Let’s Help Small Businesses Succeed

Susan Williams-Bonet—Vice President, Ontario, Wawanesa

This year’s IBAOcon’23 event takes place during Small Business Week. It’s perfect timing. The connection between our industry and small businesses has never been more important.

Small businesses are the heart of our economy, making up 98% of all businesses in Canada and employing almost two thirds of our country’s workforce. At the same time, the security that we in the insurance industry provide to small businesses is essential, with more small businesses turning to brokers for advice on how they can better protect their future.

According to a recent Deloitte report, the demand for small business insurance is increasing as “48% of Canadian small business owners report they are likely to purchase more or much more insurance.” Further from Deloitte, approximately one in six businesses in Canada don’t have any commercial insurance coverage.

This is an opportunity for our industry to help more small businesses succeed and highlight the importance of insurance experts.

At Wawanesa, we’ve been working closely with commercial brokers to better understand the needs of small businesses and how we can be better partners for our commercial brokers. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Speed matters

Small business owners are busy, and so are brokers. We know that the faster we can get competitive quotes to our commercial brokers, the more likely we win the account. That’s why we’ve invested in new tools such as our Digital Small Business Solution that significantly speeds up the time it takes to quote. In fact, our Digital Small Business Solution can provide quotes in minutes, helping brokers help small businesses faster and give great service to our members. We’re excited about the launch of our Bluepass digital platform in the fall of 2023, as it will streamline the process even more—with a quick quote, customized coverage features and the option to bind, potential members can walk away with a Wawanesa commercial policy in minutes.

Skilled, responsive and collaborative local commercial underwriters set Canadian insurers apart

While this has always been true of our industry, the war for talent has made it even more important. For this reason, we’re investing in training the next generation of local and talented commercial underwriters. Wawanesa now offers a range of training for our underwriters to build or improve their commercial underwriting knowledge. This training includes in-depth insights with a blended experience of formal learning, case studies and on-the-job training designed to help develop skills, foster critical thinking and set people up for rewarding careers. We offer broker training, too. Brokers can reach out to their business development representative for details.

Adding value

As risk experts, we can provide much more to every small business we cover. Our loss control experts are eager to meet with business owners to consult and share how they can prevent common losses and make their businesses more resilient. Cyber security packages can help businesses feel secure in an often frightening and confusing area of risk. Legal expense coverage can help small businesses get timely advice on urgent legal questions. We also benefit from having our own health and life insurance company—Wawanesa Life—with a wide range of competitive packages for businesses of all sizes.

Picking the right partners

Over the last few years in Canada, we’ve seen a reduction in commercial insurance capacity, with some foreign-based insurers choosing to place their capacity in other countries. This has created challenges in capacity and affordability. While issues have been more pronounced in Western Canada, Ontario and eastern Canada are not immune. One important way to help provide greater pricing stability for small businesses is by working with local insurers who will stand by brokers for the long haul. Wawanesa is Canadian owned and operated, and committed to being a stable, reliable partner in the Canadian market that is well-positioned to succeed as one of the largest mutuals in Canada.

As an industry, we can do much more to help small businesses succeed. At this year’s IBAOcon’23, we look forward to celebrating the essential role that small businesses play in our community and doing more to help the commercial brokers who step up every day to ensure small businesses are protected. Together, we can help more small businesses succeed.

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