Summer 2020 Edition

Summer 2020 Edition

Pat Van Bakel

Pat Van Bakel: COVID-19 - the silver lining

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented change in our lives and altered the way we do business. But according to Pat Van Bakel, IIC Chair and President and CEO of Crawford Canada Inc., the virus has been the catalyst for some positive changes in the insurance industry.

“There is definitely a silver lining for our industry and there’s no question there are changes we have had to implement that will be with us well beyond the end of this pandemic,” says Pat. “Because of COVID-19 we’ve jumped over the digital solutions and change management obstacles that we’ve been struggling with as an industry. We’ve had no choice but to get out of our comfort zones and do things differently.”

He says that although on the claims side people still need to go out on site for some of the more complex issues, there’s a lot more work being done with virtually collaborative platforms such as Zoom or Teams. “We’ve historically seen resistance to change when it comes to other more insurance specific technologies including some that are more claims oriented, but we’ve definitely jumped over that hurdle.”

One big change as a result of the pandemic is that claims adjusters are engaging the policy holder in some cases as the eyes on the ground collecting and submitting data. “In recent years we started to rely on the gig economy, such as WeGoLook, to assist with data collection,” he says.

“Now we are putting that capability right into the hands of the policy holder, using YouGoLook. It is empowering the policyholder to participate more actively in their claim resolution, capturing and submitting data in a way that is actionable for the adjuster. The current crisis has necessitated this critical solution, but it has worked very well and is gaining traction.”

Like other organizations, Pat’s team has made the health and safety of their frontline workers a top priority. “There is a much higher degree of focus on the environment our people are going into and ways to keep them safe through screening and use of PPE. This is so important because we can’t help clients if our people get sick.”

When it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Pat says the insurance industry has demonstrated that it was better prepared than some other industries. “We are in the business of dealing with a crisis. Crisis and catastrophe is at the heart of what we do and the whole industry is leveraging the inherent skills and competencies of a claims professional including empathy for people suffering a traumatic event and the ability to understand the critical path to a solution will not be the same in every instance. Obviously, this pandemic has taken us in a different direction, but we still need to draw on our skills to demonstrate resiliency and customer focus during a crisis. I am proud of how our industry has responded.”

While the industry has adapted well to the “new normal”, Pat says the Insurance Institute also deserves accolades for the way it has handled this crisis. “The Institute acted very swiftly considering, like many other educational institutions, we were mid-term. We were still in the process of hosting convocations across the country and approaching exams season. All this posed major challenges and risks to our students’ educational journeys.”

With all in-person classes, exams and events cancelled to protect the safety of students, staff and instructors, the Institute turned to technology to provide virtual solutions. “The fact that the Institute was already on a significant journey towards digitizing the business has really helped,” Pat says. “Of course, it wasn’t done with the intent of dealing with a massive pandemic, but technological solutions such as virtual classes, exams and study aids have proven to be one of the hallmarks of success for the Institute.”

Pat feels communities across Canada have responded well during this crisis with everyone working from home and embracing technology in ways we never have before. But he believes the potential toll on our people as a result of social distancing and missing their peer group at the office may have longer term implications that we need to continue to monitor and understand. “We are interacting with colleagues and customers differently and people are becoming more comfortable with alternate ways to connect. Technology doesn’t replace the benefits of face-to-face but it can certainly help bring the world closer together.”

As Pat’s year as Chair of the Insurance Institute of Canada winds down he says he’s grateful to have had the honour. “Before I took on this role, I didn’t appreciate how fulfilling and rewarding the year would be. Attending all the convocation ceremonies and talking to the grads and their families has been energizing and inspiring. I am truly hopeful that in very uncertain times that my successor Martin Thompson, ACII, President and CEO RSA Canada, will be able to enjoy the same opportunity to connect with our members. I wish him all the best.”


Virtual learning

Pomp and (Unusual) circumstance

In June, many communities across Canada began sprouting bright and cheerful lawn signs congratulating various “class of 2020” graduates. With large gatherings such as convocation ceremonies prohibited because of COVID-19, schools, colleges, universities and designation programs have all had to scramble to find other ways to recognize and honour the achievements of the 2020 graduating class.

