Founded (Burns & Wilcox Canada): 2012
H.W. Kaufman Group annual premiums in 2017: US$2.1 billion
Offices in Canada (as of December 2018): 6
Worldwide presence: Close to 60 offices in total across the US, Canada, and the UK
Burns & Wilcox Canada: Everything you need to know
Burns & Wilcox is the H.W. Kaufman Group’s flagship organization, and a leading independent wholesale insurance broker and underwriting manager in North America. The company was named the top MGA by gross revenue by an industry publication, and was also recognized as the largest personal insurance wholesaler and MGA operation in North America. In 2018, Burns & Wilcox Brokerage experienced premium growth of 30% while Burns & Wilcox Canada saw 25% premium growth.
Burns & Wilcox Canada has over 300 products on offer, alongside the competitive pricing and quick turnarounds that it provides to the brokerage community in Canada via domestic carriers and Lloyd’s of London. It also has access to offices and markets in the United States, in addition to in-house risk binding and cross-border solutions for close to every type of hard-to-place commercial and liability risk, according to the company. The Canadian outpost has been around since 2012 when the H.W. Kaufman Group acquired Chesterfield Insurance Group Canada and rebranded it as Burns & Wilcox Canada.
Burns & Wilcox Canada’s coverages in professional lines include errors and omissions, executive/management liability, media liability, medical liability, and technology and network security. In personal lines, available coverages include collector cars, personal articles floater, personal liability, residential property, recreational marine, as well as coverages for specialty classes, such as Caribbean property and in-home businesses.
In its commercial lines, Burns & Wilcox Canada has coverages spanning accident and health, casualty, commercial property, inland marine, environmental, ocean and commercial marine, and terrorism. Its specialty commercial classes cover a range of industries, including agriculture, health and beauty, and hospitality, among others.
Another area in which Burns & Wilcox Canada has a ton of expertise to offer is in its coverage for cannabis businesses. The Canadian team has been underwriting this sector for more than four years now, and has had plenty of time to craft the product as well as determine business owners’ needs before the legalization of recreational marijuana took effect in October 2018.
“Burns & Wilcox has an advantage in that we’ve been doing this for a long time and have been constantly adapting to changes,” Andrei Munteanu, special risks analyst at Burns & Wilcox Canada, told Insurance Business. “We are already prepared to provide solutions to all the provinces.”
Post-legalization, provincial cannabis markets continue to develop, keeping participants in the commercial cannabis insurance space busy, especially in terms of education.
“With it being legalized, we’ve been putting on a lot of webinars over the last couple of weeks, just educating the retail brokers. Everyone wants to get into it because everyone sees it as a new area of revenue, new area of business, but not everybody is fully educated on it,” said Paul Clarke, national underwriting director at Burns & Wilcox Canada.
He also highlights one product that has taken off among licensed producers in Ontario.
“We’ve seen a lot of activity over the last couple months, in particular on our product recall product,” said Clarke, explaining that producers in the province have been required to carry up to $15 million of product recall insurance. The Burns & Wilcox coverage also has protection for business interruption as well as the standard product recall cover, which helps it stand out in the marketplace, alongside other key differentiators. “We have all the products that any producer would need, and all of our products are bespoke to the cannabis business.”
Burns & Wilcox Canada has six offices in the country today, from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Halifax, along with a presence in key cities, including Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa. In 2017, the company also expanded out west, opening an office in Vancouver.
“Burns & Wilcox Canada has shown significant, rising revenue over the last five years, despite a relatively challenging market. Expansion into Vancouver was the next step in our strategic long-term growth plans,” said H.W. Kaufman Group chairman, president, and CEO Alan Jay Kaufman. “Unsurpassed service, speed, and expertise will provide the team an edge in providing insurance support throughout Vancouver, British Columbia, and Canada as a whole.”
“Our goal in this Western expansion was to locate the new office in downtown Vancouver, near our retail broker partners in order to respond quickly to their needs,” commented corporate vice-president and managing director of Burns & Wilcox Canada, Jodie Kaufman Davis. “Now that the office has opened, we are actively recruiting top insurance professionals to join our team in growing our local footprint.”