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

Unprecedented Times

The Sun is Shining

By Chris Sekine

 

Welcome to summer!

I was honoured and thrilled to be selected as the President and CEO of Trisura Guarantee. Mike George has been both my friend and my mentor for 28 years. I will be forever grateful to him for having the confidence in me to start up our surety business in 2006. Mike should be very proud of what he accomplished at Trisura, which has grown over the past 13 years to become a leader in Canada for specialty insurance.  Thank you Mike, and know that Trisura remains in good hands.

I would also like to acknowledge both Bob Taylor and John Garner, Mike’s partners and co-founders of Trisura. Together, they were the “three amigos.” Trisura lore is that our tag line, “A Step Above, comes from the co-founders’ presentation to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) during the formation of Trisura. After the presentation concluded, the senior OSFI executive commented that the Trisura business plan and presentation was “a step above” what they normally see. The senior minister on the file corrected him by saying, “No, this presentation was a step above a step above.” After that meeting, the tag line was born and has been instilled in every part of Trisura’s culture. I am very pleased that Bob Taylor remains on the board of directors for both Trisura Guarantee and Trisura Group.

As we embark on the next phase of our journey, we will remain true to Trisura’s core values and our relentless pursuit of being a step above. We will continue to create exceptional experiences for brokers and all of our stakeholders. It may seem basic to many, but this strategy has worked well over the company’s first 13 years. It has resonated with our brokers, their customers, our reinsurers and our staff. Our priority is to build on our success and make Trisura stronger, with the goal to be recognized as Canada’s leading specialty insurer. We will continue to look for opportunities to expand our capacity and appetite within our existing lines of business, while also looking at new lines of business that are adjacent to those where we are entrenched. 

With the future and our relationships in mind, we’ve re-aligned our leadership team with the following well-deserved appointments:

  • Richard W. Grant to Chief Operating Officer;
  • Chris Kucman to Senior Vice President of Distribution and Field Operations;
  • Pina Mazzoli to Senior Vice President of Digital Distribution and Marketing;
  • Matt Baynton to Senior Vice President, Surety. Matt is taking my former position to head our surety business nationally;
  • Marilyn vanGansewinkel to Senior Vice President of Specialty Insurance Solutions. Marilyn is taking Richard Grant’s former position to head our Specialty Insurance Solutions business nationally;
  • Glen Shaw to Senior Vice President, Risk Solutions, Warranty and Ceded Reinsurance.

Reporting to Chris Kucman and leading our various front-line operations are the following:

  • John Watt, Regional Vice President, British Columbia and Yukon;
  • Richard A. Grant, Regional Vice President, Prairies;
  • Jean-Francois Therrien, Regional Vice President, Quebec;
  • Shane Roney, Regional Vice President, Specialty Insurance Solutions, Ontario and Atlantic Canada;
  • Andrew Cartwright, Regional Vice President, Surety, Ontario and Atlantic Canada;
  • Jennifer Finnell, Vice President, Specialty Insurance Solutions – Association and Affinity Business.

I’m also extremely pleased to announce the following appointments in our executive head office:

  • Rebekah Alberga to Senior Vice President and General Counsel;
  • Victor Bandiera to Senior Vice President, Underwriting and Construction Services;
  • Cindy Grant to Senior Vice President, Human Resources;
  • Jason Keyfitz, Vice President and Chief Risk Officer;
  • Dragan Popovic to Senior Vice President, Information Systems & Technology;
  • David Scotland, Chief Financial Officer.

I’d like to extend our congratulations to all the individuals above who will help me lead Trisura.

It’s an exciting time!

With the start of summer and warmer weather finally arriving, things are also heating up at Trisura. We are proud to be listed by the Globe and Mail for the third consecutive year as one of Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers. While 2018 was one of Trisura Guarantee’s best years with almost 13% growth and a combined ratio of 86%, we’re off to a great start in 2019 with over 16% growth at the end of Q1. Over time, we’re looking to leverage the capabilities of our parent company, Trisura Group Ltd., our US affiliate, Trisura Specialty, and our Barbados-based reinsurance arm, Trisura International The sun is bright and so is the future for Trisura.

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable summer,

 

Chris

Chris Sekine 2019 Q2 newsletter