Although the Insurance Institute’s Convocation events are still months away, planning begins well ahead. Given the ongoing uncertainty about the trajectory of the pandemic, the Institute has had to make the difficult decision to cancel all in-person Convocation ceremonies for 2020-2021 and move them to a virtual format. All virtual Convocation ceremonies will now be held in early 2021. Protecting the health and safety of our grads and their families, as well as Institute volunteers and staff, remains the top priority in our planning.

We realize this decision will be disappointing for our graduates, who have worked hard to reach their milestones. However, our team is working on alternative Convocation celebrations to honour the resilience and achievements of this year’s graduating class. And while we won’t be issuing lawn signs, we hope to replicate many of the familiar elements of our traditional convocations, with a new twist or two. Here are some of the ideas we’re working on:

  • Virtual ceremonies to include congratulatory speeches, awards, and music
  • Opportunities for families, friends, and colleagues to attend virtually and support graduates
  • Local Institute webpages to highlight graduates and award winners through congratulatory messages
  • Arrangements to provide physical graduate certificates and awards to graduates and prize-winners

Our local institutes will email graduates when dates and details are confirmed in their region.

In the meantime, if you are part of this graduating class, here’s what you should do right now to get ready:

  • Please ensure the name on your online member account matches how you’d like it to appear on your certificate. Any changes to your name on your online member account must be made by September 20 at the latest.
  • Please ensure your home address is up to date on your online member account in the case certificates are mailed to you.

We look forward to sharing further information with you as it becomes available.

COVID 19 solutions

Institute responds to COVID-19 with virtual solutions

When coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March, the Insurance Institute moved swiftly to adapt courses and services to avoid in-person interactions. Local institutes, chapters and departments worked hard to ensure students and members could continue to access the services they required.

Course delivery
CIP courses have been offered in a variety of learning modes, for many years. Our virtual learning model is well designed and provides a facilitated, engaging experience for learners.

Once in-person classes were no longer possible, all courses were switched to the virtual format. Even though many Institute instructors are well-versed in virtual learning, for those who were new to this, training and mentoring was provided by our Learning Technologies team and local Managers and Education Coordinators. Within days students were shifted to a virtual environment to complete their winter term.

Ramping up our virtual conferencing capacity provided an opportunity to pilot Zoom, which has been very well received by instructors and learners alike.

Before the pandemic, end of term exams were largely held in Institute test centers with on-site proctors. The Institute exams team began exploring how exams could be conducted online from home.

Introducing a brand new option took time and it was necessary to push the April exam session to June while a solution was implemented. An interim fix saw CIP students sitting exams at two set times a day over 10 days.

A more flexible solution has been found for the summer exam session. Students will take computer-based, virtually proctored exams that can be scheduled twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, during a three-week administration window. Students are able to select a date and time that works for them within the three-week exam period, based on the available time slots. It has already been piloted with licensing exams and is now ready to be rolled out for a larger cohort.

Study assists
The idea of introducing study assists to support students had been percolating among the local chapters and Institutes for a while. In fact, a live format was already being used at a number of institutes before the national study assists were developed. The health crisis pushed it to the front of the agenda. The team swung into action developing three types of study resources in a matter of weeks. Students would have access to recorded sessions, live virtual recorded sessions and live virtual sessions, depending on the classes they were taking. For the national study sessions, instructors recorded study sessions, which were then hosted on the Moodle learning management system. The first recordings were rolled out the third week of April. Additional courses were added as they became available.

The resources have proved to be hugely popular. The recordings have been accessed by over 4,000 people since the April launch. One Independent Study student wrote in to say, “I just want to say the National Study Session was amazing! I am doing C13 self study and listening to Joe Evangelista was a breath of fresh air!” A Virtual Learning student said: “Having one final review of topics from an instructor with a different point of view than the individual instructor was VERY helpful.”

