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AGCS Canada CEO talks cyber, growth opportunities | Canadian Insurance
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AGCS Canada CEO talks cyber, growth opportunities

We spoke to Ulrich Kadow following the RIMS Canada Conference

We recently caught up with Ulrich Kadow, CEO of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) in Canada, for a wide-ranging discussion on a variety of industry topics following the RIMS Canada Conference in St. John’s.

Selling cyber

With changes to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act coming into effect on Nov. 1, Canadian businesses will soon be required by law to notify the public when they’ve suffered a data breach.

This, said Kadow, can only help the market for cyber insurance.

“From my perspective, it’s a very positive development for many reasons,” he told Canadian Insurance Top Broker. “I think it will certainly increase the awareness of cyber as a risk, and also as an insurance coverage that is available to clients to manage or transfer the risk.”

But Kadow also noted that a requirement to report breaches could result in more claims, as companies that may have been tempted to conceal cyberattacks will now be compelled to report them.

“Short-term, it’s a bit of a risk, but long-term, it’s an opportunity for us,” he said. “For the most part, I smell opportunity.”

Climate change

With extreme weather events occurring with increasing frequency and severity, insurers have been hit hard by property claims in recent years.

“From an insurance company perspective, I think the most important thing is to always understand the risk and price for it adequately,” Kadow said.

AGCS has kept its pricing competitive in a number of ways. Stateside, the insurer has used alternative capital markets “to manage cat risks at a better price than what would’ve been available in the traditional market,” Kadow noted.

But coping with climate change is more than just managing cat risks; it’s also dealing with the fallout of natural disasters, which often means pollution. That, says Kadow, is where environmental impairment liability coverage can help clients.

“There’s a higher frequency of hurricanes and rainfall, and that increases the risk of water damage and mould exposure that might grow over time,” he said. “Our environmental solutions and products that we launched here in Canada two or three years ago are one way to manage that risk, understand the risk and also, in many cases, transfer it.”

Ease of doing business

AGCS launched AllianzGo—a digital quote-to-bind tool for brokers—in the States last year. The rollout is still underway, but Kadow hopes a similar offering will be made available to brokers in Canada before long.

“I do expect that we’ll have something in place next year, possibly even early next year,” he said. “Whether it’s AllianzGo or something else, we’ll have to see, but we’re actively working on that.”

The insurer has also been surveying brokers and clients regularly since 2015, in an effort to find better ways of doing business.

“There’s quite a bit of time and effort going into running these surveys,” Kadow said. “We ask brokers and clients specifically about what we can do to make it easier to do business with us.”

Growth opportunities

AGCS had grown its business in Canada by 20% year to date. Kadow attributes this to three different factors: products, geography and distribution.

On the product front, AGCS has seen success with its new middle-market offering, as well as specialty lines, live entertainment and financial lines. The insurer has also expanded its geographic reach, by adding offices in Montreal and Vancouver.

And the company has taken what Kadow calls a “very focused approach” to managing its distribution. AGCS has about 15 distribution partners in Canada that it focuses its attention on in order to build stronger relationships.

“Aligning what we do with what our distribution partners want to focus on has been quite a good driver of growth,” Kadow observed.

And, while the recent growth at AGCS has been encouraging, Kadow said there’s plenty of room for more.

“When you look at Allianz in various markets around the globe, the percentage of market share we have in Canada is still not quite up to par with what an Allianz brand is typically known for in other markets. As a result of that, I think there’s still quite a bit of growth and exciting years ahead.”

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