Local strategy enables Swiss Re growth in "attractive" Canada

Local strategy enables Swiss Re growth in "attractive" Canada | Insurance Business

Local strategy enables Swiss Re growth in "attractive" Canada

Canada is one of the most resilient countries in the world. According to a Swiss Re Institute sigma into global insurance resilience (protection needed vs. protection available) around three main areas of risk – natural catastrophes, mortality, and healthcare spending - North America was the most resilient region in 2018, with almost two thirds of protection needs currently covered by existing resources, including insurance.

According to Swiss Re analysis, Canada has consistently been among the top three most resilient countries over the past decade. The composite insurance resilience index for the North America region improved by two percentage points to 65% in relative terms, spurred on particularly by strong improvement in natural catastrophe protection, which increased 11 percentage points to 40% between 2007 and 2018.

This stable and positive outlook has set Canada up as a “core strategic market” with “lots of sustainable growth potential” for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, the commercial insurance arm of the global Swiss Re Group. Adrian Hall (pictured), CEO Canada, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, explained: “Canada is an attractive market. The fact that Canada has been consistently among the top three most resilient countries over the past decade, supports our growth and our investment in this market. Canada remains a core strategic market for the Swiss Re Corporate Solutions business.”

Hall took the leadership reins at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Canada on May 01, 2017. Since then, the Canadian business has been following a focused strategy of localization, essentially reconnecting with local markets in Canada, building relationships with local brokers, and developing solutions that meet the unique needs of Canadian clients.

In the past two years, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has restructured as a company in Canada in order to have greater local decision making and interaction in the market. This has enabled the firm to tap into growth opportunities, for example in the booming construction and engineering insurance space, which has led to double-digit premium growth and what Hall described as “a solid and growing area” of the business.

“We’ve built really strong momentum in our focus areas of property, energy, FINPRO, our new local surety unit, and we have a key local and global focus on international business. We’re also in the process of refining our casualty proposition for the Canadian marketplace,” Hall told Insurance Business. “We’ve always been in the Canadian casualty market, but I think what we’ve offered as a value proposition needs to be refined and tweaked to meet local Canadian needs. That’s all part of our local strategy leveraging our global knowledge and expertise. We’re listening to our brokers and customers and then developing propositions that are more fitting and competitive in the local market.

“Something we talk about a lot at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions in Canada is how we can combine our global approach with local thinking. Doing that over the last two years has really produced some positive results. Our brokers and our customers are seeing more of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions in the marketplace and we’re partnering more, which I think is a good testament of what we’re trying to achieve.”

One of the global initiatives that Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is incorporating at a local level in Canada is its ongoing focus on sustainability. All of the global firm’s underwriting and investment decisions are governed by a strict sustainability risk framework, which is closely aligned with environmental policy and human rights. It’s a ‘global mandate’,” Hall explained.

“Our global approach on sustainability is firmly implemented locally in Canada,” he said. “If we see a risk to our sustainability framework, we’ll look to see if we can partner with our brokers and our customers to try to find other more sustainable solutions. We’re very active in sectors in Canada where we have to apply that sustainable approach very carefully. We still want to write business in Canada as long as it fits within the parameters of our framework. That’s where having more of a presence on the ground, better relationships, and greater understanding of the local markets really benefits out business.”