25% off their auto insurance premium. Customers receive a 10% discount just for signing up.
Customers who want to learn more about these solutions can contact their broker.
While these solutions address immediate and emerging customer needs, Intact is continuing to develop other innovative and responsive measures to longer-term trends.
About Intact Financial Corporation
Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) is the largest provider of property and casualty (P&C) insurance in Canada and a leading provider of specialty insurance in North America, with over CAD$11 billion in total annual premiums. The Company has approximately 16,000 employees who serve more than five million personal, business and public sector clients through offices in Canada and the U.S.
In Canada, Intact distributes insurance under the Intact Insurance brand through a wide network of brokers, including its wholly-owned subsidiary BrokerLink, and directly to consumers through belairdirect. Frank Cowan Company, a leading MGA, distributes public entity insurance programs including risk and claims management services in Canada.
In the U.S., Intact Insurance Specialty Solutions provides a range of specialty insurance products and services through independent agencies, regional and national brokers, and wholesalers and managing general agencies. Products are underwritten by the insurance company subsidiaries of Intact Insurance Group USA, LLC.
SOURCE Intact Financial Corporation
SURREY, British Columbia, Dec. 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Westland Insurance Group Ltd. (“Westland”) is pleased to announce that it is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2020. Westland is marking this significant milestone by supporting communities with its ‘40 Weeks of Giving’ campaign. Every week for the next 40 weeks, the company is supporting a cause in one of the many communities that it serves across Canada.
Westland Insurance was founded in 1980 with one branch in Ladner, BC. It now has over 150 locations in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. Throughout the years, the family-owned company has remained committed to supporting local communities. Launched in November 2020, the ‘40 Weeks of Giving’ campaign sees the company supporting a different community organization each week for 40 weeks.
The company’s first ‘40 Weeks of Giving’ donation was made to the Burns Bog Conservation Society. Burns Bog, located near Ladner, BC, is one of Canada’s most fragile and precious ecosystems. Westland’s second donation was made to the Calgary Region of the Canadian Mental Health Association, whose mission is to increase resiliency and reduce the impact of mental illness and addiction in the community. For more information about the charities that Westland is supporting with this campaign, please visit: https://www.westlandinsurance.ca/bc/about-us/community
About Westland Insurance Group
Westland Insurance Group is one of the largest and fastest-growing independent property and casualty insurance brokers in Canada. With a national network of over 150 locations and over 1,600 employees, the company continues to expand coast to coast. Westland’s brokers provide expert advice to home, business, farm, life, and auto insurance clients. Since its founding in 1980, Westland has remained a family-owned company that is committed to supporting its local communities. For more information, please visit www.westlandinsurance.ca
TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2020 /CNW/ — CNA Canada today launched Epack 3, its next generation modular management liability, technology and professional liability, cyber, and media policy that combines clear, concise and easy-to-read language with a flexible policy structure. It is designed to be customized for a wide range of businesses and non-profit organizations.
“In today’s business environment, risk is complicated and unpredictable, especially for organization leaders that are facing stresses of new and increasingly complex exposures,” said Jacki Detablan, Vice President, Specialty, CNA Canada. “We didn’t set out to just make a product to sell; we wanted Epack 3 to set us apart with unbridled simplicity in mind and ease of business.”
Epack 3’s launch offers eight optional coverage parts: Directors and Officers Liability, Employment Practices Liability, Fiduciary Liability, Non-Profit Directors and Officers Liability, Technology and Professional Liability, Cyber Liability, Media Liability and Crime. Coupled with CNA’s depth of experience and services, Epack 3’s comprehensive coverages will help businesses efficiently and effectively address risk exposures.
The policy is now offered in Canada. It is available for new business quotes starting December 1, 2020, and renewal policies effective April 1, 2021.
About CNA Canada
CNA is one of the largest U.S. commercial property and casualty insurance companies. CNA provides a broad range of standard and specialized property and casualty insurance products and services for businesses and professionals in the U.S., Canada and Europe, backed by more than 120 years of experience and approximately $45 billion of invested assets. For more information, please visit CNA Canada at www.cnacanada.ca.
