As large infrastructure projects continue to boom across the country, the need for a streamlined surety solution is greater than ever – and that means making the jump from what was traditionally a paper system to a digital one. Chris Sekine, vice president of surety at Trisura, says it’s an area the insurance company is focusing on to remain at the cutting edge of the industry.
“One of the changes within the industry is electronic tendering, where traditionally we would have to provide contractors with a paper bond that’s signed and sealed and they would have to submit that paper bond as part of their tender package,” he says.
“Electronic tendering is starting to make waves across the country because construction has moved in that direction, and because it’s a huge entity in Canada others will follow suit,” he adds. “What they’re requiring now is an electronic bond rather than a paper bond, and you could easily see how that will continue to evolve as more owners require them.”
It’s a growing need Trisura hopes to meet with the launch of a new online platform, which will streamline the bond writing and underwriting processes.
“It’s about streamlining workflow and making the process easier and really trying to look at the underwriting from a different perspective,” Sekine says.
However, he adds that the surety business is rapidly changing, presenting challenges that require solid relationships along with online solutions. One such challenge is the emergence of subcontractor default insurance, which Sekine says general contractors are starting to favour over traditional surety methods.
“Large general contractors have been using SDI as a means for managing subcontractor default risk,” he says. “Traditionally, before the invention of SDI, contractors would use surety bonds to manage subcontractor default risk.”
Sekine credits strong working relationships with brokers and reinsurers as a key way to overcome shifting industry challenges.
“We completely trade our business on strong relationships with our brokers. Our brokers are the ones at the coalface, and choose to do business with us, and to bring us their business,” he says.
“The other important side of the business are our reinsurance relationships. Our reinsurers provide us with the capacity to do business, and the capacity for our brokers. So for us, it’s all about relationships, it’s about having local representation across the country and our key people in the field really engaging and driving those relationships.”
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