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May 7, 2015

Wasnie sets sights on luring
new talent to broker ranks

(Copyright Thompson’s World Insurance News. Not to be redistributed by individual recipients.)

     It’s a safe bet that the new president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba won’t take long to learn the ropes.
     That’s because Russell Wasnie, vp personnel and corporate affairs at One Insurance in Selkirk, has been a member of the IBAM board for 13 years. And that personnel expertise will come in handy in the year ahead.
     "The No. 1 priority for me is recruitment, getting some younger people involved in the industry," he told Thompson’s.
     "No one grows up wanting to be an insurance broker. They don’t think it’s the most glamorous job."
     Even so, he was pleased with the turnout of young people at IBAM’s recent trade show in Winnipeg.
     "We had well over 1,000 people attend. And it was nice because it was younger people attending — it wasn’t brokerage owners per se, it was younger brokers, front-line staff getting out there," he said.
     Few of those breaking into the industry can expect to inherit or buy an independent brokerage, but Mr. Wasnie said there are still solid opportunities for young brokers with an eye to the future.
     "I think a lot of owners right now have it structured where . . . after so many years you can look at becoming a shareholder. From there I think the sky’s the limit for new people coming in," he said.
     "The older brokers are getting ready to retire and they’ve got to do something with their brokerages.
     "Hopefully they’re looking at succession planning and I know a lot of them are."
     He even sees the "aggressive" consolidation trend working in favour of the young brokerage shareholder.
     "They get their foot in the door and if they buy into a brokerage and it becomes consolidated with someone like Hub, their share purchase price will be a lot more than what they bought in for."
     Another item on Mr. Wasnie’s to-do list is sprucing up IBAM’s educational offerings.
     "Aside from the normal CAIB stuff, maybe customer service, email etiquette — there’s a whole gamut of stuff that I want to look at."

Report calls for supranational
measures to manage cyber risk

(Copyright Thompson’s World Insurance News. Not to be redistributed by individual recipients.)

     A report commissioned by insurer Zurich proposes new measures to strengthen the global governance framework for managing evolving cyber risks.
     ‘Global Cyber Governance: Preparing for New Business Risks,’ published by Zurich and the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics, calls for the establishment of guiding principles to build resilience and the establishment of supranational governance bodies, such as a cyber stability board, and the creation of a cyber alert system based on the World Health Organization to enhance crisis management.
     The researchers note that while emerging technologies such as drones, 3D printing and self-driving cars are fundamentally changing the nature of cyber risk, the current regulation and governance regimes in place globally are inadequate to ensure the security of the infrastructure.
     "Cyberspace has become essential to our daily lives and a practical necessity for governments and businesses.
     "Yet this dependency comes at a price: Cyber security is arguably the most salient non-traditional security issue on the global agenda, and cyber risks increasingly are linked to other global risks."
     Cyber attacks respect no borders, the researchers say, making it essential to approach cyber governance in a ‘holistic’ and global way.
     "Despite recent progress, we still lack a comprehensive and functional regime of global cyber security."
     A study that included mapping the rules, institutions and procedures of the current global cyber governance framework revealed the true nature and extent of the issues at stake.
     "The study discovered a global cyber governance regime comprised of three distinct types of concerns and participants.
     "At one end of the spectrum, where governance deals mainly with technical issues and relies on a multi-stakeholder model, governance is effective. At the other end of the spectrum, which includes the realm of threats like cyber warfare and state-sponsored sabotage, effective global governance is completely lacking."


Elimination of non-earner
benefit rule questioned

(Copyright Thompson’s World Insurance News. Not to be redistributed by individual recipients.)

     A leading industry defence lawyer says the latest Ontario auto reform proposals suggest the government is serious about reducing costs, but some of the changes could have an adverse effect.
     Lee Samis, of Toronto firm Samis and Company, said that eliminating the six-month waiting period for non-earner benefits and limiting the non-earner benefit to two years might add costs instead of saving costs.
     "The number of new cases that will be coming in with disabilities within the first six months will greatly outweigh the number of cases that are taken out of the system at the two year mark," Mr. Samis told Thompson’s.
     "There are a lot more cases that have shorter duration disabilities than there are cases that have disabilities for more than two years.
     "So we are adding in the not-rare cases and getting rid of the rare cases so it’s troublesome and I think it’s all wrong on incentives to take out the six-month waiting period."
     He said that moving the existing catastrophe levels into a single $1m limit is a significant change even though it affects only a small number of cases.
     Another significant reform will be changing the duration of medical rehab benefits from 10 years to five, which Mr. Samis said is in alignment with some other provinces.
     "I think that’s more important from an administrative point of view for insurers," he said. "It’s going to allow files to be closed earlier than otherwise would be the case."
     With both the catastrophic injury and the medical rehab benefit reforms, he suggested that tort claims could increase.
     "This gets to some extent added into the tort cases so the majority of injured accident victims are going to have some tort entitlement and they will be able to make those claims," Mr. Samis said. "(There will) be a little bit of a bounce-back on the tort side for some of that money."


Briefly . . .

     Partner Re’s board of directors has rejected an unsolicited US$6.4bn takeover offer from Italy’s Exor SpA and said it would instead proceed with a previous plan to merge with rival insurer Axis Capital Holdings. Both Partner Re and Axis are based in Bermuda and have operations in Canada. PartnerRe said it is enhancing the merger proposal and will pay Axis shareholders a special dividend of US$11.50 a common share before the transaction closes.

     La Capitale Insurance and Financial Services has launched a ‘thank you’ campaign to celebrate its 75th anniversary. The campaign will run until April 2016 and include exclusive promotions for Quebec’s public administration and public service employees, a contest with 75 prizes and recognition activities to show appreciation to its staff and partners. La Capitale was created in 1940 when members of the association of civil employees created a fraternal benefit society to protect their families’ financial health in the event of death.

     Police are investigating allegations that three Saskatchewan Government Insurance employees defrauded the Crown corporation of more than $16,000. "An employee submitted an auto claim subsequently found to be false," SGI said in a loss report. "Two other employees aided in advancing the claim." All three employees involved resigned in the face of termination and are ineligible for rehire, SGI said. The employees were also deemed ineligible for retirement. The insurer said it is working to recover the funds.

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