Sompo International's Canada Insurance CEO lifts lid on expansion strategy

'It was less about where the market cycle was'

Sompo International's Canada Insurance CEO lifts lid on expansion strategy

Insurance News

By Gia Snape

Sompo International has set its sights on being a top commercial player in Canada, as the global property and casualty (P&C) insurer and reinsurer expands its business.

The company is expanding its insurance operations into Canada at a time when the P&C market is showing signs that’s its shifting from the harder market conditions of the past few years. 

Rohan Dixon, president and CEO of commercial P&C insurance in Canada, said the move isn’t opportunistic and that Sompo International is in it for the long haul.

“It wasn’t about where the market was in its cycle,” he told Insurance Business. “It was less about where the market cycle was, and more that we wanted to be a significant player in Canada.”

According to Dixon, the time had come to put more heft into the Canadian enterprise, not just to support Sompo International’s clients, but to take advantage of its dynamic marketplace.

“It’s been a long-term play here,” Dixon said. “We’ve been looking at the Canadian market, and we saw an opportunity for us to expand and continue to support our existing clients and gain new ones.”

What is Sompo International’s growth strategy in Canada?

As “the new kid on the block,” Dixon told Insurance Business that he was very conscious of showcasing Sompo International as a quality brand.

“I have an amazing sense of support from around the [Sompo International] group, and it makes you want to open the floodgates and start writing a lot of business tomorrow,” he said. “But our challenge is to pull back and say, ‘let’s take our time, underwrite it properly, make sure we understand all the risks, let’s do the best possible job we can and then move on to the next one’.”

Dixon is leading with a thoughtful, paced approach to the market, eager to show brokers and clients Sompo International’s value proposition, but mindful of creating a user experience that’s “second to none.”

“It’s about getting that slow start and making certain that the reputation you put into the market is one that aligns with the brand, and one we hope is going to be there for decades,” he added.

Dixon acknowledged that Sompo International’s Canada arm is also navigating the same challenges as other new enterprises, whether that’s getting its platforms up and running or dealing with the regulatory environment.

“Our advantage is we don’t have a large legacy here. We can basically craft what we want,” he said. “And that’s exciting.”

What can brokers and clients expect from Sompo International’s Canada expansion?

Sompo International’s expansion comes as the Canadian P&C market continues to face a myriad of challenges, including economic volatility, supply chain and labour challenges, and geopolitical tensions abroad. But Dixon said he isn’t exceedingly worried about headwinds.

“It’s less of a challenge for us. It’s about getting the right underwriting in place,” he said. “We’re able to leverage our global scale and our global treaties. What we’re doing on the ground is ensuring we underwrite those risks properly.

“Everything is new for us right now. It’s about looking at where we want to be and where it makes the most sense to deploy our capital.”

Brokers and clients can expect the Sompo International team to be nimble and innovative, according to Dixon.

“As the markets have shifted, clients are re-evaluating their needs, while brokers are trying to innovate to come up with solutions for them,” he said. “We have the flexibility to support that, and I think that gives us some competitive advantage.”

Aside from Canada, Sompo International has also signalled intentions to grow in Europe and southeast Asia. It opened a UK regional office in Birmingham, its first outside London, in January.

Do you have any thoughts about Sompo International’s expansion in Canada? Share them in the comments below.

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