Canadian conversations: 3 challenges facing companies

October 5, 2021

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By Gary Gardner, BA CIP, Senior vice president, national sales

As we kick off the RIMS Canada conference, we’re provided an opportunity to reflect on key claims trends. But with these opportunities comes challenges for many companies.

Understanding what’s at play can help organizations operate more effectively and efficiently in the future. So let’s dive in.

Premium pressures

The first and most formidable challenge currently impacting Canadian companies is the hard insurance market. Companies are seeing premiums rise across all lines of business to varying degrees. This has resulted in new players entering the market space. In addition, we are seeing companies evaluate their existing risk financing programs with an eye toward alternative risk programs. As companies approach renewals, they are looking at increasing their existing deductibles or self-insured retentions in an attempt to generate some cost savings. Additionally, there is emerging interest in captive programs as a way to stabilize costs over the long term and establish more control over risk management decisions.

What this means from a claims perspective is that many organizations who have never worked with a third party administrator or had the need to manage their own claim portfolio are now beginning to explore these services and capabilities. At a time when organizations are subject to cost pressures on premiums, they are eager to find ways to streamline the process. Securing a partner who has established relationships with top players throughout the commercial market is key.

Knowledge and experience

The second challenge many Canadian organizations face is the need for specialized services and expertise. Whether confronted with managing a large fleet, an expansive book of real estate holdings or a casualty-intensive risk, they need the expertise to address a range of risk-related incidents. For example, many trucking companies haul both dry goods and liquids across the vast Canadian highway system. Despite even the best safety protocols and practices, many have faced a trucking collision or rollover. This can be particularly dangerous in the event of a liquid or hazardous material spill which must be contained — making it essential to have access to specialized engineering experts who can be on the scene within a matter of hours.

Hazardous materials spills aren’t the only incident in which time is of the essense. Specialized engineering experts can also assist with buildings after a structural collapse by providing foresenic engineering services. Whether there is a material defect, flaw in archetectrual design or lack of proper maintenance, these individuals can determine cause and provide necessary information that will ultimately influence claim payout.

Talent shortage

A third challenge impacting our industry is the recruitment and retention of talent. Many claims professionals were asked to take on other functions during the COVID-19 pandemic as claims numbers dropped. Some of those individuals did not return to the claims side of the business. In addition, some left our industry altogether during the last 18 months. This has left our industry with a potential capacity problem as we move forward. Further, it is sometimes difficult to attract young people who are just beginning their search to consider the claims profession as a fulfilling career. Filling that gap has to be a priority.

To meet claims personnel needs requires assistance either on a temporary basis or as part of a longer-term solution. In some cases, claims professionals may be asked to work directly in customer systems, work at customer facilities or manage complete lines of business on their behalf. Whether it’s a risk manager or the vice president of claims at a carrier, managing the people side of the business is key.

As you listen to the sessions at the RIMS Canada conference, let us know which strategies you find possible for your organization to elevate risk management performance. Together, we can positively impact the future. To learn more about our innovative claims solutions for both large and mid-size companies, visit our website.

Tags: Canada, Claims, claims trends, Evolving risks + Response, forensic engineering, Hardening market, insurance market, premiums, RIMS, Talent gap, third party administrator