In praise of virtual learning

In praise of Virtual Learning

Students who have never taken an online class are sometimes hesitant about the virtual format. What will the dynamic be like? How do classroom interactions work? With the restrictions placed on in-person learning during the Coronavirus pandemic, students who want to continue their education have had no choice but to make the switch.

That’s exactly what happened to Alex Blagojevic. She was signed up for an in-person C14 course for the Spring semester. After the course was cancelled because of the pandemic, she decided to sign up for a virtual C13 course. At first, she was unsure. “We were unexpectedly thrown into an online format, which for me was a new experience and I was apprehensive about the whole transition,” Alex said.

Michael Caron, an instructor for C70 in BC, had a similar outlook. “I was concerned about potential tech challenges and diminished student engagement.” However, when the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lock down required all IIC’s classes to move online, Michael was pleasantly surprised by the change. “By the end of the first virtual class I knew my fears were unfounded. The class is engaged to the same point, and possibly more, and I have had no tech problems or glitches.”

Alex mirrors Michael’s thoughts on engagement. “Students can inquire in real-time within a chat box that all students can view, which acts as our open discussion.” She even found an unexpected advantage of virtual learning. “I love that because other students cannot see you, you’re not as inclined to keep your question or confusion to yourself. The embarrassment of public speaking or possibly asking “the wrong question” is eliminated with the virtual class format.”

Beyond the classroom, virtual learning also offers a few more practical advantages:

  • Stay on track: With restrictions on in-person classes, don’t lose momentum on achieving your learning goals.
  • Avoid the hassle of public transit and parking: Use the hours you would have spent travelling on something more productive.
  • Continue to network: Broaden your network to students who may not have signed up for an in-person class at your location

As with any new activity, there are adjustments that can help make the transition to virtual learning as smooth as possible. Here are some of Alex’s suggestions:

  • Sign up with someone you know: Try to take a virtual learning course along with a friend or colleague. That way, you can bounce ideas off one another outside of the scheduled class time.
  • Use the learning portal: When you sign up for a virtual class, there are many useful resources within the online platform. These tools are crucial in ensuring you understand the concepts.
  • Do your readings: As with an in-person class, pre-read the sections being covered in any given scheduled class.

Alex encourages others to try the format, even if they are uncertain. “Ultimately, I would tell other students to at least give this format a try. I am a visual learner and often require in-class learning, but I am officially converted!”

Apurav Bharti

Are you Student Strong? Share your story.

During these challenging times many students are continuing their insurance education and we want to highlight their successes, challenges and tips for coping with virtual learning. Apurav Bharti, RIBO, is one example of an Institute student who is managing to successfully navigate work, personal and student life amid the pandemic. We hope that sharing these stories will inspire other students to keep marching on towards their goals as well.

Apurav Bharti was enrolled in four CIP courses with the Institute and was in his second semester in the Insurance management program at Humber College when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. “I had to quickly adapt the way I was learning,” says Apurav. “It’s not always easy to remain focused when the world is going through a pandemic. I could no longer go to the library to study as I used to. I had to be more organized and plan my day to stay on top of my readings and prepare for exams.”

He completed the remainder of his classes online and graduated from Humber in April. Apurav’s next CIP courses were supposed to start in April but had to be postponed until June. “Thankfully the Insurance Institute stepped up and offered students recorded sessions and pdf versions of textbooks for those who didn’t have access to a hard copy,” he says. “The Institute responded quickly to the changing environment with online exams and the option to defer our exams to the next term if we were not comfortable in the current term.”

Apurav believes that education is crucial for any career but especially for an insurance career. “Continuous learning shows that I am on top of the changes coming to the industry. For me, the CIP allowed me to get in-depth knowledge of the industry. After studying for seven courses, I was able to learn a lot about terminology, industry standards, various roles people can have in the industry, and the skills required to perform efficiently in those roles. I will continue to take courses in the future to increase my knowledge on different topics.”