SOURCE CNA Canada
TORONTO, Nov. 9, 2020 /CNW/ – On 5 November 2020 RSA announced that it had received an approach from Intact and Tryg A/S (“Tryg”) (together the “Consortium”) regarding a possible cash offer by the Consortium for RSA at a price of 685 pence per RSA share (the “Proposal”). Under the Proposal RSA shareholders will receive in addition the announced interim dividend of 8 pence per RSA share. Further information regarding the Proposal was announced by RSA and the Consortium later on the same day.
Intact today provides further information regarding its proposed participation in the Consortium and its plans for the RSA businesses in its Canada and Specialty lines segments, as well as the opportunities in the UK & International businesses and from co-ownership in a top 3 franchise in Denmark (together, the “Transaction”). Intact will also today make available an investor presentation via its website at https://www.intactfc.com/English/investors and looks forward to engaging further with all stakeholders regarding this strategic potential Transaction.
The Transaction would strengthen Intact’s position as a world-class P&C insurer through:
- Expanding Intact’s leadership position in Canada with the combination of Intact’s 17% share and RSA’s 5% share of the competitive CAD$60 billion Canadian P&C industry, resulting in proforma 2019 direct premiums written of CAD$13 billion;
- Creating a leading global specialty lines business, bolstering Intact’s existing North American Specialty franchise with RSA’s UK & International geographies to broaden the distribution footprint. Provides opportunity to create strong global franchises in highly competitive lines such as Marine, Specialty Property and E&O/D&O. This will drive Specialty to over CAD$4 billion in premiums with a sustainable low 90’s combined ratio objective;
- Entering the UK & Ireland markets at scale through RSA’s top 5 position with strong brands in the UK, which at CAD$80 billion is Europe’s largest P&C sector, and its top 10 position in Ireland. Intact will also benefit from entry into several attractive European and Middle Eastern markets; and
- Delivering financially compelling returns. Net assets expected to be acquired at 0.9x book value, with an expected internal rate of return (IRR) in excess of Intact’s 15% threshold. Value creation is expected to drive upper teens net operating income per share (NOIPS) accretion within 36 months. The value creation is expected to be delivered approximately 75% in Canada, 20% in UK & International, and 5% in Global Specialty lines.
The Transaction will build on Intact’s strengths and further expand its market opportunity. The Transaction also provides Intact a unique opportunity to deploy its best-in-class operating model which is expected to allow Intact to continue achieving its financial objectives of 10% NOIPS growth annually over time, and 500bps of annual ROE outperformance. Canada will remain at the core of Intact’s business where outperformance is well established.
Intact will retain the RSA pension scheme obligations as part of the Transaction. Intact believes that the Schemes are well-managed with significant steps already taken to de-risk. The UK pension schemes’ IFRS surplus was estimated at £416 million at September 30, 2020, with funding arrangements in place at £75m per year. Constructive discussions with the pension Trustees are well advanced, and the metrics for the proposed Transaction reflect the financial impact of the pension schemes’ obligations. Intact will also assume RSA’s issued debt and preferred shares / hybrid instruments.
Intact expects to maintain a strong capital position following the Transaction, with an estimated capital margin above CAD$1.5 billion and an MCT above 194% in Canada, a Solvency II coverage ratio above 160% in the UK and an RBC above 400% in the US. Intact’s debt-to-capital proforma for the closing of the Transaction is expected to be approximately 26%, which is expected to fall to 20% within 36 months of completion. Intact does not anticipate the Transaction and its planned financing structure to lead to a change in its current credit ratings.
Please refer to the announcement made by RSA and the Consortium dated 5 November 2020 for the reservations allowed to the Consortium to announce an offer on less favourable terms than the Proposal.
There can be no certainty that an offer will be made for RSA under the Code. A further announcement will be made as appropriate.
Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) is the largest provider of property and casualty (P&C) insurance in Canada and a leading provider of specialty insurance in North America, with over CAD $11 billion in total annual premiums. The Company has approximately 16,000 employees who serve more than five million personal, business and public sector clients through offices in Canada and the U.S. In Canada, Intact distributes insurance under the Intact Insurance brand through a wide network of brokers, including its wholly-owned subsidiary BrokerLink, and directly to consumers through belairdirect. Frank Cowan adds scale to Intact’s MGA platform to manufacture and distribute public entity insurance products in Canada. In the U.S., Intact Insurance Group USA (previously known as OneBeacon Insurance Group), a wholly-owned subsidiary, provides specialty insurance products through independent agencies, brokers, wholesalers and managing general agencies.
