Aviva CEO: Time to modernise how insurance is sold

Excerpted article by Rachael Boon

Having a large number of in-house agents or an exclusive deal with a bank is not always the best thing for insurance consumers, said Mr Mark Wilson, group chief executive of British insurer Aviva.

Mr Wilson told The Straits Times that a model based on those two distribution channels is not only outdated, but also expensive.

“The market here, for many years, has been dominated by two forms of distribution – tied agencies and banks. Both of those channels are expensive for consumers,” he said.

“They give less choice to consumers and we think the industry would go towards a more financial advisory model in Singapore, where they have a choice of more than one (insurance) provider.”

He added it was also unusual to have banks tied up with only one insurance firm, noting that the time is ripe for change in a market where Aviva is among the top five insurers.

Mr Wilson, who was in Singapore recently for the opening of his company’s new digital facility, said: “The market here is ready to be modernised. Being dominated by tied agencies and single-bank distribution is an outdated model.

“I think the Government and regulators recognise that, and we are a key part of that mix for getting a better deal for consumers.”

He added that Aviva is poised to be part of that modernisation as it is more focused on growing the financial advisory channel as it keeps its agency force small.

In terms of technology, the insurer is also helping smaller, independent financial advisory firms with infrastructure or compliance.

Aviva does not have any bancassurance tie-ups here after its 15-year distribution partnership with DBS Bank expired on Dec 31.

DBS will now get US$1.2 billion (S$1.7 billion) from Canadian insurer Manulife in a 15-year distribution deal that started on Jan 1.

Mr Wilson said: “We had DBS and the sort of money the deal went for was, in our view, uneconomic and, at the end of the day, you’ve got to charge the customer. DBS and Manulife are fine companies, but it was the most expensive insurance deal I’d ever seen in Asia.”

Aviva is committed to Singapore and the rest of Asia, said Mr Wilson, and its digital facility in Armenian Street is an example of this commitment. The facility, which opened last month, has a team of about 100 people and is supported by 200 Singapore- based technology specialists.

Aviva’s first digital set-up was established in London last year, and the global annual investment – including Singapore – is more than US$150 million.

Mr Wilson added that the firm is spending a lot on its digital offerings and technology, something the industry cannot shy away from.

Trends include more direct-to- consumer platforms or products, as the technologically wired generations take turns to reach the age where they require insurance.

Not one to mince his words, Mr Wilson said: “Insurance, when it comes to digital, is in the Stone Age globally, and I think we need to do what it takes to be up to where it should be.”

Canadian Insurance companies make $100K donations to hospital

Cambridge Times

CAMBRIDGE – Transformation CMH, Cambridge Memorial Hospital’s $50-million fundraising campaign to build and equip the expanding hospital, has received another major donation.

Yesterday (Feb.1), the hospital’s foundation announced $100,000 has been received from Great West Life, London Life and Canada Life, which will be earmarked for the new patient care wing’s inpatient mental health dining and activity room.

In recognition of the donation, the hospital will be naming the dining and activity room in the three companies’ honour.

“Supporting Cambridge Memorial Hospital and their redevelopment efforts is a wonderful way to demonstrate how we support communities; in this case for those seeking help for mental illnesses,” said John Cleminson, regional director, Freedom 55 Financial (Tri Cities), a division of London Life Insurance Company, in a news release.

One-in-five Canadians experiences mental illness and addiction issues each year, and CMH has set the need to provide better facilities locally is a priority. Once construction is completed, the expanded hospital will accommodate a larger mental health program.

“This expansion is vital to assist those facing mental illness and the families who support them,” said hospital president and chief executive officer Patrick Gaskin, in the news release.

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InsureMy Ushers in a New Era of Road Safety with the New Driver Intelligence Pilot Program

InsureMy Ltd., a Calgary based, full service insurance brokerage firm, today announced the piloting of their innovative young drivers program, New Drivers Intelligence (“NDI”). With a full launch across Alberta and Ontario anticipated in early 2016, Canadian parents will soon have access to real-time driving data, direct from their vehicles, allowing for greater coaching opportunities between parents and new drivers.

Helping teens develop good driving habits means improved safety for all…

Through the use of a simply installed plug-in telematics device, InsureMy’s NDI system allows both parents and teens to track and monitor their driving behaviour. With the ability to collect and review information direct from the vehicle about drive time, speed, braking, cornering and more, NDI gives parents peace of mind when putting new drivers on the road, knowing they have the resources to coach their kids even when they can’t be at their side. All while giving teens the independence they seek, building confidence and setting them up for a future of responsible driving.

Industry data points to significant reduction in dangerous driving incidents…

Recognizing the need to make a positive impact on the lives of parents and teens across the country, InsureMy brings global driver safety technology to the Canadian driving landscape.  Established young driver programs in the UK report a massive improvement in young driver statistics with 2014 results revealing a 21% reduction in dangerous driving incidents and a 40% drop in crash risk for drivers with a telematics policy.

“…InsureMy puts family driving safety first,” states Hugh McTavish, President of InsureMy Ltd.

“Customers shouldn’t have to experience a claim to know that their insurance dollars are well spent. That’s why InsureMy puts family driving safety first,” said McTavish.  “In fact, it’s incumbent on our industry in general to take the kind of action we’re taking to effect positive change and promote safety for all drivers – it’s good for our customers. InsureMy’s NDI is a first step in that direction,” McTavish concluded.

To put an InsureMy policy to work for you, or for further information on the complete line of InsureMy products, contact Gord Mansfield at 1-844-410-1896.

About InsureMy Ltd.:
InsureMy is a full service insurance brokerage firm, emerging as a market leader in the management and delivery of telematics based insurance products. Empowering customers to manage costs, regulate driving performance, and minimize their environmental impact by leveraging technological advances in the collection and practical application of telematics data.

SOURCE InsureMy Ltd.

For further information: Gord Mansfield, Director, National Sales, Phone: 1-844-410-1896, Email: Gord.Mansfield@InsureMy.ca

Economical appoints Alice Keung as chief information officer

"Our new look is very distinct and will help to further differentiate our brand in the marketplace," said Economical's President and CEO Karen Gavan

WATERLOO, ON – Karen Gavan, president and chief executive officer of Economical Insurance, today announced the appointment of Alice Keung as senior vice-president and chief information officer (CIO). Ms. Keung joined Economical on November 17, 2015 as interim CIO and has been instrumental in leading the company’s IT organization since that time.

Twice named to the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, Ms. Keung has more than 25 years of experience directing large-scale project implementations and negotiating with external business partners.

“I am delighted to have Alice on our senior executive team,” said Gavan. “She is highly skilled at leading major business technology transformations and building high performance teams. I value her leadership as we implement our new policy administration system, leverage leading-edge technology and drive innovation in our business model.”

About Economical Insurance
Founded in 1871, Economical Insurance is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with approximately $2.0 billion in annualized premium volume and $5.3 billion in assets as at September 30, 2015. Based in Waterloo, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical Insurance conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Family Insurance Solutions, Federation Insurance and Economical Financial.

SOURCE Economical Insurance

For further information, contact:
Doug Maybee
Economical Insurance
(T)519.570.8249
(C)519.404.0989
doug.maybee@economical.com

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