TRISURA AND ESPY TEAM UP TO DRESS DOWN

TRISURA AND ESPY TEAM UP TO DRESS DOWN

Perhaps the most uncommon thing to see in the streets of downtown Calgary in the depths of March is a parade of scantily clad men sporting nothing but shoes, socks, and a pair of seriously eye-catching, blue-checkered boxer briefs. A rare sighting indeed, yet on March 21st, 72 souls braved the sub-zero temperatures, dressing down to their underwear before taking to the streets for a great cause. Among the brazen were our very own Richard A. Grant and Jonathan Hope, who turned heads with their “mesmerizing” workman-themed outfits (or lack thereof), complete with tool belts and hard hats.

The event, hosted by the fashion gurus at Espy and in tandem with the Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre (CPCC), aims to raise awareness of the disease diagnosed to 1 in 7 Albertan men. This year, the event was a huge success. Over $72,000 has been donated so far.

The Espy Experience is a fashion-based service helmed by a team of exclusively professional designers and stylists who offer an honest, affordable perspective to clients of both sexes and all different body types. Since Espy’s inception 15 years ago, owner/creator Megan Szanik @espyexperience and her team have strived to enhance the Inglewood community and the city of Calgary at large through annual events such as #nakedespy and #bikiniespy. These events have consistently raised thousands of dollars for the CPCC and Special Olympics Calgary.

If Richard and Jonathan’s boldness has inspired you to show support and become a sponsor of #nakedespy, you can sign up to donate or participate in next year’s event by filling out the form on the Espy website.

To learn more about the CPCC and their strategies for raising awareness, click here.

FROM THE FARM TO FINANCE: THE BASICS OF SURETY BONDS (BY RICHARD A. GRANT)

FROM THE FARM TO FINANCE: THE BASICS OF SURETY BONDS (BY RICHARD A. GRANT)

In many ways Surety is very simple; if I make a promise to someone and you guarantee that I will keep my promise, we have entered into a surety agreement. Using technical jargon found in a bond, you would be acting as the Surety, I would be acting as the Principal and the person that I made the promise to would be the Obligee. As such a surety bond differs from insurance because surety is a three party agreement. Essentially, the surety is a 3rd party guarantor.

My first Surety Agreement was with my father. As a 16 year old farm boy, I could not wait to buy my first pick-up truck! Unfortunately, the truck was too expensive for my small savings account, so I needed to get a loan from the bank. Without having any payment history and with no formal income, I did not qualify for a loan by myself. The bank required my father to co-sign on the loan which is when my entry into the world of Surety began. In that case, the Surety was my father, I was the Principal and the bank was the Obligee.

In order to create a Surety Bond, an agreement must exist between two parties clearly outlining the obligations of each party, such as the loan agreement in the case above. Legislative compliance can also be bonded.

The Surety Bond then guarantees the Principal’s obligations to the Obligee under the terms of the agreement, so long as the Obligee in turn fulfills its obligations to the Principal. In the bank loan example, the bank has loaned me money to buy a pick-up truck and I have agreed to repay the bank in monthly installments. If I fail to do so, the bank can look to my father (as the Surety) for payment.

However, that is not where the story ends. In the scenario above, my father would never co-sign a loan and allow me to default without first sitting me down and discussing how I was going to repay him. In my situation it was fairly informal, and yet it was WELL UNDERSTOOD that it would be very unpleasant for me if my father had to make payments on my behalf. I would be repaying him the full amount plus interest. In most Surety relationships there is a contract known as an Indemnity Agreement between the Principal and the Surety outlining the rights of the Surety to be repaid in a claim situation. This repayment requirement/agreement is one of the primary differences between Surety and Insurance.

Now that you understand the basics of how surety works, where could you use a bond?

If you would like to discuss the potential of using or creating a bond for an agreement that you have, please contact your Professional Surety Broker or a Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company representative.

