Top 5 Insurance News Stories of the Week: November 28 – December 4

Ottawa has highest collision rate; SMEs fret over competitive pressure: Zurich

Get up-to-date on the latest P&C insurance industry news, company reports and ratings, and product releases.

The Top 5 industry news stories of the week:

1. Ottawa Has Highest Collision Rate: Allstate’s annual Safe Driving Study reveals that the days leading up to the holidays—December 21, 22 and 23—had the highest number of collision claims, while the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day had the lowest number. The study, which examines the frequency of customers’ collision claims in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario, also shows that Ottawa had the highest collision rate, at 6.73 percent, while Medicine Hat had the lowest rate at 3.74 percent. 

2. SMEs Fret Over Competitive Pressure, Weak Demand: Zurich: While small- and medium-size enterprises globally are generally optimistic about the future, they remain concerned about the risks of high competition and the associated impact of dumping on sales margins, and weak consumer demand/overstocking. The Zurich 2014 SME survey also shows that concern over cyber risks has almost doubled since 2013. Theft ranks third among the biggest risks globally, though it is a lower priority than in the prior year. Mike Kerner, Zurich’s CEO General Insurance, said, “These findings strongly suggest that smaller companies around the world are mostly focused on risks that are likely to affect their bottom line rather than tail risks like supply chain or natural catastrophes that could destroy their business.”

3. Opta, CSSI Launch Construction Data Solution: Opta Information Intelligence, a risk information company, and Custom Software Solutions Inc., providers of IT Solutions for brokers, MGAs, and insurance companies, have partnered to bring iClarify Residential construction data, imagery, and replacement cost values to CSSI brokers across Canada. iClarify is “an integrated property information and validation solution that empowers brokers with a competitive advantage through a more efficient quoting process and an ability to offer enhanced services and experiences to their customers.” CSSI will be integrating key property construction features and valuation information supplied by Opta’s iClarify™ directly into The Broker’s Workstation (TBW) broker management system. With this new information from iClarify™, brokers will have access to real-time valuation data, accurate replacement cost values, and geo-coded imagery of the property, making it easier and more efficient to quote and bind new business policies. With instant access to property intelligence and imagery on their desktop, brokers will enhance their customer experience, ensure property quotes are accurately insured to value, and ultimately provide better protection for their customers.

4. HUB Acquires Ontario MGA: Hub Financial, a Hub International subsidiary, has acquired the shares of MGA Partners Inc., an Ontario-based managing general agency. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The acquisition broadens Hub’s footprint in Canada’s eastern provinces, and its reach to financial advisors and insurance brokers seeking multi-fund insurance and risk solutions while maintaining their independence. MGA has six locations: four in Ontario, one in Prince Edward Island and one in Halifax. With the acquisition, Hub Financial will operate 16 locations with more than 200 employees throughout Canada.

5.  IBC Launches Crime-Prevention Campaign: The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is warning motorists about the property and identity theft that can occur when a vehicle is left unlocked and valuables are in view. With its law-enforcement, crime-prevention and commercial partners, IBC has launched “Lock It OR Lose It,” a crime-prevention campaign that includes new signs in busy parking lots to remind drivers to lock their doors, pocket their keys and remove any valuable items from sight. In addition, police officers will examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that valuables are not in view. The police officer may then place on the vehicles a small notice with tips on how drivers can protect their vehicle against theft. Amanda Dean, IBC’s vice-president, Atlantic, urges motorists not to keep personal documents, such as a vehicle ownership card, liability pink slips, credit card invoices and passports, in their unoccupied vehicle. Criminals often look for such documents so they can assume identities, secure credit card accounts and participate in other fraudulent activities.

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