‘The coldest experience of my life’

Those executives who took the plunge for the WWF-Canada Polar Bear Dip have finally thawed out – but just barely.

Risk Management News


Those executives who took the plunge for the WWF-Canada Polar Bear Dip have finally thawed out – but just barely.

“It was the coldest experience of my life by far, and I was bought 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.”

Icy indeed, as the City of Toronto issued an extreme cold weather alert for the day of the dip, with temperatures hovering around minus 16 Celsius and a wind chill driving temperatures to minus 27 Celsius.

And you can tell from these photos, it was cold.

Five of Buckton’s RSA colleagues who braved the waters of Lake Ontario included Mark Edgar, Scott Tabachnick, Ewen Cameron, Akhilesh Chandy and Martin Thompson. Together they raised $7,000 for WWF’s national Polar Bear Week, with matching funds pledged by the Coca Cola Company for a total of $14,000.

“This is a fantastic cause. I’m really proud to have been part of the efforts to raise money and support the WWF in the fantastic work they do,” Buckton told Insurance Business. “Those poor polar bears have to deal with some seriously chilly waters, so I’m sure they appreciate the support too.” (continued.)

RSA has been involved in a research and GIS mapping project around sustainable shipping in the Arctic, sharing the results with its U.K. marine business arm which led to the decision to underwrite the first bulk carrier to navigate the Northwest Passage. The research was designed to provide insight into the biologically and ecologically sensitive areas along the route, and to gather information to mitigate risk.

For Chandy, sometimes you have to jump into icy water to catch people’s attention.

“It often takes an outrageous act to create awareness and buzz for a great cause,” he told Insurance Business. “This was it. I was jittery before going in, but this has been the most ‘refreshing’ experience I have ever had! Our dip may just be a drop in the ocean, but together we can make a difference.”

As for Buckton’s personal plunge, he did provide some insight as to the after effects from last week's dip.

“Whilst everything’s just about back where it should be,” he says, “my future ability to father children is now somewhat questionable!”


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