IF YOU WANT TO GO FAST (BY MIKE GEORGE)

IF YOU WANT TO GO FAST (BY MIKE GEORGE)


If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.  
– African proverb

Imagine living in the wilds of Africa many years ago when the most prevalent mode of transportation was your own bare feet and protection came in the form of a spear, a bow, or the friends and family in your tribe. In that environment, this expression makes an abundance of sense. But how relevant is it today

Consider Trisura. It is built on relationships, partnerships and teamwork. Although we only started our journey less than ten years ago we have gone far by going together with you.

However, given the rate of change in our industry, and the insanely competitive environment in which we all exist, we have also had to learn to be faster. Some companies, like direct writers, have elected to be fast by going alone. We won’t do that. We believe we can go both far and fast together.

Trisura is a broker company. We believe in creating exceptional experiences for our brokers. Our ultimate goal is doing everything we can to help you succeed. Our core values include caring about your needs and those of your clients, listening and appreciating your point of view, finding solutions, and being responsive, decisive and supportive. We believe in establishing long lasting and deep strategic relationships and partnerships where we can share expertise and resources and set ambitious mutual goals and objectives.

My belief is that insurance brokers and insurers alike can no longer be all things to all people. Both parties have to choose who they are going to try and go far with, and learn to be more selective in the future. We all have limited resources and in order to remain relevant and competitive we have to find ways to be more efficient and effective in utilizing them. Many of our industry’s products and services are becoming more and more commoditized and susceptible to the approaches of direct writers or digital giants with their locked-in ability to interact with consumers. These industry disruptors pose game changing challenges for brokers and the insurers who work closely with them.

Brokers need to up their game and get even better – to become trusted advisors for their customers and truly add value as consultative risk management experts. Specialization and expertise will separate the wheat from the chaff. Further, brokers will need to select and partner with the best insurers who can help them achieve their goals and then support them, eschewing those who are just average, or worse.

We believe we are an excellent choice for brokers as they head down this path. Our strategic approach is to better understand your needs, then work hard with you to deliver on them. We want to help you become more successful.

Part of this includes helping our brokers speed up and become more efficient. For example, in 2014, we processed over 20,000 transactions totaling nearly $12 million in premium through our online portal, predominantly in the program space, all with the involvement of our brokers. We are about to launch our one-off portal platform through which brokers can easily and quickly receive quotes, bind and then produce the policy or bond, as well as process commercial surety renewals. In the coming weeks, you will receive a communique outlining our automated commercial surety bond renewal system.

We have also saved you time in the contract surety renewal process, including the advent of our continuous working authority on many accounts. We are currently working on an automated process for small contractors and look forward to a 2015 launch.

Another example in contract surety is the Low Exposure Account Discretion LEADer Program for strong accounts that are fairly inactive and seldom accumulate much bonded exposure relative to their strength. Underwritten annually, LEADer accounts are permitted to forgo interim reporting provided the accumulated exposure does not exceed the established aggregate limit.

We have also introduced the Trisura Xpress Renewal process in our Corporate Risk division. This involves a large portion of our book that will receive automatic renewal quotes without needing to provide renewal information. For clients that are on a 3-year term, this will mean they go 6 years without our brokers needing to gather any renewal information, thus maximizing your efficiency and profit.

We are committed to helping you reduce costs by becoming more efficient in how we transact business, and would love to hear any suggestions you may have to increase efficiencies so that we can work faster together. I believe that to collectively ensure our future success, this is one of the best ways to effectively compete against the low cost providers who may choose to go it alone.

Brokers and insurers need to select who they are going to be able to go both far and fast with, and work to become more strategic in those relationships. Failure to do so will result in companies that go neither fast nor far, and in the insurance jungle where survival depends on both, they will eventually be someone else’s lunch. To add a twist to the proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together… but if you want to go faster and further, go with your partners.

 

 

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT COMMERCIAL GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT COMMERCIAL GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE

1. COMMERCIAL LIABILITY HELPS KEEP YOUR BUSINESS IN BUSINESS

CGL is one of the most popular types of insurance policies procured in Canada, and at the same time it is often one of the least understood. Stripped down to its bare essentials, a traditional standard primary CGL policy generally provides the following assurances: if a policy is triggered by bodily injury or property damage taking place during the policy period, then an insurer owes its policyholder two principal obligations: (1) a duty to defend and (2) a duty to indemnify for compensatory damages.
Additional coverage available under a CGL policy are Personal & Advertising Injury Liability, Medical Payments and Tenants’ Legal Liability.

