By Chris Sekine
The phrase “these unprecedented times” is one that has been overused during the past few months, but I can find no alternative that is more descriptive or accurate. Now that much nicer weather has arrived across Canada, many are venturing outside more often, finding that it eases some of the mental burden of being cooped up. While we all enjoy the nice weather, I believe everyone needs to remain vigilant about social distancing to protect the health of each other and to protect against further shutdowns of the economy.
While the past few months have been difficult for all of us, I’d like to provide you with an update about Trisura. We initiated our business continuity plan on March 16th, and since then, our staff have been working from home on a full-time basis. I’m very pleased that the transition was seamless and all of our service and business functionality have continued without disruption. I would like to thank the great staff at Trisura, our brokers and all of our business partners for enabling a successful transition to working from home.
One of our top priorities since the lockdown has been to keep you informed of the status of Trisura’s operations, as well as the assistance available to our brokers and insureds, including important resources. While trying not to overwhelm you with too many updates, we aimed to provide necessary and pertinent information to help you with both your business and your transactions and dealings with Trisura.
We recently reported Trisura’s Q1 results, and I am pleased that both Trisura Guarantee’s business in Canada and the consolidated business of Trisura Group Ltd. performed extremely well in the first quarter. Trisura Guarantee experienced almost 25% year-over-year growth in Q1, and we also reported an increase in underwriting income of over 30%, which produced an industry leading combined ratio of just over 82%.
On behalf of everyone at Trisura, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of our broker partners for your continued support, especially during these difficult times.
We understand it’s tough out there. The pandemic and the economic consequences are significant obstacles that every person and every business on the planet is facing. A broker friend of mine (Matt, you know who you are) recently gave me a book called The Obstacle Is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage by Ryan Holiday. The book was first published in 2014, but there is no better time to read this book than today from both a personal and business perspective. Thanks, Matt.
It is remarkable to see the number of familiar and successful businesses that were started during times of economic crisis. As cited in the book, some examples are:
- Coors (Founded 1873 – Depression)
- General Motors (Founded 1907 – Panic of 1907)
- Fortune Magazine (Founded 1929 – 90 days after market crash)
- Revlon (Founded 1932 – Great Depression)
- Hewlett-Packard (Founded 1935 – Great Depression)
- Costco (Founded 1976 – Recession)
- FedEx (Founded 1973 – Oil crisis)
- Microsoft (Founded 1975 – Recession)
- LinkedIn (Founded 2002 – Post-dot com bubble)
In addition, a few other notable companies were started during the most recent financial crisis:
- AirBNB (Founded 2008 – Recession)
- Uber (Founded 2009 – Recession)
In addition, Holiday notes, “half the companies in the Fortune 500 were started in a bear market or recession. Half.”
For me, the message is that times of adversity can spawn ingenuity and be transformative for those willing to face their obstacle. Yes, times are uncertain, but we are not picking up our ball and going home. In fact, we are doing the opposite. In May, Trisura Group Ltd. raised over $60 million in new capital to support growth across all of its operations. The strong reception we received from the capital markets will allow us to navigate near term volatility confidently, support our partners and growing platforms and plan for a bigger, better Trisura.
For our broker partners, Trisura’s unwavering commitment to help support you is our essential service. We will continue to underwrite risks based on their individual merit as consistently as possible and provide you with great service. I am confident things will get better.
Wishing you and your loved ones remain safe and well,