Key trends for 2015

Rowan Saunders Headshot

Rowan Saunders takes us through the highlights of 2014 and discusses key trends that will shape the RSA landscape for 2015.

If Rowan Saunders ever changes careers, don’t expect him to show up on the Weather Channel. 

“The reality is, it’s very hard to be a weatherman… but if we look at the trends over the last five years, in our portfolio, we have absolutely seen an increase in  weather-related losses.” 

More weather events are just one of the pressures the CEO of RSA Canada says the industry is facing, along with new entrants in commercial lines. For 2015, the company will be leaning on data to make up for the tricky headwinds. 

On the personal auto side, Saunders says that “by improving our pricing sophistication and the use of more data, we think we can be more competitive to a broader segment of customers than we currently are.” One way to get that data is through telematics, and Saunders says they’ll be rolling out a usage based insurance (UBI) product in the new year. 

Commercially, he says, the middle market has “proven to be quite challenging through 2014, particularly in pricing.” RSA will do more “disciplined underwriting” in that market, and tweak its value proposition for certain sectors, like small- and medium-sized enterprises. He says SMEs want their experience to be more like it is with personal lines. (And the numbers back him up: in CITB's October issue, they reported on a J.D. Power study that found SMEs preferred doing their commercial business through their personal lines broker.)

For RSA, it’s “really about making the process easier, faster and more efficient. So we’re working on our models and our technology to make it easier for brokers to deal with us and for us to be able to… process more volume than we currently do. Because the issue there is less about loss ratio and more about the combined cost between RSA and the brokers to deliver the product.” That means asking fewer questions and relying more on predictive analytics to move things along quickly. 

Saunders doesn’t expect things to change much following the company’s sale of Noraxis to Arthur J. Gallagher earlier this year, but says he’s gotten positive vibes from other brokers about it. He says that independent brokers, who bristle at the notion of brokerages owned or backed by insurers, have reacted well to the sale. “We’re finding a number of brokers talking to us about opportunities for building their volume with us as they no longer see us as a competitor to them in acquiring brokers.” 

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As first printed by Canadian Insurance Top Broker, December 2014