Gore Mutual: Everything you need to know
Property and casualty insurance company Gore Mutual has been serving Canadians and their businesses since 1839, making it the oldest P&C insurer in the country.
In personal lines, Gore Mutual offers auto, home, and leisure and lifestyle coverage for valuables like classic cars, cottages, and snowmobiles, among others. In its commercial insurance division, Gore Mutual provides coverage for businesses of all shapes and sizes, including small and mid-sized enterprises. Commercial auto, as well as out-of-the-box products and custom solutions tailored to each business, are on the menu, including optional coverages and unique features, such as equipment breakdown, legal expense insurance, cyber and data breach coverage, and errors and omissions liability insurance. No matter the insurance solution, it’s backed by Gore Mutual’s blend of actuarial science and underwriting that the company calls ‘Confident Pricing.’
Plugging in brokers
For brokers, Gore Mutual offers digital solutions like uBiz, Canada’s first end-to-end ecommerce platform for small business insurance, which is broker-branded and provides opportunities to access online customers and interact with them in new ways. A capital investment in BrokerLift, a fully broker-branded ecommerce platform, further reveals Gore Mutual’s commitment to broker partnerships. The platform enables brokers to develop ecommerce solutions that can compete with other direct insurance models found online by simply adding a button to their website.
Brokers are, after all, at the centre of Gore Mutual’s business.
“We’re 100% [in] broker distribution and we’ve made the decision that this is the path we’re going to take, but I think the challenge for us is that while we’re focused on brokers, we also recognize that the broker distribution channel needs to change, and a lot of it has to do with adoption of technology and simplification of the workflow,” said Paul Jackson, chief marketing and distribution officer at Gore Mutual Insurance Company. “We actually don’t think that it’s within our DNA to launch a direct channel. What we do think is that there is significant change that needs to happen within the broker channel so that it continues to be relevant and grows its relevance.”
The commitment to brokers extends to strengthening relationships with industry associations, such as the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO), with whom the company collaborated on the IBAO classroom in 2018.
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to be associated with this fresh and modern space for learning,” commented Jackson on the development. “We strongly support the fantastic work IBAO does to assist with the development of new brokers and next generation leaders.”
The history of Gore Mutual dates back to pre-Confederation times, when the first meeting and subsequent founding of the Gore Mutual Fire Insurance Company took place at a schoolhouse in Brantford, Ontario in 1839. The growth of the company paralleled the buildout of the Grand Trunk Railway, as Gore Mutual used the rail system to expand its network across Ontario in the mid-19th century.
Gore Mutual later also expanded out west, becoming licensed in British Columbia in 1935, and began offering automobile insurance for the first time during its 100th year in business. Whether it was pledging $50,000 to support Canada’s efforts during the First World War, lending a hand in the building of a new hospital in 1952, or helping victims of the Grand River Flood in 1974, Gore Mutual has played a key role in promoting the success of its communities throughout its history.
In 2016, Gore Mutual decided to remain a mutual company, even after legislation allowing for demutualization was introduced. According to the company, it did so “to continue delivering stability, trust and innovation to customers and brokers alike for decades to come.”
What do Gore Mutual leaders, Rick Mercer, and Peter Mansbridge have in common? They all took part in panels and keynotes during Fast Forward 2018, an event hosted by Gore Mutual in Toronto, where leading insurance professionals came together to discuss the key issues underpinning rapid change in the insurance industry today. During the Real Solutions portion of the day, industry experts from companies like Munich Re and Deloitte as well as insurance industry associations and firms pushing the envelope with digital innovation provided further insight on obstacles facing the sector.
The 2018 show was the second Fast Forward event put on by Gore Mutual, the first of which was inspired by the momentous change taking place in the industry.
“Technology was changing, customer expectations were changing, and a lot of the brokers were trying to sort out what that meant, so [we wanted to] host an event that helped brokers filter through that,” said Igor Bubic, director of marketing and communications at Gore Mutual.
Fast Forward is not, however, intended to scare insurance professionals into believing that there’s little to be done about these mounting pressures.
“What we’d like them to walk away with is a sense of maybe some urgency and maybe a sense of hope,” Bubic told Insurance Business. “We don’t want to go in there, and tell the ‘doom and gloom’ story and get them anxious about technology, but what we want to do is say, there’s an opportunity, there’s a community here between us, our broker partners, and insurtechs to develop those solutions.”