Juggling full-time work with courses and exams required careful planning and hard work and so far he has managed to complete 7 out of 10 CIP courses bringing him closer to earning his CIP designation. Apurav was also lucky enough to find a full-time job at Insuranceland Inc. in April, right after graduating from Humber.

He credits his “can-do” attitude towards his studies for helping him cope with the stress of the pandemic. “A lot of students are worried because of the whole COVID situation, but I think the best way to manage stressful times is to take control of the situation and focus on improving your skills. We have more time on our hands than ever, which could be put to good use by doing things that we were never able to do.”

Apurav has this advice for those who want to continue their education journey: “Make a list of skills that you want to improve and start working on them. Enroll in programs or certifications that you want to earn and start working towards them to keep yourself busy. Use tools like LinkedIn Learning to learn basic software or soft skills.”

Are you one of our amazing Institute students, and would you like to share your story? If so, please contact Sara Hines at to provide your details. You can also visit to see more examples of the Student Strong attitude.

Career Connections

Finding wins: Delivering Career Connections in the COVID-19 era

The IIC Career Connections team is made up of three intrepid members: Trevor Buttrum, Beverly Lewis-Hunte and Yvonne Sze. Along with nearly 400 industry volunteers, known as Ambassadors, they work hard to forge connections between career seekers and the insurance industry.

Before the pandemic they spent a great deal of time face-to-face with students (both high school and post-secondary), career changers, and global talent – whether it was delivering presentations in the classroom, making appearances on conference panels, attending career fairs, or hosting networking events. COVID-19 brought their activities to an abrupt halt. While the team was already agile and able to work from any location, they found they had to adapt their program model and do business differently. How does a team used to engaging in live environments have the same impact entirely online? How could they pivot in a matter of weeks?

The task was big, but they had a few things on their side.

  • The insurance industry was at the centre of conversations about responses to COVID-19. While many other industries were finding demand for their services falling, insurance had become essential and was responding to the situation in unprecedented ways. Anybody seeking to tell a compelling story about careers in insurance had surplus material.
  • Not having to spend time travelling meant the Career Connections team and Ambassadors had increased capacity for event execution.
  • The team was no longer restricted to delivering events regionally, they could draw from a national audience.
  • The career space was suddenly much quieter, and the target audience was home with fewer distractions.

Moving online

The Career Connections team went from dipping their toe into the virtual world, to diving in with both feet, pushing Zoom to its maximum. They hosted 1:1 coffee chats, panel discussions, connected career seekers to employers at speed networking events, and provided a glimpse of daily life in Insurance through virtual classroom presentations.

They launched The Virtual Career Builder Series which includes the following topics:
Virtual Interviewing
Networking in a Remote World
Conducting a Virtual Job Search
Optimizing Performance on the Job... Remotely

They were equally active in the digital and social media space. They answered student questions in a virtual office hours session, showcased the Instagram accounts of partner organisations to demonstrate what the industry had been doing to give back during the pandemic, and they created a bespoke digital-package of resources for educators to build e-lessons from.

In mid-May, Career Connections hosted a virtual pitch competition. Ten teams from some of Canada’s top business schools participated and shared their approaches to attracting more students and new graduates to insurance. The competition was fierce, and a carefully selected panel of industry judges agreed the ideas generated were amazing.

Keeping new entrants optimistic

The Career Connections team has evolved to support new entrants to the insurance world. They have hosted three webinar sessions over recent weeks. Career Connections’ manager, Trevor Buttrum moderated a chat with Tracy Krunic, (COO and VP HR at BrokerLink) and Dave Smiley (COO at Unica Insurance Inc.) about how new insurance professionals can leverage and demonstrate leadership competency in challenging and unprecedented times.

You can watch the video for Voices of Experience - Leadership Panel, here.

The next event was a career roundtable discussion called, Mission Critical: Responding to Covid-19. P & C industry leaders: Erin Gattoni (Vice-President, Human Resources - CNA Insurance), Vinita Jajware (President - TIWA - Toronto Insurance Women's Association), and Greg Markell (President & CEO - Ridge Canada Cyber Solutions Inc) discussed how new entrants could position themselves to be part of a pandemic response and recovery effort. The leaders shared learnings from their career journeys, the role they were currently playing in response to COVID-19 and their tips for success on managing your career path and putting your best foot forward during a global crisis.