Barclays Bank PLC, acting through its Investment Bank (“Barclays”), which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, is acting exclusively for Intact and no one else in connection with the matters referred to in this announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than Intact for providing advice in relation to any possible offer or any other matters referred to in this announcement.
In accordance with the Code, normal United Kingdom market practice and Rule 14e-5(b) of the Exchange Act, Barclays will continue to act as exempt principal trader in RSA securities on the London Stock Exchange. These purchases and activities by exempt principal traders which are required to be made public in the United Kingdom pursuant to the Code will be reported to a Regulatory Information Service and will be available on the London Stock Exchange website at www.londonstockexchange.com. This information will also be publicly disclosed in the United States to the extent that such information is made public in the United Kingdom.
This announcement is not intended to, and does not, constitute or form part of any offer, invitation or solicitation of any offer to purchase, otherwise acquire, subscribe for, sell or otherwise dispose of any securities or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction. Any offer (if made) will be made solely by certain offer documentation which will contain the full terms and conditions of any offer (if made), including details of how such offer may be accepted.
This announcement has been prepared in accordance with English law and the Code, and information disclosed may not be the same as that which would have been prepared in accordance with laws outside of the United Kingdom. The release, distribution or publication of this announcement in jurisdictions outside of the United Kingdom may be restricted by laws of the relevant jurisdictions, and therefore persons into whose possession this announcement comes should inform themselves about, and observe, any such restrictions. Any failure to comply with the restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities law of any such jurisdiction.
Notice to US investors
If Intact and Tryg made an offer for RSA, then US holders of RSA shares should note that the steps of any Transaction requiring approval by RSA shareholders may be implemented under a UK scheme of arrangement provided for under English company law. If so, it is expected that any shares to be issued under the Transaction to RSA shareholders would be issued in reliance upon the exemption from the registration requirements of the US Securities Act of 1933, provided by Section 3(a)(10) thereof and would be subject to UK disclosure requirements (which are different from those of the United States). The Transaction may instead be implemented by way of a takeover offer under English law. If so, any securities to be issued under the Transaction to RSA shareholders will either be registered under the US Securities Act or subject to an applicable exemption from registration. If the Transaction is implemented by way of UK takeover offer, it will also be effected in compliance with the applicable rules under the US Exchange Act of 1934, including any applicable exemptions provided under Rule 14d-1(d) thereunder.
This filing shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.
Neither the acquisition nor this announcement have been approved or disapproved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, any state securities commission in the United States or any other US regulatory authority, nor have such authorities passed upon or determined the adequacy or accuracy of the information contained in this announcement or the merits of this acquisition. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offence in the US.
Cautionary note about forward-looking statements
This news release includes “forward looking statements”. The forward-looking statements contained in this announcement include statements relating to Intact’s intention in relation to the Transaction, the Consortium and RSA, pro-forma entities following completion of the Transaction and expected benefits including financial accretion, and other statements other than historical facts. Forward looking statements often use words such as “believe”, “expect”, “estimate”, “intend”, “anticipate” and words of a similar meaning. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect the current views of Intact, are subject to risks and uncertainties about Intact and are dependent on many factors, some of which are outside of Intact’s control. There are important factors, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different. Except as required by law, Intact undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Please refer to Intact’s investor presentation dated November 9, 2020 on Intact’s website at https://www.intactfc.com/English/investors.
Non-IFRS financial measures
Intact uses both IFRS and non-IFRS financial measures to assess its performance. Non-IFRS financial measures do not have standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies in Intact’s industry. The non-IFRS measures included in this announcement are: direct premiums written (DPW), net operating income per share (NOIPS) and internal rate of return (IRR). Non-IFRS financial measures and other insurance-related terms are defined in the glossary available in the “Investors” section of Intact’s web site at www.Intactfc.com
SOURCE Intact Financial Corporation