2. ONE SHOE DOESN’T FIT ALL

Coverage under a CGL policy is highly dependent on the type of business your client is in and the risks associated with it. Consider the liability associated with a retail operation (predominately slip & fall) vs. a general contractor and the work performed for others (i.e. blasting). Some provinces award higher damages to third parties, so where your client is located or conducts the majority of their business may be a factor. As always, your client’s years in business and level of experience impacts both premium and coverage. It is always better to fully understand the nature of your client’s operations to ensure adequate protection. We suggest asking relevant questions that affect your client’s business and the industry they represent so that a policy can be tailored to fit their specific needs.

3. KNOW YOUR LIMITS

A CGL policy has, in essence, six different limits. Limits are typically listed separately but it is important to recognize that the limits are all interrelated and payment under one limit impacts coverage under another. Limits included in a CGL policy are:
  • Bodily Injury and Property Damage
  • Personal & Advertising Injury
  • Medical Payments
  • Tenants’ Legal Liability(optional)
  • General Aggregate Limit
  • Products Completed Operations Aggregate Limit
The most important ones are the General Aggregate Limit and Products Completed Operations Aggregate Limit. Once these limits are exhausted by judgment or settlement, there may be no further obligation to the policyholder during the remainder of the Policy Period.

4. THE LINES ARE BLURRING

Increasingly, cases are cropping up that question what is, and what isn’t, a professional service. Is it a CGL coverage trigger or a professional liability (E&O) coverage trigger? There is no definitive black or white answer! What we do know is that decisions are highly fact-intensive and each case is reviewed on the merits of the individual matter.
The need for professional liability coverage could be a new consideration for many clients and may be met with resistance at first. Though it may have a longer sales cycle, offering Professional Liability (E&O) products along with the CGL is prudent in this every changing world we live in.
The CGL policy is designed to protect the insured against liability arising out of bodily injury and property damage to third parties caused by an occurrence. Whereas the Professional Liability (E&O) insurance policy protects the insured when they are sued as a result of negligent acts, errors or omissions that occur during the course of providing advice or professional services that lead to financial loss to a third party.
There are several key differences between the two policy types, some of which include:
  • CGL policies are typically, but not always, “occurrence-based” whereas professional liability policies are typically “claims-made” policies;
  • CGL policies typically provide defense costs outside the limit of insurance while a professional liability policy typically includes defence costs within the limit of liability;
  • CGL policies and professional liability (E&O) policies apply different deductibles;
  • CGL coverage responds to bodily injury and property damage, whereas professional liability policies provide coverage against an array of professional services damages, including economic damages;
  • CGL insurers traditionally allow certain clients to add additional insureds, to the CGL policy at little additional cost, whereas professional liability carriers generally do not.

5. SOUND RISK MANAGEMENT IS YOUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE

No matter how big or small your client is, helping them establish a Risk Management Program can assist in the operation of their business and also help reduce claims activity to a minimum:
  • Work closely with clients, whenever possible, to aid in establishing the highest standards for controls and/or product quality within their organization. Depending on the size of the organization, using simple methods to keep controls up to date. Utilizing checklists, step-by-step procedures and flowcharts may be helpful.
  • Ensure that all company records are up to date and accurate, including those for any employees, company funds, and all important documents;
  • Help your client understand that it may be prudent to be selective in the organizations they partner with or contracts they execute.
  • Training shouldn’t stop at new employee orientation. Suggest to your clients that it may be beneficial to implement appropriate training and continuous learning programs to keep employees current on the organization’s procedures and policies;
  • Ensure your clients are aware of and seek appropriate guidance in complying with legal and regulatory laws that may affect or impact their organization;
  • Suggest your clients become familiar with any systemic risks (i.e. interest rates, purchasing power, liquidity risk, operation risk, etc.) that may profoundly impact your client’s business.