You can watch the video for Mission Critical: Responding to Covid-19, here.

The most recent webinar event was a speed mentorship event on maintaining career health, professional growth, and leadership development... even during a pandemic! Attendees took in three mini-master classes and a q&a featuring industry leaders Andrew Steen, (President – Berkley Canada), Debbie Coull-Cicchini, (Executive Vice President - Intact) and Colin Laird, (Senior Vice President, Commercial Insurance - Chubb).

Hitting the right note

It has been an intense period for the Career Connections team, but they are already seeing the fruit of their hard work. Event registrations have filled up within days of opening, and post event engagement on social media has been extremely high. Even as provinces move through their phases of reopening, it is unlikely travel and large in-person events will resume for a while. Speaking about strategies his team has trialled over recent weeks and his plan going forward, Trevor notes, “We have learned a lot about sharing our messaging, fostering connections, and hosting events virtually these past few months. As with any change, there are things to get used to… but, there have also been a host of opportunities we would not have otherwise had. Our team is looking forward to embracing these possibilities and continuing to be a leader in helping the industry respond to its talent needs”.

Fun facts

Fun Facts about insurance

#FunFact – Do you believe that aliens exist? Did you know that many people do, and as a result there is insurance to protect you in case you get abducted by a form that is not human?

#FunFact- Did you know that in England in the 1680s people who purchased home insurance would have a special metal plate hanging outside their home? If a fire broke out, the fire brigade would look for the plate and then immediately put the fire out. If you didn't have the plate, assistance in putting out a fire would only come if there was a risk of it spreading.

#FunFact - Did you know that many celebrities insure their signature looks? For example, Gene Simmons, the lead singer of KISS, insures his tongue for $1M!


CIP Society Ethics Program - Responses to our latest dilemma

Through hypothetical examples we are engaging our members in a discussion to explore some of the grey areas inherent in ethical situations. In the last issue of The Pace, we included an ethical scenario that may occur during a hard market. We were very pleased to receive your responses and are including a selection below. We thank all our contributors.

Want to join the discussion? Email us at

The scenario

The broker had been employed in the industry for ten years, but this was her first hard market experience.

For six months she had spent additional time with each of her clients explaining the price increases and reduced coverage. She had worked diligently finding extra credits or convincing clients to accept renewals based on their preferences. But she found herself overworked, handling renewals just a week before the expiry date. Her clients were unhappy and retention rates were dropping. When she asked management for help, she received no support. Everyone was feeling stretched and this was becoming the new normal.

Then one day while discussing a renewal with an underwriter, she thought she found a solution. The underwriter was in a similar position. The underwriter was being pressured to maintain a high percentage of renewals, but the rates had increased 25% and some of the coverages were being reduced or not available on renewal. He mentioned that by issuing renewals by further reducing or eliminating coverages or limits, some of which had been added in the past years, insureds would accept the renewals because the price would be similar to the last renewal. New business could be generated with lower limits as well.

Their solution involved the underwriter reviewing the areas where there had been increases in claims over the past two years and the classes of business where there had been severity and frequency issues. If the area was low risk, the broker would issue a request to the underwriter for reduced limits on renewal. The broker prepared a form renewal letter for these clients with very basic information. The broker and underwriter marked these files for the future and intended to increase coverage when it was more affordable again.

The broker and underwriter were careful not to apply the strategy for higher risk files or for those insureds who they knew carefully reviewed their renewals. They would spend time trying to place cover for these.

The underwriter and broker were able to maintain good retention rates and even write new business.

During this hard market, the clients were happy with the renewal and price, and the underwriter and broker received praise from their employers. Certainly, the solution was in everyone’s best interest.

Note: The responses below reflect the opinions expressed by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or employer.

