Aviva Canada : Everything you need to know

Aviva Canada: Everything you need to know

  • Headquarters: 10 Aviva Way, Suite 100 Markham, Ontario L6G 0G1
  • 2021 personal lines net written premiums: £2.187 billion (about $3.667 billion)
  • 2021 commercial lines net written premiums: £1.268 billion (about $2.126 billion)
  • Size (employees): 4,000+
  • Underwriting expertise: Vehicle, property, and travel insurance
  • Key people: Urs Uhlmann (managing director, global corporate & specialty), Susan Penwarden (chief technical underwriter), Craig Emuss (head of portfolio solutions, global corporate & specialty), Paul Gilbody (senior vice-president for national claims), Terry Michalakos (vice-president, surety), Phillip Best (vice-president, underwriting, corporate & specialty risks), John Hastings (vice-president, national relationships & CRM), Lisa Leo (assistant vice-president, engineering), Bryan Kirton (assistant vice-president loss control and head of risk management solutions)


  • Offers affordable premiums
  • Provides options for maintaining current premiums even after the first claim
  • Robust financial health allows it offer innovative products and coverage options
  • Proactive battle against insurance fraud enables it to offer low rates


  • Has limited discount options
  • Clients may find it difficult to get information about pricing for basic policies unless they call or request a quote online
  • Less than positive customer reviews on independent insurance review sites, including InsurEye and the Better Business Bureau (BBB)


Common coverage types

Auto insurance

Coverage type

What it pays for

Automobile accident

  • Injury, death, or property damage to others
  • Healthcare costs and loss of income for the insured and their family

Optional coverages

Temporary vehicle replacement

Rental car while the insured’s vehicle is being repaired or replaced following a claim

Conviction protector

Prevents the policyholder from paying more for insurance if they get a minor driving  conviction such as a speeding ticket

Collision protection

Damage to an insured vehicle caused by collision with another vehicle or object

Comprehensive coverage

Damages not caused by a collision, including theft, vandalism, and falling objects

Disappearing deductible

Reduction of deductible for every year the insured does not make a claim

Accident forgiveness

Prevents car insurance premium from going up after a policyholder’s first accident, even if they were at-fault


For part-time drivers who use their own vehicles to carry passengers


Aviva Canada’s auto insurance discounts

Policyholders can save on auto insurance premiums through discounts that reward them for:

  • Bundling their home and car insurance policies
  • Being a retiree
  • Insuring multiple vehicles
  • Maintaining a clean driving experience by having no convictions and staying claims-free

2021 customer satisfaction rating
BBB: B- rating
InsurEye: 1.3 stars out of 5 stars


Home insurance

Coverage type

What is pays for

Comprehensive coverage

  • Fire, explosion, theft, and vandalism
  • Damage from falling objects such as a tree branch
  • Lightning, hail, and windstorm damage
  • Damage to other structures within the property like a garden shed
  • Cost to repair or replace belongings
  • Living expenses

Personal liability

Option of $1 million or $2 million personal liability coverage

Optional coverages

Water protection

  • Water damage caused by backup or escape of water or sewage from a sewer, septic system, or sump pump
  • Water damage caused by water entering the property due to overflow of any body of fresh water such as lakes and rivers and sudden accumulation or run-off of surface waters, including torrential rainfall or spring thaw

Service line coverage

Costs to repair or replace failed underground service lines on the property

Disappearing deductible

Reduces deductible every consecutive year the policyholder is claims-free

ID theft coverage

Restoring personal information and financial losses

Claim protector

Protects home insurance from being affected after the first claim

Claim prevent coverage

Cost of installing a loss prevention device like an alarm, after a covered claim to prevent it from happening again

Home protect bundle

Minor repairs in the home before they lead to a larger claim with this bundle of pre-paid services


Aviva Canada home insurance exclusions to watch out for:

  • Natural disasters – Floods are typically excluded
  • Lack of routine maintenance – Damages to the property due to a lack of preventative maintenance
  • Improper maintenance – Damages caused by faulty maintenance not carried out by a licensed professional
  • Pests – Damages caused by pests such as rodents and insects


Travel insurance by RBC Insurance

Coverage type

What it pays for

The “Most Coverage”

  • Unlimited emergency medical coverage
  • Trip cancellation and interruption
  • Baggage loss, damage, and delay
  • Flight and travel accident

Travel medical coverage

  • Unlimited coverage for eligible emergency medical expenses
  • 24-hour worldwide emergency travel assistance
  • Emergency dental treatment if required

Cancellation & interruption

Expenses incurred in case the insured gets sick or an unexpected event forces them to cancel a trip, come home early, or delay their return home



Aviva Canada, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc – one of the world’s largest insurance groups – is a property and casualty insurance group that offers home, auto, business, and leisure/lifestyle insurance to more than three million customers.

