Unprecedented Times

Unprecedented Times

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,

Chris

Drastic Times and Drastic Measures: Keeping Businesses Running during the Age of the Coronavirus

Drastic Times and Drastic Measures: Keeping Businesses Running during the Age of the Coronavirus

By Sara Ametrano

The COVID-19 virus has had a tremendous global impact. Throughout the world we’ve witnessed international borders shutting down to visitors, businesses ceasing operations and a significant hit to the economy.

Some businesses have managed to maintain operations through remote working arrangements and implementing safety precautions at the workplace for any individuals required to be present. Health of employees and visitors is of the utmost importance, and the question of how to successfully resume regular operations is at the top of everyone’s mind.

It’s important to keep in mind that many individuals may still be hesitant to return to the workplace, even with many precautions in place. Whether it is a matter of using public transportation, a position that requires excessive contact with others, shared elevators and common areas, it isn’t difficult to see where discomfort may arise. During this time, communication between employers and employees is key. The Government of Canada recommends that staff express any concerns they may have about the pandemic discuss the possibility of working remotely.

If employees are to be physically present, here are some protective measures businesses can take in an effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, as recommended by the World Health Organization:

  • Install disinfectant wipes throughout the workplace;
  • Restrict access to shared areas and equipment, such as break rooms and refrigerators;
  • Ensure everyone wears a mask and frequently washes/sanitizes their hands;
  • Separate bodies as much as possible; this can be done through having employees come to work on a rotating basis so the business is not at full capacity;
  • Create a clear people-flow through the workplace to ensure no two-way traffic.

In addition to the above suggestions, employers can also try restricting access to shared areas and equipment, such as break rooms and refrigerators, as well as having a clear people-flow through the workplace to ensure no two-way traffic for even more protection.

If remote work and precautionary measures aren’t possible, some business may be forced to limit operations, which may include moving to a temporary “online-only” presence for the consumer industry or shutting down certain aspects of the business for the time being, for example. In this case, a top priority for employers may be determining the actions they can take to reduce the potential of a permanent shut down. Businesses should determine the resources and options available to them, which could include measures such as seeking emergency government benefits for the business itself or its staff.

In the unfortunate event a business need to reduce staffing levels, they need to be aware of their legal obligations before implementing any layoffs or staff changes. Businesses are encouraged to contact their legal counsel to ensure they are acting in accordance with fast changing rules and regulations on staff layoffs/firings during Covid-19. Having solid legal advice before making any decisions can help avoid potential future wrongful dismissal claims or other potential legal matters as a result of these employment changes during these uncertain times.

To learn more about employment practices liability insurance, contact your Trisura underwriter. Contact us here.

The views expressed in this article are exclusively those of the author;  they do not necessarily reflect the views of Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company, its affiliates or partners.