Karen DeCarle, CIP
Claims Manager, National Claims Projects
Intact Insurance

Although I have worked in claims for 26 of my 30+ year career, I started my career in a brokerage. I fully appreciate the challenge in maintaining retention statistics and broker income. I also understand the expectations of the customer in trying to get the best coverage for the best price. Some customers are more price centric than others and will shop every year for the best price and coverage available to them.

The difficulty in this situation is that a policy is a piece of paper until it is called upon following a loss. While the broker and underwriter have clearly and thoughtfully considered the lowest risk changes to bring the premium down, to do so without consultation with the client exposes the brokerage to an Errors & Omissions risk. It is also deceptive to the customer who believes they have the same coverage as the prior term and at the same price. While the changes may pose a low risk of an uninsured loss, there is risk nonetheless as if there was no risk, there would be no premium.

In my opinion, whether the customer knows of the changes, the broker and underwriter do. If the customer found out – whether or not there was a loss – the brand of the brokerage would be disparaged. If there was a loss, the professional liability carriers would find out about the collusion through their investigation. There is a strong chance the insurer could be liable for the claim whether in whole or in part, due to the actions of the underwriter. If the loss was less than the deductible on the E&O coverage, the broker’s principal may come to the insurer looking for an ex gratia payment to share the amount of the claim or even absorb it entirely.

The correct course of action would be to talk to the clients and allow them to participate in the decisions. Even if they are price focused, they will likely accept the recommendations as the broker showed trustworthiness, was a solution finder and had a genuine desire to keep the client’s business. If the client didn’t accept the recommendation, it’s likely the broker would not retain the accounts anyway.

At the end of the day, whether anyone knows what we have done – or not – we know. Without integrity, who are we as individuals and as a profession?

Greg Strahl, CIP
Palladium Insurance

The Broker and Underwriter had good intentions: to seek out premium savings for the client. However, they neglected to include the client in those discussions, which is where the scenario falls off the rails. By providing advice and guidance the Broker should have obtained “buy-in” from the client, who ultimately must have the responsibility regarding adequacy of coverage.

Darin Lord Nessel, CIP
President and CEO

As I see it, the paragraph below outlines exactly how unethical the situation was.

If the area was low risk, the broker would issue a request to the underwriter for reduced limits on renewal. The broker prepared a form renewal letter for these clients with very basic information. The broker and underwriter marked these files for the future and intended to increase coverage when it was more affordable again.

The broker appears to be issuing renewals (in an effort to keep up) by lowering limits for the Insured without having the discussion about same. If the renewal letter had only basic information and did not completely explain the reasoning for the lower limits, then that is a concern. But regardless of whether or not the decreased limits were explained in the letter, they should have been communicated verbally as well. If their intentions were to increase limits later on, that is of little consequence. They have put their clients at risk with their actions.

Further, they should not be deciding who has an issue with affordability. This next line speaks to the fact they knew just how unethical they were being: The broker and underwriter were careful not to apply the strategy for higher risk files or for those insureds who they knew carefully reviewed their renewals. They would spend time trying to place cover for these.

In summary, they kept their managers pleased by moving business along, however, they did not do it ethically.

Nafees Ahmad
Current CIP Student
Assistant Underwriter
CHES Special Risk

Premium hikes, reduced coverages, and poor rates of retention are all symptoms and harsh realities of a hard market. Despite these testing times, the broker could have done a lot better. It seems she did start well by informing her clients about the implications of the hard market; however, she could not keep up with the extra demands put on her by the new environment. Without additional support from her top management in navigating a completely new business landscape, she resorted to a very questionable strategy with regards to clients' trust and good faith.

Firstly, she displayed a lack of sound professional judgment in thinking that she and the underwriter were making a compromise in reducing or deleting the coverage while maintaining premium rates. In fact, the underwriter was not making any compromise at all and had a better shot at maintaining the renewal retention and keeping overall loss exposure in check. The broker on the other hand failed to demonstrate effective negotiation skills to balance clients’ needs against underwriting guidelines of the broker.