The company has a long-standing history in Canada and traces its roots back to the early 1800s when the first Canadian-based Aviva heritage company (Canada Accident Assurance Company) was incorporated, after which the General Accident Assurance Company of Canada was incorporated in 1906. Close to a century later, several Aviva predecessors merged and, in 2003, CGU Insurance Company of Canada changed its name to Aviva Insurance Company of Canada, marking a new chapter in its history.

Aviva Canada’s 4,000-plus employees work with independent brokers as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

Under the Aviva Canada umbrella

Aviva has several insurance companies in Canada through which it does business. The Aviva Insurance Company of Canada has a wide range of personal and business insurance products and services that it provides to policyholders, doing so via a network of independent insurance brokers.

Elite Insurance Company, meanwhile, is the country’s largest insurer of leisure and lifestyle products and services, offering coverage for a variety of specialty insurance products that include recreational vehicles, mobile homes, horses and hobby farms, sailboats, and other personal watercrafts as well as antique, classic, and custom cars.

Rounding out the list is the Traders General Insurance Company, a leading group insurer in Canada that offers home and auto insurance to large and mid-sized groups coast to coast; Pilot Insurance Company that services Ontario exclusively; traditional home and auto coverage provider Scottish & York Insurance Co. Limited; and S&Y Insurance Company, which provides auto insurance in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Aviva Canada also has minority ownership in two broker businesses and owns 100% of a handful of intermediaries in Ontario, Québec, Alberta, British Columbia, and New Brunswick.

A focus on community

As part of its corporate philanthropy, Aviva Canada supports several charities and social causes. The Aviva Community Fund has awarded $8.5 million to more than 280 charities and community groups in the country since its inception in 2009. At-risk youth, education, and the environment have been some of the issues supported by the fund.

The company also holds a partnership with the Canadian Red Cross and became the first carbon-neutral insurer globally in 2006. Through My Community Fund, Aviva Canada supports its employees’ participation in volunteerism activities in their local communities by matching their personal donations and giving their staff time off to volunteer.

The community mindset extends to Canadians affected by natural catastrophes. Aviva’s national catastrophe claims team is prepared to spring into action and support local claims staff as well as customers in need when disasters strike. Aviva Canada is also keeping an eye out for future catastrophes. In 2018, the company embedded earthquake coverage in all British Columbia homeowner and tenant insurance policies, which comes at no extra cost to new and current customers renewing with Aviva and made it at the time only one of three insurers to offer earthquake insurance coverage without restrictions in all risk zones.

“While all insurers in BC offer earthquake coverage as an endorsement, until today, no company has offered it within a standard policy,” said Aviva Canada chief underwriting officer Phil Gibson. “This is concerning since our survey shows that 60% of BC homeowners believe their policy would provide financial support in event of an earthquake. No one should be left in the lurch without coverage that they thought they had.”

Insurtech on the mind

Aviva Canada doesn’t shy away from recognizing the impacts of technology on the insurance industry. The company has a corporate fund, Aviva Ventures, through which it is building a portfolio of start-ups. It aims to invest $170 million in start-ups around the world by 2020 and takes minority equity stakes of up to 20%, usually at the Seed Plus or Series A stage. One of its investments includes Cocoon, a smart home security system that uses technology to detect low-frequency sounds caused by movement and learns the standard sound patterns around a home, sending an alert to the resident’s smartphone if it notices unusual activity.

Hackathons are another avenue of innovation that the company is investing in. Participants have a set time – typically, one to three days – to work in teams, and produce new products and propositions, which Aviva Canada will then explore taking to market. According to Ben Isotta-Riches, chief information officer at the company, hackathons help create a real entrepreneurial spirit inside the business. At the same time, the CIO sees Aviva’s Digital Garage, a space at the heart of Toronto’s financial district where the company develops leading-edge digital solutions and hosts events centred around technology and innovation, as becoming the cultural and physical hub of Canada’s insurtech community.

“This space is the iconic starting point of our journey; a place where we can galvanize our own organization and bring others together,” he told Insurance Business. “We will continue to make investments in different companies that have disruptive potential. We are also working with the DMZ at Ryerson to create an insurtech accelerator program to try and help foster the development of ideas here in Toronto.”

Through its partnership with a US-based provider of virtual claims technology, Snapsheet, Aviva Canada is also creating an app-based virtual claims system, which will allow customers to settle claims 20% to 40% faster than with traditional channels. A broker-branded app for Google Assistant was released in February 2018 in collaboration with insurance automation solutions developer ProNavigator meanwhile allows customers to connect to a broker using Google’s hands-free smart speakers, demonstrating Aviva Canada’s commitment to integrating technology into its products and services.

Aviva Canada : In the news