Gore Mutual CEO on balancing growth and profitability

Gore Mutual CEO on balancing growth and profitability | Insurance Business Canada

Gore Mutual CEO on balancing growth and profitability

Over the past two years, Gore Mutual has undergone significant change during its Next Horizon transformation, and last month, the company released its 2021 financial results, which project continued growth and profitability in 2022. 

Read more: What's next for Gore Mutual?

“We’re most proud of the fact that we have been able to undergo an unprecedented transformation within our business, while at the same time delivering strong financial results,” Andy Taylor (pictured), CEO of Gore Mutual told Insurance Business.

Gore has grown its business by almost 17%, reporting gross written premiums of $590 million in 2021. The combined operating ratio after considering $35 million in transformation investments was 99%. On an adjusted basis, the company ended 2021 with a 92% combined operating ratio.

“Our initial thought around the transformation was that we would go through a period of change as we built the foundation for the future, and in the following years we would then scale business,” Taylor explained. “We’re very proud that we have been able to do both of those things at the same time.”

In the midst of rebuilding the organization, Gore is still maintaining strong financial results that have exceeded the CEO’s expectations.

“Our financial plan was to break even and effectively reinvest the profits back into our transformation, but in reality, we surpassed that goal and ended up generating a profit of close to $40 million, which is a total return of 12%,” said Taylor.

The combination of scaling a massive transformation along with extremely profitable results is certainly something to celebrate, but the process was not easy. Balancing profitability and change were a challenge during the pandemic, according to Taylor.

“We asked ourselves how we can lead with purpose throughout the pandemic and made sure we provided rate relief and support to our customers,” he continued. “The challenge that comes with that is now we have to balance rate relief with increased frequency.

“We have support from our broker partners as we try to slowly expire that rate relief so we continue to be rate adequate going forward. Our broker partners support and understand that the key is to be very disciplined and consistent, so that there is not a lot of volatility for customers.”

Another challenge for Gore was maintaining the focus of the organization during a massive period of transformation. “We’re rebuilding the entire company, from operating models to onboarding quite literally, 100s of people,” he added.

Ensuring everyone is aligned to specific strategic initiatives is a method that Gore has embraced so pivotal priorities and goals are well known across the company.

“We are very excited about our brand refresh which will really accomplish two things for us,” he noted. “Firstly, although we have a proud history and want to respect that, we also want to reposition ourselves in the market and reflect our transformation. Our ambition is to become a purpose-driven, digitally led national insurance company over the next decade, and modernizing the brand in the marketplace will allow that goal to be reflected.”

The second area that is important to Taylor is having the brand reflect its purpose statement, and, with the launch of the purpose framework, the company’s modernized values will be well established by 2023.

Read next: Gore Mutual's 'Path to Purpose'

“Our next milestone is to reach a billion dollars in premiums next year, which would grow the company by 15%,” Taylor emphasised. “A key component of that plan is a continued focus on pricing adequacy across all lines of business and driving our models to be as effective as possible. We’re looking to optimize the personal lines model in place while finishing the transformation of our commercial operating model.

“As we’re seeing a bit of softening of the commercial market, we’re also spending a lot of time developing a new value proposition for our commercial brokers which will be augmented by some of our new offices in Toronto and Vancouver.”