Economical partners with MSA Research to provide sophisticated industry research to brokers in ON & AB

"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, February 3, 2016 – Economical Insurance is pleased to be the new title sponsor of the MSA Quarterly Outlook Reports that will be distributed to the members of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario and the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta beginning in April 2016.

MSA’s quarterly reports provide informative insight into the P&C insurance industry, including financial results for Canada’s insurers and updated Standard and Poor’s (S&P) financial strength ratings.

“Our sponsorship ensures that more than 1,500 P&C brokerage offices in Ontario and Alberta have access to the same material and industry insights that their carrier partners get from MSA Research each quarter,” said Tom Reikman, Economical’s chief operating officer. “This helps underscore our commitment to the broker channel by providing brokers with information they need to grow and succeed in the rapidly changing marketplace.”

“We’re extremely pleased that Economical has partnered with MSA Research, allowing IBAO and IBAA member brokerages to benefit from MSA’s Quarterly Outlook Reports,” said Joel Baker, CEO of MSA Research Inc. “The depth of research and analysis from this independent industry resource is important for them to remain competitive and relevant.”

“We’re very pleased that Economical will be supporting this initiative, which will give IBAO members special and regular access to updated industry data. Under this partnership, MSA Research will distribute its quarterly reports exclusively to our members,” said Jim Murphy, CEO of IBAO. “Being able to track and analyze current changes is a key strategic advantage, particularly since brokerage firms face market changes.”

“The ability for IBAA brokers to track and analyze up-to-date industry data is always crucial, but even more so this competitive and changing market,” said George Hodgson, IBAA CEO. “We applaud Economical’s partnership with MSA Research and the decision to share MSA’s quarterly reports with IBAA brokers. By sharing this independent and in-depth research on current market trends, Economical underscores the value of the broker channel and increases its ability to compete.”

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.

For further information, contact:

Doug Maybee
Economical Insurance

The Co-operators donates $75,000 to Kids Help Phone

The Co-operators joined a passionate group of supporters for male mental health by making a donation of $75,000 to Kids Help Phone in support of its BroTalk service for young males.

BroTalk is a dedicated online support zone and referral service that provides teen guys aged 14 to 18 with information, referrals and professional counselling. It seeks to address the fact that the young men who reach out for counselling are 31 per cent less likely to discuss mental and emotional health issues than girls, and 36 per cent less likely to talk about suicide and suicide related issues.

BroTalk has been designed to address issues that prevent teen guys from reaching out — stigma, gender stereotypes and the term “mental health” —  and provide options for support including direct access to a Kids Help Phone counsellor through Live Chat, information and interactive tools.

“It can be difficult and uncomfortable for young men to reach out for support when they’re going through a tough time,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “BroTalk makes it a little easier, by providing an anonymous service guys can access through a live chat function, an app or by phone. We’re pleased to support this amazing new service.”

With the commitment of Principal Funder the Movember Foundation, BroTalk launched in October 2015 and will help make fundamental changes to the ways in which young men reach out and access the help they need. As a long-time supporter of Kids Help Phone, The Co-operators also donated funds to help launch BroTalk and is pleased to continue its support in 2016.

About The Co-operators
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine. For more information visit

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, (519) 767-3937

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.

Zurich Insurance has poached Mario Greco, the well-regarded boss of Italian insurer Generali, as its next chief executive.

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