Secondly, the underwriter was able to handpick the profitable accounts and with aid from an imprudent broker, was able to retain them while offering a lower coverage. Even in the hard market, there is room for preferential rates for profitable classes; however, the broker failed to exercise her professional duty and was unable to safeguard the interests of her clients.

The most striking fact is that the broker concealed these changes from her clients and that it was not only unethical but also against the principle of good faith. Preparing a renewal quote and highlighting the changes in coverage should have been the best practice. On the contrary, the broker chose a path that lead her clients unknowingly to accept reduced coverage. This misconduct is not only a red flag from an ethical standpoint but could also prove to be a disaster for the insureds in question. The fact that files with poor loss record or insureds who were more vigilant got treated based on the merit of the file, makes the whole arrangement borderline fraudulent.

To conclude, both the broker and the underwriter came up short in discharging their duties. The broker breached the trust and good faith of her clients despite showing good results in terms of renewal retention and generating new business. This solution was certainly not in the clients’ best interest who believed in the professionalism of the broker. Future audits and claims on the files with reduced coverage could bring the whole scheme into the spotlight. This could cause damage to the reputation of both the brokerage and the insurer.

Susan Gibson, FCIP
Registered Insurance Broker
The Merit Group Insurance & Financial Services

The solution offered in the scenario is highly unethical, I believe, as it puts the client in a coinsurance problem should a claim occur. Coverage should never be reduced without consultation with the client, fully discussing the ramifications and penalties including a discussion again on how coinsurance works, and having the client sign a statement if they insist on reducing coverage. The recommendation to reduce coverage below rebuilding cost should not be coming from the broker or the underwriter, or both in collusion with each other.

Sasha Sather, CAIB (Hons)
Current CIP Student
Commercial Account Manager
Drayden Insurance Ltd.

I wanted to share my thoughts on the scenario because it is relative to what brokers are going through right now with the changes in coverage eligibility and premiums. Thankfully, I work for a brokerage that completes renewal reviews in advance and implements projects to ensure that clients are contacted to inform them of their options as coverage choices change.

With this in mind, a proactive response is always easier to get behind than a reactive one, and clients find value in the attempts made by their broker. This assists in retention, growth, and helps to shed a good light on the industry as a whole, because the client is educated and knows when—or more importantly, why—coverage isn’t applicable when a loss happens. In my opinion, the situation described in the ethical scenario isn’t the way to help clients. It is the broker’s duty to educate clients about their options and the consequences of their choices, even if that is a difficult discussion to have, and it is best to do so prior to the renewal release.

A form letter with basic information regarding reduced coverage would only benefit if it was guaranteed to prompt the opportunity to discuss the impact of the changes with the client. For example, if a letter was sent quoting the changes (such as reducing Overland Water coverage in high risk zone because pricing was astronomical and eligibility was grandfathered) with an ‘offer’ to complete them, it could prompt the client to call or stop in. Otherwise, many insurers/brokerages will keep it on with higher premium to avoid gaps and E&O’s, which prompts the client to call in about costs. This tends to happen just as the policy renews or even afterwards, which calls into question backdating coverage and the costs of sending out multiple sets of paperwork.

Ultimately, changes shouldn’t occur to limit coverage without express consent from a client or when coverage is no longer qualified due to underwriting or claims reasons. In the latter, multiple documented attempts should be made to contact the client to explain what is happening prior to the effective date e.g. letter, email, phone call (three touch rule) to show attempts to communicate across multiple platforms. Not ensuring that the client can make an informed decision or is made aware of limitations can result in E&O’s and the client could find fault with the broker or insurer.

CIP Society

CIP Society Corner

At the beginning of this year, the Institute published an important report on climate risks. The report analyzes the risks presented by extreme weather and climate change and explores actions required for the industry to address them over the next decade.

The year 2020 took a sharp turn with the global spread of the novel coronavirus, affecting every aspect of our lives and shifting societal, governmental, and personal priorities. How do climate risks fit into this evolving new order? The pandemic has revealed some surprising parallels to the climate change crisis, with the two intricately intertwined, and there are lessons to learn, new considerations to evaluate, and new actions to explore.

