FAR OUT FRIDAY: Brokers break the ice for charity

by Donald Horne 28 Feb 2014

FAR OUT FRIDAY: Brokers break the ice for charity

There probably isn’t a broker out there who hasn’t been given the cold shoulder by a client – but would they agree to plunge into icy Lake Ontario to raise money for charity?

“I’m originally from Scotland and don’t know if I fully understood the implications of ‘a polar bear dip’ in Canada when I was first approached to participate,” says Martin Thompson, senior vice president of global specialty lines with RSA Insurance.

RSA has had a strategic partnership with WWF-Canada for many years now, Thompson told Insurance Business, and have partnered together on a number of research projects.

“We felt this would be a unique way to support their Arctic conservation efforts,” he says. “In addition to that though, this is also about bringing awareness to the issue of climate change and the grave impact it’s having on the Arctic and the species that live there.”

So far Thompson and his five colleagues – Mark Edgar, Scott Tabachnick, Ben Buckton, Ewen Cameron and Akhilesh Chandy – have raised CA$7,000. All donations for WWF’s National Polar Bear Week (which the dip is a part of) will be matched by Coca Cola so essentially we will have raised CA$14,000.

“It was the coldest experience of my life by far, and I was brought up in the north of England,” says Ben Buckton, director of brand with RSA Group Canada. “The fact my wet hair froze solid within seconds of leaving the water perhaps gives a good indication of the icy temperatures we were dealing with.”

Thompson says that as insurers, RSA are acutely aware of the impact of severe weather on its business and the industry as a whole.

“I think we all have a responsibility, as good corporate citizens, to give back to our communities where we work and live,” says Thompson. “But I also think it’s important to ensure that the causes we support align with our overall brand and make sense strategically. WWF is a logical partner for RSA. After the year our industry just faced – CA$3.2 billion in insured losses due to weather – it’s clear climate change is a significant problem that is going to require action at every level.”



Ready, set, go! The swimmers prepare for an icey dip.


No going back: The brokers brave the cold waters.


Yikes: Waist-deep was far enough.


Out time: There was a dash for shore at the end.


Brrr-illiant: Time to warm up after the swim.


Warm and dry: Back on dry land the guys are all smiles.