2020: Perseverance in the face of unforeseen global pandemic

It certainly goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an acute impact on all of us on many levels and this has been a challenging year. We hope that you and your family are staying safe and healthy.

As this most unusual year comes to a close, the early roll-out of a Coronavirus vaccine offers us a beacon of hope for a return to normalcy in 2021 and beyond. With a strong focus on the new year, Scott Donald, WSC’s President and CEO, reflects on the 2020 surety highlights. “From a pure business operating standpoint, Western Surety has had a very good year and with the potential of a late December premium surge, we could very well exceed $30,000,000 in premium for the first time in our 111 years of business,” said Donald. Equally of note was Western Surety achieving an A- financial strength rating from AM Best. “This rating confirms our record of top quartile underwriting and consistent profitability and emphasizes our ability to protect the interests of our policyholders,” added Donald.

On a national surety basis, the Canadian industry will report another year of positive results, the second consecutive such year after a very dismal 2018 performance. Unfortunately, our industry has been negatively impacted by a very hard market in the construction (and other) insurance arena and this will have ramifications throughout the Canadian surety reinsurance market. Western Surety successfully navigated these challenges and we finalized our 2021 reinsurance renewal with the addition of a new partner after regrettably parting ways with a long time reinsurer. “All said and done, this reinsurance renewal was one of our biggest challenges of 2020!” commented Donald.

While our 2020 loss ratio will likely be in the 15-20% range, Donald was pleased to advise that “none of the major claims arose from the impacts of COVID-19.” Sadly, the pandemic has led to the demise of many businesses in various industries. However, in several instances, thanks to innovation, enhanced IT technologies, reduction of non-essential expenses and personnel and last but not least, the various financial benefits provided by various government levels to improve the overall economic conditions in Canada, many companies were able to meet their challenges face-on and positively impact their efficiencies and profitability.

Donald acknowledged that surety “is an industry that relies on face to face meetings, professional gatherings, and various social endeavours; all in the spirit of getting to know brokers, contractors, reinsurers, competitors and all other stakeholders. For someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in airports, hotels, and restaurants throughout North America, it was certainly a change in pace to have to work from home or in the office for the vast majority of the year. Hopefully, with the aforementioned “beacon of hope”, our surety industry will find its new normal at some point in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2021.”

With a sense of renewed optimism and hope, let’s bring on the new year!

Staff Milestones

Several employees at Western Surety reached important milestones in 2020. We would like to acknowledge and thank them for their hard work and dedication:

10 years – Greg Salmon and Jerrod Briere (Regina), Cory Manchur (Toronto) and Wes Benson (Halifax)

5 years – Jason Berkan, Vicky Siebert and Hollie Veresh (Regina)

Christmas Charity Donation

Continuing our tradition of having our employees enter into a draw for the right to select Western Surety’s annual Christmas charity donation, Elsabe Wasserman, Toronto Branch Office, chose the Daily Bread Food Bank. We are very pleased to support this very worthwhile charity.

Christmas Holiday Schedule

Our Regina, Toronto, and Halifax offices Holiday Schedule is as follows:
Thursday, December 24th – CLOSING AT NOON (local time)
Friday, December 25th – Christmas Day – CLOSED
Monday, December 28th – CLOSED
Thursday, December 31st – CLOSING AT 3:00 PM (local time)
Friday, January 1st – New Year’s Day - CLOSED

During these unprecedented times, more than ever, it is important to share and appreciate the family values that unite us. From our Western Surety family to yours, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a new year full of happiness and health.

 

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