Ridge Canada: Everything you need to know
Founded (Ridge Global): 2005
Founded in Canada: 2016
Corporate headquarters: 8 King St E #205, Toronto, ON M5C 1B5, Canada
Underwriting expertise: Cyber insurance
Key people: Greg Markell (president and CEO), Mathew Alkerton (senior vice-president), James Bennett (senior vice-president management liability), Cindy Manek (senior vice-president – technology professional liability)
Ridge Canada Cyber Solutions is a managing general agency (MGA) that focuses primarily on providing cyber insurance products as well as consulting and loss control services to Canadian insurance agents and brokers. The company is headquartered in Toronto under the leadership of its CEO Greg Markell, offering planning and cyber risk mitigation, and strategic counsel. Ridge Canada is a partner of Ridge Global, which was founded by Tom Ridge, who was the first US Secretary of Homeland Security and 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania.
Since the launch of Ridge’s Canadian operations back in 2016, both the company, which eventually achieved Lloyd’s coverholder status, and the cyber market in which it operates look completely different, according to the Ridge Global leader.
“While cyber risk doesn’t appear to be quite as high on everybody’s mindset in Canada as it is in the United States, where I deal with it on a daily basis, because Canada is such a strong and vibrant economic market [with a] strong democracy, in time with growing awareness, education and unfortunately, with more and more attacks, the notion that you need to make cyber insurance part of your risk management plan [is growing],” Ridge explained. “We’re very excited about the growth, and we’re going to figure out more and better ways to take care of our brokers.”
Through the support it offers its clients, Ridge Canada marries front-end consulting, by identifying risks that its customers face, with risk transfer methods, as the company arms businesses with strategies that protect their supply chains, employees, and clients. Specific offerings include:
Offerings are tailored to meet the needs of a range of organizations, from both private and public large-cap companies, mid to large-cap businesses, as well as organizations with revenues of less than $50 million. Policies are designed with each insured in mind to match their industry-specific risks based on an assessment of the company and the risk management strategies they’ve already implemented. Policy highlights include:
Thanks to Ridge Canada’s cyber focus, the company boasts gigabytes of expertise on the topic, and offers up ongoing insight into the evolving cyber threat landscape. A notable development in recent years is the fact that no company is safe from cyber incidents.
“One of the things that we’ve found is that ransomware is rampant, and it’s indiscriminate so it’s affecting a lot more businesses than just the big folks,” said Markell. “As we saw from the NotPetya and the WannaCry incidents, they can have devastating effects on supply chains and have a lasting impact in terms of how they affect businesses. Because it can happen to anyone, it’s one of those things that both large and small businesses need to be aware of, and aware of how they’re going to deal with it.”
As a result, there’s been a significant swing in interest in cyber insurance, due in part to regulations introduced in Canada back in 2018.
“We’re seeing [cyber insurance] purchasing habits uptick in a number of different sectors – education, healthcare, manufacturing, and professional services. There’s a lot more conversation around those sectors that we’re having [and are] starting to see it translate into an increase in purchasing,” Markell told Insurance Business. “These attacks are far more visible now and people are actually seeing the impacts that they have. On top of that, with the new legislation bringing in mandatory notification, I think a lot more clients or prospective clients are taking a more serious look at it because of the regulatory pressure that they’re going to be faced with in the event that something does happen.”
Markell also noted that the increase in frequency and severity of cyber incidents “have compounded into the industry facing major headwinds.”
“[For several years] pricing had been going south through the stock market. But now, looking at the actual loss patterns, the payouts, and the actual loss ratios, rate alone is not something that can change this,” he said.
Continuous education around cyber risk management for insurers, brokers, and end clients is key, according to Markell.
“I think there are some control elements that need to be more widely adopted […] We’re seeing standardization of multi-factor authentication [MFA] come across the entire organization. There are some other things that businesses themselves can do to help protect data – for example: back it up securely, back it up offline, have different copies of it, test your plans, test your back-ups, there’s no shortage of other things. And these things don’t have to be expensive, especially for small businesses,” he said.
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