New Report Outlines Solutions For Insurance Challenges Facing Atlantic Businesses

HALIFAX, Nov. 23, 2005 – The Atlantic Task Force on Insurance Availability and Affordability released its final report at a media conference today in Halifax. The report, which makes a number of concrete recommendations intended to help commercial insurance customers and voluntary organizations, calls for action from the insurance industry and government, as well as the businesses and voluntary sector organizations that depend on commercial insurance.

“This was a collaborative effort which, in the end, has produced a comprehensive set of forward-looking recommendations. Even though we know the picture is better for many customers today than when the task force was formed, we also know that insurance is a cyclical business, and that solutions we put in place today will help alleviate some of the problems tomorrow,” said Don Forgeron, Vice-President, Atlantic, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Formed in February 2005, the task force was chaired by IBC and includes representatives from the business and voluntary sectors, the insurance industry, and all four Atlantic governments, who held observer status. The task force’s mandate was to develop recommendations to improve insurance availability and affordability for commercial and non-profit organizations in Atlantic Canada, and to foster a greater mutual understanding between insurers and their commercial clients.

Several recommendations in the report centre on risk management – one urging insurers to make information available on how consumers can reduce their risk of having to make a claim, and another urging insurance consumers to put this information into practice, using a risk management education tool developed by the task force, and now available on the IBC website at www.ibc.ca.

“Making risk management strategies available, especially to smaller operators, was very important,” said R�al Robichaud, Executive Director, Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick, and member of the task force. “Obviously, this is one way for our members to reduce their insurance costs. The task force has done a good job of identifying others.”

Recognizing the importance of the voluntary sector to local economies and community life, the task force commissioned a study of this sector in particular, with the goal of recommending solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of voluntary organizations. Some of the recommendations from the study were incorporated into the main task force report, including a call for government to work with insurers and the voluntary sector to help non-profit organizations find the right insurance at the best possible price.

Jamie Ferguson, CEO of Sport Nova Scotia, represented sporting and recreational organizations on the task force. “We are pleased to be a part of the important work of this Task Force,” he said. “The sporting sector was hit hard the last time the insurance market took a downturn. I think involving all parties in this process has lead to recommendations that could help minimize the impact if another downturn was to occur.”

Other recommendations in the report include a call on governments to reduce the tax burden on insurance consumers and look at potential legislative changes that have reduced insurance costs in other jurisdictions.

For its part, the insurance industry is tasked with improving its communication with consumers. One recommendation in particular, which is already in the process of being implemented, calls on the industry to amend its Consumer Code of Rights and Responsibilities.

The task force report advises businesses and not-for-profit groups to become more savvy insurance consumers, not only by managing their risk, but by knowing their policy, talking to their insurance representative and shopping around for the best insurance deal.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents more than 90% of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada. To view news releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.

Please note: List of membership for Atlantic Task Force on Availability and Affordability is detailed overleaf

Atlantic Task Force on Insurance Availability and Affordability membership

Consumers – Commercial and non-profit

  • Ross Antworth – General Manager, New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs

  • Myrtle Corkum – Deputy Chief Commissioner, Girl Guides Canada – Guides du Canada

  • Don Cudmore – Executive Director, Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island

  • John Dewey – Executive Director, Federation of Prince Edward island Municipalities

  • Luc Erjavec – Vice President, Atlantic Canada, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

  • Jamie Ferguson – Chief Executive Officer, Sport Nova Scotia

  • Len King – Past President, Newfoundland Real Estate Association

  • R�al Robichaud – Executive Director, Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick

  • St�phane Robichaud – Vice President Atlantic Region, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

  • Penelope Rowe – Chief Executive Officer, Community Services Council Newfoundland & Labrador

  • Dawn Stegen – Executive Director, Recreation Nova Scotia Industry

  • Don Forgeron (Chair of Task Force) – Vice-President, Atlantic, Insurance Bureau of Canada

  • Brian Houlihan – Commercial Underwriting Leader, Royal and SunAlliance

  • Gail Munroe – Corporate Commercial Manager, Atlantic Division, ING Canada

  • Jamie Reid – President, Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia Government

  • Robert Bradley – Acting Superintendent of Insurance, Prince Edward Island

  • George Jordan – Auto Insurance Consumer Advocate, Nova Scotia

  • Roderick MacKenzie – Superintendent of Insurance, New Brunswick

  • Winston Morris – Superintendent of Insurance, Newfoundland/Labrador

  • Doug Murphy – Acting Superintendent of Insurance, Nova Scotia

  • Ron Godin – Office of the Consumer Advocate for Insurance, New Brunswick