A global pandemic, severe weather, record-high inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the Great Recession are just a few of the unknown factors that have had a significant negative impact on the Canadian economy in recent years. Insurers on the commercial side must proceed with caution. Aviva Canada’s commercial lines business is booming, with double-digit growth in its Global Corporate and Specialty (GCS) and Aviva Business sectors, despite the current uncertainty and the impending challenges.
The yearly premium growth rate for commercial P&C lines has been relatively stable at roughly 6-8% since 2018, according to McKinsey’s 2023 Global Insurance Report. Aviva Canada’s managing director of GCS, Urs Uhlmann (pictured), said that the insurance provider has been aiming to create a culture where people can develop professionally by being authentic to themselves, in addition to seeking diversification and extension of its portfolio.
We have earned a reputation for excellence in underwriting and claim handling. Uhlmann noted, “While we’ve encountered our fair share of problems over the past few years and are preparing for the headwinds to come, our teams are working hard to provide better customer service in the commercial insurance industry. Growing our portfolio and getting new products to market quickly are two of the most important things we can do for our customers and our brokers. At its core, what we’re doing is assembling highly engaged teams, the efforts of which have contributed to the rapid expansion of our extensive commercial portfolio.
The upcoming difficulties
The McKinsey research recommended that commercial insurers keep an eye on the transition to net zero and the reinvention of the employee value proposition.
Natural disasters, the transition to zero emissions, the supply chain, and cyber threats are all highlighted in the research as areas where the nature of risks is changing at an unprecedented rate. Commercial carriers have a major opportunity to come forward and address the expanding protection gaps, or they risk losing relevance in a changing world if they retreat and reduce their exposure.
Aviva plc, which includes Aviva Canada, stated in 2021 its global intention to become a net-zero firm by 2040.
We are committed to our sustainability goals. Uhlmann stressed the importance of taking swift action to address the climate crisis. According to the company’s leaders, “as a larger corporation, we believe we have a responsibility to take what we’re learning and use it to help our suppliers, broker partners, and customers on their journeys as well.”
Through their underwriting strategy, partnerships, and product offerings, the insurer has been looking for ways to aid in the shift to net zero. Aviva has launched a parametric insurance product to help clients better manage the risks associated with climate change, in addition to forming a cross-functional renewable energy working group and continuing to write business across wind, solar, and hydro.
We recognize that the climate situation cannot be solved independently, he said. “Collaboration and information sharing will be essential to a smooth transition. We want to apply the learnings, such as from our parametric pilot project, to spread our reach into other industries in the future.”
The impetus for it all
What, though, is it that makes Aviva so special?
“Our people,” Uhlmann said. We understand there is a connection between our company’s success and the quality of its culture, leadership training, and customer service. Because our employees are the key to our success, it is essential that we invest in their growth and foster an atmosphere that encourages them to remain with the company.
Aviva Canada’s employees have shown that they are buying into what the insurer is doing by demonstrating an engagement rate that is 13% higher than the top quartile of financial services organizations.
Aviva is committed to the professional growth of its employees and allocates resources accordingly. The learning agenda in the insurance company includes technical knowledge, insurance skills, and personal growth. The insurer understands the importance of having strong leaders in place and hence provides several distinct leadership development programs.
According to Uhlmann, “our leaders are building a culture that makes people excited to come to and stay at Aviva,” where they can develop their skills and advance in their careers. We want our employees to be themselves at work so that they may make a positive impact and delight our clients.