On August 19, the CIP Society is pleased to welcome report author Paul Kovacs to present the research findings of the 2020 report. In the second part of the session, Paul will be joined by Donna Ince, RSA; Carol Jardine, Wawanesa; and Patrick Barbeau, Intact, for a panel discussion about the evolution of climate-risk priorities for the p&c insurance industry in Canada in the time of COVID-19.

Register for the event.

The Ethics of Digital Platforms and AI

What are the ethical considerations of digital platforms and artificial intelligence in the insurance industry?

In a recent CIP Society ethics article, we explored the role ethics play in the development and implementation of digital strategies in the industry. With consumers increasingly informed and empowered in their online purchases, and with the pandemic putting a bigger emphasis on digital transactions, we looked at whether—and how—the industry's ethical duty to the consumer is evolving.

In conversation with three industry leaders, the article looks at how digital transformation, and specifically artificial intelligence, can be combined with the human element to better protect customers and improve customer service, especially for complex transactions.

Read the full article here.

Are you signed up for our savings program?

Did you know that as a CIP Society member, you are automatically enrolled in the MemberPerks® savings program? MemberPerks® gives you and your family instant access to valuable discounts on products and services across the country. Recently updated offerings reflect our social distancing and work-from-home reality, including discounts with many online retailers.

Visit to create your account and get access to the perks right away. We also encourage you to download the Venngo app to receive savings suggestions based on your location.

Notice board

Notice Board

Membership renewal helps you stay in the know

As a member, you can continue to give your career a boost with our coveted CIP, ACIP, and FCIP designation programs and our Risk Management and Commercial Insurance certificate programs, as well as professional development opportunities that give you access to the latest industry knowledge and real-world practices.

Our membership year runs from June 1 to May 31. We have already sent notifications out to you or your employer by e-mail or post, and our Member Services team is busy processing renewal payments. If you haven’t renewed your membership already, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible to ensure that service interruptions are avoided.

Renew and pay on-line now—it’s quick and easy:

1. Go to*

2. Log in and go to “My Profile” and then “My Membership Information.”

If you have yet to receive your membership notification, please contact our Member Services Team as soon as possible at 1-866-362-8585, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST.

*Visit to view your profile, and don’t forget to update your details if they have recently changed.

2020—Annual General Meeting

The 67th Annual General Meeting of The Insurance Institute of Canada will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams on Tuesday, October 20. The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. EST and follow this agenda:

1. Notice Calling Meeting; Roll Call
2. Reading of Minutes
3. Reports of Officers, Councils, and Committees (including Chair’s Address)
4. Annual Financial Statements and Auditor’s Report
5. Approval of Acts of Governors
6. Elections
7. Appointment of Auditors and the Determination of Their Fees
8. Such other business as may be properly brought before the meeting
9. Termination

Pat Van Bakel, BA, CIP
Chair of the Board of Governors

Peter Hohman, MBA, FCIP, ICD.D
Chartered Insurance Professional
President and Chief Executive Officer

Call for Content Contributors

Are you looking to share your industry knowledge and understanding of current best practice? Are you eager to participate in a rewarding professional development experience? Consider joining our community of industry professionals and contributing to the Insurance Institute of Canada’s expanding content library and course offerings.

We are looking for volunteers with

  • a minimum of three to five years’ experience in the P&C industry, such as underwriting, claims, risk management, and sales; and
  • expertise in emerging and evolving fields, such as data analytics, extreme weather, pandemics, autonomous vehicles, and cyber security.

Past experience in writing or teaching is not required—a dedicated editor will guide you through the process and help you write content.

As a volunteer, you will be thanked in the Institute’s annual report and receive an honorarium for your contribution.

If you or someone you know would like to share your expertise and contribute to the development of the Institute’s professional designation and certificate programs, contact As a next step, you’ll be asked to fill out a brief online form outlining your experience and credentials. The academic programs team will then determine how your expertise aligns to the projects that are under way.

The Insurance Institute welcomes your expertise!